Thursday, October 13, 2011

French Island: Part 1

Phillip Island is fast becoming one of my family's favourite holiday destinations.

We've tracked all over Victoria: from the Grampians to Echuca, Bendigo to Inverloch, Warrnambool to Albury/Wodonga... and all the way from Portland to Lake's Entrance.
It also seems to be an  A----------  family trademark to never go to the same place more than once.  I'm still not sure how that really works...I think it has something to do with the fact that we go to a place, do everything there within the week and decide never to go back (at least not while there is still unexplored ground in the state of Victoria).
I realise that may be a little strange for those of you who are regulars at certain holiday destinations.  That's normal, right?

But we've been to Phillip Island three times now - I think that makes it a regular spot.

Look, I worked out how to put a nifty little map on my blog!  How spiffy.

View Larger Map

Back to Phillip Island.

There's something special about an island.  I can't quite put my finger on what it actually is, but it probably has something to do with the fact that when your on an island, you're no longer on the mainland.

Plus you are completely surrounded by water.  Boats suddenly become necessary.  Whichever way you walk, you'll hit a beach.  And the beach is a good place.

Is Australia an island?  Should I google that?  I'd rather live in denial and say that it is, even though it probably technically isn't.  But moving right along...

Look, here's Phillip Island on another nifty little map.  Actually, it's a rather large map.

View Larger Map

But what's this?  A great land mass located just north of the Island of Phillip?

View Larger Map

Ah, French Island.

Somewhere we haven't been.  Has anyone been there?  I get the general idea that most Melbournians don't know it exists.

Read on, then.  (I promise I'll stop with the maps)

This is the ferry which takes you to French Island.  It only comes about twice a day, so you won't want to miss it like you miss the train.

We were ready and waiting 20 minutes early *high five*

This is the ferry bashing into the wharf.  You know, doing the opposite of casting off...mooring?

I'm so ignorant so let's lose the boat talk.

We like to live dangerously, so we sit on top of the boat.  Plenty of room up here.

Goodbye Cowes.  This is the Cowes Jetty.  You can only get this view from a boat, if you know what I mean.

This inter-island ferry comes under Victoria's Public Transport sphere.  So you buy a ticket and commute.  The major difference is that you are floating on Western Port Bay rather than swaying along in a tram on Flinders Street.  The major similarity is that both floating and swaying can make one feel a little dizzy.

And there is techno boy capturing memories on his gadget.

After this photo he also managed to take photos of an unsuspecting Mouse looking like a dweeb.  These photos were then posted on Facebook.  Grrrrrrrrrrr

Goodbye Phillip Island.

Is it morbid to wonder what will happen if the boat sinks?  Is it unnecessary to gaze into the water and picture yourself swimming with one arm, and using the other to hold your camera above your head?  Is it right to eyeball all the orange life rings and calculate how many there are to go around?

See that orange thing in the pic above?  That's my flotation device.  I stay close to it.

Salvation!  French Island is in sight!

This is the ferry approaching FI.  I getting excited that we haven't sunk.

After bashing into the jetty, we hop off and meet our French Island tour guide.  Her name is Lois and she is an Islander.

I think it means she lives on the Island, and her parents lived on the Island, and it all started with her grandparents on the Island.

Wow, I'm now getting the feeling that we've stepped into a strange new world.

Hello, is that the local school bus from the 60s?

Oh, it's the tour bus.

What a groovy set of wheels!

The tour of French Island begins on the main road, which doesn't even show up on Google Maps, hence I've forgotten what it's called.

It's a very long main road.

There is no traffic on FI.  Since getting a car (or bus) to the Island involves a entire day's work and a hired barge (expensive), the locals drive around in any old bomb with wheels.

FI also doesn't come within any shire of Melbourne, so it has its own council of locals who decide what's what.

No police, no rates, no car registrations... lots of cows.

Lots of room for cows.

I'm pretty sure as we drove past this fridge, Lois yelled out that it was being used as a letter box.

There are several things you notice within the first 15 minutes on French Island:

Large, open spaces.
Notable lack of people cluttering up the place.
Native birds in abundance.
Large, rusty, abandoned metal objects, mainly cars, sitting in paddocks (Apparently this is because there's no where else to dump them.)

The majority of land on French Island is national park.  In fact, according to Lois, as soon as land comes up for sale, the government will usually buy it and it merges into the national park.

No wonder there are so many native birds.

French Island is also home to another creature...just swap feathers for fur, and add a large black nose, beady eyes, and a sleepy disposition.

Awww, every time I see a koala I just want to climb the tree and have a snooze as well.

So besides koalas and trees and other national park delights, is there anything else on French Island? (ignoring the rusty metal heaps)

Back in the bus everybody.

To be continued...


  1. "Is it morbid to wonder what will happen if the boat sinks?"

    Seeing as the average depth of Westernport Bay is three metres (pretty much everywhere but the narrow channel that runs through the middle - I kid not), I think you'd be pretty ok :)

    Nice to know what's actually on French Island, seeing as I've been so close to it (even been over to it in our little boat a few times) but have never actually been *on* it.

  2. Well! I had no idea about the three meters. I'm pretty sure I'd still need my flotation device, seeing as I'm shorter than three meters. I'm more worried about the camera. And I have this thing about boats.


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