Once upon a time, I went to a magical place where all my dreams came true. No, not Disneyland. (Although if anyone does want to go to Disneyland *ahem Liz* I would be thrilled to go.) On Wednesday morning, I took the train from the city out to the station near Harry's place, where he picked me up and we set off on a little road trip. It was about a 90 minute drive from Melbourne to our first stop, the Maru Wildlife Park. This is a wonderous place where kangaroos and wallabies hop around, and you can pet them!! There are other things there as well, like dingos, emus, and koalas. The kangaroo section is just basically a field with a few paths through it, where you can wander freely amongst these delightful creatures. I admit, it took me a second to realize that we could actually go into the enclosure, but when I figured it out I pretty much almost cried. Harry can corroborate this. I went around and had a cuddle and a conversation with every single marsupial that was available, including some albino wallabies, which I did not know existed. The entire time we were at this park I was vibrating with happiness and making some very excited noises. You're making fun of me, I know. But how excited would you be if a small, soft, adorable wallaby came hopping up to you, demanded petting, and then held your hand in his two little paws and inspected it very seriously?! I have photographic evidence of this. Seriously though, it was an absolutely glorious experience, and I would like to petition the Canadian government to import kangaroos in order to boost the general joyousness of the population.
Right, where was I. Phillip Island. Okay so after the most amazing two hours ever, we continued our drive to Phillip Island, which is a very sweet little beach town. Technically it is an island, but it is connected to the mainland by a bridge about the length of the bridges that span the river in Vancouver. Harry and I had thin crust pizza for lunch, as a throwback to our adventures together in Italy last year. I was then challenged to a game of mini golf. "I'll keep score - I have to know how much I beat you by." These were Harry's exact words. I won the game. There was some serious pouting from his side of the car on the way to the hotel after that.
That evening, we went to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, which is every bit as adorable and fantastic as the name suggests. We got some coffee when we arrived, and then secured great seats on the bleachers that have been built on the beach. The beach itself is gorgeous - the setup is in the middle of a bay with big bluffs on either end. The penguins don't come while it is light out, so we got to watch a beautiful sunset first. Then slowly, the tiniest penguins in the world surfed in and waddled up the beach. After the first couple, they arrived in packs. (Packs? Flocks? Swarms? Herds? What is the appropriate collective noun for this situation, Mom?) It was very exciting. The penguins have three tracks that they tend to use to get across the beach, and the wildlife people built the two sets of bleachers so that one congregation would go up the hill in between the stands, and one convoy would go up either side. (I'm just going to keep switching up the collective nouns to make it more fun.) Our seats were on the inside of the second row from the bottom, so we had a great view of the fleet of penguins that meandered up the middle track. After the majority of the penguins had made it up the hill, we walked around the network of boardwalks behind the stands, where you could see the tiny penguins finding their burrows, mating, and having loud conversations with their neighbors. It was dark by then, so it was quite entertaining playing Spot the Penguin as we walked around. Obviously there were excited squeals on my part whenever we saw one. Eventually, most of our new friends had reached their burrows for the night, and we went off and got fish and chips for dinner. Apparently if you're near the beach in Australia that is what you have to eat.
The next morning, we got one of the fabulous cappuccinos that I have become obsessed with since reaching Melbourne, and went for a lovely walk along the beach in the sunshine. I probably got slightly sunburnt, but not too noticeably. Harry demanded a mini golf rematch at a different course before we left, so we went to a place with very creative and complicated hole designs. I lost this game in spectacular fashion (partially to restore some of Harry's damaged pride, but don't tell him that). We had a quiet drive back to Melbourne, where we went for lunch at a place where the waitress forgot to actually give our orders to the kitchen. It took a while to get our food, but we also got free sweet potato fries. I was then dropped off at the station and took the train back into the city and to my hotel.
It was a great weekend trip that occurred mid-week. I would highly recommend going to Phillip Island if you are ever in the area and are even fractionally as excited about animals as I am. Today is now Saturday, but I will include Friday's events in a later post in order to preserve my arbitrary pattern of blogging. I now have to go get ready, as I have been informed by Cass that I am coming out dancing for the second night in a row. Good thing I had a nap today. Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!