Getting down and dirty (30) with the penguins – A trip to Phillip’s island

11 08 2011

Item’s I have learned today:

I knew there was hostility between Melb and Sydney, I am now realizing that it is even greater between Australia and New Zealand.

Apparently education-fest 2011 has decided to continue on at work. Although my co-workers have now started to give some advice on New Zealand, after first warning that the entire country is JUST sheep and goats.

Next I was told that I would make TONS of friends by telling lots and lots of sheep jokes. Apparently they were more interested in getting me beaten up then giving me sound advice.
You gotta love the wonderful Australian sense of humor.

Finally I was instructed that my vocabulary upon arriving in NZ will consist entirely of saying things like “Choice Bro!”
Sigh…

I have now wrapped up at Downer Engineering, I must say I am not all that sad to be leaving the 90 minute commute to blackburn behind, but I will miss the people! Especially my co worker Meagan, we worked really hard at scoping out and ranking the boys we worked with.. ahem.. I mean we just worked really hard!

Megs and I "working"

Megs and I "working"

I start my last job in Australia tomorrow at Macquarie Bank. It’s strange, no matter how many temp jobs I do, I still get nervous about the first day! This job is only for a few weeks, I will just be covering an ea/pa while she goes on holiday for a few weeks. One of the executives of the bank won Australian of the Year (I kid you not) so I am sure they are going to be wonderful, lovely people… but it still doesn’t help the nerves prior to actually being there!

Anyway, back to the actual purpose of this blog update – I went to Phillip’s Island to celebrate my 30th birthday! I knew that I wanted to travel somewhere, I was hoping to do the great barrier reef, but with my inability to NOT work, I ended up booking a day trip 90 minutes outside of Melbourne. HEY… at least I did SOMETHING! sheesh.

My friend Becks decided to join me, so it was up nice and early to meet at the bunyip office. I had done one other tour with this company. Danae, my tour guide for that particular tour happened to working in the bunyip office. She proceeded to wish me happy birthday and call me a HUGE bore all within my 5 minutes of being there. My bday was off to a great start!

Dingo!

Dingo!


Our first stop was the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Park. While there we saw a one eyed dingo (he had cataracts or something and had to have it surgically removed.. I was obviously paying a good deal of attention), sleeping tazmanian devils (although we couldn’t really see much of them as they were hidden in a log) and we fed the wallaby’s (animals that look like small kangeroo’s)
Becks making friends with the wallaby's

Becks making friends with the wallaby's

Me getting scared they were going to eat my hand, rather than my food

Me getting scared they were going to eat my hand, rather than my food

Mama and Baby Wallaby!

Mama and Baby Wallaby!

Last but not least it was off to take a picture with the Koala. He was a cute stubburn little guy, who apparently would only tolerate his picture being taken for about 30 seconds. Such a diva!! He kept trying to crawl off the log and back into his home.
His name was blue feet or bear… or something (my memory kinda sucks).
Here we are!

Me and blue something (my new name for him) up close

Me and blue something (my new name for him) up close


Me and blue something from afar. The staff member had to keep the branches up to keep him from leaving! He obviously  loved me dearly.

Me and blue something from afar. The staff member had to keep the branches up to keep him from leaving! He obviously loved me dearly.

Next stop was the Koala Conservation Center. It was here that I learned exactly how anti-social koala’s are. I already knew that they slept 20 hours a day (due to their diet of eucalyptus leaves… which has pretty much no nutritional content.. kind of like my own diet) but apparently there can not be more than one male in an area… even fathers and sons need to be separated. They don’t form family units! What a sad lonely little sleeping world! They also apparently have no predators, which helps to explain why they are completely lethargic and apathetic to the world at large.

On that happy note it was off to Churchill island – which was the site of the first european settlement in Victoria.
Here we saw cattle being chased around by a cute dog, and a sheep being sheared. We also visited some of the oldest houses in Victoria.. keeping in mind that Australia is a young country, so their oldest buildings were from about 1872.

Forgot the name - they are from Scotland though and live on Churchill Island

Forgot the name - they are from Scotland though and live on Churchill Island

Rough Day at the barn...

Rough Day at the barn...

Old Victorian Houses

Old Victorian Houses

Now here’s an interesting fact about the houses that were preserved. They belonged to the land owners at that time, and I am sure were considered to be nice large homes, but by society standards these days they would be quaint little cottages!

"Mansion" number two

"Mansion" number two

We made a pit stop at a surf beach before heading on

Becks and I at the beach - as you can tell it was a really WARM day

Becks and I at the beach - as you can tell it was a really WARM day

Next it was off to the nobbies to try and look at little black specks on the island that were supposedly seals.

An Evening Tea at the Nobbies

An Evening Tea at the Nobbies


Becks and I walked along the boardwalk and had a nice cup of tea before heading off to the whole reason of this trip – the penguin Parade!

Now as much as I would like to think that the penguins came out just to wish me a happy birthday, that is sadly not the case. It was discoved in the 1920’s that without fail the penguins would come out of the water daily at sundown and waddle off to their little burrows. By the 1950’s it had become a regular tourist attraction and it is now a 100 million dollar a year tourist attraction. Small change if you ask me 🙂

What amazed me most about the penguins, was not how incredibly cute they were, and their little waddling was, but the fact that they were literally not scared of humans at all! Of course we were sectioned off in little gated areas so we could not go out and touch them, but they still would go right on by just inches away! I actually have a purpose and reason for using other peoples pictures of them, Photography is not allowed as the flash scares the penguins and people have apparently not mastered the ability to turn off their flashes.. so no cameras what so ever are allowed near the parade.

Photo courtesy of bunyip tours

Photo courtesy of bunyip tours

All in all it was a great birthday! I got to pet a koala that had absolutely no interest in being touched and see a few hundred penguins make their way home, something I will never forget.

Now all I need to do is survive day one at the new job tomorrow!
Until next time my friends 🙂


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2 responses

11 08 2011
LC

Love it Maria! Glad to see you had a memorable 30th birthday! I think we did a pretty similar tour. Just a quick question….after the penguins got to there little nests…what were they doing after???

11 08 2011
mariavandenburg

Is that a trick question??? I’m pretty sure they are headed home to sleep…

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