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South of Melbourne and just off the Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island has long been a playground for Victorians. Both the coast and the interior are appealing, with beaches and native animals such as koalas among the attractions. The perennial highlight, however, is the famous Penguin Parade, in which the seabirds march ashore to the delight of onlookers.
At low tide you can
walk across a basalt causeway to the Nobbies (rugged coastal rocks); a boardwalk here takes you around the windswept coastline to a blowhole. Thousands of shearwaters (also known as mutton birds) nest here from September to April, when they return north to the Bering Strait in the Arctic. Farther out, Seal Rocks host Australia's largest colony of fur seals; up to 20,000 creatures bask on the rocky platforms and cavort in the water here in midsummer. Boat tours cruise past these playful creatures in all but the coldest months.