Friday, July 8, 2016

Melbourne: Phillip Island and Penguin Parade

We took a full day tour out to Phillip Island, about a 90-minute drive from the central city of Melbourne, and home to the famous Penguin Parade of little blue penguins. It was a full and fun day seeing animals and not having to worry about transportation or what to do next. Sometimes that’s nice when you’re on vacation. This was also a gift that we prebooked.

At the Maru Wildlife Park we got to pet wallabies and kangaroos and see several other Australian animals in a small area. We saw our first joey in its pouch, and since we were there early, all of the wallabies and kangaroos actually were interested in the food that others had purchased to feed them and were a lot friendlier than the saturated animals in Brisbane! The joey was very cute, and it was also funny how its mom dragged it along, claws out and all, as she moved around.

How cute is this little joey!!




Snapped one of this fella mid-eating :)

Sleeping Tasmanian devil

Pretty peacock strutting around the kangaroo and wallaby enclosure
We had lunch at a little beach area and then had a brief stop at a chocolate factory. It was a total tourist trap with high prices for the big gift shop and cafĂ©. Nothing is as good as Whittaker’s chocolate here in NZ to me anymore anyway.

Next our tour guide drove around the far end of the island to look for wildlife and try to spot some penguins in their burrows. The wind was bitingly cold, but I am more used to it since living in Christchurch weather so was able to tolerate it pretty well. We saw some wild wallabies and lots of wild Cape Barren geese and beautiful coastline, which reminded me of California.

wild wallaby

little blue penguin in its burrow

Cape Barren goose

another little blue penguin

This is where you go after dark to watch the penguin parade.
No photos are allowed but this meant we could enjoy it without worrying about photos.
Once at the Penguin Parade when the sun was almost setting, we ate our packed dinner and headed to the stands out on the beach to watch the penguins come in after a day at sea. There were several groups of them that came in and they were so cute! The seagulls were a bit of an obstacle, standing menacingly in their way, and the penguins made several attempts before finally going up. Then they were flooding the hills past the beach as they dried off near their burrows. They were talking a lot (sounded like ducks or babies) and their sounds filled the air. On the walk back, we also saw a possum with its big eyes (they look very different from North American possums), but they are herbivores and won’t eat the penguins (cats and foxes will though). I was still hungry when we got back at night, so we roamed the streets and wound up getting Korean fried garlic chicken - it didn't taste that different from regular though.

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