Day 1: Melbourne – Phillip Island (L)
After morning pickup at your centrally located Melbourne hotel, ride in an air-conditioned coach for about 1 hour to reach Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park at the top of the Mornington Peninsula.
The sanctuary serves as a reserve for native wildlife, with 25 acres (10 hectares) of natural bushland that is home to Australian mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians and insects. Admission to the sanctuary is included, but you can pay extra to cuddle with a koala, hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies or have a close encounter with some of the other scaly or furry residents.
Lunch overlooks a billabong teeming with waterbirds. Afterward, head out to Phillip Island for your accommodations. The rest of the day is yours to explore on your own.
Overnight: The Island Accommodation, Phillip Island
Day 2: Phillip Island – Melbourne (B)
In the early afternoon, your guide picks you up for a visit to the historic Churchill Island Heritage Farm. Here you get to see the daily activities of a working farm. Watch the pros demonstrate how to shear sheep, milk cows and crack whips. You can also walk through gardens and historic buildings that have been in use since the 1850s.
The next stop is the Koala Conservation Centre. Two sturdy boardwalks wind through the tree tops, affording you primo views of the fuzzy critters. There are also well-groomed trails that span 15 acres (6 hectares) of native Australian bushland that you can stroll in search of wallabies, echidnas (spiny anteaters) and brightly colored birds.
Continue to Summerland Peninsula and stop at the Nobbies, an ecotourism center equipped with long boardwalks that give you stunning views of the rugged coastline.
You'll see Victoria's largest group of little penguins at Summerland Beach. As night falls, hundreds of them waddle out of the ocean to return to their burrows for the night. Viewing platforms along the beach allow you to get a good look at the nightly action at a respectful distance.
After seeing the Penguin Parade, your bus returns to Melbourne, dropping you off at your hotel late that evening to end your tour.