This is a boat trip that is not only about glorious views, nature, getting up close to seals – but it’s also a wild ride!
When: daily at 3pm, over summer there are more tour times, check here for times and to book.
Where: Departs (and returns to) Cowes Jetty. In rougher conditions, the boat departs from Rhyll Jetty (you will be contacted via mobile if this is the case)
Cost: Adult $85, child $65, family $235 (2 adults, 2 children)
The EcoBoat is a world-class RIB (rig-hulled inflatable boat). It carves through the rough water along the coast of Phillip Island easily – and our driver wasn’t afraid to take us for a little surf when we found a big enough wave. The kids loved it – they squealed their heads off and I admit it was a bit of a thrill when on a few occasions we got a bit of air!
The journey is the perfect amount of time to take in the view of the beautiful coastline along Phillip Island as you travel from Cowes to the Nobbies – looking across to Somers and Point Leo. The trip is about twenty minutes, at this point we went so close to the Nobbies Blow Hole I almost wondered if we were going to go inside it. The great thing about the EcoBoat is that it’s really manoeuvrable and so we were able to get up close to the rocks.
Just behind the Nobbies is Seal Rock – home to Australia’s fur seal colony. The seals happily exist here free from predators (other than the very rare shark – although the rocks make it difficult for sharks – so on the rock they live very happily). At about 18 months of age the females have their first pup – and for the next 30 years they call the rock home and have a pup every year (phew). The males only live on the rock for a few months of the year.. come September they return for breeding season and then when the babies arrive in Jan they are goneski – we saw a couple.
As part of the tour there are a couple of ranger guides on board who provide insights into the habitat, wildlife, workings of the Phillip Island Nature Parks and answer any questions. At one point they even handed out barley sugars (it was a particularly rough day, so maybe that was to keep our tummies happy?).
When we arrived at Seal Rock loads of the seals came out to say hello – there were so many swimming around in the water it was a bit like seal soup! And they move so quickly – my photo’s don’t really do it justice. We spent about 20 minutes pulled up at Seal Rock (FYI you don’t disembark the boat) watching the seals play – moving about the boat for a better view. And before you see the seals… you smell the rock! We did sort of get used to it, but not sure I’d want to be one of the park rangers who sleeps out on the rock during summer doing research…
This tour was the perfect balance of education, up close encounter and thrill seeking all wrapped into one for the kids. We sat up the front of the boat (where it’s roughest) and stayed dry.. I noticed the passengers down the back did get a bit splashed on our return trip when the captain took us for a bit of a joy ride across some of the bigger waves! Oh and don’t worry there are seatbelts. Oh and there is an onboard toilet (not sure I’d want to go after a 7-year-old boy in those choppy waters, just saying).
For our day of fun on Phillip Island this was definitely the experience I was most looking forward to – and surprisingly at the end of the day when we asked the kids what they enjoyed most… the resounding and very enthusiastic yes was for the EcoBoat trip. Five stars EcoaBoat.
Disclaimer: Meetoo travelled to Phillip Island in September 2015 as guests of Phillip Island Nature Parks. All views are our own. All details were correct at time of publishing.