Saturday, February 1, 2014

Kanagoos, Wallabies and Penguins, oh my!

Our last days in Melbourne were just as packed with activities as the all the other days. We returned from Benalla around noon and boarded a bus for Phillips Island. We drove along the coastal highway which gave us a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean. Our guide was exceptional. He had a thorough knowledge of the history of Australia, past and present. I wish I could his presentation on tape. He was that good. Even when he was talking about the plant life, he took the time to stop the bus, get samples of what he was talking about so we could actually see and touch the plant. He also brought photographs and maps to pass around. This extra effort on his part made for lasting impressions on Katherine. Flies are a problem for this part of Australia. Mostly due to the increased cattle population and the fact they are not allowed to use any pesticides. Bats were imported but they soon found out the vast, flat land and lack of trees and foliage for the bats, made it difficult for them to fly long distances. The farmers willingly gave up parts of their pastures to allow the government to build bat refuges for them to land in. As you drive along you can see sections of pastures fenced off and large bushes and plants for the bats to land. Our first stop was the Koala conservation Center. I thought Katherine was going to get off before the bus came to a stop! She has wanted to hold a Koala for as long as I can remember. After playing with the Koala we went into the petting zoo. It was full of kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras and Cape Barren geese. It was a hot day so many of the Kangaroos were under a porch. No problem for Katherine. She just climbed under it to be surrounded by them. A girl and her animals! Check out the albino one. Our next stop was a favorite surfing spot and a point where there is a hole in the ozone layer! Our driver said you can burn in just 5 minutes and a bad one at that. Did you know Australia is boarded by 2 oceans and 3 seas? This stop is the Tasman Sea and a segment of the Pacific Ocean. The water is cold but that didn’t stop the surfers. We arrived at Phillip Island’s famous penguin parade. Home the penguins, smallest of their species. You are not allowed to photograph so I have included a video so you can see what we saw. Our front row seats on the beach made us feel like we were in a Disney movie. You stared so hard at each wave and just as the wave breaks, the penguins just pop up. They waddle to the dunes and some how manage to find there own burrow, every time. Katherine had her own penguin encounter. A penguin came up to within 1 foot of her and they just stared at each other. I wish I could have had a photo of that. I have included a link so you can see what we saw. Our day ended at 1:00am. Way past my bedtime but well worth it!

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