KOALA CONSERVATION CENTRE

3 parks pass phillip island koalas


One of Australia's most recognised icons is right at your fingertips at the Koala Conservation Centre. And as you venture through the tree-top boardwalks scattered throughout the park, you will come within metres of seeing them in their natural habitat. It's actually quite fun playing 'spot the koala' with the kids as Koala's aren't all that active, instead preferring to laze about in forked branches chowing down on eucalyptus leaves.  You could quite easily walk past a tree and not even know that there's a koala there if you're not looking for them. You can also find other animals in the park. We saw many different species of birds and a couple of wallabies, but you might also run into a snake, echidna or bats.

Tip: Don't plan on a long visit to this park. It can easily be seen in an hour.

CHURCHILL ISLAND HERITAGE FARM

3 parks pass phillip island heritage

I'm a big believer in immersing my kids in their world, teaching them how things come about, where they come from and how people before us once lived. And this magnificent farm ticks all of those boxes. There's plenty of historical significance on this island which is surrounded by internationally recognised wetlands. Original buildings and artefacts dating back to the 1800's have been preserved for many of the farms' visitors to enjoy.

There are interactive demonstrations throughout the day which will keep the entire family entertained; Standard farming duties which date back many, many years. We watched a sheep being sheered and got to take home a piece of its wool.  We saw a boomerang being thrown up into the sky only to return perfectly to it's thrower.  We enjoyed the spectacle of a real whip being cracked in one of the open fields. There's also wagon rides, cow milking, blacksmith and working dog demonstrations. And for nature lovers there's beautiful gardens, plenty of trees and a lavender farm.

There were plenty of farm animals which you would expect to see on a farm such as a giant horse, a cow, sheep, cattle dog, turkeys, a peacock, cockatoos and even some ferrets thrown in for good measure!  Plus there were many species of birds, not all of which I am familiar with. It's also one of the most scenic and tranquil spots to enjoy a family picnic in the shade of a giant old tree.

Tip: visit the website and work out which demonstrations you'd most like to see as they are staggered across the day.

PENGUIN PARADE

3 parks pass phillip island penguins


By far the stars of Phillip Island, penguins are what the island is probably best known for. And how could you not love these adorable little creatures, what with their pint-sizedness and their waddling cuteness. They are definitely the darlings of the ocean and being witness to their emergence from the ocean for their mad dash up the beach is a memory we are sure to treasure for a long time to come.

Despite being prepared not to see the stars of the show until sunset (make sure you check approximate arrival times before you visit), we were pleasantly surprised to spot a few early arrivals as we were walking down the boardwalk towards the viewing stadium. A few penguins were already in their cave-like burrows which pepper either side of the boardwalk. It made for a lovely time-filler prior to the show and a great way to spend time taking in the experience - as there's no photography permitted, so you want to maximise the experience.

However, a word of warning for those of you planning to visit with babies or toddlers - be prepared for swarms of tourists who flock to the park to catch a glimpse of the penguins - at any cost. Unfortunately just because you're toting an infant or pushing a pram, doesn't mean that people are any more cautious with their personal space.  

Don't forget to stop by one of the gift shops located in the visitor centre. There's all sorts of penguins paraphernalia on offer, it's hard to resist.

Tip: Dress warm and arrive early to get a good viewing spot. Avoid peak periods if possible when up to 4,000 people can attend per night!

A 3 Parks Pass can be purchased on-line.

Thanks to Magdalena from The Craft Revival and her Family for kid-testing the Phillip Island 3 Parks Pass for Little Melbourne.