Thursday, January 19, 2012

Phillip Island

Located 140 km away from Melbourne, Phillip Island is one of the popular tourist attractions of Victoria, especially well known for Little Penguins and white sandy beaches.

M420 to Phillip Island

If you are near the bridge to Phillip Island by noon, San Remo pier is a place worth visiting. Australian Pelicans are fed daily at 11.30 a.m. courtesy of San Remo Fisherman's Cooperative.

Pelican feeding at San Remo pier (daily at 11:30 am)

Lunch time over

Cowes is the main city in Phillip Island with beautiful beaches, a good range of restaurants, fast food outlets, and hotels. Two hour cruise to see Australian Sea Lions ($70 per adult) depart from Cowes pier daily at 2:00 pm (also some additional trips depending on the season) and a twilight cruise leaves before sunset (1:30 hours trip, $35).

Cowes pier

Cowes Beach

Cowes Beach

Cowes Beach

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade - the place to watch little penguins in wild environment is the key attraction of the island. The fee for watching (NO PHOTOS/VIDEOS!) penguins emerging from the sea at dusk at a distance of about 50m - 100m away from a pavillon starts from $21.65 as of December 2012. To watch them closer pay either $41.20 for Penguin plus or $76.70 for Ultimate tour. The more you pay the closer you can get seating on the paths of penguins returning to their sand dune burrows. From the basic penguin parade admission of $21.65, you can only watch some movements of the penguins in low light (like silhouette), and the birds rarely come closer to the pavilion. Don't get too discouraged, you can get closer view of these cute birds along the broadwalks on your way back home. Note that December is considered as the best season with the highest number of penguins.

Entrance to the famous Penguin Parade

A warning at the Penguin Parade car park

Another attraction suggested by the Phillip Island Tourist Information Centre was the Koala Conservation Centre. There you can see 3 or 4 Koalas sleeping on gum trees within a confined area (not really wild) and the elevated boardwalk helps to see the koalas closely provided that they sleep on a tree along the boardwalk. Some Australian birds and wallabies can also be seen there. Again an entry fee of $11.90 is involved.

Koala Conservation Centre

Churchill Island is a good place to see some Autralian native birds like Cape Barren Goose and Pacific Gulls. It is also a good place to take some scenic photos if you have got time and energy to explore the perimeter trail of the island. I haven't visited the farm in the middle of the island which requires an entry fee. So no comments on it.

Churchill Island

Pacific Gull

Just outside the island along M420, there are few more private mini zoos that advertise Koala encounters. They make good amount of money by offering photo opportunities with Koalas where only their photographer shall take the photo. Once I noticed that a tourist who have already paid for such a photo was warned by the staff for taking a photo of a koala with her small camera and was made to delete the photo. The reason told was that the flash of cameras would affect the eye-sight of the koalas. Within a minute, zoo operator's photographer came with his DSLR with a powerful external flash, asked the same tourist to pose with the same koala, and took several shots. That photographer's flash was ON, pointed straight at the animal, and was fired several times without any diffuser. I asked the zoo staff "If the koala won't get blinded by such powerful flashes, how a tiny flash on a pocket size camera could blind?", and of course I didn't get any answer in return. 

Beside the mini zoos, IMHO the two other NOT so impressive places are 'Amaze N Things' and the Chocolate factory. In my opinion the entry charges are way too high for 'Amaze N Things' considering the fewer number of amazing things they have. And, they do not let you take photos inside with your own cameras and as they make extra money from the photos taken by them.

Likewise, the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory is a place that charges for a walk through their corridors and peeping through glass windows to have a look on what's happening. No one was there to give a demonstration or explanation. And, finally they gave a tiny piece of chocolate as a complement.

P.S.: If you want to see the little penguins closer, and if you want to take some photos of them, you can do so in St. Kilda, close to Melbourne CBD. Visit the break-water beyond the pier where a little penguin colony is thriving. And, there you can photograph penguins (use of flash prohibited) and it is FREE!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment