Koalas go wild... for the camera
Trip Start Oct 12, 2005
118Trip End Mar 23, 2006
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Yesterday I didn't feel much better but borrowed a bike anyway and wobbled off to the Phillip Island Koala Conservation Centre. Hired bikes are always a bit of a toss-up and this was quite odd: a little small for me, with very low handlebars and noticeable amounts of rust on the spokes of the front wheel. Still it got me there & back. Victoria also has compulsory bike helmet laws, which they seem to think is a good thing. By contrast with the bike, the borrowed helmet was definitely too big for me and no amount of fiddling with the straps made it comfortable. It did at least stay on and as I didn't fall off the question of whether it was actually effective fortunately didn't arise! When I got to the centre I found that the key I had didn't match the bike lock, but no one pinched the bike anyway
The koala conservation centre was really nice: a patch of bush land where Phillip Island's koala population lives protected from development but they do have to put up with people coming and looking at them every day! Not that it seems to bother them much: most of the time they stay in their tree fork sleeping. But this centre has a couple of raised boardwalks which are about half way up tree height and the people get a better view from there. And the koalas get a good view of us too.
It being breeding season there were plenty of young koalas. There are only about 20 koalas in this area but there were 4 babies, 3 of which were big enough to be out of their pouches and climbing around. One of these was too little to leave its mother but was crawling around, hanging onto her fur and taking a few experimental bits of eucalyptus. It was the cutest little thing!!!
Then there was a fuss from the other side of the boardwalk because another of the mothers had climbed down out of her tree and was sitting on the boardwalk fence, just inches from the watching people, posing for the cameras. She spent several minutes there while we all watched: she was particularly taken by the children and they were equally taken: although you're not supposed to touch koalas (apparently Victoria even has a law about it!) no child is going to not touch a baby koala sitting within a few inches of it
After that, seeing the other koalas was not quite so exciting, but they are all very cute!! Afternoon was spent nursing the horrid cold.
In the evening I went to a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, put on by the local amateur theatre/musical company. Which was mostly quite good. Inevitably some of the singers were better than others, but G&S is harder than it sounds so it really wasn't bad (except there was one sailor who sadly was not able to sing on the note!).
Today I'm leaving Phillip Island to return to Melbourne, but not until very late in the evening because I'm going to the Penguin Parade: the whole reason for coming down here in the first place. Then tomorrow in Melbourne and off to Canberra early on Monday morning!
Oh, and the parking fine people wrote back to say "we don't care that you had no idea about our stupid rules, you still have to pay the fine". Which is only to be expected I suppose, but very annoying. I have written back to say "OK I'll pay the fine but please put details about your stupid rules in tourist brochures because it's a shit introduction to your city being fined for something you've never heard of". Doubt they will though- it'd reduce the revenue!