Continuing my Melbourne saga:
The next morning, my brother and my niece leave early to collect the hired car.
Today we are visiting some nice beaches. We are visiting Phillip Island. Our first stop is the chocolate factory which is one of the first attractions when one enters Phillip Island. We go down and visit the shop and not the factory tour as we have been to chocolate factories before in Cadburys England and another chocolate factory in Malaysia.
We do the obligatory photo taking and have a brief tour of the shop. We then leave and take a ride to our places of interest.
We got on the car or MPV and make our way. The drive along the coast is very scenic. We make many stops to explore the beaches and to take photographs and to have family time together. We crack a lot of jokes – we are very good at making jokes out of everything. Sometimes my friends used to tease me that we are a bit mad. But then this is us. What to do. There is so little difference between a mad person and a genius!
Along the way, we stop for lunch in Cowes. We decide to just stop in one of the towns. We find a place to park and walk to the nearest shop or café that serves lunch. We decide to have an Australian meal. Well, Australian meal is like UK meal. Very British and well, like UK.
We order the usual, big fry-up, salad, smoked salmon and rosti, etc, etc. The meal is good. Of course, we have coffee and drinks like in the UK. After that we continue with our journey.
We plan to go to the zoo, or the wild life park. We also plan to go to the Penguin Parade. The Penguin Parade starts in the evening. So we have plenty of time. Before heading to the wildlife park, I happened to pick up some brochures in the chocolate factory, and suggest that we go to the Ryhll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm. I am actually attracted by the park as it show cases the native food of Australia. Me, food, we have an affinity. So everyone agree as we are all mad about food.
The farm is very interesting. It is a self-help tour and we are given a map and everything is easy to spot and we have no trouble getting around. We enter the café and there are signs that list not only the ticket price, and also a price for cooking your catch. That is, if you have caught some fish, the café will cook the fish for a fee and you can have a meal there, or take it home. It is already after lunch time, so we are not keen to have fish for another lunch. After buying the tickets, all of us then got down to the farm.
Following the map, we make our way to the various areas.
As Phillip Island now only contains 5% of its original vegetation, the farm replanted and restores 3 types of forests: Sheok Forest, Grassy Woodland and Melaleuca Scrub. The plants in the Sheok community can withstand dry soils found on hilltop areas. The Grassy Woodland was a more open forest, dominated by gum trees. The Melaleuca Scrub prefers moist conditions and is most common on low-lying land, especially near watered areas.
‘Bush Tucker’ refers to native Australian plants that can be harvested for food. The edible part of the plant may be the fruits, flowers, seeds, leaves, roots or even sap from the tree. Most of the Bush Tucker crops are native to southern Australia. Members of the Bunurong tribes knew when these plants would be ready to harvest and their diet would change according to the seasons.
This farm is so interesting. We get to identify the various plants and there are signs and explanations about the plant and its uses. We spend quite some time in here as we see the plants and all of them a new to us.
Here are some photos of the farm and the plants.
It can get quite hot, so we rest next to the trout farm. It is cool and tranquil.
After the Farm, we leave for the zoo, or the Wildlife Park. It is situated in Cowes. The entrance looks a bit, well, dated. No bright colours and design like the Eden project in UK. We buy the tickets ( it comes with a pack of food) as well as some extra food to feed the animals. I expect to see some animals in cages, but we were in for a surprise. When we enter we can find kangaroos – and lots of them in the zoo. The kangaroos at not that big, and we can feed them with our hands. They run around free and they are ok so long as one does not frighten them. I feed many of them. I try to scratch them under the chin, but they do not respond like a domestic dogs or cats. They are still wild, in this sense.
I feed the wallabies as well. If you have children, they will love this place as there are so many animals.
There are also emus and they are in a separate area of their own. The area is very big and the emus have a lot of space. I decide to go to the emu enclosure and it is a bit scary. They are a bit aggressive. The emus come towards me and sort of follow me. Luckily, after a while, there is another person there so it is not as bad as if I were to be alone. They have these big eyes and they follow me. I think there are more interested in the food.
We also get to see other animals like dingos, koalas, wallabies, snakes, reptiles, snakes, lizards, eagles, Tasmanian devils and wombats.
It is a very enjoyable visit and I will encourage everyone to have a go as you will not regret it. As it is in the Southern Hemisphere and is a continent by itself, there are a lot of animals and plants that are new to people in the Northern Hemisphere!!
After the zoo we drive to a beach area, Fisherman’s point with the intention of having our dinner there. It is certainly a nice spot. We spend some time walking around the pier and there is a lot happening there. People are bringing in their boats and using their jeep to pull the boats. There are swans and birds and it is really nice and peaceful.
We have a walk around and decide to have fish and chips at Tides Fish and Chips @ Rhyll, at Newhaven Road. We have our dinner in the picnic area. The dish and chips is good.
After that, we drive to see the Penguin Parade, in the other end of the Island where we went to see the blow-hole. Along the way, some of the roads are closed so as to protect wild life. Finally, we make our way there.
There are a lot of people there and we need to pay quite a hefty ticket. In the entrance, foyer, there are exhibits about the penguins.
When we enter the area, it is like an open auditorium, with the seats facing the sea/beach. The place is full with more people coming in. So we sit down and wait. In fact there is a board in the foyer that shows the approximate time the penguins arrive. After waiting for a while, we see nothing. Someone says that there are penguins at the left end of the beach.
Well, there are some penguins coming up the shore, coming in with the wave. In the 2 hours or so, there are about 4 to 5 times that the penguins arrive. And the poor things will walk to the beach and under the board walk.
After some time, we decide we have enough and walk along the board walk. There are some penguins coming in, in a packs of 6, 8 to 12 or so. So you see them wadding up and going to their nests.
Well, this is certainly an experience. I think we really need to think about earth warming. There are so few penguins around. If this is an indicator of things to come, we humans better so something about global warming and pollution, too!
After the penguin parade, we drive home.
It is a nice and fruitful day, visiting new sites and having fun.
Tomorrow is Sunday and it we have not much planned except to visit some friends.
Cheers for the time being. Please so not hesitate to like and share this post.
BTW, Have you been to see the penguins? If so, what is it like? I hear some people see a lot of penguins, and at times there are not many. Do let me know, I am just curious.