Things to Do at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

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gran prix michaelMotor racing lovers will have a ball at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. This historic spot takes pride of place amongst the lush scenery of Phillip Island and brings visitors the chance to learn more about the sport’s history in Australia and experience some of the best things about motor racing for themselves.

Dating back to 1956, the circuit has been a vital part of the Grand Prix world for decades and remains one of the most important tracks on the planet. Each year, the best drivers in the world compete for top titles, but there are plenty of other things for visitors to do at the circuit when there aren’t any races taking place.

Go Kartinggo karting michael

Want to pick up some speed yourself? Take a tide in the on-site Go Karts and whizz around the 750 metre scale replica of the Grand Prix Circuit. You can get individual lap time print-outs to see how you’ve done, so challenge yourself against the clock and see if you’d make it as a Grand Prix driver.

Hot Lap

Get your adrenalin pumping with triple Hot Lap lightning ride that blasts you around the Phillip Island Circuit like the real deal. See just how fast the Grand Prix drivers race and get a taste for the sport on an exciting ride.

Guided Circuit Tour

Learn more about the history of the circuit and the drivers that have become household names on a Guided Circuit Tour. Throughout the experience, you’ll have exclusive access to Race Control, the Media Centre, Pit Lane, and Pit Roof, as well as the area every racer would love to experience for themselves - the winner’s podium.

grand prix motorbike michaelHistory of Motorsport Display

Dig even deeper into the history of motorsports via the on-site display. You can discover the exciting stories of pioneering racers who fought hard to become today’s international superstars in the sport.

Race Simulators

If you still want to get a taste for the sport, grab yourself a spot on Australia’s largest four-lane GP slot car track or, alternatively, get yourself behind the wheel on one of the Race Simulators. While onboard, you can test your driving skills or challenge your friends to a high-speed race.

Gift Shop

Pick up a souvenir to remember your time at the Grand Prix Circuit at the on-site gift shop. Grab a memento or two so you can take home a slice of the history and fun that imbues this top attraction on Phillip Island.

The Koala’s at Maru Wildlife Park

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kangaroo michaelPhillip Island is well-known for its incredible animal encounters. On the sandy shores and in the lush forests you can get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most magnificent creatures. At the Maru Wildlife Park you can do exactly this and more with their range of close encounters and beautiful scenery packed full of cute animals and native species.

The best part about the park is the opportunity to interact with the array of animals that call it home, including some of Australia’s finest critters, like koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes, emus, wombats, and crocodiles.

Throughout the day, knowledgeable park keepers carry out talks and presentations about the different animals, sharing their feeding habits with you and giving you the chance to learn all about the country’s native animals. On the weekends and holidays, you can experience the featured Wildlife Show, but there are plenty of things to do during the week, too, including sheep shearing shows and animal feeding demonstrations.

The Koalas at Maru Wildlife Park

Koalas are Australia’s cuddliest critters, and you can get to know them at the park. Found amongst the lush eucalyptus trees, these cute creatures have unique sleeping, breeding, and feeding habits that you can learn all about during your time in the park.maru michael

As well as exploring the raised boardwalk that weaves through the eucalyptus trees, you can go inside their enclosure with the keepers to get an even closer look at them.
And, if that’s not enough, you can make your visit to the Maru Wildlife Park even more memorable by taking part in a Close Encounter with these creatures. During this experience, you can pat, cuddle, and interact with one of the resident koalas, learning about their unique character, and getting to know it by name. You’ll have the chance to take your own photographs, but there is also a professional photographer on hand if you want something a bit more special to remember your visit by.

maru 2 michaelThe Maru Wildlife Park really is the perfect opportunity to get to know some of Australia’s best-loved creatures – especially the koalas. With a selection of ways to see them, including a boardwalk, keeper shows, and close encounters, you’ll leave knowing a whole lot more about these cuddly creatures, as well as have lifelong memories of an incredibly unique experience.

Things to Do at the Nobbies

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It is also home to the Nobbies Centre, which is perched on the top of the hill and is the perfect place to watch the resident Australian fur seals as they play on the rocks. Just a kilometre from the Centre, there is a smattering of rocks known as Seal Rocks, which are home to the largest colony of fur seals in the country.


From the headland, you can wander along the boardwalks to look out over the sea and spot the variety of natural sea birds that call the area home. As well as this, there are plenty of other things to get stuck into while you’re in the area.


Things to do at the Nobbies


1.    Stroll the Boardwalk
The boardwalk was made especially so visitors could enjoy the stunning scenery that characterises Phillip Island’s rugged coastline. Stop off at the lookout points to spot some of the most iconic natural wonders in the vicinity.


2.    See the Blowhole
The blowhole is an impressive sea cave that makes huge waves during the big southern swells. This natural wonder is well worth checking out if you’re in the area. Blowhole Michael


3.    Enjoy the Sea Bird Gardens
The Sea Bird Gardens sprawl out in a flurry of spectacular colour in the spring, promising an exotic array of flowers for you to marvel at.


4.    Learn About the Local Area
The educational signage dotted around gives you the chance to dive deeper into the history and cultural heritage of the area. Learn how Nobbies was formed and find out about the extensive collection of wildlife that calls it home.


5.    Wildlife Watching
And, of course, the best thing you can do at the Nobbies is to keep your eyes peeled for the mesmerising array of wildlife on offer. From Silver Gulls that nest and raise their chicks there during spring, to Little Penguins and Australia’s largest seal colony, there’s a lot of animals for you to spot.


The Nobbies are a magnificent display of Australia’s natural beauty, including stunning cliff scenery, coastal views, and a plethora of animal life just waiting to be enjoyed.

Why You Should Go Surfing at Bells Beach

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Phillip Island is best-known as a haven for wildlife, but there are plenty of other activities you can get stuck into both on the island and on the way to the island. Set in the charming town of Torquay, Bells Beach offers visitors the chance to hit the waves, whether they’re a beginner or pro surfer. You’ll find the beach just 80-minutes from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, where it unfolds in a display of rocky outcrops below the cliffs.


The beach is well-known as the surf capital of Australia, and you’ll often see pro surfers and amateurs getting to grips with the huge swells, particularly during the Rip Curl Pro. This international surfing championship takes place every year at Easter and brings together the best in the industry as they compete against each other for a range of prizes.


bells 1The History of Bells Beach
Named after John Cavert Bell, a member of the very first pastoral family in the 1840s, the beach is now on the Victorian Heritage Register and sees thousands of visitors grace its shores every year.


Surfing at Bells Beach
Bells Beach is all about surfing. Even if you’re not a surfer, you can watch pros get to grips with the waves amongst a friendly and laidback atmosphere that pervades the area. As well as surfing, there are other water-based activities you can get stuck into if you want to try something a bit different.


More experienced surfers will enjoy the huge swells that come in from the Southern Ocean that are protected by the large cliffs surrounding the beach, while beginners can splash around in the shallows and learn more about this exciting sport.  


To enjoy the best waves, head to the beach between March and October.


bells 2The History of Surfing on Bells Beach
Surfing has always been a key activity on Bells Beach, ever since 1939 when a group of surfers from Torquay made their way there to enjoy the waves. But access was difficult back then, which continued to cause problems up until 1960 when Olympic wrestler Joe Sweeney cleared a road along the cliff that came right down onto the beach.


Surfers were charged one pound to use the route, which now makes up the Torquay to Anglesea walking track.


Whether you’re an avid surfer not, Bells Beach is well worth a visit to check out the views and soak up the lively atmosphere of one of the best surfing spots in the country.

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What to Expect With the Penguins Plus Upgrade

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Penguin PlusPhillip Island is a haven for wildlife lovers. On the pristine beaches and in the lush forests you’ll find plenty of animal encounters, including native koalas and kangaroos. But one of the best nature experiences on the entire island is the world-famous Penguin Parade.


Each evening, the local colony of Little Penguins march their way up the beach to bed down in their nests for the night after a long, hard day of fishing. Thousands of visitors flock to the shores of the island each year to watch this magical display of nature and learn more about the penguins that live on the island.


At the Penguin Parade site there are a number of viewing options. For starters, there are rows of seats that visitors can sit on to watch the parade take place. Then there are the advanced options that let you get even closer to the penguins and get a more VIP experience.


little penguinsThe Penguins Plus upgrade is one of these advanced options, and it lets you really get to know the behaviour, history, and habitat of these cute critters while you watch them waddle ashore.


Essentially, the Penguins Plus upgrade lets you sit on a new viewing platform that has been created as a joint venture between Phillip Island Nature Parks and RACV. The design has been heavily inspired by the natural elements that surround the beach and characterise the rest of Phillip Island, which means you can experience a more natural viewing of the penguins.


As the penguins make their way along the pathway that has been set up for them on the beach, you can get up-close and get personalised views like no other.


Penguin Plus IIBefore and after the parade has taken place, you’re welcome to explore the on-site visitors centre, which delves deep into the characteristics of the penguins. You can browse interactive displays that document the turbulent history of the Little Penguins of Phillip Island, and learn more about the series of conservation efforts that have taken place over the years to protect the creatures and their habitat.


Seeing the Penguin Parade with the Plus upgrade is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only do you get to watch one of nature’s most wonderful shows, but you’ll get a personalised and up-close viewing of the Little Penguins in their natural habitat. By the time you leave Phillip Island, you’ll know all about the creatures and will have had a close-up insight into their fascinating lives.

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Woolamai Beach - Phillip Island’s Golden Shore

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Victoria’s southern coastline is home to a number of remarkable sights and attractions, many of which are within driving distance of Melbourne. An hour and a half journey south of Melbourne will bring you to the incredible Phillip Island. Renowned for hosting some of the country’s most phenomenal destinations, Phillip Island’s greatest attractions are its paradisiac beaches.

Though the entire coastline of Phillip island may offer some truly spectacular sights, Cape Woolamai along the southern shore displays unforgettable vistas like nowhere else in Australia. Woolamai Beach, in particular, boasts the island’s longest and most exposed beach, measuring 4.2 km in length. The golden sand and perfect waves help to make this one of Victoria's greatest surfing destinations. Experienced surfers travel from all around the country, and even the world to surf and play in these fantastic waters. In fact, Cape Woolamai has been named a national surfing reserve to recognise its rich surfing heritage. Being one of the island’s only beaches with lifeguards on duty, it is also safe for the whole family to enjoy, not to mention the convenience of all the nearby cafes and restaurants.

Woolamai 1Cape Woolamai, at 110 meters tall, is the island’s highest point. This fact is made even more impressive by the view of these majestic pink granite cliffs rising out of the ocean. So if you’ve had your fun in the waves, or you’d just rather not get wet, the coast also has a number of excellent walking trails that will allow you to explore more of these breathtaking views. Each trail has a viewing platform along the way which will not only give you a chance to take a rest but also gaze out of the glittering ocean from these fantastic vantage points. You’ll also get an excellent view of the Pinnacles, a series of naturally formed rock pillars that stand right beside the ocean waves. If you’d like to see them up close, one of the hikes will bring you right to their feet. The walk along the coastline is full of beautiful sights and scenes, and you may even be lucky enough to spot some wildlife before reaching your destination.

woolamai beachFrom small animals darting around the seaside fields, to marine life breaching the water’s surface, Phillip Island boasts a range of exciting wildlife. Rabbits and Wallabies can often be seen scampering about the walking trails, and if you look closely, you’ll often see dolphins and seals twirling and playing in the ocean. If you set your gaze on the sky, you will also find a wide range of birdlife overhead. Cape Woolamai is a significant location because of it being home to the island’s largest breeding colony of Short-Tailed Shearwaters, also known as the Australian Muttonbird. This means that you’ll often see these birds descending onto the sand in search of their burrows as the sun begins to set.

Phillip Island is one of Victoria’s most popular destinations, and it’s clear why with such fantastic attractions and activities. A visit to Cape Woolamai will be jam packed with a series of unforgettable adventures and memories for the whole family.

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Taking the Queenscliff to Sorrento Ferry

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queenscliff ferryTravelling to Phillip Island? Enjoy one of the world’s most beautiful coastal journeys as you cross the small segment of turquoise ocean between Queenscliff and Sorrento. This picturesque route connects the jutting Mornington Peninsula to the Bellarine and the Great Ocean Road – one of Australia’s best-loved attractions.


The 40-minute journey takes you past impressive coastal scenery and gives you the chance to view this part of Australia from a unique perspective. As you cruise through the crystalline waters, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins jumping out of the waves and huge ships that glide below the clear blue skies. Not only is the route incredibly beautiful, but it’s eco-friendly, too. This fast and environmentally friendly journey is a great alternative to driving through the thick city traffic, paying tolls, and driving along monotonous freeways.


Queenscliff ferry IThe Ferries
The ferries that service the route are stylish and well-equipped. There are two all-weather 60-metre ferries that tackle the journey, both of which feature easy drive on and drive off facilities, as well as comfortable lounges with huge windows to give you great views over the surrounding scenery. Elsewhere on-board, there is a café, a children’s playground, and a colouring corner to keep younger members of the family occupied on the short ride.


When you get off or depart from Queenscliff, be sure to check out the Beach Café at the ferry port. From here, you can marvel at the best beach views in the region and tuck into a delicious selection of dishes from breakfast through to dinner.


Queenscliff ferry IIFerry Operating Times
The ferries operate every hour on the hour between 7am and 6pm, seven days a week. Between December 26th and January 31st there is a last 7pm departure so you can soak up as much of the summer sun as possible.


Not only does the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry help you cross the peninsula in an environmentally friendly and speedy way, but it gives you the chance to explore this part of Australia in a relaxing and beautiful way. Instead of getting stuck in city traffic, you’ll be cruising through turquoise waters along the pristine coastline, taking in stunning scenes like jumping dolphins and hidden beaches.


If you’re planning on visiting Phillip Island or at least discovering the unique scenery of the Great Ocean Road and its surrounds, this ferry journey is definitely something to tack onto your itinerary.

The Unique Attractions at the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

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Chocolate lovers will not want to leave Phillip Island without a stop-off at the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. This sweet attraction promises a delicious selection of chocolates in all shapes and sizes, and the chance to learn more about the unique chocolate-making process that takes place on the island.


The Attractions at the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
There are numerous activities and sights to see to keep you busy during your time at the factory, regardless of how old you are or whether you’re a keen chocolate lover or on the fence.


As well as interactive machines, a selection of fascinating exhibits, samples to tastes, and chocolatiers making their masterpieces, you can also try your hand at making your own chocolate creation to take home with you.


Chocolate FactoryOtherwise, it’s busy, busy, busy with the cultural pursuits on offer. You can explore the displays of vintage chocolate advertisements if history is your thing, and you can learn everything you need to know about the chocolate making process right from the bean to the bar.


When you’ve finished drooling over the delicious displays, check out some of the quirkier attractions, like the world’s largest chocolate waterfall or the entire chocolate village that gives you the chance to be the train driver. Then there’s the one-tonne chocolate challenge, where you can test you and your friends’ strength by trying to lift this huge chocolate block off the ground – not as easy as it looks!


Elsewhere, you can marvel at the statue of David made completely out of chocolate and the Dame Edna Everage chocolate art piece that is made from no less than 12,000 chocolate truffles.


Chocolate factory 2The Chocolate Shop
If you want to take a little slice of chocolate heaven home with you, make sure you visit the on-site shop. Here, you can pick up a range of chocolate treats that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. And, before you leave, kick back and relax in the café, where you can have a little more chocolate along with a hot drink to fuel your next adventure.


The Phillip Island Chocolate Factory really is a treat for all the senses and all the family. Whether you’re on the hunt for some tasty chocs to try or simply want to learn more about this fascinating craft, hotfoot it to the factory for all of this and more.

Visiting the Maru Wildlife Park

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maru wildlife1Phillip Island is a haven of wildlife, promising animal lovers in Australia the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country’s best-loved creatures. Set against a back drop of picturesque beaches, lush rainforest, and stunning views, the island is the perfect place to explore the natural wildlife of Australia.


In the heart of it all you can visit the Maru Wildlife Park, where you can really interact with the animals which include some of Australia’s favourites, like koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes, emus, and wombats.


As well as seeing these creatures in their native habitat and learning more about their behaviour and history on the island, you can also watch them being fed and join one of the talks where a knowledgeable handler shares stories and anecdotes about the animals.


maru wildlife2Things to Do at Maru Wildlife Park


Cuddle a Koala
The koalas are one of the most popular residents at the Maru Wildlife Park. These cute critters sit up trees and chew away on eucalyptus leaves. You can wander along the raised boardwalk to get up close to them, or venture inside their enclosure with the keepers to hold one for yourself.


Hand Feed Kangaroos
Try your hand at being a keeper as you hand feed the kangaroos. These fascinating Australian creatures form a large part of the Maru Wildlife Park, and you can feed them yourself and see them up close.


maru wildlife3Sheep Shearing
It’s not just native creatures that the Maru Wildlife Park has on hand. There is also plenty of livestock, including sheep which take part in a regular sheep shearing show. During it, you can watch the local sheep handler cutting the sheep while learning more about the process and what happens to the wool after it has been sheared.


Volunteering
If you’re really keen to get involved, you can also spend a day as an animal handler and look after the native critters. While doing this, you’ll learn a great deal about their habitat and their behaviour, as well as take part in some of the major conservation projects put in place to protect them.


The Maru Wildlife Park is a great place for a day out. You’ll get to experience the natural beauty of Phillip Island while getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s best-loved creatures. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s also a café on-site and, in the grounds, other activities like golfing.

The Fascinating Habitat of Victoria’s Little Penguins

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Little Penguin Feb09Phillip Island is a haven of animal encounters, the most popular being the parade of Little Penguins that march up the beach every evening as they return from their day at sea. This incredible sight is a must-see for animal lovers in the region, not least because the surreal sight is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As well as watching the cute critters make their way up the sands, you can learn more about their habitat and behaviour at the Visitor Centre on-site.

The Little Penguins are, believe it or not, the smallest species of penguin – hence their descriptive name. They grow to an average of 33cm in height and predominantly live on the coastlines of Southern Australia and New Zealand, where they spend most of their days fishing at sea before returning to land as darkness falls. Sometimes, these little critters are referred to as fairy penguins because of their small size. Penguin Plus Penguins

Where to Find Little Penguins

The largest colony of Little Penguins can be found on Phillip Island, where the penguin parade takes place every evening across the stunning expanse of Summerland Beach. The Island has been a major tourist hotspot for many years, particularly for those on the hunt for incredible wildlife encounters. There are around 32,000 breeding pairs on the Island, as well as in the areas of St Kilda and Victoria Pier. Here, the breakwater has been home to the Little Penguins for a long time, and they have been the subject of conservation studies since the mid-1980s.

Elsewhere in Australia, you can find Little Penguins by London Arch and the Twelve Apostles along the picturesque stretch of the Great Ocean Road, as well as Wilson’s Promontory and Gabo Island.

little penguinsThese areas all boast wild and beautiful beaches where the penguins can spend their evenings, and warm waters where they can head off fishing during the day. If it’s nature encounters you’re after while you’re exploring Australia, Phillip Island is the place to go. The nightly penguin parade really is an exceptional way to spend an evening after you’ve learned all about the cute critters’ habitat, their history in Australia, and the conservation projects that are taking place to protect their past, their present, and their future on the Island.

Hit up the viewing area early to grab the best spot, whether you want to view the march from above or from eye-level.

What to Do at the Nobbies Information Centre

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The Nobbies 1Sitting on the very western tip of beautiful Phillip Island, the Nobbies Information Centre brings the natural scenery to life in a show of the latest technology and interactive exhibits. Perched on the edge of a cliff, the Centre boasts stunning views across the surrounding scenery and is dedicated to sharing the latest eco-tourism developments with visitors through wildlife displays and real-life animal encounters.

It is the first place in Australia to use defence technology cameras that allow you to zoom right into the world’s largest Australian Fur Seal colony that languish on the rocks surrounding the Centre. Here, you can covertly watch the colony as they go about their daily lives and frolic in the water below. As well as getting up close and personal with the seals, you can check out the local bird life too, as they nest and feed on the cliffs.

The Nobbies 3Elsewhere, impressive plasma screens show short presentations where you can learn more about the native marine life and the birds that call Phillip Island home.

As well as the interactive displays and the chance to see the seals and birds up close, there are plenty of other things to do at the Centre.

Outdoor Observation Deck

Just opposite the car park you’ll find the outdoor observation deck, probably the most popular part of the Nobbies Information Centre. The deck itself hosts a number of coin-operated telescopes which offer views over Seal Rocks and onto the Flinders National Park, where you can catch a glimpse of Western Port Bay in the distance.

The Boardwalk

Next door to the observation deck, you’ll find the entrance to the boardwalk. This platform curls around the cliff to offer visitors incredible views of the Bass Strait and its stunning scenery below. You can follow it all the way around to the end to see the east coast of the Island right out to Wilsons Promontory.

The Nobbies 2Right at the end of the boardwalk, you’ll be greeted with an amazing view into the famous blowhole – one of the most popular attractions at the Centre. Halfway along the boardwalk, there is another deck that takes you lower down, offering a closer look at the seals and birds in the region.

Other things to do include strolling around the sea bird gardens, where you can see beautiful displays of flowers, and watching the Little Penguins, who can often be spotted resting near the Centre as they prepare for their daily duties.

The History of the Penguin Parade

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Little Penguin Feb09The pristine shores and lush green forests of Phillip Island make it the perfect backdrop for some of Australia’s best-loved wildlife. Boasting national parks filled with native species and scenery that looks like it’s stepped out of a book, it really is a nature-lover’s dream.


One of the most popular things to do on the island is watch the Penguin Parade as darkness falls. The colony of Little Penguins that reside on the island scamper up the beach to their homes for the night, past mesmerised onlookers.


The History of the Parade
Little Penguins have called the shores of Phillip Island home for thousands of years. They head out to fish during the day, and head home as night falls to look after their nests and, for more than 80 years, people have been heading to Phillip Island at sunset to watch the show unfold.


It all began back in the 1920s, when island residents Bert West, Bern Denham, and Bert Watchorn opened Summerland Beach up for the first organised viewings of the penguins.Penguin Parade History


They greeted visitors off the ferry and charged five shillings for a personalised tour of Phillip Island (an additional shilling would get you strawberries and cream).


Visitor numbers soared in the 40s when the bridge from the mainland to Phillip Island was erected. At this point, tourists began flocking to the pristine shores, and people began building houses around Summerland Beach.


People would take picnic baskets and blankets down to the beach and sit on the sand to watch the penguins waddle ashore, but soon this meant that the burrows and penguin habitats began to get damaged. This wasn’t helped by visitors bringing their dogs to the beaches, who sadly killed many of the Little Penguin colony. The population of these cute little sea birds began to decrease, calling for a radical change in how the penguins were treated by the public.


Penguin Plus PenguinsIt wasn’t until the 1960s that fences and viewing stands were built to stop visitors standing on and ruining the penguins’ burrows. Ever since then, constant upgrades have been taking place, making the boardwalks, platforms, and viewing boxes safer for the penguins.


Fast forward to today, and the residential housing blocks have been removed from the Summerland Estate, and the Phillip Island Nature Park is one of the best eco-tourism facilities in the world, balancing scientific research and conservation with visitor education and unique wildlife experiences.