The Gateway to Phillip Island – Newhaven, Victoria, Australia
Newhaven is the first township to welcome you as you cross the bridge from San Remo, on the mainland, to Phillip Island. You’ll find the town small, and quaint, perhaps old-fashioned in some way. These things are true, as Newhaven proudly embraces the past. But Newhaven is also a vibrant holiday destination, where today’s holidaymakers can bring the past and the present together for an exhilarating combination.
Newhaven has a permanent population of less than 500, giving the township an intimate and cozy perspective. This also means that during your holiday, you have ample time to really explore Newhaven deeply, and to come away with a relationship to this outstanding coastal village.
Putting It Together
Of course, one of the main attractions in coming to Newhaven for your holiday is Churchill Island. The island lies just offshore from Newhaven, but is easily reached via bridge. Churchill Island has the distinction of being the first European settlement in Victoria. Lt. James Grant settled on the island in 1801. Nowadays, the island is officially known as Churchill Island National Park, and contains a museum of farming equipment and a working farm that is home to chickens, ducks, highland cattle, sheep, and Clydesdale working horses. While picnics on the grounds are available, you’ll need to secure your holiday rental home back in Newhaven.
In Newhaven proper, stop by to pay your respects at the National Vietnam Veterans Museum. The museum houses photos, memorabilia, vehicles, and aircraft commemorating the ten years (1962 – 1972) that Australian citizens were involved in the Vietnam War.
If you get hungry during your holiday, you’ll be well taken care of, as Newhaven has its own production facilities for some of your favorite foods. Of course, you can fire up the Barbie at your holiday villa but the menu needs to include locally made foods. To see cheese making in progress, visit the Australian Dairy Centre. After your tour of the cheese works, their museum, gift shop, and especially the cafeteria deserve your attention. Everyone knows that lunch must be followed by dessert, so make your way later to the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. This chocolatier features an interactive tour of the handmade chocolate process, but most importantly offers free samples to visitors!
Once your history and culinary needs have been sated, get out and enjoy the water. Fishermen can ply their lines from the jetty, or hire a boat with a guide for fishing in deeper water. Anglers in the area frequently catch squid, snapper, whiting, gummy shark, flounder, Australian salmon, gar, pike, and trevally. Keep in mind that if you’re not in the mood for fishing, the same boats can often be hired for a coastal cruise to give you a new aspect of the island.
On a related note, Newhaven is also the home of the Newhaven Yacht Squadron. This local yacht club was founded in 1962 and continues to be a backbone of the local society. Yacht and dinghy races are arranged year-round, as well as motorboat events, training (safety, navigation, boat handling, and more), and fishing competitions. The club is equal opportunity – you don’t need to own your own boat to get involved. Just remember – if you’ve been out fishing all day, a visit to your holiday home away from home for a quick shower is recommended before you head to the yacht club!
Warm Days and Pleasant Nights
The climate of Newhaven and Churchill Island is quite similar to Melbourne. If you have timed your holiday for December, January, or February, you should expect warmer days, with an average high temperature of about 23.5 degrees Celsius. Should you prefer cooler climate, plan to journey to Newhaven in June through August. Winter nights can get quite cool, with average lows of 6.5 – 7.5 degrees Celsius. Your holiday rental home in Newhaven will need both air conditioning an central heating.
Making The Trip Holidaymakers from the UK will find the trip rather easy to arrange.
• Confirm the booking for your holiday rental home or villa. In a township as intimate as Newhaven, rentals will fill up quickly in peak seasons, as Phillip Island is a preferred destination.
• Decide on an airport. Whether you prefer to use London City, Heathrow, Gatwick, or Stansted, your choice of any major air carrier will have multiple scheduled flights to Melbourne.
• On arrival at Melbourne’s airport, hire a car. The drive is about two hours south-southeast of the airport. Drive to San Remo, then across the bridge to Phillip Island.