Phillip Island, Victoria travel guide: Nine of the best things to do

THE ONE FARMHOUSE BREKKY

Do fresh eggs taste better when they're eaten at a farmgate cafe? They seem to at Churchill Island where you can get your free-range Phillip Island Bimbadeen eggs poached with a lemon myrtle Hollandaise sauce. After breakfast head to the historic farm that was the first site to grow wheat in Victoria. The compact island, which is on Boonwurrung/Bunurong land, was the weekender for former Melbourne Mayor Samuel Amess and the vintage buildings are well-preserved showing early settler life. See penguins.org.au

THE ONE BIG ATTRACTION

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The Penguin Parade. 

The Penguin Parade has had an "iso" makeover with a new modernist entrance to the wooden boardwalks where you can view the so-cute-it-hurts Little Penguins make their nightly waddle-dash to their sandy burrows. Not only is there a new building (shaped like a penguin wing from above) and reclaimed land for additional burrows, but visitor numbers are reduced due to COVID restrictions and you can almost come nose to beak with the little voyagers without fighting busloads of tourists. See penguins.org.au

THE ONE INDULGENCE

The only thing more eye-catching than the coastal view at The Cape Kitchen is the art-on-a-plate that arrives at the table, packed with seasonal Victorian produce. The simple, modern space is coloured in the greys and creams of a sea squall and you can wander the cliff-side real estate in between courses to discover sculptures and secretive bunkers. You might have a dish of grilled Skull Island prawns punched up by a spicy shallot, tomato and maple salsa or the house-cured ocean trout with a riot of colour from heirloom beetroot, fresh greens and edible flowers. See thecapekitchen.com.au

THE ONE BEACH

You can check out the waves from the Smiths Beach lookout before making your way down the zig-zag boardwalk to the sand. There you will find a mix of locals and visitors heading out to the surf while families go to the sandy fringes to explore rock pools. You might see the van from Pro Surf Coaching, they are a local outfit run by the Amorim brothers who can help sharpen your surf skills. See prosurfcoaching.com.au  visitbasscoast.com.au

THE ONE KIDS' ACTIVITY

Look for the cow rocking sunglasses on the Cowes main street and you will find Grumpy's Crazy Golf, an eye-wateringly colourful 18-hole mini-golf course. Inside the vibe is "bovine fun fair" with cow mascots, a rainbow paint job and holes that run the gamut from loop-the-loop putts to golf pinball machines. Get the final hole in one for a free game next time, or try to knock the leader off the top score chalkboard. See grumpyscrazygolf.com

THE ONE KIOSK

If you like your coffee with a shot of sea spray, try Magic Lands at Woolamai Beach where there is a sheltered break for surfers and a beach-shack coffee joint for those more "surf adjacent". Coffees, hot pies and a range of ice creams (there are no Sunnyboys, though they've kept the retro sign) with the breaking waves for company. See visitvictoria.com

THE ONE ANIMAL SANCTUARY

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Spot a Koala on a walk.

After last year's terrible bushfires, Phillip Island's Koala Conservation Reserve had to make room for a few singed and sore marsupials, who have since been returned to the wild. But the regular dozy inhabitants of this important koala reserve are always ready to receive visitors, just don't be offended if they greet you with a yawn. Then centre offers boardwalk viewing platforms, a nature walk and plenty of other wildlife like echidnas and bats. See penguins.org.au

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THE ONE STAY

Spend the night just off the main street of Cowes at the Phillip Island Apartments with spacious rooms, a shared pool and a balcony where you can watch the sunrise behind Norfolk Pines. The apartments are a quick walk to dining spots as well as Cowes Beach. Pick from one, two or three-bedroom options. See phillipislandapartments.net.au

THE ONE ISLAND HOP

Western Port Ferries offers an island-hopping cruise across to French Island. The island used to be full of chicory farms and you can still find some of the old kilns dotted around, as well as a host of koalas. It is two-thirds national park and the largest island in Victoria. See westernportferries.com.au

ONE MORE THING

In summer the penguins come in pretty late, so it is best to have an early dinner, so you don't miss out on a post-parade meal. See penguins.org.au

The writer was a guest of Phillip Island Nature Parks.

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