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Australian Safari 2012

When applying for my Australian Visa, under “purpose of visit” I put down “eco-tourism”. And I wasn’t lying. You can’t really travel this close to the South Pole and NOT see penguins in their natural habitat!! And how could I resist a chance to see some Koalas, Emus, Wallabies and Kanagaroos??

There are two ways you can choose to see Australian wildlife. The first is to take the usual guided tourist buses, where they take you to farms and let you get up close and personal with koalas and kangaroos – domesticated animals bred purely for the pleasure of tourists.

The second and more interesting way is to go on private tours with genuine conservation scientists and naturalists who will let you tag along on their regular outings to record measurement and observe the animals. You don’t get to touch the animals. You observe them wild and from a distance through binoculars. There’s not much talking, and when there is it’s always in hushed David Attenborough style so you don’t scare away the wildlife. Oh and you will WALK. A LOT. You will get muddy. You will get dusty. You will definitely get WET. So make sure you’re wearing the right clothing or you will regret it for days.


Guess which one I chose… 😀

Penguin Parade

First up, a day trip to Phillip Island Nature Park on the southern coast of Australia…

Phillip Island
Phillip Island. Looks suspiciously like Ireland. Or the Isle of Wight. It does have a city called Cowes and a town called Rhyll!
Phillip Island, Victoria
Phillip Island Nature Park
Local Geese. Harmless enough, but the Penguins are terrified of them.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Can you see it? Camouflaged and shrouded in misty rain?
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Could just about make out this Wallaby through the torrential rain.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Walking around the island, came across a peculiar sight….
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Sadly, came across this dead Penguin carcass on the pathway.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Display showing some of the 17 species of Penguin you can find in the Southern hemisphere. Largest on far right are Emperor Penguins. Smallest, far left, are the Fairy or Little Penguins, indigenous to Phillip Island.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
A penguin inside its burrow – yes this is a REAL one, not a model.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
A penguin pair inside their burrow.
Phillip Island Nature Park.
Can you see it? A Blue Penguin/Fairy Penguin that’s returning home from the “Penguin Parade”.
Phillip Island Nature Park.

So the Penguin Parade is basically a few hundred penguins waddle onto the beach at Phillip Island and back to their burrows. Presumably they’re coming home to seep after a long day of guzzling fish and swimming around the arctic waters. It only happens at certain times of the year, and always after dark. Visitors are absolutely NOT allowed to take photos, in order to protect the penguins. That’s why I don’t have any pictures of them. Sorry, but the rules are the rules and I wasn’t going to be the one person breaking them.

You Yangs Nature Reserve

Just over an hour away from Melbourne is the You Yangs Regional Park. Home to wild koalas, kangaroos, possums and so much more…

Serendip Sanctuary

Not far from Geelong and the You Yangs is the Serendip Sanctuary. Owned by the state government of Victoria, it’s used for wildlife research and the captive management and breeding of native species of birdlife under threat of being wiped out. I, however, was going to see the kangaroos.


Kangaroos at Serendip Sanctuary.
Approaching a troop of Kangaroos in the wild. This is probably a large extended family. They won’t get alarmed as long as you approach quietly and do not walk directly towards them.
Kangaroos at Serendip Sanctuary.
The males are HUGE and they stand to attention when you get too close and STARE at you, threatening you.
Sunset at Serendip Sanctuary.
Sunset at Serendip Sanctuary.
Sunset at Serendip Sanctuary.
Sunset at Serendip Sanctuary.
Sunset at Serendip Sanctuary.
Published inAustralasiaAustraliaTravels

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