Foster to Melbourne, via Philip Island

10 - 16 April, 2008

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Thursday, 10 April

Left the B&B about 9.30 to drive to Phillip Island.

Stopped at Koonwarra to have a coffee and also had a look at a local cooking school and photo exhibition – wonderful photos of veges, making bread, baking items etc.  The photos were excellent.  Also called into their organic fruit shop and purchased some tomatoes, apples, kiwifruit and some great fruit and grain bread.

We stopped at Inverloch and found a bakery that made fresh sandwiches so we both selected what fillings we wanted – great flavours.  We were pleasantly surprised to be offered Avocado instead of butter.  Drove through Bunurong Marine Park to Cape Paterson, passing through Eagles Nest and Undertow Bay on the way - lovely beaches and coastal views. 

As we passed through Wonthaggi we noticed a Vet Clinic, so took a photo for Simon and Jo.

We arrived at the Seahorse Motel, Cowes, Phillip Island soon after 2pm, checked in then drove to enquire about what tickets we could purchase to view the Penguin Parade.  We were able to purchase tickets for the “Private Penguin Experience”, with our own guide.  Drove back to the unit to have some toast and tea before going on the tour.

We needed to be at the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre at 5.30 as our tour started at 5.45pm - were given binoculars, headsets to listen to our guides commentary and plastic padded seats with back supports to sit on the sand on the beach.    Initially our guide talked to us about the penguins, their habitats, some are currently returning to moult so will not be able to return to the sea until they get all their new seasons feathers, etc.  We then walked down to one of the viewing areas and sat down on the sand to wait until the Little Penguins started to walk out of the sea and up the beach to return to their nests amongst the undergrowth in the sand dunes.  After a while we also walked over to the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform to get a closer view of all the Little Penguins coming up from the beach.  It was an absolutely amazing experience.  The tour finished around 7.30pm.

Drove back to the motel unit collecting some milk and yoghurt on the way, had some more toast (tomato and avocado / jam and mature cheese) and tea.

The weather has been fine, calm, and warm all day – as usual!

Friday, 11 April

Left the motel soon after 10am and drove to the Koala Conservation Centre to look at the Koalas – walked on some boardwalks to view koalas but all sleeping up in the gum trees, some particularly high swaying in the wind, yet still asleep.  Not many Koalas within the reserve – but we did see about a dozen of them.

Drove to see the Pelicans being fed at San Remo – they sure can store quite a lot of fish in their beaks, just 13 for feeding today.  Local fish co-operative feed them at 12 noon each day – fed with “Flathead” carcases today.

Then off to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit to have a tour of the facilities – tours at 2pm each day. The young lady who took us around was very informative and helpful, showing us inside the Control Tower, Race Timing and Control Rooms, into the Corporate Box facilities, onto the Winners Podium then into one of the pit garages, then walked back to the visitors centre through the motor cycle pits – a motor cycle club had hired the circuit for the day.

Drove to the south/western corner of the island to the Nobbies Centre to look at the views from the coastal walk along the wooden walkways – spectacular rocks but very windy.  Also saw some penguins huddling under the beginning of the walkway so held our cameras under the walkway and took some photos – there appeared to be up to 6 penguins huddled up together.

Had a brief look at the wharf area in Cowes, Phillip Island (especially the large black rain cloud forming in the distance).

Went to the Tropicana Motel Restaurant for dinner – excellent food and deserts very nice food (Chocolate lamington with Choc Chip Ice-cream centre and raspberry couli).

As I type this it’s raining outside – the first rain since leaving Bateman’s Bay, but it’s due to be fine again by morning!

Today it’s been fine and cloudy and quite mild.


Saturday, 12 April

Left Motel just before 10am and headed for Melbourne.  Drove to Westfield Shopping Centre and stayed there for over 2 hours, including lunch (a sandwich each).  Arrived at Bobbi and Phil’s about 3 pm.  Sat and talked with Bobbi and Mat and then went over the road to visit Aunty Gug, who has a lovely one bedroom house with plenty of living space.  Had salmon (beautiful) for dinner.

Sunday, 13 April

Went into town at midday and met Jo’s mother, Julia.  Talked over lunch on the South Bank for2 hours.

Got back home just before 4 and qickly got changed at on the 4.11 train back into town to the 5 o’clock session of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert – great musical and a good laugh.  Got back home at 8.30 for a late dinner of pasta with a vegetarian mushroom mix and some chicken – very tasty.

Monday, 14 April

Into the city by 11.30 to meet Jill and Kevin Fletcher (fletch from Slow Travel) at midday.  Had lunch with them and talked till nearly 3pm – lovely couple.

Back home by 4.30 and out to dinner at a Chinese/Malaysian Restaurant with Bobbi and Phil, Mat, and James and Danni.  Very good Malaysian food.

Tuesday, 15 April

Went into the city by 11am and to the Victoria Street Market.  Love wandering around the delli, meat and fish areas – so much choice, fresh and at very good prices.  Had a Turkish bun each with kabab style chicken, tomato, lettuce, and garlic yoghurt – beautiful light holy buns.

G bought a shoulder bag to replace one he couldn’t find at home.

Back for dinner of seafood soup and a rocket salad – lovely mixture.

Wednesday, 16 April

Pack bags day.  Went to a garden centre just down the road with Bobbi and Auntie Gug, had lunch and helped Aunty Gug back with a large tray of pansies, potting mix etc.

Left for the airport son after 3pm and handed the car in about 4pm and checked in – writing this in the AirNZ lounge.  Managed to get complimentary upgrades to Business Class as we did on the way over.