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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Churchill Island - North Point Circuit Hike

Churchill Island, located just off the coast from Newhaven, is one of Phillip Island’s major attractions. Covering an area of 57 Ha, the island features an historic Heritage Working Farm dating back to 1872.

It was first discovered by George Bass and Matthew Flinders in 1798. In 1801, Lieutenant James Grant constructed a simple cottage and planted corn and wheat with seeds supplied by his friend John Churchill, after whom the island was named. Churchill Island was the first European settlement in Victoria.

A number of small cottages, as well as a traditional homestead, were later built. These are part of the Heritage Farm and are open for walk-through inspection and include the historical house and farm buildings, farming machinery, coaches, buggies, a milk vending cart, a wishing well, hoes, traditional gardens and the orchard. Ranger demonstrations of traditional farming techniques are given.

The large restored Homestead and old outbuildings offer a fascinating insight into farm life during the late 1800s. Some of the beautiful period furniture pieces are on loan fromn the Museum Victoria - others are part of the original property, which include many household items.

Many of the farm animals roam freely around the gardens - some are in pens. The kids will love them! There are cows, goats, ducks, geese, sheep, chickens, Clydesdale horses, highland cattle and "George" - a 50 year old cockatoo! Watch out for the beautiful colored Peacock!

The unsealed access road from the bridge runs through extensive open paddocks, where there are geese and huge ferocious-looking long-horned cattle, which amble across the road!

There is an excellent photograph display in the Visitor Centre about the fascinating history of the Island - there is a cafe in the Centre. A free printed Visitor Guide is available at the Centre.

A small admission fee is charged for entry to the Heritage Area - pensioner/senior's concession is $7.20.

There are two main walking/cycling tracks on the Island, which start at the Centre - the 4 km North Point Loop and the island Loop. There is no charge for using these Tracks. Grant’s monument is next to the junction of these Tracks.

The Island is reached from the turn-off north of Phillip Island Road, 1km west of the Newhaven Bridge, near the Chocolate Factory!. A bridge allows unlimited access from 10 am - 4.30 pm. Distance from Melbourne is about 120 km.

I visited the Island on May 4, 2009 - see
my North Point Walking Track Photos - see also my Photos of the Heritage Farm.

See the Churchill Island website for comprehensive information!

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