On Friday 5th January 1798, Bass reached Phillip Island and wrote;
I have named the place from its relative situation to every other known harbour on the coast, Western Port.....The land around Western Port is low but hilly. The grass and ferns grow luxuriantly and yet the country is but thinly and lightly timbered. The gum tree, she and swamp oaks, are the most common trees..little patches of brush are to be met with everywhere. The island is but barren. Starved shrubs grow upon the higher land, and the lower is nothing better than sandy beaches, at this time dried up...we saw a few brush kangaroo, the wallabah, but no other kind. Swans may be seen here, hundreds in flight, and ducks, a small but excellent kind. There is an abundance of most kinds of wildfowl.Phillip Island is very different now. Agriculture, tourism, and a race track are all important components but the natural environment is protected in certain areas. We didn't have time to explore Cape Wollamai but it would be good to go there in the summer when the shearwaters in their hundreds fly back to their burrows.
(From Journey of a Whaleboat Voyage, Bass' own account)
We visited Churchill Island, joined to Phillip Island by a causeway. We found a Cape Barren Goose and family of chicks beside the causeway road.