I’m certainly catching up on sleep, but still waking around 5am every day. I stayed in bed until 6am this morning, praying and planning, before getting up and catching up with emails, FB and other internet activities. I watched the sun rise … initially under heavy cloud, but as the sun rose, the cloud cleared and the heat grew … yesterday’s cooler weather was only a temporary respite.

We took our time over breakfast, getting dressed and packed … I even made some time to hook some stitches, before walking to the local station, South Yarra, just around the corner from the apartment. It’s quite confusing when you are totally unfamiliar with the system and surroundings, but Tim had researched the details and we easily caught a fast train through to Dandenong.

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We could see the car hire from the station, so easily found our way there, just a short walk. The first thing I had to negotiate was a U-turn (or hook turn), but it was a fairly quiet road. And once on the freeway (if that’s the right term), it was a long straight drive to Phillip Island. We stopped at McD for a bite to eat on the way … not quite the same the world over, but close.

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On the road

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On the road

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Road bridge to Phillip Island

The house is lovely …. such a privilege to be here. We stopped only long enough to unpack the car, then we went for a drive to get our bearings. We spotted a few places we want to visit, and bought tickets for the evening’s Penguin Parade (cheap seats), before stopping at Pyramid Rock to admire the view … I do have some reasonable photos, but we were being battered by the (warm) wind, which must have been gale force at times, and certainly made it hard to hold a camera steady!

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Carisbrooke Lodge

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Pyramid Rock

Back via Woolworths in Cowes to buy supplies. Then we followed the coast road home … beautiful views.

We’ve been taking note – and where possible, photos – of all the birds we see … we don’t know which are common, nor can we name them all (though DD2 is a useful resource) … but it was so exciting to spot a Pelican – at first in flight then settling on the water.

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After an early tea, we returned to Penguin Parade … we avoided the commercialism and the crowds as far as possible so walked down the boardwalk fairly early. You get a good view of some of the penguin boxes, by the side of the path … and there were a pair of wallaby in the undergrowth, too. (Still no kangaroos)

We found ways of keeping warm in the stiff breeze as the viewing platforms filled up. Photography was not allowed, but the view was beautiful, with the wave tops catching the evening sun. As darkness fell, a single Little Penguin washed up on the beach … and obviously didn’t like being alone. They generally come in, under the waves in ‘rafts’, small groups keeping together for safety – there is a seal colony around the bay, and large birds will predate the tiny penguins given opportunity. So the lone penguin waited for some time to actually come ashore, until he gave up and braved the beach all on his own.

Eventually they came in, a few here, a few there, until they had sufficient numbers to brave the beach – though never more than a couple of dozen at once. We could occasionally hear them calling to each other above the noise of the crowd. They would suddenly appear in the water … apparently coming in with the waves, under the water.

We saw perhaps a hundred or so, over a period of around 30 mins … they head across the sand to a gully, which acts as safe passage to the burrows and boxes further up.

We were then encouraged to walk back up the boardwalk … and from above could see them traversing the gully, then following paths alongside the boardwalk to the burrows … penguins were dotted around everywhere in the brush (can’t decide if it’s gorse-like or heather-like), and we had some really good views in the now artificial light.

But there were so many people on the paths … it was full of talk and laughter, which made it difficult to hear the penguins as they chatted to each other … so a mixed experience overall … lovely to see the birds, sad to see them in such artificial conditions.

As we left, we were reminded to check under the car to ensure there were no strays …

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