Up close and Personal with Australias wildlife!
Trip Start Aug 08, 2011
64Trip End Jul 22, 2013
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Recently some friends of mine Kim and Gareth, moved to Australia. They are the same friends I went back to the UK for to be at their wedding. They moved to Melbourne and I had been promising to visit as soon as I could so when a few days off post nights came up I took the opportunity and flew to Melbourne for 4 action packed days. I’m pretty sure we fitted in about 2 weeks of sightseeing in just 4 days! It was exhausting but a lot of fun! Unfortunately Wyn wasn’t able to join us on this one as he has started getting a lot more hours at work (with the start of summer season) so he did not want to look the gifthorse in the eye and decided to stay to earn some extra pennies as he had his eye on a new surfboard
On our 1st day we hired a car and headed off to Phillip Island. It really reminded me of Anglesea where Wyn is from. Similar terrain, pretty beaches, some more rugged coastline, quiet and peaceful with a scattering of villages. We started off by visiting a wildlife conservation centre getting some good views of Koalas (Kim and Gareths 1st sightings) and lots of birds. From there we headed to a beautiful beach for lunch and followed it by visiting a chocolate factory. Yom yom yom. The museum was actually pretty interesting and we had lots of free tasters! From there we headed to ‘The Nobbies’ which are some rocks heavily populated by seals. They seals are too far away to see with the naked eye but they have binnoculars and camera screens and it was a nice walk along the boardwalk. When dusk arrived we headed for the highlight of Phillip Island - the Penguin parade. Unfortunately no photos (even flash free) were allowed so you’ll just have to use your imagination. After dusk thousands of miniature penguins (nicknamed fairy penguins) all follow the same path back to their burrows. It was amazing to see - there were so many! There was a little hole near us and it was amusing to see them waddle along and fall in - especially after we saw one use it as a toilet
The next day we were up bright and early for a full days drive along the great Ocean road. Leaving at 8am we didnt get back until midnight but it was worth it! It was very beautiful although I’m afraid the photos dont do it justice as the skies were a bit grey and flat that day - atleast until late afternoon. We stopped at Bells Beach to watch the surfers, took a little walk to some waterfalls, stopped to see wild kangaroos and koalas and visited the oldest lighthouse in Australia. We were pretty pleased with our distant wild koala sightings until that was we stumbled across literally hundreds of wild koalas all at arms reach from us. There were so many that they looked like fruit in the trees! I had a very close encounter with a baby koala clinging to their mums back on a tree at eye level. With a fence right behind me, I was so close that I couldnt even get the whole koala into my picture so head and shoulders it was! Shortly afterwards we saw 2 koalas fighting for territory. The one that won ran back up in the tree and started making a huge racket which can only be described as a victory call! The other koala sulked at the bottom of the tree. Looking very cute and posing for pictures! Our final stop was at The 12 Apostles. Unfortunately despite the clouds lifting and the sun arriving for the last few hours, the change in weather left a dense mist over the rocks so it was not all that easy to see them! That said it was still an incredible sight - much more spectacular than you imagine when you see the photos and the mist added an eerie edge to the pictures. Wyn and I may start our travels with a more leisurely trip along the Great Ocean road (as we only covered a small section) and so hopefully I will still get an opportunity to see a clear view of the rocks
The next day we went into the city and had a stroll around. We visited brunswick st as advised by a friend which was full of cafes gift shops and quirky vintage clothes shop which was nice for a quick stroll. We then headed to Brighton beach for lunch and a stroll around the jetty and then along the bright coloured old fashioned beach huts that its famous for! Back to the city, Gareth took me on a walk to find some street art which Melbourne is famous for. That evening Kim had to work so I met up with my friend Fe for dinner. Fe is one of the british doctors that worked in Byron but moved to Melbourne to experience the bright lights for a bit. She took me to a fantastic argentinian restuarant where we had an amazing meal and a catch up.
Our last day was spent totally predictably at the Neighbours set! Tell me a british tourist who doesn’t want to go there?! That said, Gareth having never really watched Neighbours before decided not to come so we had a girly morning instead. After having photos taken outside of every house and every building involved in the set and listening to the drivers very funny stories and neighbours anecdotes, we headed back to Melbourne where we joined Jen for lunch (who was passing through on her travels) and then took a self guided walk through all the quirky laneways which I loved
Sadly then, my trip was over and it was back to work... for a grand total of 3 shifts! Then I headed to Brisbane to meet my parents before flying to Cairns. Working non stop for the 1st 6 weeks of term definately has its advantages now!
I’ll tell you more about Cairns on my next entry - have lots already to tell you! We have also booked up our New Zealand trip and managed to score ourselves a brilliant deal. We found a campervan for $1400 NZ dollars(about 400 pounds each) for 3 weeks as they need the van to be delivered from Christchurch to Auckland! So very much looking forward to that. But in the meantime I have to go back to work for a few weeks to earn the pennies! Many people ask ‘ when do you find time for work?’ but I promise you I do work an average of 40hrs a week!! When I can I try to bunch my shifts together allowing me more time off. Shift work does have its advantages I guess!
Anyway thats all for now. Photos to follow soon plus some tales to tell from Tropical north Queensland!