Friday morning it was time for another road trip, this one a lot shorter than the drive to the Great Ocean Road, only about an hour. Luckily when I woke up Friday it was sunny and warm again.
We headed out in the morning down to Phillip Island. Matt has spent a lot of time there as his family has a house there, so he knew all the fun things to do. On the way we stopped for brunch in a tiny little town called Tooradin at a restaurant called Sawtellis. It was such a small town that while I was looking up somewhere to get breakfast on Tripadvisor we actually missed the whole town and had to turn around. Breakfast was delicious, I’m a sucker for eggs Benedict and a good chai latte, so we left full and happy and ready for some sight-seeing.
It was only about another 45 minutes down to the island, which was a good length for the non-roadtrip lover in me. On the way into town we went to the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. There had tours you could do but neither of us were really interested in that, so we just bought a bit (a lot) of chocolate and headed out. We stopped off quickly at Matt’s family’s house to drop off our bags and then headed out for some activities!
First we went to a place Matt really likes called A Maze’n Things. It was basically like a little fun centre, with mini golf, a mirror maze, and then a big room full of puzzles and games. We wandered through there for about an hour, trying out all the different stuff. I hated the mirror maze…was way too creepy for me!!
Once we made it out of there we headed to the Koala Conservation Centre, which was definitely one of the best parts of my day. You walk through an information centre and then out to basically a 2km walk around a forested area. They had some lifted boardwalks that bring you up higher to the trees. I didn’t think I’d be able to get so close to the animals and it was amazing to be able to see them in their own habitat. We spent quite a bit of time walking around there, seeing both koalas and wallabies. Again I think that this was a really good place to see the animals and they had so much freedom, I didn’t feel at all like they were being taken advantage of or treated poorly.
After seeing the koalas, we got hungry again so we made our way into Cowes to grab an early dinner. We each just got a quick burger and then it was time for the big draw of the day…The Penguin Parade!
Each night these little penguins come in from the ocean and climb up the hills back into their little homes in the hills. I wasn’t too sure what to expect when we went there but knew it was a pretty big tourist draw, of course when we got there there were quite a few tour buses already parked. Considering it’s low season for them right now I’m not sure I’d like to see it in the summer, it was busy enough for me! We got our tickets and a hot chocolate to keep us warm and headed down to the stands that they’ve built on the beach to wait for the penguins to make their appearance. Finally after the sun was fully down we started seeing groups of them come up. They were so much smaller than I even expected, they’re the smallest penguins in the world! They were super timid and so adorable. I’m not sure how I feel about turning this nightly thing into a tourist event but they did seem pretty proactive about caring for the penguins and their safety. They have everything roped off and no photos, even flash off, are allowed. Sadly for that reason I don’t have any pictures of them, but it was super cute. After they came in, you could walk up the boardwalk and watch them actually go into their houses. We stayed until we were both too cold to hang out anymore. Then it was time to head back to Frankston for the night. It was such a great day and I was so glad that the weather held out for us! It was an awesome beginning to the weekend.