Monday, October 27, 2014

EcoBoat Adventures at Phillip Island, Victoria

On December 8, Phillip Island Nature Parks will launch two new EcoBoat Adventure tours allowing visitors to venture beyond the island’s shores and explore the rugged coastline and wild ocean up close. 

There’s a spot along Phillip Island’s southern coastline, between the Nobbies and Penguin Parade, that rivals the views of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Look west and the seascape is dominated by gently undulating penguin habitat dramatically punctuated by cliffs that tumble into Bass Strait. Look east and the cliffs give way to the gentle slope of Summerland Beach and the Penguin Parade.

For the first time this rugged coastline can be explored up close on a fully supported EcoBoat Adventure. Phillip Island Nature Parks has teamed up with John Dickie, the island’s long-time local boat tour operator, to offer the new service as of December 8, 2014. Operating daily, the EcoBoat Adventures will take thrill seekers on a high speed tour to the local Australian fur seal colony and the base of Summerland Peninsula’s cliffs, including the explosive blowhole at the Nobbies.

As locals attest, the waters surrounding Phillip Island teem with wildlife. From June to September, migrating whales such as southern rights and humpbacks are spotted, along with smaller orcas or ‘killer whales’. Keep your eyes peeled for any ‘rafts’ of little penguins out fishing, or look towards the shore to spot a soaring bird of prey such as a peregrine falcon. 

Within 20 minutes of departing from the Cowes jetty, the EcoBoat Adventures arrive offshore to one of the country’s largest Australian fur seal colonies.  A ranger-guide from Phillip Island Nature Parks is aboard to give tour guests a special insight into the history and ecology of the colony. Underwater cameras aboard the boat also reward guests with a unique glimpse into the playful antics occurring beneath the waves as seals surround the boat. Visit in January and you’ll see fur seal pups taking their first swim lessons. Look ashore and you may be lucky to spot one of the 300kg male bulls taking charge at a rival.

The return journey takes guests towards the Nobbies and the coastline of Summerland Peninsula. Discover the Aboriginal and European history of the area and get a unique and exciting view of the Nobbies blowhole carved into the cliffs by thousands of years of explosive wave action. Further on as the tours heads back towards Cowes, the EcoBoat Adventures pass by Cat Bay, a National Surfing Reserve famous for its longboard break. Return to Cowes jetty in time to explore the sights of town before heading out to see the little penguins waddle ashore at dusk for the world-famous Penguin Parade. 

Their operator and ranger guides are experts at finding seals, whales, dolphins, penguins and other seabirds. Seating up to 47 people and operating year round, the RIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) is also equipped with Wi-Fi!! Fitted with four high-powered but quiet outboard engines, the EcoBoat Adventures are the fastest tours available to Seal Rocks.  

Tours operate daily from December 8, 2014, with up to three trips per day in the peak summer season. Two tours are on offer:
·       EcoBoat Adventure: 90 minutes and includes Seal Rocks, Nobbies, Summerland Peninsula and Cat Bay.
·       EcoBoat Express: 60 minutes and includes Seals Rocks, Nobbies and Cat Bay.

Prices start at AUS $85  per adult. To find out more, visit Penguins.

No comments: