Churchill Island is a tiny island off the north coast of Phillip Island which is only accessible via a single bridge. It was the site of the first European agricultural pursuits in Victoria and has been continuously farmed since the 1850s.
It is now open to the public as an historic working farm and is a relaxed, family-friendly destination.
Our first stop at Churchill Island is the cafe, which recently changed ownership and is now operated by Phillip Island Nature Parks. The menu is fairly standard and conservative – sandwiches, pies, quiche, that sort of thing. The stand out is the lamb burger, which is generously filled with tender local meat, and the accompanying crunchy chips.
Make the most of the tranquil, bucolic setting and enjoy your lunch outside if you can. The rolling green hills and views of Western Port and Phillip Island bring to mind the kind of landscape that I imagine Anne of Green Gables might have enjoyed on Prince Edward Island.
After lunch we stroll around the old buildings with replica interiors and remnants of historical gardens. The kids enjoy peeking at the animals but I don’t think they are devastated to miss the farm demonstrations (which all happen in the afternoon) as they still get to clamber onto the wagon.
The island is worth a half day visit if you have spare time, especially if you can plan your trip on the day of the Farmers Market which is held on the fourth Saturday of each month. Then you can spend a few hours shopping for local produce, watch demonstrations of daily farming activities such as sheep shearing and cow milking, enjoy a picnic in the historic grounds or have lunch at cafe.
If you want to venture further afield or get active there are biking and walking trails around the island too.
- Save money by bundling your ticket with a visit to the Penguin Parade, Eco Boat Tour, Antarctic Journey, Koala Conservation Centre;
- The visitor area and farm are relatively easy to navigate with a pram. Smooth, hard packed gravel paths with moderate gradient;
- There are disabled toilet facilities;
- the farm demonstrations are from 1-3:20pm so if you want to see them plan to visit the island in the afternoon; and
- free parking on site.