Saturday, February 6, 2016

Phillip Island

Phillip Island is on the other side of the bay. We have to drive up and around Melbourne and then down the east side to mouth of the bay. The smallest penguins in the world come home there every evening. And there is a Grand Prix Racing track. Something for everyone. 
We decided to go while Jordan was here, which meant we actually had to take TWO cars. We rented an extra car for the weekend.

This wasn't it. 

This weekend was about seeing some fun things and just being together. 
We rented a house for two nights. 

The fairy penguins come to this beach every night. But somehow some people got permission to commandeer the beach and sell tickets to see them. WHAT? So for a small fortune we all got to sit on a concrete amphitheater and wait an hour for these small penguins to come in. And they tell you about 429 times that no photography is allowed. They don't want to frighten the penguins. So I complied, but really, I don't think the penguins were the least bit shy or intimidated. I think it's just a ploy to get more people curious as to whether the penguins ACTUALLY exist or if they are more of a snipe-type animal. They actually exist. But they came in at dusk when my camera wouldn't have taken good pictures anyway. 

The penguins are pretty social amongst each other. They came to shore in groups and would run up the beach together. Then they hung around the base of the hill they had to climb to get to their burrows. When they felt like everyone had been accounted for, they would take turns hopping up the hillside. It's amazing that an animal that moves so awkwardly can actually navigate a hill that steep. 

Then we all hurried up to the boardwalk to see them climb to their burrows. They were pretty cute. As we finally got our fill of seeing them in the dark light, I was surprised to see so many of them walking along the side of the boardwalk up toward the building. There were lots of them just inches away from us. 

The next day we went to see the daily pelican feeding. The local fisherman started feeding them a few decades ago and it's a daily ritual now. There were a lot of pelicans. 

Found a pier to perch on whilst peering at the pelicans.

Pelican poop.

Under the pier was a fun place to search for shells and take some pictures.

Believe it or not we actually managed a selfie family photo here. But then you can't see the pillars. 

Next we made our way to a Koala Sanctuary. The koalas live there naturally, and again, someone found a way to sell tickets. They've created some elevated walkways so you can wander through and see the koalas up close. The koalas mostly spend their time sleeping in the trees so they don't really mind having people coming to take pictures of them. 

He's taking a cute nap. 

This tree branch grew at a sharp angle. It was really odd looking. The trees get some really interesting shapes breaking the rules of tree growth like they do. Hard to capture with a photo. 

And then we saw some wallaby. 

And this Blue Wren was beautiful. It seemed to sparkly as it fluttered about. 

We also saw some other critters in their natural habitat:

This was the most awesome picture of the weekend. 

After spending the afternoon and evening at the local beach, we headed off to find a good place to watch the sunset over the water. We landed at Red Rock Beach and wished we had found it sooner! It was beautiful and we'll likely drive all the way back to Phillip Island again just to enjoy it.

 I think this is my favorite family photo

And the kids were happy.

Leo and Allen were happy I consented to let them have a go on the Phillip Island Grand Prix 1:7 scale replica go-kart track. We got there JUST as two bus loads of people arrived to do the same thing. So we had to wait forever. 

This is going to be one of those things they complain about for decades. 
"Remember when we were totally hungry and we had to wait forever to NOT ride the go-karts?" 
I can already hear it at every family reunion from now until my funeral. 

But while I waited, I found the most wonderful treasure. 

This is a seed pod from the Bushy Yate Eucalyptus tree.

What's also cool about these trees is that they are in every stage of blossom at the same time. 
What starts out looking frilly and fun, 

turns into weird. 

Then the outer stuff drops off and what remains is that wonderful seed pod that I get to keep. 

And they don't drop off the tree like a pinecone. They have to be cut! I earned these. Or stole them. It depends on how you look at it. But I paid money to see penguins and koalas and wallaby. So it's fair. 

Allen said that ten minutes on the track was addicting. He'd easily drop another $80 to do it again. 

Yeah, I agree. That's enough.

So we had to get back to Melbourne because huge dominoes were being set up through the city and we wanted to see them fall. Yes, dominoes. Made of concrete. They just thought it would be fun. 

It was fun! Millie is actually the one that heard about it. I'm glad it worked out. 

After the dominoes fell, we were all really hungry so we went to...Dominos Pizza...(I'm so creative) and took it to the park on the river. And there just happened to be a helicopter pad right there. The helicopter started up and flew away and Henry got to watch the whole thing! 

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