One day on Phillip Island
We show exactly how much you can see and do while spending a day on Phillip Island.
Two hours from Melbourne, beyond
the bridge at San Remo, is Phillip
Island, where a quirky combination
of attractions makes for a joyous
experience for families.
The Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
Arriving at Phillip Island, it’s time for your very
own ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’
moment. Dismiss the thought of sticky fingers
and an afternoon of sugar-induced euphoria;
at The Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, the
only thing worth worrying about is whether
there’s enough Belgian couverture to line the
pockets of all. Smooth, glossy and breaking
with a satisfying snap like all quality chocolate
should, Panny, the resident confectionary
creator, has mastered the recipe for
scrumptiousness; peanut brittle, honeycomb,
Turkish delight and rocky road mouthfuls are
yours for the taking. Before good sense gets
the better of you, it’s worth brushing up on the
factory’s 10 Reasons to Eat Chocolate, which
includes encouragement along the lines of:
“You can get a whole day’s calories in one
handy package.” Who could argue with that?
Panny’s Family Window is a new
animatronics spectacular that welcomes
guests into a day of the life of these cheerful
chocolate makers, from the moment a team
of Little Penguins deliver the precious cocoa
cargo to the unveiling of the final product. Be
sure to create your own bar at Panny’s
Amazing Chocolate Machine, filling it with
weird and wonderful flavours that would
satisfy even the most discerning Oompa
Loompa before it is delivered ready to eat
by conveyer belt.
Phillip Island Circuit
Now, Mr Wonka may have had his glass
elevator, but it certainly doesn’t compare to
Phillip Island’s means of getting from one
attraction to the next. As the home of the
Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, all things that
‘vroom’ are treated with reverence.
Phillip Island’s love affair with motor racing
began in 1928, when the circuit was nothing
more than a dirt road. Now, close to 80,000
people embark on the ‘pilgrimage’ to witness
25 1000cc four-stroke machines regularly
topping speeds of 330 kilometres per hour. On every other day of the year, families can
get their fix at the very same track, the Phillip
Island Circuit. Daredevils are advised to opt
for the Super-Fast Hot Laps experience, three
tarmac-shredding circuits of the famous track
with an experienced driver. Those that want to
grip the wheel with their own hands can head
to the Simulator Race Centre and challenge
their friends and family, while a guided tour of
the track still enables the more cautious to say
they took on one of the world’s greatest racing
challenges, and they can experience the
spectacular views of Bass Strait while they’re
there. There’s also Go Karts and Tandem Karts
for the little ones that feature dual controls.
When evening settles, swap the rumble of
engines for a few gentle hours of observation.
Each day at sunset on the westernmost tip of
the island, a procession of Little Penguins
emerge from the water in what is known as The Penguin Parade. Visitors are invited to watch
as they waddle across the beach to the safety
of the sand dunes after a day of fishing.
The Parade is without doubt the highlight of
your Phillip Island experience, so it’s worth
considering the range of viewing options
available. Tiered seating and elevated timber
boardwalks at Summerland Beach provide
180-degree views of the world’s smallest
penguins as they journey home, and will be
more than sufficient for most families.
For an experience that truly impresses the
family, however, the Ultimate Penguin Tour is
unsurpassable. Small groups of no more than
15 have a secluded beach to themselves, while
a ranger commentary is delivered through
personal headphones. The star attractions are
viewed with the help of night vision technology,
as they waddle up the cooling sand.
Before you head to Phillip Island, be sure to
go online and look at the live penguin burrow
camera for a peek inside their home.
Time to rest
At this point, your own little penguins will be
ready to return to the nest, and there are
enough holiday parks, serviced apartments
and resorts on the island to suit a range of
family sizes and budgets. The BIG4 Phillip
Island Caravan Park offers sites, cabins and
villas with the added benefits of a jumping
pillow, games room and playground, while the
Ramada Resort Phillip Island features one-,
two- and three-bedroom villas and on-site
dining and recreational facilities. The 4.5-star
Silverwater Resort is a Holidays with Kids
Readers’ Choice Award winner with luxurious
one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
Well rested and propelled by the thought of
another wildlife encounter, spend the next day
at Nobbies Centre, managed by the not-forprofit
Phillip Island Nature Parks Australia. From
gangly sea spider under the powerful lens of a
microscope. With the help of augmented reality
technology, you can even pat a penguin or
stroke a seal as you balance its cliff-top boardwalk you can spot Seal Rocks, on an ice floe!
a rocky outcrop 1.5 kilometres offshore, home
to one of Australia’s largest fur seal colonies.
Come prepared with binoculars and you may
catch a glimpse of new pups born between late
October and December.
While these slippery ocean dwellers have
long drawn crowds to the centre, a new
interactive Antarctic Experience opening in
December 2015 only adds to its appeal.
Visitors can embark on a virtual journey to the
Southern Ocean, with this little island on the
Victorian Coast regarded as the gateway to the
Earth’s windswept and wild southern continent.
As a global fascination with Antarctica
grows, families can, for the moment, take part
in child-friendly interactive experiences that
include comparing their thermal images with
that of an Emperor penguin and observing a gangly sea spider under the powerful lens of a
microscope. With the help of augmented reality
technology, you can even pat a penguin or stroke a seal as you balance on an ice floe.