March of the Penguins - Aussie Style
Trip Start May 23, 2009
18Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Philip Island Eco-Resort
Not only is the island home to the Penguins, there are several sanctuaries for homeless or injured local animals
The Philip Island Wildlife Sanctuary was incredible. They have rescued a wide variety of Australian/Tasman animals, from kangaroos and wallabies, to wombats, dingos, emus, all kinds of parrots and cockatoos, snakes, bats, and even Tasmanian Devils. Because these animals will never be released again in the wild, they allow you to purchase pellet feed and actually walk around and feed them. It was awesome to have a kangaroo licking your hand and a little unnerving letting a giant emu peck at your hand or sneak up behind you to steal a treat from your bag while you are not looking. It was a great way to get up close to these beautiful animals, not quite as exciting as seeing them in the wild, but obviously takes a bit of luck to do that. Becca's favorite was the cassowary (another giant bird) and the emus, Val loved the wombats, Tristan and Jerry were fond of the kangaroos.
Next we went to the Penguin Parade. The Little Penguin swims around in the ocean all day and then at dusk when it is just dark enough, they emerge from the water and trek across the beach up into the dunes to their burrows
Sunday was the Koala Conversation Centre. Currently home to about 20 koalas, they have a boardwalk that meanders through the treetops so you can get quite close to see them, although they move really slowly so the workers put up protectiver barriers so you can't get too close
And then lastly we visited the wild "Nobbies", a majestic, quite violent stretch of the coast that is incredibly beautiful with the crashing waves, "blow holes" and ragged coast. The visitors center there has amazing views of Seal Rocks where you can see the seals through the binoculars. All that and fish n' chips as well!
So that was our first real trip out of the Melbourne and to the coast. There is a lot more to do on Philip Island such as visit the wineries, they have Grand Prix motorcyle racing, loads of biking and hiking trails, surf fishing, surfing and charters for offshore fishing. We will go back in the summer and spend more time really exploring this place. But this was a good start.
Spring and warmer weather will be here soon, and we think one of our next trips will be to see the Twelve Apostles, beaches and towns along the great ocean road west of Melbourne!