We particularly wanted to go to Phillip Island to see the penguins, and the hotel receptionist kindly arranged this for us, even going as far as consulting the weather forecast to see when would be the best day.
We saw the nightly ‘penguin parade’, and managed an excellent view of the penguins as they returned to their burrows … although sadly, photography is strictly prohibited, even without flash. But, I did get some shots of the people waiting for night to fall, and the parade to start. As the penguins crossed the beach at intervals in huddles, I was reminded of a busy pedestrian crossing in the city.
The penguins only return to their burrows after dark; by day, they’re out at sea feeding … or catching food to bring back to their young. We’d seen penguin burrows earlier, at ‘Nobbie’s’ (named, we presume, after a Mr. Clarke), some of which contained penguin chicks. Too far away, though, for really successful photography.
On the way back to the centre, we had a chance to see them really close-to, as they entered their burrows, but, again, no photography. So, ‘here’s one I did earlier’ … taken at SeaWorld, on the Gold Coast.
They used to be called Fairy Penguins, although these days, they’re called Little Penguins, Blue Penguins (they’re the only blue ones; other breeds are always black and white) or even Little Blue Penguins. I’m told the reason is over-zealous political correctness … but I have yet to see Little Blue washing-up liquid on supermarket shelves.
Although the penguins are the main reason for the trip for most people, the longer tour includes a visit to a ‘Heritage Farm’ on Churchill Island. It wasn’t of much interest to me, except from a photographic point of view … I’ve seen sheepdog handling many times, and I grew up knowing how to hand-milk a cow. But, I’m sure there are people for whom this is a novel attraction, so I can’t be too hard on them. And, they did serve an excellent iced coffee.
In an enclosure, you can see wallabies … both inside and outside, for the free-ranging ones often come and have a look.
There’s also a koala sanctuary, where a boardwalk leads you through the treetops to see these cuddly marsupials really close to. But, not close enough to get it to make eye-contact. You need to be very patient … and, ideally, not have a definite time to be back at the coach!