A perfect day in Phillip Island
After couple of days in the city, we escaped the buzz of Melbourne and went to discover gorgeous Phillip island. We had the perfect day trip, filled with sun and strong wind and incredible experiences: we saw koalas and wallabies, sipped delicious local wine, made guacamole on a deserted beach and at sunset saw penguins parading back home after a day fishing in the ocean. All in all, a day packed with some of the best Australian highlights.
The truth is that we are city people who love to escape to the outdoors. We do not see ourselves living in the tranquil countryside, we like to be part of the hustle and bustle, being surrounded by many people and their differences and quirks, the excitement and diversity that comes by living in a big city, but maybe because of this we often feel the pull to escape to nature and recharge.
We talked to few friends who are either now live, lived or are from Melbourne for suggestions of things to do and Phillip Island was constantly popping up. It's mostly famous for being inhabited by a rather large protected colony of penguins, but it is also home to natural parks, stunning beaches and excellent wineries. So we packed some food, extra clothes (because you need to be prepared for 4 seasons in one day) and we set off to the south west of Melbourne.
We first stopped at the Koala reserve. It's not a zoo (we are not really into zoos to be honest) but a conservation enterprise that is proving essential to help preserve Phillip Island's koala population. We paid our tickets and, without expecting much, made your way on the tree-top broad walk, looking over the eucalyptus trees to try and spot an animal. But while we were looking at the far away branches, we didn't realise that a sleepy, furry koala was hanging on a tree just in front of us! It was an incredible experience.
There were about 6 koalas inhabiting the trees around each of the two broad walks, all of them adults, and most of them sleeping soundly about 2 meters away from us. A friendly ranger gave us information about their age and gender, and told us more about their habits. It was very exciting, probably more for the adults than the toddler, who quickly turned to us with a pretty good impersonation of a sleepy koala ("Mamma, they don't do anything else!"). Eventually also two wallabies arrived hopping their way through the forest, who sparked more interest in our little one.
The next stop was the nearby Phillip Island Winery, an incredible place which only glitch is that it closes too early! We got there by four and had only a short hour to enjoy some fantastic wine at their cellar door overlooking the green hills. While Tommi was enjoying an ice lolly we tasted a selection of their wines and settled for a glass of their Rose (a bled of Shiraz and Pinot Noir) and Pinot Gris.
With still a few hours to kill before the penguin parade, we headed to Berry beach for a walk. It was amazing. The perfect sand covered the wide wild empty beach pounded by long powerful waves. The light was soft and even tho the wind blew strong we could enjoy a picnic and some games on the sand.
And finally, the penguins. A hoard of tourists marches toward an amphitheater in front of the sea and religiously waits for the about 1000 penguins of the resident colony to get back from a day in the ocean while the sun (and temperature) drops. Then, one or two small birds (the smallest kind of penguins) started appearing waddling their way back home, followed by the rest of the group. To be really honest, since by the time the penguins start getting to land it's already dark, it's not obvious to spot them. It's was easier for us to see a few from the broad walk heading back to the car. We couldn't take any pictures of the experience, as they are not allowed to not scare the penguins.
We got back home pretty late and tired, but absolutely blown away by this day trip that packed so much of Australia's wonders.