Cool World

It’s been a strange week if like me you’ve stayed in Melbourne and gone back to school and work. While it’s been a bit hard to get back into the swing of things, we managed a short getaway to Phillip Island over the Easter break but given the traffic delays getting there, I think half of Melbourne decided to holiday on that side. Instead of the usual two hours, it took us four so I was really relieved to get there before it got dark.

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We had booked the dog-friendly Barefoot Beach House (front lounge room at dusk pictured above) located in Cowes walking distance to town and with the beach at the end of the street. It was also walking distance to the Cowes General Store which meant we didn’t have to jump back in the car to place our fish and chip order and the fish was excellent, although the burgers there also get great reviews. The house itself was lovely – even better than it looks in the photos and I particularly enjoyed the carpeted master bedroom which was like a parents’ retreat complete with ensuite and TV (which is more than I have in my current bedroom!). Wendy, the owner, has a great eye for colour and design and it was beautifully furnished with some quality appliances that made the whole stay that bit nicer and a little bit luxe.

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Because of the crowds, we didn’t stop in San Remo on the way in, which is also a fishing mecca (and a good place to get fish and chips) and if you are there around midday – you can see the pelicans being fed or look at the stingrays in the water at the marina. We also bypassed Woolamai which again was a bit of shame as I like the laid-back feel of surf beaches however the one smart thing I had done was pre-book tickets a month beforehand to see the Penguin Parade that was sold out (pictured above) and is now absolutely massive on the Island.

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Penguin Foundation fundraising soft toys

It’s a credit to the non-profit organisation that runs it that it’s grown and developed to such a large extent without government funding although it’s also now a logistical exercise getting there. We parked in the paddock and then got onto the coach buses that ferry you to the actual Penguin Parade centre itself which is being further developed. We got there as the sun started to go down (bring something warm to sit on as well as wear on the concrete bleachers) and I’d bring binoculars next time! It’s hard to see the penguins coming out of the water so much better once they head to their burrows on the beach and you leave the seated areas to get up close and personal with the Little Penguins (no longer called Fairy Penguins) on the wooden boardwalks that lead back to the centre. I’m glad I waited until my kids were a bit older as it’s a long night if you have babies or toddlers in tow event even with daylight savings now ended.

I was happy to spend time in Cowes walking along the beach in the mornings to get to the main street. There are some lovely shops that are now there including Tyde which is next door to Mad Cowes cafe beach-side. I had seen Luxe Isle and Front Room online but didn’t get a chance to visit. Some of the more upmarket restaurants also looked lovely including Isola Di Capri and Pino’s Trattoria on the main drag, although we ran out of time to have dinner out one night.

We spent one afternoon at the Cowes Antiques Bazaar which was also fun. Mr Rosanna picked up some vinyl – Mondo Rock’s Chemistry album which has some great tracks on it including my new go-to karaoke song Cool World and I found a brand new Moroccan market basket (both pictured below) at half the usual price. We also spent another afternoon catching up with one of my friends whose family have always had a beach house there.

While it was great to have a mini-break, I’ve had a pretty full-on start to my year and we’ve come back to sickness in our household so have started booking another holiday in the sun for later this year. It won’t be as glamorous as Greece this time around but I think you need to have something to look forward to when you lead a busy life. I hope you had a great break too!