I finally went to see the penguin parade yesterday. Visiting Phillip Island, located just 140km southeast of Melbourne, is unquestionably one of the “must-do” in Victoria, just after Great Ocean Road and the Grampians (which are still on my bucket list by the way). The trip was organized by Wildlife Tours Australia and we were lucky to have Phil as our guide who kept us entertained and gave hips of information along the way. I missed half of it obviously having my focus outside of the window most of the time, as there was plenty of wildlife to spot out there. It always feels so exciting to see bouncing wallabies and kangaroos enjoying their freedom, especially while being trapped in a cage on wheels myself. It’s usually the opposite as visiting wildlife parks we get close to animals and bother them with touching, gawking and camera flashing. Just for the record, I never use the lamp while taking pictures of animals. I confess to innocent casual petting and excessive staring though. I think I could actually spend whole long hours, maybe even days doing that without getting fed up with it and I’m also aware there is nothing original about it. I’m sure most of the tourists consider these wonderful creatures to be delightful and cute and dream about kidnaping one of the koalas.
On this trip we visited Maru Koala and Animal Park and had a chance to see and feed most of the native Australian animals as well as farm ones. I took pictures of quite a few, which I enclosed to this post. No luck with wombat shots this time though as they were blissfully sleeping showing the viewers their round tails. I was really disappointed about this, cause I know they are adorable to photograph and I was literally fantasizing of jumping into their pen and playing with them (so much for me being a considerate wildlife lover I suppose…).
Whereas in Maru Park it might actually work to do this (event though it would inevitably result in being banned from animals for life), at Summerland Beach, where Little Penguins march out from the ocean it surely could not. There would be no way to get close to a penguin. There are rigorous restrictions prohibiting approaching them, being loud around them and photographing (hence, no pics from my part). It’s a fascinating event to watch and some part of me was even glad I could relax and center my attention on the parade instead of trying to figure out how to get a good shot of a small group of 30cm penguins rushing through the beach in the dark. The viewing area is only a tiny part of the island where the birds are returning ashore after a day of fishing. Apparently they have spots all over the place and there are around 32,000 of them there at the moment. We managed to see several groups returning to their sand dune burrows and plenty of them around the broadwaks while we were coming back to the Visitors Centre. It was a blast to see their funny swaying walk and hearing loud squeaky sounds they were making. They didn’t seem even a bit tired and they have just spent the whole day in the water looking for food. I really admire them as I could probably relate more to all these sleepyheads from the wildlife park. I was allowed to get lazy though, it was my Name Day after all!
*Courtesy of Peterpans Adventure Travel.