So I have just completed two days of trips out of Melbourne where I have been lucky to see yet more amazing wildlife. Sadly the weather has not been all that good but what I have seen has been great.
Yesterday was a trip to Phillip Island, famous for its colony of little penguins. The trip was run by Bunyip and very well run, there was a fairly long drive to Churchill Island first, a smaller island off Phillip Island which is set up as a heritage centre showing life as it was when the first settlers came over. This was a bit touristy and with the weather dull I retreated for a coffee and slice of chocolate cake in the cafe which was delicious. The island was nice to see a number of waterfowl, namely cape barren geese, ibis and plovers.
Next was onto the Koala Conservation Centre where the koalas are rehabilitated but allowed to roam free and a number were seen, together with one that was awake (quite rare!) and enjoying some eucalyptus. No matter how many I see they are still very cute! Next on the list was a beach trip and finally the sun was peeking through. This beach was the beautiful Woolami beach and with not many tourists and a stunning long beach it was a lovely sight.
After this we moved onto Nobbies - an area of countryside and sea set aside just for seabirds, penguins and lots of wallabies. This is where the famous penguin parade takes place, but as this only takes place after sunset we had some time to wander round the boardwalk, trying to spot the baby penguins in the burrows and numerous different types of seabirds, including some birds of prey. As it started to get dark it was down to the beach to wait for the penguins.
It is clear that the authorities have the penguins welfare at heart. There are lots of rangers telling people where they can and can't sit, photography was absolutely not to be used and specific areas had been roped off. The penguins are wild and come in from their days fishing to head for their burrows. As it was dark it is difficult to intially see the penguins waddle in from the sea but then you spot the white bellies moving and large groups of little penguins come up past people squawking as they go! After this it was back to Melbourne and a late night about midnight.
Today I woke to pouring rain which did not let up for most of the day. I was off to Wilsons Prom today, the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and the start was a long 3 hour drive, although on the way we saw a number of wallabies grazing on the side of the road. Once there the rain eased a little for a short wildlife walk where wild kangaroos, black cockatoos and an emu were seen.
The next stop was a walk up Mount Bishop but the rain had got much heavier again and I got soaked, although the view at the top was impressive. A walk back down and a cup of coffee gave a chance for the rain to ease a little again and some sightings of parrots and a kookaburra up in a tree. A quick trip to Squeaky Beach to end the day before the drive back, a very pretty little beach with some amazing rock formations, white sand, a chance for a quick paddle and a sighting of an Albatross.
Although the weather has not been good the past couple of days I have still been very lucky to see some great wildlife. Tomorrow night I move up to Sydney and I am hoping for better weather and more lovely walks.