Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Penguins Parade of Phillip Island (Melbourne)

The Penguins of Phillip Island, Melbourne is well known.

And also Puffing Billy, the heritage steam engine train.

So when I heard of the offer from iVenture Card, and since I was going to be in Melbourne for 3 nights, I thought it was a good deal.

Especially since I checked their brochure and found that they had Puffing Billy, the Werribee Open Range Zoo, and a Werribee Park shuttle from Melbourne to Werribee (this counts as one attraction!).

There was an option for a 3 Attraction card, so that seemed perfect.

So I bought the card/pass online.

But then I checked the attractions on 1st April, and Puffing Billy was no longer an attraction on the iVenture Pass, and neither was the Werribee Park Shuttle!

This meant that travelling to Werribee Open Range Zoo was going to be on our own. And Puffing Billy would be extra.

And I already bought the 3 Attraction Pass.


Well, one way to make the pass worth while, is to visit the Penguins of Phillip Island.

Except that getting there is a MAJOR hassle (as far as I can see). The brochure said it was only 90 minutes away. Yeah. If you drive. Like a demon.

Google maps suggested an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. If you take public transport (like we intend to), it would be over 2 hours to as much as 5 hours if our timing is off.

That means at least 5 hours travelling both ways. How much time would we have at Phillip Island?

And what time would be be back at our hotel?

Would there still be dinner for us?

Taking a cab to Phillip Island would cost over $200. Maybe even $300. Not unaffordable, but that's one way. The return trip would be another $200 - $300.

The best option seems to be to get the iVenture Full Day Tour to Phillip Island. For $210 per person, you get a 9 hour tour from your hotel to Phillip Island, and then you get to see Koalas, Tasmanian Devils, and of course the Penguins.

Then they return you to your hotel.

The tour starts at 1 pm. So you will be returned to your Hotel at about 10 pm. There's that 3 hour ride to and from Phillip Island.

So you have 3 hours there.

The 3 attraction Pass I got is for $110 (approx). I think for $100 more I'd gladly pay for hassle-free transport.

The reason I did not choose the Day Tour Combo was that there were two day tours, and that would have take us two whole days. And we would have no "free" time for our own exploration.

So new plans.

The iVenture pass could still be used for Legoland.

And the Werribee Open Range Zoo.

And then Melbourne City Sightseeing.

But I think we will keep our options open, and if we can't squeeze everything in, we will just take in what we can comfortably, and forget about the rest.

I always felt that a must visit in Melbourne is the Q Vic market. Though I cannot say why.

Puffing Billy is also something for my daughter to experience, but it takes at least an hour to travel out there, and then the train journey, round trip takes at least 3 hours. So that's a whole day gone.

There is also the City Circle Tram. Gorgeous!

Image result for City Circle

And free!

It's also called the "tourist tram" (though non-tourists also free load on it).

We'll tell my daughter this is the Puffing Billy's... city cousin.

And she saw pictures of Thomas the Tank Engine on the Puffing Billy website. And she's disappointed that Thomas will not be available (he only makes special and limited appearances).

So we offered her Legoland, which is an acceptable alternative for her.

And maybe we will try the Werribee open range zoo. Or just the Melbourne Zoo. Probably the Melbourne Zoo. There is no public transit to Werribee. At least according to Google Maps.

Lesson learnt - To watch the Penguins at Phillip Island

If in Melbourne, book a day trip to catch the Penguin. It would be about $170 to $210 (if you take the iVenture Combo.

Otherwise, maybe get a hotel on Phillip Island. Cab would be about $50. One way. Travel time would be 20 minutes or less. You will need to pay for admission separately, but you get to choose what you want.

I like the hotel option. You aren't travelling up to 5 hours.

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