Everyone has their destination must-do; for Geebee, it was to see the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island. Fortunately, it wasn’t that difficult at all to arrange a day trip. It took us just a couple of sites before we set our hearts upon the fairly-priced Phillip Island package offered by Wildlife Tours.
We sneaked in a quick breakfast jaunt at the Queen Victoria Market, before rushing back to the hostel, where our tour coach was to pick us up at 11 am.
‘But, wait!’, you say? Since you eagerly hit Google at the mention of the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, you must have found out by now that the penguins don’t come ashore up until sunset at 9 in the evening. So what were we doing from noon til dusk?
Well, yes, we took the rather looong way to catch a glimpse of these cute, indigo-plumed critters. But then again, Australia is THE place to be if you want to spend a day discovering quirky wildlife; it boasts of flora and fauna that are as interesting as they are unique to the island continent. Just take a look at all the creatures we ran into all in just one day, as we made our way to the parade:
Among the other stops of the Wildlife tour was the utterly-inviting Woolamai Beach, as well as the scenic Nobbies Centre, where the view of the surf crashing against the bluff and seal rocks will blow you away. It reminded me of the scenes from atop the lush hills of Batanes, only with designated boardwalks (which were honestly really tempting to hop over!).
Dusk eventually rolled by, and we were finally (finally!) at the site of the Penguin Parade. We made haste for good seats on the bleachers, a few meters away from where the sand met the waves. Some kids went for front-row seats on the sand itself. The bleachers made for a makeshift open-air theater, with dimmed lights as to not scare the Little Penguins, as they try to make their way ashore onto their homes in the sand burrows.
And at last, there they were: around 200 scurrying, aptly-named Little Penguins. Somewhere in the middle of watching, it hit me — these were wild penguins right before me! Two-hundred yeys for checking off an item from my bucket list! Sure, it wasn’t exactly Antartica, but at that instant, the arrival of their happy feet made for my very happy heart!
It was quite amazing how the locals have made it possible to accommodate no less than a hundred tourists per day, and still keep the whole routine of a wild penguin colony crossing over to their homes quite natural. Even the stars of the show seem to think so. Kudos, Australia!
More pics over here: 2012-01 Philip Island – Picasa Album