My husband and I, along with 2 boys we provide respite care to, had a great time staying at Phillip Island last weekend. This is a place filled with many childhood holiday memories for me. There is so much to do, but here are the highlights
No trip to the beach is complete without a game of the iconic Aussie beach cricket. It was the first time the boys had played it, and they had a great time, especially when Quenten took to hitting the ball into the water so they got soaked!
Phillip Island has some incredible surf beaches. There is nothing quite like walking along the beach with the salty air and roar of the ocean. It’s quite exhilarating. You just need to bring a healthy respect for the ocean with you. The surf can be wild and dangerous.
Forrest Caves is a great place to breathe in some of that salty air, but at low tide it is also excellent for exploring rock pools and caves. It is a stunning area. Unfortunately a whale had recently beached itself there and not survived, and we had to walk past it to get to the rock pools (at the legally required distance). While it was sad to see, it was a reminder of the wilder side of nature.
Of course no visit to The Island is complete without seeing the penguins. You may have seen the livestream that began running during lockdown, but nothing is quite like being there in person. Those Little Penguins are very entertaining; building up the courage to make the dash up the beach to their burrows, randomly stopping along the way for a rest because they have over-indulged in fish, and having quite the party as they meet up with those still at home in their burrows. The facilities and setup are a far cry from what I visited more than 40 years ago. It is a very well designed and professional offering these days.
Top tip: bring a blanket to sit on. While the facilities very good, you still have to sit on concrete benches and they get very cold and hard.
This must be one of my favourite walks, an easy but stunning boardwalk overlooking Bass Strait. It offers stunning views from the clifftops of the surf, rock formations, a blowhole and wildlife. This place is filled with rugged beauty. If you are lucky you will spot a penguin resting in its burrow or some seals enjoying the rough and tumble of the surf.
Enjoy a wander through The Koala Conservation Reserve’s treetop boardwalks and see how many of the local koalas you can find. Some of these gorgeous animals simply enjoy being curled up in their favourite tree having a snooze, but others are easier to see and are keen to show off.
Another favourite activity as a child was walking from our camping ground at Newhaven over the bridge to San Remo. There are great views of the area and the San Remo pier, which is also a good spot to explore. Watch the fishermen unload their catch, or maybe even enjoy it freshly cooked from the local co-op.
Phillip Island – it was great to revisit you and see you once again through the eyes of a child. I know two young boys who were enchanted by you.