Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Australia Day 2 - Melbourne Philip Island Tour

10 May - Started the long awaited family holiday the next day with a 1 day Philip Island Tour by Go West Tours after flying into Melbourne the night before. This current trip itinerary is not a typical one that you can find with any tour agency due to the middle stop in Ayers Rock (Uluru), which is quite a challenging place to get to due to its remoteness. Overall, the one thing that surprise me in Australia is that they have gone perpetually cashless, to the extend that some places simply stop accepting cash! The downside of being cashless is that customer will need to pay for the credit card platform charges (typically 1% to 1.5%) and most eateries imposes a weekend surcharge (typically 10% to 20%) [This weekend charge is definitely something new for me].

Before joining up with Go West, we spent the morning searching for breakfast at Queen Victoria Market, which is about 10mins walk from our hotel (Courtyard Melbourne Flagstaff Gardens). Since it is still early in the morning (~8am), shops selling bags and souvenirs are not opened yet, but the market side of the venue is already alive. Tried to see if we can get some fresh fruits, but unfortunately, they are selling by per Kg instead of per pieces like we are used to in Singapore. Prices are cheap though, imagine bananas and oranges are selling at A$2 per Kg.....

Queen Victoria Market

Fresh fruits section of Queen Victoria Market

After breakfast, we went back to our hotel for a short rest before joining up with Go West at 10am. First stop, Brighton Bathing Houses for photo takings. *OEE* really loves these colorful houses as he spent time dancing on the perch.

Brighton Bathing Houses

After the bathing houses, next stop is at Moonlit Sanctuary, where wallabies, ducks and birds are allowed to free roam within the sanctuary and get up-close and personal with visitors. Here, you can buy some feeds at the ticket counter for the birds and wallabies. We tried feeding the wallabies, but they doesn't seem to like the food. We stayed here around 2 hours and for those getting hungry, they can grab a light meal at a café within the premise.

Moonlit Sanctuary

Ducks gathering in anticipation for FOOD

Cute wallabies

Cape Barren Goose

Landscape simulating brackish marsh

Koala Bears!

After Moonlit Sanctuary, our next stop is The Nobbies. We are introduced to the scenic coastal rock formation where sea gulls and seals roam. A tip from the guide is that don't visit here in the Summer or you will be treated to a fly feast! Anyway, we are given 45mins for photos at this stop.

The Nobbies

Sunset over the horizon

Soon, it is time to depart for the main theme of this tour - Phillip Island Penguin Parade! We took the Penguin Plus Package, which is a 300 seat multi level platform situated low among the surrounding landscape away from the general admission crowd. One point to note though that this is open-air. Bring an umbrella or poncho in case it rain.

Unfortunately, no filming or photography are allowed once nearing the penguin parade time. However, I do managed to take a quick one along the way back with my phone (no flash) as these little cute creatures waddle back to their nest.


Post event Note: We MISSED the Aurora Australis by 1 night! If we come on 11-May instead of 10-May, we will have caught the spectacular event on camera! 😱

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