It's the time of year when family and friends gather together at Phillip Island to enjoy conversation and share the beach and other natural wonders. Our population swells from around 7000 to 70,000.
The highlights of a visit to Swan Lake (a 10 minute drive from home) were the sighting of a pair of rare freckled ducks, a large copperhead snake and the vista of extensive wetlands alive with water birds and butterflies.
A nest -- occupied by two cute swallow chicks -- sat snugly inside one of the two bird hides; while all around, New Zealand spinach draped itself artistically over fences and low shrubs.
On the beach, kids splashed in the shallows and then moulded sand into the shape of an armchair and also castles with all the trimmings. Overhead, kites flew and gulls soared.
This is January on Phillip Island.