Melbourne is known as an epicenter for sports, arts, music, and entertainment – and a foodie’s paradise. Moreover, it is also a city surrounded by diverse wildlife, national parks, beaches, marine wonderland and rugged mountains – it really does have the best of both worlds.
On my first holiday trip to Australia, as much as I have loved staying & exploring the pleasant city of Melbourne, I could not help myself but hit the road and get out of the city to see the countryside. It was a good thing that, my tour handler in the Philippines, Profil Holidays, helped me in arranging a tremendous day tour beyond Melbourne vicinity – opening my eyes to the one of a kind wildlife in Australia.
Approximately an hour drive from Melbourne, find yourself immersed in a unique traditional farm entitled the Warrook Farm. The establishment is over a hundred years old, but still managed to maintain its beauty and picturesque aura.
Here, you will be able to channel your inner “farmer” self as you undergo various real life farming activities. The unique part of it all? The farm showcases a historical ambiance that will make you feel like you are living in the past – connect yourself with old traditions as you unravel your skills as a farmer. Way to spend the day, right? Let me open my story.
Upon entering, I inhaled the fresh farm air, witnessed with my own eyes the adorable farm animals as well as historical buildings all while enjoying a relaxing hayride ride – this is where my Australian bush journey begins.
Here, I met Billy, a gentle Friesian bull, that I was able to milk get a “farm barn” vibes photo with. He is really gentle & does not do much. Of course, I think everyone is aware that they should be careful with bulls since they have the tendencies to kick you, right? So, sadly, I was not able to take a proper picture with Billy – so I opted for the smaller ones.
After all the fun with baby barn animals, I was led to a century old shearing shed. Here, I learned everything about sheep shearing – the process of shearing. They said that when the sheep are sheared, the lanolin and organic vegetable matter (dirt, grass…) stay on the wool unless they are carefully washed off. Oh and, to give everyone a small heads up – the shed had a foul smell!
After all the difficult farming activities, it is necessary to enjoy a good country style meal before continuing the day!
I dinned at the Warrook Restaurant – and it was exquisite. The Chef’s had two specialties: one was slow the smoked roast beef and the second was the marinated chicken with fresh seasonal local produce.
I opted for the smoked roast beef. Devouring the delish country style dish – I was amazed. The beef was served with a side dish of mixed vegetables topped with flavourful gravy.
Without doubt, it was a sumptuous lunch.
After a delicious meal, I made my way towards the Fauna Park. This park allows clients to get close to Australian animals as well as other animals and birdlife.
Upon entering the Fauna Park vicinity, I took in the Australian beauty. See for yourself animals such as alpacas, donkeys, goats, deer, exotic birds and even a baby animal nursery! All I could hear was the sound of nature – birds chirping, animals hopping and many more. It felt like a forest of wild animals – but, actually, they were all tamed.
I remember this moment in my life – it was my first real encounter with kangaroos and koalas in their natural habitat.
I was not allowed to get too close to them because they might see me as a threat – so always be careful when approaching the animals!
Visitors are allowed to feed them as they are quite nice, but it is always important to be careful.
Even though that they are behaved, they are still wild animals who may be startled easily.
The day isn’t over! Before nightfall, I made sure to make a stop at Phillips Island. This island is known for its iconic marine wildlife – most specifically, penguins. Here, witness the ever-popular Penguin Parade.
However, considering that the Penguin Parade commences after sunset, I still had the entire afternoon to roam around the vicinity of the island. Let me unravel the exciting attractions to do in the island while waiting for the parade.
Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
The Phillip Island Chocolate Factory is a self-guided tour that offers a variety of fun interactive machines—the best part? All of them involve chocolates!
Here, you can learn and munch at the same time! Make sure the satisfy your sweet tooth with free samples of their delicious chocolates.
Phillip Island Scenic Flight
There is no better way to view Phillip Island than from above.
For AUD 90.00 per person or approx. 3,500 in Philippine peso, you will get an 8 minute helicopter scenic flight to experience the spectacular coastal view of the island.
You can choose your flight path – either see majestic Cape Woolamai OR the world famous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
For first timers, being reluctant is fine. But I assure you that once being up in the skies, those feelings will quickly disappear. You will feel breathless once you see the beautiful island from the skies – the way the waves crashes onto the shoreline, the different shades of blue of the ocean.
speechless. Breathless – an experience that makes Philipp Island a beauty.
As the sun sets and the darkness rises above, see the stars shine clearly on a clear night sky. Arrive an hour early to avoid stressing out and find your appropriate seat as you wait for the Penguin Parade – do make sure to wear warm clothing because you will, without doubt, feel the cold breeze hit your skin during the entire evening.
Note: The penguins are wild birds. Numbers and arrival times will vary with the life-cycle activity and weather.
As soon as the sky turns pitch black, the parade begins.
I was in awe seeing various penguins parading in front of me – the warm fuzzy, barely one-food tall (33 cm), exit the ocean and waddling towards their nests.
They were extremely adorable.
I will be honest, it is truly fascinating watching the daily evening ritual of the wild Little Penguins.
Flash photography are prohibited during the parade for appropriate reasons so it is best to follow these rules – after all, it is always best to take in the sight rather than capture it in your camera, right? I am here to take in the natural habitat of the adorable creatures, not to scare them away.
For those who are curious, the reasons as to why flash photography is banned are for the following reasons:
1.) the blast of paparazzi flashes would distract others from the experience of sitting quietly and watching the Penguins come in.
2.) It is also to ensure penguins keep coming back to this special area. Penguins have sensitive eyes and a bright, sudden flash or unusual light can frighten or disorientate a penguin.
It is very difficult to take a good shot because there is no natural light (guide’s torch only) and the penguins do not sit still for a long period of time.
My entire trip beyond Melbourne territories and into the country side, was definitely an experience that I never expected in my life. Being able to witness the wildlife of Australian animals, to learn from the local farmers – I was amazed that I even enjoyed. This was definitely an experience that made me feel like I came from a novel! Big thanks to the help of Profil Holidays for accommodating me on this day trip. I couldn’t ask for a better tour handler.