I recently had a chance to escape the hot inland Victorian summer and escape to Phillip Island for a week by the beach. The break couldn’t have come at a better time, Christmas had come and gone and the school year was not yet in full swing. Loading the car I headed off for a week of sun, sand, swimming and maybe a penguin or two…..
Located approximately 90 minutes from Melbourne, Phillip Island has become one of Victoria’s favourite holiday destinations. Famous for the penguin parade which sees hundreds of penguins waddle up the beach after a days’ fishing, Phillip Island also has a large seal colony, abundant bird life and fauna. Phillip Island has some fabulous surf beaches, a swag of family attractions and plenty of accommodation to cater for any budget.
After a long drive I make my way into San Remo. San Remo is a bustling seaside town and the gateway to Phillip Island. Today is no different with lots of traffic and holidaymakers in and around the town. I’ve stayed here before and enjoyed the swimming, many great cafes and had a good pub meal at the Westernport Hotel. San Remo is home to one of the largest shark fishing fleets in Australia (source visitvictoria.com) and has an extremely popular pelican feeding experience that both kids and adults enjoy. The bridge linking San Remo to Phillip Island was opened in November 1969 and is 640 metres / 2100 feet long. Crossing the bridge I follow the main road through to Cowes before turning off to my accommodation.
It had been a couple of years since I last visited and this time I was staying in rented house in Silverleaves, approx. a 15 minute walk along the beach from the main township of Cowes. Silverleaves is a bit of a hidden gem, quieter than the bustling town of Cowes, and has a lovely sandy North facing beach just 100 metres from my accommodation.
A short walk from my holiday home and tucked away in the leafy, quiet streets is the Silverleaves general store. The Silverleaves general store and café offers fabulous food cooked from local produce, great coffee, delicious store-baked cakes and biscuits while also showcasing the wines of Gippsland. I spent several relaxing hours there over my break, enjoying my eggs benedict, a pot of English tea and flicking through magazines. It was nice to slow life down, sit and relax for a while.
The weather for most of the week was pleasant, in the mid-20s, perfect for time on the beach reading, walking and swimming. On a cooler morning I took a trip out to the Nobbies at Point Grant on the Western Side of the Island. I gave The Nobbies Visitor Centre and its interactive displays a miss, and walked down the boardwalk to take in the amazing views of Bass Strait and on to the Blow Hole, which is a sea cave that produces thunderous sounds when large southern swells are on. Today wasn’t the day and the Blow Hole wasn’t blowing, so I contented myself with the views of the rugged coastline and across to Seal Rocks. These rocks are home to an Australian fur seal colony, the largest colony in the country. Be sure to pack your binoculars or make use of the seal cameras that are placed strategically to get up close to the seals (note there is a small cost to use these cameras).
There is certainly something to do for everyone on this island that packs a punch. For motoring enthusiasts the Phillip Island Circuit hosts the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Superbike World Championships, Australian Supercars Championship plus a number of other events throughout the year. If you prefer to be behind the wheel, then let your inner racer out by getting behind the wheel of a go-cart. The Phillip Island Go-Cart track is a replica of the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit and at over 750 metres long is a lot of fun.
For me this was a holiday about relaxation. Short trips to the little fishing village of Rhyll and a trip to the Purple Hen Winery to sample some of this award winning winery’s Pinot Noir filled in the rest of my week in between lots of beach walks and reading. The week went by quickly and I was soon heading for home relaxed and refreshed. Next time I visit I intend to walk the 8.3km Cape Woolamai Circuit which consists of three main points of interest.
- Cape Woolamai’s old granite quarry – Phillip Island’s Highest elevation point;
- The Beacon, and
- lastly, the unique granite rock structures that form The Pinnacles.
Additional Information relating to Phillip Island can be found via the following links: