There is no need to stay grounded with Phillip Island flights and cruises making your stay a memorable one!
Be thrilled by a helicopter flight or relax as you cruise to Seal Rocks to discover the Australian fur seal colony.
One of the enduring sights of Phillip Island is the ferry Kasey Lee, operated by Wildlife Coast Cruises, taking visitors to Seal Rocks.
The Kasey Lee is a 20 metre modern catamaran, with seating for 120 passengers in indoor and outdoor areas over two decks.
The Kasey Lee or sister cruiser Brianna Lee take passengers on a wonderful full day cruise along the coast of Wilsons Promontory.
During the winter whale watching cruises are becoming increasing popular. The cruise usually circumnavigates Phillip Island and sightings can include whales, dolphins, seals and albatross.
The shearwater cruises are scheduled from November to February. These 2 hour cruises leave in the evening before the sun sets and passengers can see the shearwaters return to their rookery at Cape Woolamai - a truly wonderful sight.
The cruise to Seal Rocks departs Cowes Jetty and takes about two hours.
After a safety briefing, sit back and relax.
For families there are toys for small children, colouring sheets and pencils and a nice space for them to play.
One of our toddlers experienced seasickness and the staff were very helpful and caring.
On the way,
watch for dolphins or, in winter, whales. Many species of birds
wheel overhead as the ferry passes the Phillip Island coast and The Nobbies.
Arriving at Seal Rocks, the Kasey Lee drifts close to the colony where you can observe close-up the antics and daily life of these fascinating creatures.
There is plenty of time to take photographs or video.
Most seals spend their time just basking in the sun. Others play together or dive into the water for a swim, then awkwardly climb back onto the rocky shore.
Some will swim beside the boat – perhaps putting on a special show for you!
Best Phillip Island Accommodation here:
The cruise includes informative commentary with bird identification and historical knowledge.
Morning or afternoon tea or coffee plus cake is included.
Soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and snacks can be purchased, as well as souvenirs.
In winter there is ample room for warm undercover viewing.
Seal Rocks cruises depart daily (except August) at 2.00pm with extra trips during the school holidays.
Prices: Adult $75, Child $50, Family $205
Wildlife Coast Cruises run several other popular cruises.
A lovely option from September to May is the Twilight Bay Cruise around Westernport Bay. Enjoy the sunset with nibbles and a glass of wine and music.
The famous Red Hill Market is another destination. Take the ferry to Stony Point then board a connecting bus to the market. Indulge in some retail therapy amongst the 150 stalls selling home-grown produce, gourmet goodies, plants and handicrafts and more before the relaxing cruise home.
Other cruises take in San Remo and the daily pelican feeding, as well as around Cape Woolamai.
In 2016 Phillip Island Nature Parks launched new tours on the high speed EcoBoat.
Ecoboat Tours leave from Cowes jetty. Bookings can be made at the Wildlife Coast Cruise office near the jetty as well as the Phillip Island Nature Parks visitor centre at the Penguin Parade.
Tours include the Adventure Tour which departs from Cowes Jetty and takes in Seal Rocks as well as the Blowhole at The Nobbies and the rugged coastal cliffs off Summerlands, and the Cape Explorer Tour, which goes from Rhyll Jetty to San Remo and Cape Woolamai.
Recently I took an Express Tour to Seal Rocks.
After boarding we were given a safety briefing before departing Cowes jetty. Spray jackets are available if needed. I would suggest bringing a jacket, even in summer. Because the boat is open-sided it can be quite cool racing over the water.
Apart from the captain and one crew member, we also had a ranger from Phillip Island Nature Parks on board.
Barley sugar and bottled water were offered to all passengers. If you feel you might be prone to sea sickness, bags are available. The ride can be rough at times with seat belts for each seat.
Thumping across the waves can be quite jolting.
Our trip started calmly, with lovely views of Cowes and the northern beaches. When we approached Cat Bay the swell was quite high as we crashed through it making for an exhilarating ride.
We passed close to The Nobbies and had good views of the cave made by the sea wearing away the sandstone, plus the visitor centre and boardwalks on Point Grant.
It takes 20 minutes to arrive at Seal Rocks. There are always plenty of seals sunning themselves or swimming around near the rock shelf. Sometimes the young seals will approach the boat for a closer look.
One warning is the smell! Be prepared for quite an assault on the olfactory senses.
Our ranger, Graeme, told us about the life of the colony and its inhabitants as we drifted about 20 to 30 metres offshore.
All the seals are Australian fur seals. Before the arrival of sealers in the early 1800's there were also sea lions and black (New Zealand) seals but those populations were wiped out.
There was also a lot of birdlife around the rocks - we saw cormorants, gulls and oyster catchers.
After 20 minutes observing the seals, we headed back to Cowes.
The departure time of 5.00pm fits in nicely with those taking in the Penguin Parade that night.
The late afternoon light makes for a challenge for photography though. The 11.00am tours in January would be better.
The Express Tour takes one hour and the Adventure Tour one and a half hours.
During winter look out for whales as they migrate north.
In January the weather conditions made the tour to Seal Rocks unsafe so we left from Rhyll jetty for Cape Woolamai.
This was a great alternative.
Because it was low tide we could see the wreck of the Mina sitting well out of the water.
Several seals were sunning themselves on the exposed rock ledge near the Phillip Island bridge. I never knew they frequented these rocks so now I look for them whenever the tide is low!
Along the coast of Cape Woolamai we could see fragile dunes and the remains of the old granite quarry, with huge cut blocks abandoned on the beach.
The quarry can be accessed at low tide by a walking track on Cape Woolamai.
The coast around the tip of Cape Woolamai is quite stunning, with lots of caves and rock cliffs. Unfortunately the wind had whipped up huge waves and we couldn't get around to The Pinnacles.
Phillip Island Helicopters is based at the island's airport, and offers scenic flights, not just around the Phillip Island but also over the Mornington Peninsula and the Bass Coast.
If you are interested in spotting whales, take a flight during the annual winter whale migration from the Antarctic to the southern Australian coast and further north to the warmer tropical waters of northern Australia.
If you want more than a flight, check out the packages available.
Visit a winery in style for a tasting and
lunch - by helicopter for the ultimate indulgent experience.
If it is thrills you want, fly to the Phillip Island Circuit, where you can experience the breathtaking speed of a Hot Lap around this world-famous circuit - home of the international MotoGP each October.
I recommend the "Flight with the Lot" which takes clients all around Phillip Island. The coastline is even more spectacular when seen from above and the sea a beautiful turquoise.
Our friendly, knowledgeable pilot pointed out places of interest and told us some of the island's history, which added to the experience.
Apart from helicopter flights, exhilarating tandem skydiving is also available for those wanting the ultimate adrenalin rush.
Bookings are essential – phone (03) 5956 7316
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