It took us until the time that we had packed up and left our Melbourne campsite to decide that we would head to the Mornington Peninsula. This marked my first drive on a busy city highway in a foreign country. I was initially terrified but actually grew to love driving in Australia- it’s easy! The roads are bigger and much quieter.
We stopped in an information centre in Mornington and picked up a few recommendations on spots to visit including some hot springs and a small beach spot to enjoy a coastal walk. We then drove straight on to the Peninsula Hot Springs without much need of encouragement. The spa hosts over 20 different types of bathing experiences, including the pool found in a cave to the mountain top pool which held amazing views of the surrounding local area. My favourite pool was the ‘foot reflexology path’ which was essentially a long foot way covered with water and pebbles which apply different amounts of pressure to the soles of the feet when walked on.
We enjoyed several blissful hours at the hot springs before heading on to Rye Beach. When we got to our first beach of Australia, I casually strolled over the water to dip my toes in and got the shock of my life; the water was bloody freezing! It was completely unexpected and I couldn’t get out of the water fast enough…
To save time on travelling the following day, we decided to make our way to Phillip Island that afternoon. It took us just under two hours to get there but it was completely worth it as we made it there in time to see the Penguin Parade!
The Penguin Parade (if you didn’t already know) is a migration process where around a hundred penguins swim back to Phillip Island once the sun has set in order to walk up the back to their little homes at the sanctuary. We waited for 40 minutes in a very cold coastal wind, watching as the tiny penguins tried to decide whether it was safe enough to walk up the beach to their nests. Once they had decided, it was a sight to behold as they all filed behind each other to walk up the hill where their sanctuary is located. We even got to walk alongside some of the tiny animals as we made our way out of the centre (although as the penguins are to remain as wild as possible, they remain on a different side of a fence, away from humans). In order to protect the penguins, watchers are not allowed to photograph their experience at the centre but you can see more on the research centre website here.
The experience cost us around $25 aus each but I can honestly say that it was worth every penny for such an incredible experience!