St Kilda’s Pier

A hidden gem in the heart of Melbourne, St Kilda’s Pier is lovely for an evening or night-time stroll. The pier is, in my opinion, one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets.

Why?

Because it is the home of a Little Penguin colony as well as the Rakali (water rats). To boot, entry is free of charge!

About 1,400 penguins live on the breakwater at any given time. The breakwater is located on the pier, if you continue to the left of the kiosk. The best time to view the penguins is 30 minutes after sunset, however, in saying this, we strolled down the pier around 10pm and we still saw plenty of penguins and one Rakali (who scared the heck out of us since we didn’t realise that there were water rats living in the rocks here).

When planning your visit, consider that you will see the greatest number of penguins between October and April, and if you visit between November and December you will also see some baby chicks. We went at the end of July, which was beneficial for us as there weren’t many other tourists to compete with and, as aforementioned, we still encountered much of the wildlife.

Most tourists will travel to nearby Phillip Island to see the Little Penguins for their nightly march back to their burrows. We did both encounters. Our experience was that both viewings were unique and we would recommend everyone do both if possible. Our favourite aspect of the St Kilda Pier experience was that we were able to get up close to the wildlife (yet keeping more than three metres away) – and it was free. To think that a colony of penguins chooses to live on an inner-city beach is truly mind-blowing; for such a shy species to willingly live so close to humans inspires me to consider that perhaps humans aren’t so bad after all. 

The Little Penguin colony located here is managed and cared for by Earthcare St Kilda. A volunteer penguin guide is present every night to ensure tourists don’t harm the penguins by abiding by the rules they have set up to protect the penguins. These are:

  • No handling or feeding of the penguins
  • No flash photography of the penguins
  • No torches to be shone on the penguins without a red filter over the front
  • No dogs past the entry gate into the penguin viewing area, trained assistance dogs excepted
  • No climbing or sitting on the rocks
  • No littering, please take your litter with you
  • Keep at least 3m away from penguins moving around the viewing area

While people are generally respectful and mindful of the penguins’ welfare, unfortunately a fence was erected over the breakwater in July 2017 to protect the colony due to some harmful behaviour.

Seeing the penguins up close was honestly a treat I will never forget and an experience I highly recommend! 

In lieu of the free encounter, I would advocate making a small donation to Earthcare St Kilda for their work at St Kilda Pier. There is a donation pole at the kiosk on the pier or you can alternatively donate here.

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Photo credit: Pictures taken by Synchronous Photography & Editing

Breakout Bar and Escape Rooms

Luke and I recently visited Breakout Bar and Escape Rooms in Wollongong because they were closing down their Ancient Egypt -themed room The Tomb (to make way for a new room!).

Décor

The escape rooms are designed around the story of the mad Professor B, and this theme is reflected in the unique décor of the bar. As both a nerd and a romantic, as well as someone who just generally appreciates good art, I felt like I was right in my element.

5/5.

Drinks

Of course, I had their Cleopatra cocktail. Concocted from Four Pillars, lemon, and Pimms, it was one of the nicest cocktails I’ve ever had.

Luke had their Lava Lava beer. Despite the sheer force of lava (and its sourness), he somehow survived!

5/5.

The Escape Room

You can read all about the escape room here. In summary, we loved it.

5/5.

Board Games

In the corner of the bar, we found some board games stacked on top of a piano. After many years, we decided to ignite some childhood nostalgia by versing each other at the notorious game of Guess Who?. I’d like to say I won, but I’m fairly sure he bested me 3/3.

I love that Breakout Bar & Escape Rooms have board games available. I feel like it’s something that sets them apart from other bars we’ve been to.

5/5.

Overall

An outstanding bar with an ingenious concept. Definitely worth visiting!

10/10.

Sweet Surprises Terrigal

There’s a new sweet shop in Terrigal called Sweet Surprises (and it was actually a surprise for me since I didn’t know about its arrival!)

They have an amazing range of international foods and otherwise interesting lollies… I felt like I was in heaven visiting!

I bought some pickle-flavoured Pringles (honestly, who knew that was a thing?!) and some Lucky Charms, which I’ve wanted to try my whole life.

The shop is set out nicely, it’s neat and well-faced (apart from the boxes in the above photo lol), and the staff are friendly. The location is convenient: located right on the esplanade of the beach; making the shop a great stop for some cheeky snacks on your day out.

I would definitely recommend visiting if you are on the Central Coast!

5/5 stars.