Phillip Island Nature Parks has joined forces with John Dickie, the island’s long-time local boat tour operator, to offer tours in a high speed boat resulting in a quicker trip to a few of Phillip Island’s most popular attractions, including Seal Rocks and the Nobbies.
At the same time John is continuing to run his well-known Wildlife Coast Cruises. These cruises are in a bigger boat, take more time and include complimentary morning and afternoon tea.
As my trip to the island coincided with this first run of the new tour, I was invited, along with the staff from the Phillip Island Nature Park, to try it out.
While there are likely to be some modifications, as our timing seemed to be somewhere between the 60 minute EcoBoat Express tour and the 90 minute EcoBoat Adventure tour, the trip was great fun combining wildlife watching with a roller coaster ride across the waves.
The boat – fitted with four high-powered outboard engines, the rigged hulled inflatable boat is sleek and quick. It’s got a distinctive racing feel and travels at great speeds. The trip takes around 20 minutes from the Cowes jetty to Seal Rocks.
The tours have been designed to ensure visitors can see the Nobbies and Seal Rocks and be back in time for the Penguin Parade- which is great if your time on the island is limited.
The chance to see parts of the Phillip Island coastline, the Nobbies and, of course, the very inquisitive seals. While, according to the scientists on our trip, the seals were a little reticent to come to the vessel (probably as they hadn’t seen it before) there were still a number of `brave individual seals’ who looked like they were enjoying themselves. The boat has an on-board camera aimed at capturing the seals’ antics under the water and displaying the action on a large television screen. At the same time there were many seals to see on and around the rocks.
Knowledgeable crew members. On our cruise crew members explained the scenery and the nature of the seals. Phillip Island Nature Parks are providing the commentary.
Parts of the trip were very bumpy, but this may have been due to the very `choppy seas’. While it didn’t bother me, indeed I found it quite exhilarating, there were a few screams on board as the boat became `airborne’ over the waves. Mind you, these seemed to be more screams of delight than fear!
For more information on Phillip Island see Wildlife Always a Delight on Phillip Island, Managing Penguins and People on Phillip Island, Phillip Island Guided Ranger Tour and Silvewater Resort Phillip Island