Sunday 3 May 2015

Melbourne Day 3: Philip Island

As we had a long day ahead of us, we had a very early breakfast and set out of the house by 8.30am (or thereabouts). It was an approximately 1 hour 45 minutes drive from our apartment to Philip Island Nature Parks.

Bridge connecting us to Philip Island
(It's like our Sentosa, except it's much much bigger!)
Welcome to Philip Island

We headed straight to Penguin Parade to purchase our 3 Park Pass with Penguin Plus combo tickets.

Penguin Parade
(Address: 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, Victoria 3922caption

We had initially wanted to get the ordinary 3 Park Pass, which would have cost us AUD 41.60/adult, but I thought we could get a better view from the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform as it has less people. Luckily for us, they had a promotion this month where one child enters free with every paying adult. Hence, it cost us a total of AUD 220 for four adults (i.e. AUD 55/adult) instead of AUD 250.

The 3 Park Pass covers 3 places of interest in Philip Island, namely, Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island Heritage Farm. You do not need to visit all three parks on the same day but you have to visit Penguin Parade first before visiting the other two parks within 6 months of visiting Penguin Parade.

Our first stop is the Koala Conservation Centre, where we were able to see koalas in their natural habitat.

Koala Conservation Centre
(Address: 1810 Phillip Island Tourist Road, Cowes, Victoria 3922
This way to the koala boardwalk!
(Please do not disturb as the koalas here are not tame animals!)
Koala Boardwalk, with 1 male and 5 females
Walking through the gates and trying VERY HARD to spot a koala!
(they blend right into the trees and were sooo far away!!!!)
I had to zoom all the way into the trees to capture this shot
(thank God for my Olympus OMD)
Clockwise from left: Mum-in-law bought an uber cute koala hat for the baby boy and he loved wearing it. She wanted to get one for the girl as well but she hates wearing hats;
Wild wallaby wandering around and minding his own business;
With the stuffed koala at the information area near the ticketing counter.

The mum-in-law and brother-in-law, who had never seen a koala in person before, were really disappointed that they were hiding so high up in the trees. They were so desperate that they even took photos with the fake stuffed one near the information counter!

I told them not to worry, we were in the land of koalas after all. I'll find them a place where they can see koalas to their hearts content =)

We drove to Philip Island Chocolate Factory next, which was a must-visit for me the chocolate fanatic!

Philip Island Chocolate Factory
(Address: 930 Philip Island Road, Newhaven Victoria 3925, Australia
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm)

It was time for lunch so of course we had to order a couple of hot chocolate (we were in a chocolate factory after all). And man, it was one of the best hot chocolates I've ever had! So good! *yum*

Clockwise from left: Awesome hot chocolate with marshmallows;
Crispy fish and chips that were surprisingly crispy!;
Ham and cheese sandwich for girl and I

The highlight of the factory is the Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate. Do set aside at least 45 minutes (or more if you can afford the time) for this attraction. And if you're like me, who can't even survive without chocolate for even a day, you will love it! It was like chocolate heaven!!!! =)

Panny's Amazing World of Chocolate

We paid AUD 15 each for the bro-in-law and I (hubby and mum-in-law weren't interested) and AUD 10 for my girl (i.e. child 4-16 years old). The tickets were in the form of chocolate bars! Very Willy Wonka! :D

 Our tickets to Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate! The most delicious ticket that I've bought!

We started the journey by going back to the beginning: what chocolate is made of (cocoa) and how it's made.

Learning about how chocolate is made from cocoa

There were many art pieces on display as well, all created from chocolate! It's what they call "edible art"! Love it! =)

Left: Different varieties of chocolate
Right: A chocolate casting (meaning it's hollow inside) of the Sculpture of David by Michelangelo. Very cool! =)
Dame Edna mosaic, created with 12000 real, handmade chocolates from Panny's Factory. What an awesome art piece! =)
Close up of the Dame Edna mosaic. It's really chocolate!
It's a Chocolate Village, a whole miniature structure made of chocolate (except for the train and its tracks)!
Clockwise from left: Such an intricately carved lighthouse!;
Candy covered trees;
Detailed bridges made completely of chocolate!
Choo choo!!
Look at the details of the trees and houses! Very realistic.

The chocolate village was created by an artist in Melbourne and brought to Philip Island on a refrigerated truck. Took the guy about 12 weeks to create! Cool =)

We moved on to learn how chocolate is made in the factory.

The story of how chocolate is made in 
There's an arcade where you can play to win wooden balls which you can exchange for chocolate balls! =)
With a stroke of luck, both the bro-in-law and I won a wooden ball! Yay! =)
Beautiful sculptures made of chocolate, which are revealed with a press of a button
1 tonne of solid chocolate!!
With the World's Largest Chocolate Waterfall! =)
 Photo Booth

At the last station, we got to make our very own chocolate in any design we liked!

Moving a machine oozing with chocolate to create our masterpieces
Clockwise from left: After waiting a super long time for the chocolate to travel down the conveyor and be cooled, we caught our masterpiece at the end of the conveyor;
It's going to drop!;
Can't wait to eat our "masterpiece"!

I like how interactive the displays were. My girl enjoyed pressing buttons, smelling samples, playing games and even eating chocolate. The factory literally engaged all of our senses! =)

We would have stayed even longer if we could but unfortunately, the hubby and mum-in-law were waiting for us so we had to leave =(

We had a tight schedule to adhere to so off we went to Churchill Island Heritage Farm.

Bridge linking Philip Island to Churchill Island

We got a bit confused when we arrived at this single lane bridge because well, it was just one lane for both directions! Had to make sure that no other cars were using it from the other side before quickly driving across!

After we crossed the bridge however, we knew immediately that we had arrived at the right place.

Churchill Heritage Island Farm
(Address: 246 Samuel Amess Drive, Churchill Island, Newhaven 3925)
"Coatless" sheep grazing in the field

There were many activities happening at the farm but we were most interested in only two, namely, cow milking and sheep shearing. It was fun!

Mum-in-law's first time milking a cow! She was thrilled!
Me trying my hand at milking
(I felt an affirnity with the cow because as a fellow nursing mother myself, I actually know how the cow feels hehe)
Sheep shearing happening at 2.30pm.
We thought it was going to be one of these two sheep but it was actually another sheep held in the back. These two were just for show!
Clockwise from left: One of the shearers explaining how the deed is done;
Demonstrating it with one of the sheep that he had pulled from the back;
Girl posing with the sheepskin that was just sheared.

We also had a lot of fun interacting with the rest of the farm animals and taking scenic photos.

Ducks, turkeys and a very chill horse
Look at the view! Breathtaking!
The kids loved the soft grass so much that they ran here and there on it and didn't want to leave!
A nice family photo taken using self timer on my Olympus OMD =)

We still had a bit of time so we headed to The Nobbies, located at the South of Philip Island just 5 minutes from Penguin Parade. Apparently you can see seals from the lookout if you used a pair of binoculars.

Scenic drive to The Nobbies, which is located on the cliff
(Felt like we were going to drive off the cliff as we reached the end of the road haha)
The rocks below the boardwalk can be very dangerous. Stay within the boardwalk!
Beautiful view of the rocks!
See the island of rocks at the far end of the photo? Apparently if you looked through a binoculars, you can see a whole colony of seals taking refuge in the safety of the rocks.

It is really cold at The Nobbies so make sure you are dressed in thicker clothes than I did (was too lazy to put on my jacket).

We headed to Penguin Parade and had a quick dinner before heading to the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform to await the arrival of the Little Penguins (that's the name of their species). The penguins are wild animals so the parade timings depend on the season so do check their calendar before you visit.

Clockwise from left: The pathway that the penguins will be walking as they go back home to their nests;
This way to the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform;
A nice family photo of us on the boardwalk
Clockwise from left: Sitting on the steps of the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform;
Hubby and girl with the beautiful sunset;
Selfie of all of us while waiting. 
View of the Regular Viewing Platforms
The sky was darkening as we waited. It was a really looong wait!

As the sky turned dark, we noticed little black creatures peaking out from beneath the platform. The penguins have emerged! =)

We were cautioned by the rangers numerous of times that it was illegal to take pictures of the Little Penguins as the flash would damage their eyes. We didn't (that's why there are no photos of them here) but I saw a lot of inconsiderate people who did! =(

Anyway, we all thought it wasn't worth it to pay extra for Penguin Plus. Although the penguins were cute and we saw them really up close (so close that we can almost touch them!), we could have been just as happy seeing them from the Regular Viewing Platforms.

Anyway, as it was already dark, we left in a hurry so that we could get back in time. On the way back, for some reason even though I had used the toilet before I left Penguin Parade, I needed to use the toilet again! And there were none in sight! I had to endure till we saw a petrol station/rest stop in the distance. "I'm saved!" I cheered.

Since there was a KFC and McDonald's at the rest stop, we decided to take away some dinner. We were too tired to cook/eat somewhere else! *laughs*

Continue to >> Melbourne Day 4: Dandenong Ranges & Yarra Valley
<< Back to Melbourne Day 2: Prahran Market & Outlet Shopping at DFO


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