This is part two of two from a day tour with Melbourne Costal Tours to Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island. We had an amazing guide who made the experience that much better.
After leaving the Mornington Peninsula we were heading further around the coast to Phillip Island. It was an hour drive away until we hit the San Remo bridge which connects the Island with the mainland. We check out the views as the late afternoon sun warms the air and the temperatures start to drop, time to chuck on a jacket.
We arrive in the parking lot of Woolamai Beach. This seems to be your typical surfer beach with groups of people in their wetsuits making their way down the sandy stairs to jump into the waves. With a light cool wind and the afternoon sun it’s nice to walk around and take in the sites of this surfing reserve dating back to the 1920s. Though, it is a bit too chilly for my liking so its back into the shuttle bus for our second to last location of the day.
During the ride our guide points out all the local spots, including this massive Grand Prix circuit. Its absolutely crazy, all around us is grass, trees, ocean and nature, then all of a sudden you look to one side and there is this massive race track. Definitely an unusual site having this huge grand prix track in the middle of a nature park.
At the far corner of Phillip Island, we stop at Nobbies. Oh my gosh this place was full of tourists, but you can understand why. We walk around a track which takes us around the side of the coast, trying to spot penguins making their way back home for the day. The little ones are so cute tucked inside their little penguin boxes. It is crazy the cliffs the penguins will climb to get home, some of them live in the most complicated places.
Driving out of Nobbies is along a restricted dirt road through the nature park on the south coast of the island. We spot kangaroos, birds and wallabies all happy in their natural habitat all from the comfort of the shuttle bus.
We arrive at the highlight of the trip, the Phillip Island Penguin Center. My first impression is that I am a little blown away by the amount of huge buses and cars. It is a weekday and quite chilly, seriously how are there so many people here? Entering the building we head to the cafeteria to grab some dinner, but oh my gosh, the lines! And even though there must be a hundred tables, all are occupied. Either way, I am hungry and jump in line for the half hour wait for food.
This food is basically hall food, if I wasn’t so hungry I wouldn’t have bothered. Though, in desperation to sit down and relax to eat with a meal I head outside. Big mistake. The swarms of seagulls appear out of nowhere, and are diving straight at me like no tomorrow. This is the kind of stuff that would traumatise a child. Thank goodness, I am semi emotionally stable otherwise that experience definitely would have scarred me for life. Since when did seagulls get so much confidence anyway?!
I make my way down the path with the other crowds as the sun begins to set in the distance. At the viewing platform a countdown timer lets us know how far away all the penguins are. Then suddenly one little one emerges from the sea, followed by another and another. I never knew they actually walk in a line formation, guess that’s why its called a penguin parade. Then a lone penguin pops up on the beach about 300m from all the others, just standing there not knowing what to do. Soon enough the beach is fill of penguins all waddling up towards the shore, and that one penguin is lone no more.
As I walk up back towards the main building all the little penguins follow underneath the elevated paths. There are workers there ensuring they are all safe and no one is using their cameras, as the flash could hurt their eyes. Reaching the top at an intersection a traffic light flashes red and the workers pull a gate over in front of everyone. Suddenly all these penguins waddle quickly across the path, it is a penguin traffic jam, quite a site.
Loading back onto the bus and bundling up for the two hour drive back into the city. As the flashes of light pass in the dark I quickly fall asleep after this long day. Waking up back in Melbourne CBD everyone else starts departing. First one on the bus is always the last to get off.
Overall it was an amazing day and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Melbourne. It is good to get out of the city and see some of the amazing sites throughout the Victoria state. Also having the opportunity to hang with a few Australian animals was another highlight. The food, the company and the experiences were all amazing and is a must do when in town!
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