AKA Best Day EVER!!!!
So… today Kevin and I went on tour of Phillip Island, a beautiful island south of Melbourne. I hugged a kangaroo, cuddled with a koala, and saw an adorable colony of Little Penguins waddle ashore to their burrows. Aahhh! Obviously this is the moment I have been waiting for ever since I bought my plane ticket to Australia!
Kevin and I booked a tour with Autopia Tours. They picked us up at St. Paul’s Cathedral in a small bus. Our tour guide/bus driver, Ben, was this blonde dude dressed in a safari-like outfit, which made me think, “wow, he looks like an authentic Australian!” haha. On the bus he had us introduce ourselves, and the group consisted of people from Korea, Germany, and all these exotic places. I was kind of surprised to be the only one from the States, although I guess that is a very American point of view, to think that Americans are the majority of tourists everywhere. Meh.
A little after the pickup, we stopped by a little rural town called Touradin for lunch. Ben brought us food, and the choices of sandwiches were ham and salad, egg and salad, chicken and salad, or… salad and salad. Haha. I got an egg and salad sandwich and drank some Milo, which is a bigger thing here than in the States, I think.
After that, we went to Maru Koala and Animal Park, which to be honest, was the total highlight of my day. For $2, you could purchase food to feed the kangaroos with – totally worth it because they go right up to you if they see you with food, and plus, it seems like every other animal at the park also wanted a nibble. For another $18, you can get a “close encounter” with a koala, which includes a picture. Kevin and I each bought both, because, when else am I ever going to get close and personal with a koala?
When we entered the park, a feature presentation was starting, so we went and watched zookeepers bring out the most adorable animals, including an albino opossum named Honey and an albino kangaroo named Luna. So adorable! In nature, albinism is dangerous because it rids the animal of any camouflage its natural color would give it. So, the wildlife park “steals” them away for their protection so they can live happily in the park. They asked for two people to answer a question and for them to come up and touch the kangaroos, and I almost did… and Kevin encouraged me to raise my hand, but I’m shy 😦 And they ended up calling up kids to go up, anyways, so… yeah. Man I miss being a kid 😦
After that I went into the kangaroo/wallaby enclosure and headed straight to a group of roos resting in the shade in the back.
Oh my gosh, I went crazy! hahaha. The roos came right up to me, and they were even kind of aggressive about it… I held some in my hand, and one roo even held my hand with their claws while they scooped up every last food pellet in my hand. Ahhhhhhhhh!
So yeah, I got really excited and I was probably derping everywhere in happiness. This is the best place in the world.
After that, we went to get our “close encounter” with a koala. So apparently it’s illegal for visitors to hold koalas, because they get stressed out very easily. So the koala was perched on a branch, and the zookeeper let us hold a twig of eucalyptus for him to eat while pictures were taken.
They will take a photo of you to be printed out, but you can also take pictures with your personal camera, which is awesome! I TOUCHED A KOALA GUYS. He was so cute and fluffy.
The park also featured “emus” like above, birds, Tasmanian devils, and other Australian animals. Unfortunately it was time to leave, so we piled back into the bus and headed to Phillip Island!
Along the way our bus driver Ben told us some stuff about Phillip Island and its history. Like there is a bridge that leads straight there, which is convenient (it’s not that far from the mainland). Also, apparently in the past a bunch of people moved on to the island, but it was disturbing the wildlife, so the government bought all the property back. There is a large lake called Swan Lake, which is the only freshwater source on the island. We first stopped by a beach, where I frolicked in the sand and got my pants wet 😦 Which is the most uncomfortable feeling ever. Sigh. Then we went to the “Nobbies”, where we took some pictures, although it was HELLA windy. We stopped by a town called Cowe for dinner. There was a restaurant called “Mad Cowe” HAHAHAHAH get it? We didn’t end up eating there though 😛
Finally, it was time for what we came for, and what the tour was all about – the Penguin Parade! They build huge grandstands on the shore just for this attraction. Kevin and I got a seat close to the bottom of the stands, so we had a good view of the groups of little penguins forming in the waters. It was like this… “nothing…nothing..nothing.. OH LOOK WHAT’S THAT?? oh it’s just a rock… NO IT’S A PENGUIN! LOOK KEVIN IT’S A PENGUIN – oh wait, NOW THERE’S TWO! Ohmigosh, now there’s three! It’s a whole group of them!”
The penguins are huge scaredy-cats, so they will try to cross the beach, then change their mind and run back to the water, and they will do this several times. At times a large group will be halfway across the sands, when one penguin in the back will suddenly run back, and a couple more at the back will follow, and finally the whole group runs back, because, you know, safety in numbers.
Unfortunately photography was not allowed during this event, since flash hurts the penguin’s eyes, and there is no way to enforce the no-flash rule, so cameras, phones, and other things like that aren’t allowed out at all. But that’s alright, because that’s why we have memories 🙂
We followed the penguins all the way up the hill (kudos to those tiny legs for being able to waddle all the way up) and to their chicks. Their chicks look like they are fully grown (since the adults are so small, it’s hard to tell haha), but you can tell they are still chicks because of their fur. They still have the long, fluffy baby bird fur. So cute! Some of the penguins though, just waddled up, stopped in the middle of nowhere, and just stood there. And the chicks as well, they were just standing there… I’m not really sure what that’s about
So yeah, that was pretty much my day, also the best day of my life, like ever. I freaking touched a kangaroo, koala, and saw penguins, so yeah, definitely a bucket list kind of day, I’d say.