Phillip Island with Family

As our second longer trip from Melbourne we decided to visit Phillip Island. I had already been there once on a dive trip but didn’t have much chance for sightseeing back then. The others were also quite keen to see the penguin parade and Aleksi was hoping to try out some surfing.

Unfortunately we didn’t pick the best day to visit. We went there on 29th December, the day the Pyramid Rock Festival also started. The road to the island was badly jammed and it probably took us almost an hour to cover the short drive. Luckily on the island itself the roads were not nearly as busy, even if some of the attractions were quite crowded.

We started with a visit to Smiths Beach, one of the best beginner surfing beaches in Victoria. Unfortunately the waves weren’t the best for surfing and there were plenty of people waiting for the few decent waves. So Aleksi decided to give surfing a pass this time around and wait until Sydney with it.

Then we moved on to Nobbies center. While the coastal scenery is certainly quite nice, the visit was still somewhat disappointing. The seal colony is just barely visible from the lookout, fully zoomed in my 70-300mm was just able to resolve individual seals. Tarja had binoculars with her but they didn’t fare much better. And the Nobbies center itself felt way too commercial, at least there was no entrance fee.

Next we drove over to Rhyll for a barbecue lunch. Timo stayed there fishing and the rest of us did the coastal walk along Rhyll Inlet to Conservation Hill. Then it was time for us to split up. Timo dropped me at Cape Woolamai for some bushwalking and the others headed to Penguin Parade.

I was happy to give the Parade a pass, I have already seen the penguins elsewhere several times and besides I feel the Parade is way too commercial. In the end I felt this was definitely the right decision, the bushwalk around Cape Woolamai was quite excellent.

The only major issue was actually finding the track. It took me quite a while to figure out that to reach the track itself I had to first follow the beach for almost a kilometer! This was stated in the description of the shortest track but not for the longer tracks I was planning to do. Eventually I figured things out and got on my way.

The walk was certainly excellent and over pretty easy terrain. The main attraction there are the Pinnacles, a group of rock formations next to some coastal cliffs. The cliffs are quite spectacular and the area in general is really beautiful. The walk also visits the highest point of Phillip Island, from there you can see all the way from San Remo to the Nobbies. It would have made an excellent panorama shot, too bad I didn’t have gear for it.

In addition to scenery itself there were also lots of wallabies and some birds around. My only real complaint was the somewhat disappointing sunset. Still, I got away with some excellent shots so I am really happy how the walk turned out.

I was carrying a couple of lights just in case but I didn’t really need them. Near the end of my walk it was getting pretty dark but as the final part of the return trip was on the beach anyway I had no problems with navigation. It was a pretty windy day and it actually got quite cool while waiting for others in the Cape Woolamai car park. Luckily I had plenty of warm clothes with me. Still, I had to wait quite a while as the Penguin Parade starts around dusk. Eventually I got picked up and we headed back to Melbourne after a nice day out.

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