We are quite excited about visiting Phillip Island and getting to attend wedding while we are here is a double bonus. No bikes or cars racing this week-end but looking forward to checking out the wildlife.
Our first foray is to The Nobbies and it is a wild and windy day, the surf is big, crashing relentlessly against rocky cliffs continuing the constant grinding, wearing away, changing the coast line little by little. Scattered around the bluff are man made hutches for sea birds and Little Penguins as well as the many tracks and tunnels that have been made by these cute little creatures. It is quite amazing to see how steep some of these Little Penguins have to climb – a real triumph of nature over adversity. The board walk is easy to navigate, the blowhole is not quite what we were expecting with no spout bursting through the rocks but still the views are spectacular.
The next day we decide to walk around Cape Woolamai – little did we know we were in for more than we bargained for. The walk is an 8km and takes in beach, cliff and bush as well as a seabird sanctuary and some incredible rock formations. Watching the waves hit the beach is beautiful with the wind causing spray to push the peak of the wave back in a soft spray. As we continue around we see many signs of penguins, their little webbed feet leaving tracks all around, up and down some very precarious cliffs. Short-tailed Shearwaters (Mutton birds) and Shy Albatross are easy to spot and come quite close so maybe not so shy. When we reach the other side of the point the sea is calm but the tide is rising rapidly. We make it passed several outcrops, dodging the waves coming up closer. In the end I am persuaded to cut across country but this turns out to be very difficult, no path, so much vegetation to push through and never ending sand dunes. We startle wallabies and keep a wary eye out for snakes. By now we are thinking that the wet feet would have been better alternative than this. We push on and at last see glimpses of the road we came in on so must be getting close. Within another 5 minutes we gratefully plunge through to the car park.
Our last walk is through the Oswin Roberts Reserve where we see plenty Swamp Wallabies, butterflies everywhere but no koalas, apparently those left in the wild are slowly dying out with diseases such chlamydia. The future of these furry Australians lies in the koala research centre which will, in the future, be able to release a healthy new colony to populate the island.
The last activity we are looking forward to is the penguin parade, one of Victorias biggest tourist attractions, and we are not disappointed. Watching them slowly appear out of the water in small groups of roughly 20-30 they tentatively waddle a few metres away from there safe sanctuary of the sea, stop wait for quite some time before the leader seems to get a wave of confidence making a disparate dash across the beach with the others striving to keep up. Finally they reach the grassy banks and make there way towards their burrows. Here you can see up close the Little Penguins, the chicks come out and chase the parent returning relentlessly looking for food, the malting penguins come out and seem to chat to the ones coming back from their fishing trip – obviously to ask about the catch. They are truly amazing creatures and very entertaining to watch – unfortunately photography of all kind is banned but a great experience to be remembered.