Travel

Philip Island Penguins

“Do you want to go to Philip Island?”

I emailed Jik.

She was visiting Melbourne over the weekend for work/early birthday celebration/girl time.

It was a random question, and I didn’t put much thought into it, other than the need for a break from work and a weekend in the city. When she replied with “Yes” soon after, I quickly booked the tour because well… who doesn’t want to go to Philip Island?

Philip Island is famous for the little penguins the littlest penguin breed in the world. The size and cuteness are only to be matched with a soft toy version of them.

So on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, we hopped on a bus and headed south to Philip Island.

Our first stop was the Maru Koala Park with no koalas insight. Instead, we saw emus, kangaroos, and ponies. I also saw a dingo for the first time, though I have heard the word being used as a part of an insult in Aussie slang.

The highlight was when we watched the sheep shearing show. The IRL version of the Harvest Moon game, I myself have sheared plenty of sheep bearing my exes’ names. It made me miss my high school friends and overall life. Then my most stressful thing was to unlock the next level in the game, so I could buy a cheese-making machine (shout out to 90s Asian kids…). I wonder whether they have a PS4 Harvest Moon game. That would be epic!

We also made a pit stop at the Nobbies, an ecotourism destination with a breathtaking view. Even with the weather being a little foggy, it was still one of the gorgeous boardwalks I have ever strolled around.

It was a perfect spot to have a little picnic with some light reading. If only we had a throw and a couple of bottles of chilled wine, we would have stayed there at least until the sunset.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures during the actual penguin outing by the sea. Not that it stopped a girl from sneaking out her phone and getting scolded by a law-abiding old lady. The girl tried again, and the old lady scolded her again while Jik and I giggled in the background watching this unnecessary drama.

While trying and failing to spot the little penguins on the horizon, we squeezed in a little heart to heart. Sitting on the bench for more than an hour braving the cold wind, we concluded that we often face random situations such as that very moment because we almost always say yes to any other person’s invitation to do something… anything without overthinking, and sometimes without even thinking at all.

For dinner, we stopped at a quaint small town called Cowes on Philip Island. There were quite a several restaurants to choose from. Being Asian, we went to the Wing Lock Chinese Restaurant. We knew they would definitely serve rice.

The town’s vibe really resonated with me, so much so that I plan to spend a weekend there once we get a car. Next time we will skip Wing Lock because, after dinner, the MSG induced headache followed me throughout the night.

If you plan to buy a little souvenir from Philip Island, I suggest the penguin soft toy, dressed in a hand-made knitted jumper. The jumpers are knitted by volunteers worldwide and are used to save little penguins affected by oil spills. Proceeds from the sale of these penguins in jumpers are used to fund the Phillip Island Nature Parks Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

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