After almost a week of exploring the nooks and crannies of Australia, we’ve seen very little wildlife. Today, we decided to change that! We booked a tour of Phillips Island, including a few animal reserves on the way. Relatively little text, and many pictures on the way!
Our first stop was at The Moonlight Reserve, a small animal shelter containing many animals unique to Australia.
Not pictured – one male wallaby walking around very erect, and one female wallaby NOT having his shit.
The tour included lunch at this stop, a simple but tasty sausage and salad combo.
Next up was Ames Farm on Churchill Island, which appeared like and felt like an american farmstead. In addition to standard american animals like cows, sheep, and horses, there were a few large birds roaming around. I got to try cracking a whip and managed to get sound after ten or so tries.
We took another quick stop at a scenic and windy beach, but quickly went back on the bus as rain rolled in.
Next, we stopped at a specific koala reserve to see a few more koalas. This also included some more scientific information about koalas, and a peanut butter and maple ice cream pop.
For our penultimate stop, we went to “The Nobbies”, an outlook over the ocean towards two nob-shaped islands. I’m not sure why they are important, but apparently they are.
Our final stop was easily the most unique and memorable. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photographs, so there are no pictures to share. For our last stop of the day, we drove to a particular small beach on Phillips Island to watch hundreds of penguins come ashore from their day of fishing. The penguins wait in the shallow water until the sun is down, then waddle across the narrow beach and into the dunes towards their burrows. We were forbidden from taking photos for fear of frightening them back into the ocean and disrupting their natural schedules.
We waited for about half an hour after sundown, but sure enough penguins started washing ashore in groups of about fifteen. (These groups are called “rafts!” You learn new things every day.) After timidly waiting on the sand, they climbed into the base of the dunes, and eventually walked under the boardwalk we were standing on. It was both inspirational in a documentary sort of way, and very cute.
The cuteness ended a bit when the noise started up. As soon as the penguins reached their burrows, they started squawking at one another and bumping into each other. This consistently went one of two ways: they would fight, or they would have sex. Either activity would end after about a minute, with one party entering the burrow and the other walking away, dazed.
When you’ve seen one set of penguins fight and another have sex, you’ve seen it all, so we walked back towards the bus. I slept through most of the ride back, only just waking up as we neared our stop. On the way home we got dinner, which we ate in the hostel kitchen.
That’s all for today!