Phillip Island was our prize for getting through 2 years of marriage relatively unscathed. I was super excited. I’d never been before but had heard so many good things, particularly about the penguin parade.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was a top quality restaurant. Yet that’s what we found on the first night we arrived. Youki’s served us up a super tasty Japanese banquet with saki tasting boards and fantastic Japanese beer. Apparently the owners spent 10 years in Japan, which no doubt added to the seemingly authentic taste (from someone who has never been to Japan).
We went for a nice walk around the Cowes Jetty, a pretty area with a nice lighthouse and some short walking trails around the beach.
We were up early Saturday morning for the Churchill Island Farmers Market, over 40 stalls with a great variety of local produce. Bought some incredible jam that I’m enjoying on my morning toast. We skipped the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, a working historical farm, but took the opportunity for a casual bike ride around the island for some beautiful views.
We cruised back into Cowes (the main city on Phillip Island) via the Chocolate Factory and the highly recommended Purple Hen winery, where we stopped for a cheese platter to go with a lovely complex chardonnay.
The evening finished with dinner at the Rusty Water Brewery, a brewery with some particularly average beers (cardboard comes to mind) but great food and a nice big screen to watch the Socceroos take home the Asian Cup. Well, we saw most of it before we got kicked out of the brewery (it had closed 30 minutes before we left) and screamed home in a taxi to watch the last of it at home.
On Sunday, we finally made it to the penguins. We stopped and bought our tickets before jumping on our bikes and riding the 9km (18km return) trip to the Nobbies, home of some great views and the interesting Interactive Antarctic Journey museum.
We grabbed some fish and chips (what else would you eat with these views, and rode (well, rolled) back down the hill to the Penguin Parade. No photos I’m sorry as the poor penguins have sensitive eyes, but safe to say it was well worth the trip. Penguins are one of the cutest animals I have ever seen, scared of everything (with good reason) and the way the babies waddle. Eeek squeal! Best photo I can give you is the beach where the penguins arrived from their travels.
We continued the animal treats the following day, stopping in at the Koala Conservation Centre on the way back to Melbourne. A great little centre, with a boardwalk set up to see koalas up close and personal and some great little trails around the centre where you can see other native animals.