Situated at the entrance to Western Port, 142 kilometres, 88.8 miles, east of Melbourne, Phillip Islands most popular drawcard are its little fairy penguins. During the day the penguins are at sea catching whitebait but every evening they return in small groups and waddle up the Sumerland Beach to their sand dune burrows.
Visitors can reach Phillip Island by the San Remo bridge, making an easy day trip destination. The permanent population is some 5500 but the island currently attracts approximately 3.5 million visitors each year, which makes it the most popular single tourist destination in Australia.
Phillip Island is 10 300 hectares and is 26 kilometre long and 9 kilometre at its widest. Most of the native bush has been cleared although there is still small pockets left.
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Phillip Island Penguin Parade
The little penguins, native to Australia, are the smallest of their species, growing to a mere 33 cm in height. They possess waterproof feathers and are most plentiful in summer when they are rearing their young.
Each evening, just on dusk, thousands of little penguins make their way back to their burrows in the sand dunes at the back of Summerland Beach after going out to sea each day to catch food for themselves and their young.
In recent times the activity has become so hugely popular that a substantial visitors' centre with award-winning educational displays, a cafe, a theatrette and a souvenir shop has been established on the site.
Walkways and boardwalks have been constructed to keep visitors off the dunes, and the viewing area is built somewhat like a theatre with multiple viewing positions where visitors can observe the penguins under subdued floodlights.
Koala Conservation Centre
Phillip Island has traditionally had a reputation as a place to see koalas in the wild but, in recent years, diseases, road accidents and degradation of the trees has seen their numbers decline. In response a Koala Conservation Centre has been set up on the Phillip Island Road.
There is a visitors' centre, a gift shop, toilets, disabled facilities, souvenirs, refreshments and picnic tables. It is the starting point of the Woodland Walk, a gentle 1 kilometre loop track along a boardwalk.
Phillip Island Wildlife Park
About 3 km beyond the Koala Observation Centre, on the Phillip Island Rd is the Phillip Island Wildlife Park, which is the largest privately owned wildlife park in Victoria.
It is an open access park that incorporates 6.5 hectares of wetland. There are over 900 animals in all, including emus, echidnae, crocodiles, dingoes, goannas, wedge-tailed eagles, pelicans, koalas, snakes, kangaroos, black swans, wallabies, dingoes, rosellas, lorikeets, kookaburras, native owls, Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, wombats and a nocturnal animals centre.
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
This racetrack is the home of the motorcycle Grand Prix. It represents the culmination of a long association between the island and motor racing, dating back to 1928 when the Australian Car Grand Prix was run on the island's unsealed roads. In 1989 it hosted the first world class Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and has also served as the venue of the Shell V8 Supercars series and the World Superbike Championship.
These days there is a Grand Prix Circuit Visitor Centre, which features displays detailing the history of motor racing on Phillip Island. Items include Wayne Gardiner's 1987 World 500cc Championship winning Honda NSR500 and an original 1928 Bugatti GP racing car.
You can also have your photograph taken on the winner's podium. There is a licensed cafe, a games room, a children's playground and a gift shop.
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