Kerry and Michael O’Leary drive from Melbourne to Phillip Island for the summer break almost every year. The couple enjoyed a scenic walk near the Cowes Jetty last Tuesday evening. mm030419

BASS Coast has some of the most incredible views – and beaches – in Australia, making it the perfect place to explore by foot or bike.
Although there’s more than 30 formal tracks and walks in the shire, the Sentinel-Times has picked the top 10 to explore this summer.
The George Bass Coastal Walk tops the list with stunning views of the local beaches as the seven-kilometre track stretches from the outskirts of San Remo to Kilcunda.
It’s a challenging bike ride with steep hills but plenty of spots to sit and take in the views.
The Bass Coast Rail Trail links up with the George Bass Coastal Walk at the Kilcunda bridge.
The trail then continues onto Wonthaggi or you can backtrack a few hundred metres, cross the road and head over to Anderson and then up to the Woolamai Race Track.
The trail passes through historic mine sites and totals 17km from Anderson to Wonthaggi.
You can walk amongst the wildlife and wetlands at the Rhyll Inlet State Wildlife Reserve.
Start from Rhyll Park and head up towards Reid Street and then McIlwraith Road and enjoy a trip through the bush or start at Conservation Hill Reserve off Cowes-Rhyll Road.
The reserve features a boardwalk through the wetlands and if you look closely in the water, you might spot some fish.
The hill reserve features a small lookout tower with views across the bay.
If you’re awake at the crack of dawn, it’s worth walking along the beach from the Cowes Yacht Club to the jetty and then along to Erehwon Point.
It’s not a long walk – less than 1km – but it’s a spectacular way to start your day, as the sun rises and the first light shines on the water.
You can then take a different route, along The Esplanade, back to the yacht club while stopping at a local café for a coffee.
The Nobbies boardwalk on Phillip Island is a picture-perfect spot to take a panoramic photo on your phone and stretch it onto a canvas.
Bring a long camera lens and you could snap some photos of wildlife at Seal Rocks.
In the right conditions, there’s also a magnificent blowhole which spurts seawater into the sky. It’s a short trip – about 800m return.
The Gurdies
For keen bushwalkers, there’s a 260-hectare nature conservation reserve at The Gurdies – opposite Pioneer Bay.
It features a range of flora and fauna, and in some parts offers bay views through the trees.
There’s a small car park off the Bass Highway with a picnic table so you can enjoy a snack after your walk. Make sure you bring Aerogard too!
Coronet Bay
For nature lovers, there’s also a 3.3km walk from Coronet Bay to Corinella.
Park at the end of Norsemens Road and head in the opposite direction to the dog off-leash area to finish at the Corinella Jetty.
The jetty’s also undergoing a multi-million-dollar upgrade to make it one of the finest boating and fishing spots in the area.
The Bass Coast Shire Council’s spent a lot of money over the years installing a footpath along Surf Parade in Inverloch, so it’s worth checking out this coastal walk.
Although the beach is mostly hidden by trees, it’s a great path to ride a bike with bollards separating traffic from pedestrians.
The Screw Creek track to Townsend Bluff at the eastern end of town is more for the nature lovers.
If there was anything for the locals to gain for a giant multi-billion-dollar desalination plant being constructed in their backyards, it’s that it features a magnificent walking trail.
The 225-hectare reserve features several viewing decks, history boards and wildlife. The desalination plant is off Lower Powlett Road, Dalyston – just outside of Wonthaggi.
If you want to explore every route, you could spend up to three hours at the reserve.
Cape Paterson
Take in the stunning Cape Paterson coastline along the 700m foreshore track off Surf Beach Road.
You’ll pass the Wonthaggi Life Saving Club – and might even spot a few Nippers – and a makeshift swimming pool.
In the early 1900s, miners let off explosives to create a rectangular sea water pool surrounded by rocks.