Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Into the wild

Today was a totally different kind of day.  We took a tour out of town to Phillip Island.  Phillip Island is Southeast of Melbourne at the mouth of Western Port Bay.  It is known for the Koala Conservatory, The Penguin Parade, and wineries.

We were picked up at our hotel by Go West Tours and guided for our day by our capable guide Nicky.



After about an hour and a half drive to Phillip Island, our first stop was at a Bush Tucker farm.  Bush Tucker refers to any food native to Australia which is used for sustenance by the indigenous people.  It generally refers to both plant and animal, however, more modern use refers to edible native Australian plants.  We walked through the plants being raised at the farm, which included such plants as the bush tomato


the broad leaved peppermint gum


and the native spinach or Warrigal greens.


We then had lunch where the food was made with some of the plants either as flavoring or as an ingredient.  It was quite tasty.

Our next stop was at the Koala Conservatory.  What a photo opportunity there.  They fenced off an area already inhabited by Koala’s using low fences.


The Koala in their native habitat viewing was really great.




There were also Wallabies (small Kangaroos)


and we even caught sight of a pair of Kookaburras.


these are often heard but rarely seen in the wild.

From there we made our way to what is known as the Penguin Parade.  The penguins in this case are the Little Penguin also called the Little Blue Penguin.  Every evening shortly after sunset, these 33 cm tall, 1 kg penguins make their way from a day of fishing in the ocean back onto land and to their burrows.  Their burrows are generally holes dug into the side of a hill, but in an effort to maintain the population, man-made burrows are also provided (the penguins take to them readily).


Because camera flash bothers the penguins, photography during the daily migration is not allowed, but what a sight to see a few thousand of this little penguins make their way from the sea, across the shore and make their way to their individual burrows.  The following pictures were purchased at the site and are included here give you and idea of what we saw this evening.




We got back to our hotel late in the evening after a wonderful day.

To add to the wildlife theme of todays entry here are a couple of pictures taken yesterday of birds we saw.

Black Swans  and Coots


Common Myna


and Cormorants


Tomorrow we leave Melbourne and travel to Perth, on the west coast (and Indian Ocean).  Check back for our next report.

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