With our European trip now less than a fortnight away, there really has been little time we’ve been able to afford ourselves to get out and about in our own backyard.
The only small exception was a very brief trip over the Queens Birthday long weekend to Phillip Island, world renowned for its Fairy Penguin colony.
With my high school days spent in South Gippsland’s Wonthaggi Secondary College, I’ve certainly had plenty to do with Phillip Island in the past, but incredibly it would be at least 10 years since I’d last crossed the bridge in San Remo.
We decided on a punt with a last minute deal from Wotif.com securing us a B&B/motel for the sunday night and after a 40 minute trip from Wonthaggi (visiting my grandparents) we found ourselves on “The island”
Perhaps it was a fitting precursor to our upcoming week in England (before we hit mainland Europe) given Cowes itself was named after Cowes on England’s Isle of Wight (there is also a town called Ventnor on both islands as well)
After some Sunday afternoon disappointment that what appeared to be Cowes only pub was found to be not showing any of that afternoons AFL matches, we moved on for an early dinner (saving our sightseeing for the Monday morning).
As the prime time to visit the aforementioned Fairy Penguins is of an evening (when busloads of tourists converge on the island) we decided to head instead to The Nobbies on the islands westernmost point. Here we were hoping to view some of the many seals that inhabit the nearby Seal Rocks.
The fur seal colony here, is actually the largest in Australia. Reportedly home to over 16,000 seals, it was with some disappointment (especially for Sarah who had never been here before) that there was not a single seal in sight!
The spectacular coastal views somewhat mad up for the lack of seal action, but it was still a touch disappointing, especially when you are keen to show off your old stomping ground!
As Sarah had woken feeling not quite 100% and appeared to be fading as the day wore on, we decided to call it day and head back to Melbourne (leaving the Chocolate Factory near Newhaven for another day).
A series of oddly shaped structures would appear at random intervals along our route, another sight from the islands past, old Chicory kilns.
Apparently the climate down here was Chicory friendly (sadly it has never been as friendly to wheat growers), the sea air helping keep frosts to a minimum.