Last year, I was aboard a plane for the first time on Christmas Day. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world for me. The day only got better as I arrived in Melbourne and we drove to Phillip Island. To see a part of Australia, be that close to nature with the family and watch wallabies and penguins from a distance during their summer, was the perfect way to end the year =)
I always request for the window seat and one of the reasons, aside from the sleeping advantage, is the view from above on a clear day. It varies per destination and I love the play of colors against an ever-changing mood of the skies.
I've always thought of brown as a dull color. Well, not anymore! I'm so glad this was a domestic trip so there was still a lot of daylight left and so many things to see on this special day.
When we arrived in Melbourne, we stopped over at St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's a very majestic Catholic church inside and outside.
We headed out for the long drive from the bustling city of Melbourne to Phillip Island. I loved the view of Australia's countryside.
It made me think back of those old milk commercials on TV - only the cows look so much better up close. They're so black and super photogenic haha.
I don't know what these are but all I can say is that the farms here look different from the Philippines.... I'm so used to tall unkempt grass and I guess they plant here for the cows to graze on while we plant crops to eat. I know silly (mababaw) observation but it looked so bare, clean, green and downright relaxing here haha.
Since it was a holiday, we ate at a Chinese restaurant en route (kinda expected that they're the only ones open on a holiday like in other parts of the world).
The restaurant was packed and we had lobster. I just found out it was endangered already and all this year. They eat it in this part of the world and our Australian meals were primarily seafood (big shrimp and prawns galore).
Anyway, back to Phillip Island, we were going there for the "penguin parade" according to the tour itinerary. I wasn't my usual self and didn't do my research so I thought it was like a zoo or something. One of the perks of this kind of no-expectation setting was surprising myself constantly with my nonchalance haha. I was like a little child on Christmas morning (ready for anything) and all smiles as I found out.
Since it was still around 4 p.m., our guide said he would take us around a scenic route. He said - only certain tour buses were allowed in this protected area filled with wild animals.
I wondered if he was talking about kangaroos and koalas haha.
I wasn't seeing anything!
Then he started talking about wallabies and the difference to kangaroos. To our left were bushes
and to our right was the ocean (the Antarctic if I wasn't mistaken...).
The cliffside view was stunning. I think the water's freezing though haha.
We weren't allowed to get off the bus so yeah, these pics are all from a moving bus LOL. All I could do was enjoy the moment and hope that I can see one wallaby.
Then there it was (perfectly blending in the background I must say)!
Definitely looks like a kangaroo to me haha.
I started seeing more - left and right :)
Well, our driver has bionic eyes hahaha.
We arrived at the viewing deck parking area in time for a picture booth, the souvenir shop and to go to the loo. The thing is - nobody knows exactly when the penguins would arrive. There was just a clock for an estimate viewing time and to get good seats in the bleachers. They were also counting the penguins that will come out live! Hehe.
This was the beach where we were to see nature in action. Turns out - mama and papa penguins set out the whole day and catch fish for their young ones. Just around the 5 or 6 p.m., they will emerge one by one from the ocean and this is such an incredible sight!
You see, as the penguins emerge, you will see them send a decoy to survey the surroundings for possible threats. One sets out bravely and quickly turns around as if sensing something then they send another one haha. There are lots of birds on the shore probably preying or picking on them. They do this dance back-and-forth in-and-out of the water for a loooong time and in separate groups too. So you'll see one group doing the "parade" then out of nowhere, you suddenly see another group on the other side of the shore. When they successfully go up the beach, they will all separate ways a la quick parade to find and feed their babies in their burrows. This could go on for hours! I read somewhere that the people in earlier times would just stay on the beach and watch them from a distance.
The thing is - cameras are not allowed in this area as a flash may permanently blind these teeny penguins. It's also very cold and windy out there and I was actually freezing while watching haha. It was worth it though. You'll see penguins going home as you walk the long path back to the parking lot also =)
We luckily passed by some babies (while on the bus) going here.
Aren't they the cutest?
I heard these are one of the smallest species of penguins in the world!
So, what do you think of this Christmas? You could definitely go to Australia to see them even on a normal day! I saw that there are other things to do at the Phillip Island Nature Parks if you're not on tour and if you've got time :) Here's an awesome night view of Melbourne to cap things off ;)