Annual Tour 2016 to Phillip Island

Vietnam Veterans’ Museum


 For the first time, a self-drive tour was organised from 14th to the 18th November, 2016 to Phillip Island, staying at the Tropicana Motel. This avoided the problem of trying to recruit a minimum number of 30 travellers needed for a coach and saved about $1,000/day in expenses.  The Motel provided excellent food and accommodation and we were allowed use of the conference room after evening dinner for socializing and party games.  Those taking cars willingly offered seats to others, enabling 18 participants, 16 of whom stayed in the motel.

The organisers planned and booked group visits to the several attractions the Island offers.  First stop was made en route to the Vietnam Veterans’ Museum, where we also lunched.  The museum is well stocked with helicopters, tanks and armaments and illustrated with a very professional presentation. In the afternoon we visited the excellent Koala Conservation Centre, arriving at the motel for a brief rest before “Happy Hour” in the bar and dinner.

On Tuesday, we spent the morning at the Nobbies and the Antarctic Journey, a recent innovation with captivating hi-tech depictions of Antarctic Sea Life. After lunch in the café, we did the Swan Lake walk, a pleasant experience on a nice afternoon.    After dinner, we returned to Summerlands to view the arrival of the penguins, for which the Island is famous.  The staff were most helpful in caring for our less able members, which we greatly appreciated.

After another hot breakfast on Wednesday morning, we undertook a guided tour of the Grand Prix Circuit, where racing motorcycles were practicing.  There is a display of racing cars and racing motorcycles from earlier times, illustrating the progress of racing technology and skill. After lunch at Panny’s Chocolate Factory we spent the afternoon at the scenic Churchill Island with its farming displays.

Thursday morning we left free, some shopped and others played golf.  There was a disappointment in the afternoon when we were not permitted to travel on the “Fast Boat” to the Seal Rocks.  Inadequate information had been provided to us when booking this tour.

Our last day was spent at the State Coal Mine at Wonthaggi.  Some ventured down the mine for a conducted tour by the local volunteers who are helping to preserve this important element of Victoria’s heritage.  After lunch in the mine café, our party departed for home.

Everyone agreed that the self-drive experiment was successful and the model is likely to be used again to make such trips affordable to all. After receiving a refund for the Fast Boat and because of other savings and the Council grant, we were able to provide refund cheques to everyone of $145, meaning the trip only cost $125 plus accommodation.


Colin and Ken
1st December, 2016.