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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Phillip Island Holiday

Ever since we bought into Timeshare we have taken our annual holiday during school vacation times, usually in January. When we booked our 2008 holiday in January 2007 we realised that both of us would be retired, so we booked the holiday for February 2008, when students and teachers had returned to the drudgery of school.

We chose the Phillip Island Resort, Island Breeze. It is many years since either Margaret or I have been to the Island. So on Friday, 8th February, we traveled to Philip Island. We took Joyce with us to give her a holiday as well.

Friday 8th February
We arrived at Cowes at lunchtime, and after eating lunch at the Bakery, visited Seabreeze Estate. Seabreeze is the sister Retirement Village to the one we are living in - Tarneit. For a description of our visit to Seabreeze see this post .

Naturally, I took plenty of photos. The slide show displays a selection of them.

To see all of the uploaded photos follow this link .

We booked into the resort. We had a two bedroom unit. As the manager admitted the next morning the whole place was in need of a "spruce up", which is planned. Like all of our timeshare units it was quite comfortable and pleasant to live in for the week.

After tea we went for a walk along Cowes beach, which could be accessed via a track less than 100 metres from our flat. The sun was shining in the west, but there were intermittent showers moving across the island - perfect conditions for a rainbow - which can be seen at left.

Saturday 9th February
The managers run the usual meeting introducing the local area and the activities organised at the resort on Saturday morning. We attended this as we usually do. After that there was a Tips and Tricks of Timeshare meeting. The main emphasis in this talk was booking services at Holiday Concepts and RCI. I was not interested in RCI but The Hotel Saver on the Holiday Concepts site sounded interesting. Since returning home I have investigated Hotel Saver - it might be too limited. For instance only one hotel is Gipsland is listed. The manager also mentioned http://www.wotif.com/ which might be more useful.

After lunch we visited the Nobbies. The new Centre has been completed and as always there are spectacular views of the south west coastline of the Island. The photo at right shows the Nobbies with Seal Rocks in the background, and the blow hole in the right foreground.

We decided during the week not to visit the Penguin Parade, largely because it would mean a late night. Margaret and I though were compensated by the fairly close up view of a penguin as can be seen in the photograph.

When we had finished at the Nobbies we visited the Vietnam Veterans Museum. Although I did not agree with some of the historical and political claims made the museum reinforced by hatred of old men who for their mere political advantage send young men off to war to be killed and injured. We have a contemporary example with the Iraq war and occupation.

Sunday 10th February
A craft market is held in Cowes every Sunday morning so naturally we visited it. There were four book stalls so I was kept occupied. I have quite a backlog of books to read so I have become quite choosy about the books I buy. The main books that I look for now are Patrick O'Brien's Master and Commander Series. I have read all twenty books - they were borrowed from friends - and I would like to have the whole series in my library. One one of the bookstalls I found Far Side of the World. I chatted to the proprietor as I bought the book and he said that he had acquired it in Canada. Margaret bought a twin set and a Linda Laplante book and Joyce bought my birthday present - I will find out what it was in September.

That morning we investigated the trip to Seal Rocks, and booked for Tuesday afternoon's trip. The rest of the day was for resting.

Monday 11th February
Monday morning was the pancake breakfast which is pretty much a fixture at Holiday Concepts resorts. Then we set off for Churchill Island.

Churchill Island is a small island just off the coast of Phillip Island near Newhaven.

The following is a potted history of the Island quoted from: the visitvictoria site

Phillip Island’s main historic attraction is Churchill Island – a tiny island of 57 hectares where there is an historic working farm with its original homestead that dates back to 1872. Explore the historical house and farm buildings, walk through the traditional gardens and orchard and see ranger demonstrations of traditional farming techniques.

Victoria's first European settlement
Churchill Island was discovered, along with Phillip Island, by George Bass and Matthew Flinders in 1798. Three years later Lieutenant James Grant constructed a simple cottage on Churchill Island and planted corn and wheat with seeds supplied by his friend John Churchill, after whom he named the Island. This was the first European settlement in Victoria.

From cottages to a homestead
In 1866 John Rogers took up residence on the island and built two small cottages. Six years later the island was purchased by Samuell Amess, who built a weatherboard homestead. These buildings are still standing and are the principle historic attractions on the island along with the fragrant herb and flower gardens.

After lunch in the Cafe we toured the heritage farm. The animals included a goat, hens, cattle and horses, one of which can be seen with Margaret in the photo.

The most substantial building on the farm is Ames House. As shown in the photo, below, it is guarded at the front by a cannon.

While Samuel Ames was a member of the Melbourne City Council the city was visited by a fully rigged steam sloop, the Shenandoah, flying the Confederate flag. The city's high society, including Samuel, welcomed the ship's crew. Legend has it that the captain of the Shenandoah presented Amess with a small cannon which he bought to Churchill island.

On the way back to Cowes we detoured to Woolamai surf beach. There were some substantial waves comming in but it was too late in the afternoon and a little too cool to swim. The photo shows the beach with Cape Woolamai in the background.

Look carefully at the photo and you will see an Echidna. As we were leaving it was walking across the road. The camera was in the back seat and while I was scrambling to retrieve it the animal headed off into the bush.

Tuesday 12th February

We had planned to have lunch at The foreshore hotel in Rhyll. On the way there we stopped off at Conservation Hill and I went on a walk to Rhyll Inlet. During the walk I saw a wallaby quietly grazing near the track as shown at right. Part of the way along I came across a bike rider who told me that it was worth continuing on to the end of the track and that it wasn't far away. I discovered that neither of these claims were true - the end was at least 1 km away and the view was hardly better than the ones I already had. To make matters worse the track ended in a car park which was accessed from a road - later I drove Margaret and Joyce to the car park to show them where I had been. When we arrived in Rhyll the hotel was closed on Tuesdays, so we returned home for lunch.

In the afternoon Margaret and I had the highlight of the week. We took a boat trip to Seal Rocks. We boarded the boat at Cowes Jetty and it took about 40 minutes to reach the Seal Rocks. It was an occasion for many senses. We could smell the seal colony long before we could see the seals. Although it was a relatively calm day I am susceptible to sea sickness and when we neared the seal colony I was feeling somewhat queezy. This was exacerbated by the necessity of focusing on the camera LCD screen rather on objects at a distance. Even so it was a great experience as can be sensed from the photos below.

The video below shows Margaret with most of our fellow passengers viewing the seal colony.

Wednesday 13th February

This was a great day for Australia when the new PM Kevin Rudd led Federal Parliament in the apology to the stolen generations. We watched the full three hours of the ABC telecast. It is wonderful to feel proud of my country after 11 long and painful years!

My detailed response to the apology can be found at this post .

For lunch we returned to Rhyll to the Foreshore Hotel. We had a very pleasant lunch with an attractive view over the water to Churchill Island and the mainland.

Thursday 14th February

In the morning we visited San Remo. On previous visits to Phillip Island we had driven through San Remo in our haste to get to the Island. Our main interest was the feeding of the pelicans. This was done by the fish co-op at lunchtime. Feeding wild animals is not recommended, and consequently I had misgivings about the exercise, but it did afford an opportunity to see pelicans up close. As you will notice in the photos below pelicans were not the only creatures to realise that a free feed was available - about half a dozen sting rays appeared in the shallows.

After lunch at the San Remo Hotel we drove to Inverloch via Wonthaggi. None of us had visited this part of the Gippsland coast and we were struck by its beauty. At Inverloch there is a large sandbar which provides a sheltered beach for the town. Waves can be seen and heard breaking on the seaward side of the bar three or four hundred metres away.

The photographs below display dome of the spectacular coastal scenery.

Fridayth February

The drive home.


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