Cowes and the Little Penguins
Sep 11, 2009
|Phillip Island, Cowes and the Little Penguins.
Thursday 10th September
After a long drive we elect to stay at a campsite that advertises a Pool, spa and TV room with a wood burning stove! They tell us that they only have ‘en-suite’ sites available as the toilet block is being refurbished – but at $30 that is good by us! For those of you who don’t know what an ‘en-suite’ site is – well – imagine a little shed next to your caravan, with a toilet, basin and shower inside – and your own key!! – That’s it! This was a nice modern one, which we made full use of. It is especially nice to have one if you are staying for a few days and can spread out all your toiletries etc! The first thing we did after parking up was to take our cossies and slip into the lovely hot spa – magic! Then we headed to the games/TV room/lounge and fired up the wood burning stove. The rest of the evening was spent lounging in front of the fire, watching TV – just the 2 of us – oh what an exciting life we live!
Friday 11th September
At least it is sunny this morning – and so we take a wee walk up the hill behind the campsite and into the field with the Llama! It’s a “nice” looking beast with what Carolyn describes as a “pretty face!”
We take a coastal scenic route to Cape Paterson and on the way pass a new hotel/conference/caravan park run by the RACV (Auto club of Victoria) and the place is pretty swish – set up on an escarpment with great views, but the caravan site is at the back and entry is by security gates, so we don’t get a chance to properly see the place.
As we drive along Carolyn comments on how she likes how in Victoria they do not have ‘Rest Areas’ at the side of the road – but ‘Powernap Areas’ – you are constantly being urged to ‘Take a Powernap’ as ‘A Microsleep can Kill!’ On a similar note, she also liked the Queensland advertising campaign against speeding – a picture of a young girl who has been hit by a car and the slogan ‘Slow down Stupid’. Simple!
We are heading for Phillip Island some 2 hours to the South of Melbourne, and it is only when to get close that we see the signs, that this is a V8 Super Car Race weekend – Oh dear, that means busy, busy – and so it is – with the campsite charging “high season“ prices! Still, we manage to get a spot – not that great though as it’s next to the camp kitchen – and Boy it’s blowing a gale here!
We take a drive out to the Nobbies, a headland with two prominent islands, and walk the boardwalk through the colony of nesting Seagulls – and the odd Penguin burrow – great views, but hang on to your hats, as it’s a breezy place!
The main reason for us coming here, to Phillip Island, is the nightly (at dusk) “Penguin Parade” – where cute little, wild Little Penguins (about 33 cms tall and about 1 kilo weight) come ashore and head for their burrows. To protect the animals the whole thing is well organised and a concrete seating area patrolled by rangers allows good spectator viewing – indeed one group (raft of Penguins) came within 8 feet of us sitting in the area – and those folk who had paid extra got to sit in the sand only about 3 feet from the little animals.
The presence of many Seagulls on the beach seemed to spook the Penguins and several times they retreated to the safety of the water before making the dash across the open beach. The grandstand area is lit by spotlights and this must be a deterrent to the little birds as we could see many more of them crossing the beach just outside of the bright lights.
On our way out, along the specially constructed boardwalk, you can see many of the Penguins on the tracks below as they waddle their way home. Well worth the wait – we were there from 6.00 pm, and the first Penguin did not appear until 6.40pm and we left at nearly 7.30 pm.
Saturday 12th September
Our Microwave died last night and Carolyn had a job getting the camp kitchen stove to work efficiently in the gale blowing – however, we did manage to get a nice Steak and Salad meal with tatties!
So, today we phone the Camper Company and we have to call back on Monday to see if we can arrange to meet a technician to fix it!
The wind has dropped a bit today and it’s forecast to be warm, but it looks as if it might rain!
So, we walk into town and try to find a decent bar with an outside seating area – no luck! So, we wander for a while and then head to the Golf Club – now, those that have read our American rants – will know that Golf Clubs are generally excellent places for cheap drink, reasonable food and a nice sunny terrace with something to watch. And so it almost proves here – 2 out of 3 – no cheap food, and incredibly on a busy Saturday – no food AT ALL. The excuse – the chef’s not in today!
Now, call me stupid – but how difficult is it to provide soup/sandwich/rolls in a Golf Club – Especially on this weekend (V8 Super Car Racing) when the place is full of people who clearly do not play golf that often (given some of the shots we see!).
Back at the campsite the wind gets up again and we have the very occasional shower – though that’s not forecast until tomorrow!
Sunday 13th September 2009
We awake to a pleasant morning – little wind and some blue sky – but soon the odd shower comes through – but it’s better than expected!
We leave the campsite and head for Rhyll – nice and not as commercial as Cowes and with the benefit of a sheltered anchorage.
The drive then gets a bit tedious, rain, flat road, and flat countryside!
Though soon we are back in the civilised world and enroute to meet Barry Shrivel – and with his excellent directions we are soon at the meeting point. Then shortly after we are back at his home with Carol.
We have a nice lunch and a chat and then a very pleasant walk down to the bay and along through the town.
The rest of the afternoon passes in a blur of chat about travel and general stuff – until it’s time for pre-dinner drinks then a lovely meal and yet more chat and drinks – most pleasant!
More from the Great Ocean Road next time.
Copyright @ 2009 Neil Tough