Monday, 25 February 2008
On the road: Phillip Island and Gippsland
Baysidemama has hit the road for some late summer travelling so I thought it might be interesting to Victorian families (and those from further afield) who are looking to travel in this part of the state to take a look at some easy to get to holiday spots.
First up Phillip Island.
I can't say I'd ventured down to this famous island since I was a kid and my memories were of wholesome no-frills vacations - caravan parks and fish and chips on windswept beaches. Well the good news is that Phillips Island is still a very relaxed tourist hub with some fabulous examples of classic mid century beachhouse architecture and amazing beaches and wildlife.
Sure the middle is still filled with farmland with a dirty great big motorcycle track, however the coast is quite breathtaking. Smiths beach and Cape Woolamai are wonderful places to wander along and admire the majesty of Bass Strait while the small little towns which dot the island (except perhaps for bustling Cowes) are like stepping back into the sort of quaint, quiet little beachside holiday hamlets of yesteryear.
Little 'general stores' dot the island, 5pm comes and goes without a hint of commuter traffic and you can still get yourself a decent coffee - just expect to adjust to island time and wait a requisite 15 minutes while the store owners catches up on the weekend news from locals. It's that sort of place.
We stayed at the super new resort Silverwater, which is perched above San Remo at the entrance to the island. It is certainly a new standard for accommodation around here and I highly recommend it to families - it is within an hour and a half drive from Melbourne - so well within the cut-off point for 'small restless children in back seat of the car' syndrome.
The resort has brand new apartments all centred around a village green with playground and enough space for the most energetic child to burn fuel. Most have superb sea views but we opted for one where we could open the door to the deck and the kids could run free.
There is a great on site restaurant and bar which also serves as a cafe and two amazing pools - one indoor and one out plus a games room.
The whole resort sits above the very cute working fishing village of San Remo which has come along in recent years yet still retains its charm. Scattered among your traditional bakeries and pubs now sits a health food store, there's a great kids playground plus the best fish and chips we have tasted in a LONG time.
There is a working fisherman's co-op here around the gorgeous little pier and at the end sits the fish and chip shop, along with an upstairs viewing platform where you can enjoy your extremely fresh flathead and the most generous serve of chips we've ever seen! And remember if you're coming this way to catch the pelican feeding at the pier at 12 noon daily.
Some useful links:
San Remo Fisherman's Co Operative: www.srfco.com.au
Phillip Island nature attractions: www.penguins.org.au
Silverwater Resort: www.silverwater.com.au