Posted by & filed under Travel Country: Australia.


We all decided that we’d get up early and drive down to Phillip Island, south of Melbourne. It has lots of nature parks and wildlife reserves and a stunning coastline to boot. It took us just over an hour to get there and the first place we went to was the Koala Conservation Centre. There are treetop boardwalks here, where you can get close views of wild koalas in Australian bushland. It was set up in 1992 to protect the declining numbers of koalas on the island.

We saw a koala high up in a tree but it was too far away to get a close up view. Further on though, there were two koalas sitting on a fork in a tree and you could see them pretty close up, which was great. They were so cute looking and their fur looked so soft. They were munching away on the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, minding their own business. We had a walk around some of the other boardwalks and after about an hour, decided to head to Cowes for lunch. I really enjoyed seeing the koalas. It was the first time I’d ever seen any before.

Cowes is the principal township on Phillip Island and lies on the north coast of the island. We went to an Italian restaurant, which had a surprising range of food apart from pizza and pasta. They also had risotto, gnocchi, carne dishes etc. The food was delicious and the view of the golden beach in front of us was fabulous. There were people on jet-skis in the water, people paddling boats, sunbathers on the beach etc.

After lunch, we went to investigate Penguin Parade, to see what time the penguins came in at and how much it cost. At sunset every evening you can watch the little penguins come out of the sea and waddle across the beach towards their burrows in the sand dunes. I’d been to the blue penguin colony in Oamaru, New Zealand, so I’d seen this before but even though Debs and Piers, Deb’s husband hadn’t, it was on too late for us. By the time the sunset, 9.30pm, it would have been too late to drive back at that stage. So we decided to give it a miss.

You could, in the meantime, explore Nobbies Centre. It’s a boardwalk which takes you out by the water of the Bass Straight, with an information centre showcasing fur seals and marine life. There is a fur seal colony two kilometres out but we thought that the colony would be too far out to see any seals. So we didn’t do that either.

What we did do though was go to the Maru Koala and Animal Park, which is a koala and animal park, with all sorts of animals like kangaroos, dingos, wallabies, koalas, birds etc. There were a lot of tame kangaroos there which you could feed. After feeding the kangaroos, we wandered over in the direction of the emus and bird area. There were cockatoos and kookaburras there and the strangest looking bird I’ve ever seen! It was all white, like an albino pheasant and I still don’t know what it was. But it was a beautiful looking bird.

It was coming up to 6pm and after a few arguments about whether the satnav was taking us in the right direction or not, we headed back to Melbourne.