PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia -- Waddles of penguins emerge from the freezing ocean at nightfall, retreating to their hillside boroughs after hunting for food during the day.
It's one of many natural spectacles for tourists who come to this island off Melbourne for a flesh and bones experience of what they see on National Geographic channel. On dry land, the flightless birds rest, socialize and sometimes, mate.
During winter, the occasional drizzle and strong winds make the air feel a lot colder than the 12 degrees Celsius reading. Melbourne, after all, is just short of 6,000 kilometers from the nearest Australian outpost in Antarctica.
A single penguin jumping out of the water is a signal that the long and cold wait is over. It's the head of the waddle that signals to the rest near that it's safe to sprint from the beach to the hill.
Cameras of all kinds, including smartphones, are prohibited so as not to disturb the flightless birds' daily routine. It's an experience unspoiled by the need to capture the perfect angle for a Facebook or Instagram post.
Wallabies, which look like kangaroos except they're smaller, look on from the roadside as tour buses go down the hill to the penguin-watching boardwalk.
Further inland is a koala sanctuary, where tourists can watch the plump marsupials on eucalyptus trees, which are both their homes and food source.
Koalas sleep for up to 18 hours a day, owing to their monotonous diet of greens.
From the plane, some parts of the Australian landscape look orange, highlighting the continent's unique landscape.
On Phillip Island the weather that shifts from sunny to drizzling gives the lake an almost gradient hue, from red on the beach to blue and purple waters.
Tourists can also immerse themselves in farm life with sheep-shearing, cow-milking and whip-cracking activities. Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of milk, butter and cheese.
Cebu Pacific, the Philippines' largest airline, launched its Manila to Melbourne route on Aug. 14, offering one-way fares for as low as P9,000.
Melbourne is Cebu Pacific's second Australian destination after Sydney.