Melbourne Trip Blog – Day 2

Day 2 started with a bit of a sleep-in (well, 8am – which is good for me!) and then we went venturing for breaky. Cam was on a low-carb day today (as opposed to very super-low yesterday), so he was allowed to have some egg AND potato – haha. We ventured around for ages but, oddly, couldn’t find any cafes. Then I remembered that Glenny had mentioned a great cafe street last night, called “Hardware Lane” – and as we were only a block away, we went there. Awesome… heaps of great cafe’s here! We found a nice one and Cam has a frittata (great, since it contained eggs AND potato) and I had some French toast… yum!

We explored the city some more, looking at (but not eating any) cakes, clothes, shoes, chocolate and teas (I bought some tea for my BF) and so forth, then ventured down to the station to pick up the hire car… a nice new Suzuki Swift. We drove it back to the hotel then met up with Ben, who was joining us for the trip down to Phillip Island to see the penguins!

 

We departed Melbourne CBD at around 2pm and began on the 2 hour journey down to Phillip Island… stopping along the way at a servo for some snacks and toilet break. We also passed some amusing town names, such as “Officer” (and Koo Wee Rup – or something similar). The views on the drive were beautiful – we crossed the bridge, passed the GP circuit and by 4:15pm we’d arrived at the Penguin Parade visitors centre and checked in before having an early dinner. Then, at 5pm, our Penguin Research Tour started (here’s the lanyard).

This is a great behind-the-scenes tour (limited to 12 people, so not too full – we only had 7 people in total on the tour, from memory) – well worth it $69, as it includes about 45 minutes with a ranger guide, a look at (and inside) the nesting boxes, a stop in at the SkyBox to spot the penguins waiting out at sea (we each got a pair of binoculars) for the sun to set, followed by front-row seating at the separate Penguin Plus viewing area. Penguins literally walked about 1 meter in front of us! They were VERY cute and the whole evening was fantastic. Sadly, no photos OF ANY KIND are allowed, due to people (in the past) always forgetting to turn their flashes off (or not knowing how to, or just being idiots), so you’ll have to make do with this YouTube video instead. But I’d definitely go! There are bus tours too (if you can’t be bothered driving the 2 hours each way), but if there’s more than 2 people going, hiring a car is usually cheaper.

 

The penguins come in “waves” – it reminded me of a tower-defence game (haha)… a few hundred at a time. Just after sunset, there were these two geese hanging around and they scared the penguins a bit, which was funny to watch… cautious penguins walking past slowly… either turning around and running back when the geese came near (or honked at them), or going dead-still and waiting for it to be safe again.

Given it was on the beachfront at night, it was a bit cold and dark – but we had jumpers, so no biggie… just make sure you pack one, too! Looking up at the stars was amazing too, thanks to the isolated location & lack of light. you could actually see the Milky Way “band” in the sky with the naked eye… amazing! Ahead of us was nothing for many, many miles… in fact, the next thing in front of where we were sitting was Tasmania! An amazing experience – definitely do it! 🙂

By 7:30pm, most of the penguins had arrived, so we headed back inside for a quick snack before driving the two hours home. Ben then donned his riding gear and showed us his awesome motorbike (which, by the way, you can legally park on the sidewalk – how awesome is that!) and we all called it a night.

 

Read more from this trip…

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Wednesday September 4, 2013  8:01 pm by Christa Reply

    I have fond memories of Hardware Lane.

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