A few weeks ago, my elder sis and her family came over to Melbourne for a visit! The ten days that they were here were definitely not long enough, but it was wonderful time spent together. Besides playing tourist with them in the city, we also took a weekend off to Phillip Island (which, as it happens, was the first getaway for us since we came here too!).
There are many things to do at Phillip Island, but due to our limited time – we only had a weekend – we decided to get the three-park pass for the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre, and Churchill Island Heritage Farm.
When you talk about Phillip Island, the first thing that pops up is the penguins. You can’t go to Phillip Island and not see penguins. Especially if it’s your first time there.
Unfortunately for us, the weather was extremely horrible that weekend. It was icy cold and wet! It rained through the penguin parade! My sis and her family braved it all to witness the little penguins swim back to shore and into their little homes.
But for us, after being battered by rain and blown by the wind, and trying to control a tantruming toddler who was angry at being strapped on me with the Ergobaby, and Amy stepping straight into a puddle of water after her shoes dropped off…
We just bundled the kids back into the indoor heated cafe, and had our early dinner there.
Yea. We basically paid the entrance fees to have dinner in the cafe.
But then again, the hubby and I had been there for our honeymoon, so don’t feel sorry for us. And Amy and Alistair… well let’s just say they were not interested.
Some important things to know if you’re planning a trip to the Penguin Parade:
a) Book your tickets early, because they do run out of tickets especially during school holidays.
b) Dress appropriately for the weather. It’s open-air, so check the weather forecast diligently before you go over. Be prepared with an umbrella or raincoat or blankets. It’s usually very cold, so bring your thick jackets.
c) Don’t eat while waiting for the penguins. Unless you want big and kinda aggressive seagulls to join you.
d) Photography is not allowed, to protect the penguins.
You can get more info about the Penguin Parade here.
KOALA CONSERVATION CENTRE
It’s all about koalas here!
The Koalas Conservation Centre is like a huge forest with built-up walkways for you to see about 12 koalas. Some of my friends thought it’s quite pathetic, but I actually quite enjoyed it. The koalas are really up close, and you’ll get plenty of photo opportunities.
I liked how it felt as though we were wandering into their natural habitat. It was so natural, that Alistair even got to pick up a koala poo. Yucksssss.
The woodland is also home to wallabies and a variety of birds, so keep your camera ready.
However, you’d probably only spend about an hour here at this centre, because there are not a lot of other things to see.
More info on the Koala Conservation Centre here.
CHURCHILL ISLAND HERITAGE FARM
Out of the three parks, I think I enjoyed Churchill Island Heritage Farm the most!
It has the most beautiful view – almost surreal! I could spend all day just staring out to the sea, with the wind blowing at my face, the sheep peacefully grazing the grass, and my kids running around laughing with glee…
It’s also a great place for the kids to run around and have lots of fun. Granted, there are not like a ton of animals to see and play with. But there are quite a number of activities that will keep both kids and adults entertained – wagon rides, cow milking, sheep shearing, etc.
For more details, check this out.
WHERE DID WE STAY?
The hubby booked us a place at the Phillip Island Surf and Circuit Accommodation, which offered 2- and 3-bedroom cottages with kitchens, living rooms, TVs, etc. It was great for us! Amy calls it the “holiday house” and she had a ball being able to stay with her cousins. We could also make our own breakfast and cook our own meals, and it was generally really cosy.
We booked a 3-bedroom cottage, but there was only one bedroom with a queen-sized bed, while the other two were with two bunkbeds each. In the end, we all slept in the bunkbed rooms, because none of us (my sister and I) wanted to sleep in different rooms from our children. Haha.
It was generally good, as long as you do not expect it to feel like a 5-star hotel. It’s really like a home away from home, which is fine by me.
The Phillip Island Surf and Circuit Accommodation also has a children’s playground (which we could see from our bedroom window and Amy was asking to go play at incessantly, but unfortunately it was all rain that weekend so everything was wet and muddy 🙁 ), a pool (again, something we could only see but couldn’t enjoy because it’s winter sigh), BBQ areas and even a tennis court.
I can’t really find their official website, but I guess if you’re interested, you can google them. I should also mention that the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island were probably about 10 minutes drive away. There’s also a Coles nearby (I think also about 10 minutes drive away), so it is easy for you to stock up whatever you need.
That’s all for this post! Have you ever been to the three parks? Let me know what you think of them!