Although Phillip Island is located about 1600 km south of Mitchell (Queensland), today's temperature on the island exceeded that in Mitchell. It was 37°C compared to 34C in Mitchell. But by evening, on the island, there'll be a cool breeze blowing off the ocean and tomorrow is only predicted to be 22°C.
With memories of Black Saturday still imprinted in the minds of all Victorians, days like this (with temperatures exceeding 40°C in some places, very strong northerly winds, low humidity and a high fuel load) cause most people anxiety. On Phillip Island, however, we are in a fortunate position with water all around. A bushfire on the island is limited in the distance it can burn. Penguin and mutton bird rookeries are the most vulnerable places because of all the dry tussocky grasses and coastal scrub that covers the burrows dug into the sand. Every mutton bird burrow contains a parent sitting on an egg; every penguin burrow is likely to contain one or two downy chicks . It would be an environmental catastrophe if a bushfire burned through a rockery.
Since arriving back on the island in early December, it's been consistently too cold for me; too cold for Stego lizard who's slipped into a state of hibernation (sensible boy!); and too cold for my bonsai bottle trees. There have been no new leaves since we left Mitchell.