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Island Hopper, Issue #002, Phillip Island Extremes
March 29, 2016

April 2016: Issue #002


Welcome to Island Hopper! I hope you will discover lots about Phillip Island. This month I talk about the extremes you can experience here - from the peace of a bush walk to the high octane roar of car racing.

Smell the eucalyptus

Although small, Phillip Island has many walking tracks. And now that the weather is cooling down, it’s a great time to put on the walking shoes and see some of the lesser visited parts of the island.

When the McHaffie brothers leased Phillip Island in 1842, they set about clearing the land to graze sheep – burning a huge area of the original vegetation. Later, with the introduction of chicory farming, mature trees were cut down to fuel the chicory kiln furnaces. However, Oswin Roberts Reserve, donated by Florence Oswin Roberts to preserve habitat for koalas, has survived - the largest remnant eucalypt woodland on Phillip Island.

Parking at the Harbison Road entrance, note the remains of a chicory kiln just over the road.

Walking through the woodland, the overwhelming sense is of silence, except for the call of bush birds, and the fragrant scent of the eucalypt, sweet bursaria and paperbark woodland.

It’s hard to believe that the busy island roads are not far away!

In summer the goodenia bushes attract thousands of Common Brown butterflies – a rather dull name for a lovely orange butterfly!

I have never seen a koala here but swamp wallabies are regular sightings, especially early in the morning and later in the day, when they come out to graze. Often you can hear them thumping through the undergrowth, aware of our presence although hidden to us. Also look out for echidnas and blue tongued lizards near the path.

The reserve is divided into three walks, from about 1 kilometre to 4.5 kilometres. Choose the one you like or walk them all!

If you would like a more extended walk, Oswin Roberts Reserve connects to the Conservation Hill/Rhyll mangrove and inlet walks.

Food and Wine

Island Whole Foods popped up nearly a year ago in Chapel Street (behind Aldis).

And before you think “oh no not another café” this one has become a favourite. Why? Because here I can buy a coffee and fuel up with an organic gluten free treat! Pretty much all sweets are gluten free, and better, healthy.

Recently I tried the chia seed, fig and date balls – yum! Lunch is also available – see what options there are on the day.

Island Whole Foods is usually closed Tuesdays.

Smell the rubber

Motor racing is synonymous with Phillip Island with the Australian Grand Prix starting here in the 1920’s.

The original rectangle track around local roads is still there (although thankfully sealed now so no more spitting gravel and stones!), with signs indicating each corner’s name. Probably the most noticeable is Gentle Anne Corner at the corner of Gap Road and Ventnor Beach Road, Wimbledon Heights.

Today the international standard Phillip Island Circuit is located on the south coast near Smiths Beach. It must be one of the most scenic race tracks in the world, with wonderful views over Bass Strait and towards Cape Woolamai.

Even if you aren’t interested in motor sport, the History of Motorsport display at Phillip Island Circuit is a fascinating look at the history of racing on the island.

History of Motorsport

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think!

See you next month!

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