March 19, 2010

The little Penguins

After cruising along the Great Ocean Road in a small car we were on for the big challenge.... a campervan it should be. Having been lucky enough to get one of the campervans up for relocation we sealed the deal. The deal - that‘s to relocate a 6 berth campervan from Melbourne to Hobart in 4 days time for $5 a day including $350 towards our expenses for the rental company Maui. Alrighty we surely can do that, what a bargain, since renting a campervan in Tassie would have cost us around $800 for a week. Yay!!

I had to be the only driver since Kat‘s license got stolen and she isn‘ t allowed to drive in Oz, well, at least not be caught driving. We picked up the campervan in Melbourne and ... wow what a campervan it was. That‘ s not a van, that‘ s a house, I dare say. That thing is bigger than some of the hostel dorms I stayed in, honestly. And it got all the toys.... fridge, gas stove, AC/ heater, microwave, TV, shower, toilet, heaps of storage space, two eating areas, three double beds....not bad. :-) The only downer was, it didn‘ t have an outlet for plugging in our ipods.... mmhhh, we were so attached to our own playlists we made the last few days, eh! ;-)

But how will we get from inner Melbourne to Philipp Island, were we planned to spend the first few days in our new „home on wheels“. And will I ever be able to manouver this thing?! Let me just put it that way, we managed somehow to get lost in Melbourne‘s freeway on our way out and had to make our way through the laberinth of South Melbourne - thank god I lived there the last three months, so I kinda new where we were going. After 90 min. we reached Philipp Island, checked in a caravan park right next to the beach and hit the jackpot with a spot right next to the beach.... G r e a t! :-) Our neightbours were pretty impressed by our „home“ and a little surprised that it was just us two crawling out of the campervan... Yeah, just us two! Two girls... Yes! Needless to say, we had to tell our little „relocation“ story a lot of times over the next few days.

At dusk we made our way to the Somerland Beach to watch the famous Penguin Parade. Philipp Island is home to the little penguins who come onshore to breed. Every night at sunset around 30.000 little fellas leave the ocean and come ashore to their nests. Little penguins are only 40cm tiny, weigh around 1kg, the eat 240g of fish a day, mate for life most of the times and are sooo cool. Seriously, we hadn‘t thought we got so attached in such a short time, but they are the cutest things when they surf on the waves to the beach, struggle to get ashore by literally push or encourage each other who to send up the beach first, then after a few attempts and almost half way up the sand, get frightened and run back into the ocean.... Sometimes it took them a few attempts to finally reach the dunes! And always in groups of at least five, we discovered, and they always wait for the next group to arrive before wandering further into the dunes to their nests. We had premium spots right next to the beach - cheers to the nice fella at the visitor center who told us where to sit to see the most of it - and were sitting there in the cold, chilly night until the ranger almost kicked us out. I seriously don‘t understand why so many people come to see the parade and then leave after the first few groups made their way onshore!?!

After we left the bleachers we got the best view of the penguins since they were waddling around the back where their nests are. What noise they make! Too cute.

The next day we checked out The Nobbies and discovered some of our little friends sitting under the bardwalks there as well. The rest of the day we hung out at the surf beach and watched the surfers catch their waves. Always a delight!

We were supposed to go on the ferry to Tasmania that night, but having not booked in advance - who would have thought that the ferry was booked up until end of March!!?! That happens when you live from day to day.... hmpf. Anyways having gotten the night sailing out of Port Melbourne the next night, we had to stay another day on Philipp Island... Oh well, hanging out at the beach isn‘ t gonna be too much pain, is it?

Problem was, we clever backpackers, got another campervan relocation back from Hobart to Melbourne the next week, so we had to catch the ferry back on the 19th or how are we gonna get this thing back on time?! No chance...first available seats and vehicle space will be on the 26th. Oh well, after a few phone calls and discussions we got another campervan to relocate a week later! Yay! So, our planned trip to Tassie just got extended another week. 2 weeks Tassie lays ahead of us. Whoo hoo!


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