It feels good to be back online! I know there are many, many adventures that I should be writing about before this one, as I haven’t posted any new stories since September (maybe October, I can’t really remember) – but this one is big. I’m talking 6’2″ emu big. And don’t forget, for the videos in this post, you can click on “HD” to see them in nice, shiny high def.
Today, Samara’s parents (who are in Australia for another week) took the three of us to Phillip Island for the day. Well, actually, Mitch took us to Phillip Island (he drove), but Samara’s parents were the catalyst for this trip.
UPDATE: To situate you, Phillip Island is about 2 hours from Melbourne, and to get onto the island you have to cross over a bridge.
Upon arriving on Phillip Island, we made two brief ad hoc stops before we jumped into Samara’s meticulously planned itinerary – the first was a scenic lookout that was beautiful but warmed us up to the annoying flies that we would face the rest of the day – they especially like your ears and nostrils, and also love the colour yellow:
The second stop was at a chocolate factory where we all had free samples and some of us got a chocolate-dipped banana. Deeeeelish. That was the “amuse bouche” before lunch in Cowes – a town on Phillip Island. Ironically, the town of “Cowes” is 100% vegetarian.
No, it’s not. That was a poor attempt at humour.
After lunch we went to an amazing animal park where they have most animals out in the wild, and the more dangerous ones behind fences. It was very cool, because none of the animals were tagged so it felt like we were really walking through their natural habitat – in many cases, we were. The first animals we saw were the koalas and some geese. One goose really had a problem with Samara’s mom:
After the shocking reality of having someone in our party bitten by a goose, we all decided (Mitch took the lead) that we will no feed any more birds. We continued through the sanctuary, LOOKING at birds and feeding other animals from our little brown bag of dried something-or-other which looked like a beige version of those delicious orange-colored Chinese noodles.
We saw an echidna which looks like a porcupine, and we also saw some cassowaries, which are big birds – HUGE birds that look like turkeys wearing helmets. Also, please note that the cassowary can disembowel a human – so it is not advised to feed these birds using your anus.
Next up, we walked through a field of cute, little wallabies. Obviously, because of my sensitive touch, I was the first to successfully hand-feed the little guys. The first “guy” I fed turned out to be a female – which you’ll notice I acknowledge a little bit into the video below – then we witnessed a little joey climbing into her pouch! It was amazing to see in person – I caught most of it here:
Then Mitch gave me some amazing ideas of different ways to feed the animals. We didn’t try any of them because we want to stay in Australia as long as we can. Upon special request, I can send you a video of one of his ideas…
Walking along, we saw a Tasmanian Devil which I think looks like a little bear – Mitch thinks it looks like a dog. Who’s right? See for yourself:
We then entered a huge open field with emus and in the distance, Mitch and I thought we saw some more roos. As Mitch and I were walking in the field towards the kangaroos, Samara and her mom were attacked by emus – these birds are massive and don’t look very friendly. Also, Mitch found a really big, fresh pile of either emu, kangaroo, or gardener poop (there was a guy mowing the lawn close by) so we turned around and went to see the dingoes:
Determined to see some more real, live, and full-sized kangaroos, Mitch and I went back to the large field and marched through the poop to where there were probably a dozen male and female kangaroos, including one MASSIVE male (who I later found out is really old) and one large male. We got very up-close and personal:
After the time we spent with the animals, we went to check out some magnificent views of the Nobbies – two large rock formations just off the shore. We saw tons of seagulls (I’m not sure that’s the technical term for the birds we saw) nesting, and a giant blowhole that shoots ocean water out into a mist. Cool beans. Following this, we went for dinner in preparation for our 8:34pm showing of the Penguin Parade.
Famous for being home to the world’s smallest penguins, Phillip Island hosts a daily penguin ritual that is really amazing. Each morning at sunrise (or just before) groups of penguins leave their burrows and their families behind to head out into the ocean to fish for food. These tiny penguins hit the ocean on these fishing trips for weeks at a time. And every night as the sun sets, hundreds and even thousands of penguins who have completed their respective fishing expeditions, approach the shore and in multiple large groups, make a mad dash for land, where they will find their burrows and families.
We were at this one beach where they have a grand stand that seats 4,000 people to gather and watch these little waddling penguins nervously negotiate their way across about 20 feet of beach sand to safety on grass. The danger these guys face is from birds of prey who are the most dangerous predator to the penguins.
It was an incredible thing to watch – because it was 100% natural. The penguins aren’t trained or domesticated in any way – and the park rangers predict when we’ll see the penguins based on what time the sun sets. Apparently, the penguins hang out about 200 metres from shore as the sun begins to set, and watch the sky. They make their move when (a) they feel confident their predators will not be able to see them due to lack of sunlight, and (b) the tide is playing in their favour – and that they won’t have too much beach to cross.
We weren’t allowed to film or take photos, but you can see more about this here. It was a really cool experience.
Overall, Phillip Island was a hit. Thanks to the Zavalkoff (and Shein) party for inviting me to join!