Australian Fur Seals

Phillip Island is a lovely alternative to the bustling cosmopolitan city of Melbourne. It’s a fantastic place to take a weekend getaway and is only a few hours’ drive from the city. The island is known for its surf, magical beaches, and wildlife. Some of the biggest attractions are the penguins that live on the island. Tourists and locals alike make their way down to the beach to witness the penguins venture from the beach back to their homes during sunset. It’s a wonderful experience to see, and is extremely popular in the summer months. However, there’s another set of sea animals that are worth seeing and they are the Australian Fur Seals.

These seals like to hang out on Phillip Island around the port, at a landmark called the Chinaman’s Hat. The location is also a popular spot for local snorkelers and scuba divers to get a close-up of the giant brown fur seals. However, proceed with caution as these big boys are unfamiliar with people and can sometimes be aggressive. They are a big band of single male seals after all!

Dolphins are also prevalent in the area, and many tour operators take you out to see both the seals and dolphins. At the moment there are about 40 seals in the colony in Phillip Island’s waters on any given day. The cruise includes a local guide who is full of stories of the seals, dolphins and other local marine life. The seals usually don’t leave the Chinaman’s Hat location, but it’s nice to see them all hanging out together. If you’re lucky, you may get the chance to see some of them hunting for food in the clear waters of Phillip Bay.

These Australian Fur Seals are native to Australia (hence the name), and have brown fur. Their fur turns to a greyish tone once wet. Their diet consists of fish, octopus, and squid. It changes season to season, depending what is available for them to eat. These carnivores are also food for other marine life. Sharks and Killer Whales feed on seals and are their main predators. These beautiful creatures can grow up to be 2.3 metres long. During the late 1800’s these seals were hunted for their fur and sold in Melbourne, but in 1980 they were put under law that made it illegal to sell their fur for money.

These seals are a hoot to view, all laying on top of one another, like a close-knit family. The next time you are at Phillip Island, make sure you get on the water to visit these lovely creatures.

Book your Phillip Island Tour today!