Weekend Wanderings – Phillip Island Pt 1

I have been trying to finish the edits from my trip to Phillip Island and Cowes over Easter, which has been more of a challenge than usual. Normally I can just sit down and fly straight through them. But this time I am forcing myself to slow down and really go through each shot. Only keeping the really good ones. Now for those who do not know WHERE I am talking about, Phillip Island is off the bottom of Victoria, Australia. Cowes sits on the sheltered side of Phillip Island which is on Bass Straight.

Cowes I seem to be working my way around the coast. A few weeks ago I visited Cape Schanck, just across the bay. I frequently like to sometimes do a little bit of research about an area I visit, but I do not always put it in the post; but I thought this time I would

History

Originally inhabited by Aboriginals, this area was discovered in 1798 and the whole area was name Western Port (because it is West of Port Jackson), by George Bass (from Bass Straight fame). The area was used by whalers to harvest the seals frequenting the Island and around the Nobbies, sad but true! in 1842 the McHaffie Brothers took a lease of the whole island to graze sheep and apparently set fire to the island to clear the land! Eventually it was then subdivided and used for settlement, but it was very harsh climate and water is difficult to find. The first pub in Phillip Island was in 1870 and the Tourist industry started not long after approx1880s and the Guest House Industry was born here. Original guests went to the South side of the Island to watch the Mutton Birds, and was then overtaken by the  Penguin Parade around 1920s. The first car ferry from the mainland is 1933 and the first bridge in 1940s. Motor Car and Motorbike racing started here in the late 1920s and was very popular, as was the swimming, surfing and strawberry farms; MotoGP is still ran here!  You can read more on it’s history here.

Cowes Beach & Esplanade

We stayed in a Guest House (Holiday house) with 4 other people, who we hadn’t stayed with before…just to make it interesting Moth and I ended up with Bunk Beds! Anyway we did our own thing during the day and then met up for BBQ Dinner, drinks and a catch up on where everyone had been and where they were going next, in the evenings. We were staying right on Cowes Beach,  which is a fairly quiet beach, safe beach unlike the surf beaches down on the Cape, Grant Point Etc. We spent the afternoon wandering up and down the beach and along the Esplanade. Cowes is like so many other tourist town, only one real main street, with lots of restaurants and cafes, nick knack shops and souvenirs. The Main Esplanade was full of Easter tourist, the businesses all making the most of the last summer traffic they will see until the spring/summer months brings better weather. Being on Bass Straight the weather is cooler and the wind blows, a lot. It is not a very pretty beach (in my opinion) lots of rock, very little sand and more grassed hilly areas than actual beach. But there were a lot of people playing in the water and the sand, fishing off the rocks and pier.

Point Grant, Penguins and The Nobbies

Home of the Penguin Parade, Pyramid Rock and The Nobbies (so named for their shape) and Point Grant. We headed down there later in the afternoon, as we had booked tickets for the Parade. Parking at The Nobbies Center is at a premium, with so many tourists, even this late in the day. It was very dark, cloudy, windy, cold and had just started to rain. We walked the Boardwalk down the the Nobbies and back up to the visitor center. Seal Rocks is down on the Nobbies, but without binoculars there is little to see. We then headed over to where they hold the Penguin Parade. This is actually a public beach which they close off 2 hours before sunset and then it becomes a tourist attraction. We took our seats in the big concrete amphitheater and waited for sunset. The weather had improved slightly by then and it wasn’t as cold. The Penguins spend the day at sea, fishing and then return to their burrows at night. In groups they waddle up the beach and to their burrows……quite the sight. We are not allowed to take any photos so the first 3 are courtesy of Google Images, the rest we took during the day (we went back the next day for a quick trip)

Stayed tuned for next week’s Part 2 – Cape Woolamai, The Pinnacles and Pyramid Rock.

– Julz

– Julz