So I wasn’t overly impressed with the Great Ocean Road. Phillip Island, however, made up for it. A mere hour and a half drive south from Melbourne, (or a very windy ferry ride if coming from the Ocean Road, which I did) it was like entering another world. Beautiful beaches and surfing, sleepy towns, and “famous” Aussie animals galore!
I started my 24 hour blitz of the Island with a nighttime visit to the Penguin Parade. Each night, hundreds to over a thousand wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and nervously inch toward their sand dune burrows. It was, hands down, the most adorable thing I have ever seen. These tiny little creatures timidly waddle out of the water, likely tuckered out, and move toward land. Some just can’t handle it and hustle back into the water a few times before working up the courage, while the ballsier ones just book it and you can’t help but cheer them on. And they’re LOUD. My goodness, sharing the details of their day, yelling at their kids for leaving the burrow a mess, it was hysterical. You unfortunately (but fortunately for the penguins) can’t take any photos of the event so not to scare them, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it is a must-see.
To save money, I bought a three-park pass for the Island, which gave me access to the Penguin Parade, Churchill Island Heritage Farm (which I didn’t go to, but might be worth a visit if you’re into farms – my allergies have just been nuts here, so I wisely skipped this one), and the Koala Conservation Centre.
SO MANY KOALAS. I expected to see maybe one or two from a distance. This sleepy fellow was right above me, and there were several others swaying in the trees. It was a breezy day, and I kept waiting for a koala catapult but they really hang on tight. I stayed for a few hours, wandering around the trails and exploring the various boardwalks. It was like an Easter egg hunt – except you don’t eat these ones. My loitering paid off – I saw more koalas (including a mum and baby!) and wallabies!
The wallabies were a little more wary of my presence so I didn’t hang around them for long. I just wanted to ensure that they knew that I thought they were cool too, you know, so they wouldn’t be envious of the koalas hogging the spotlight.
I like a good picnic, so thought I’d finish the day off with a visit to The Nobbies to eat my lunch – full disclosure, I had no clue what these were, but the name cracked me up so I was sold. This is perhaps not a solid way to plan things.
The Nobbies were INSANELY windy. After losing half of my chips and my balance repeatedly, I abandoned the idea and ate lunch in the car. Good views, but if you’re going to visit perhaps pick a day when Toto won’t blow past you.