Sunday, April 5, 2009

Phillip Island, Healesville Sanctuary, Bushfires and Tasty Australian Animals

This weekend was ... interesting, to say the least.  Friday we went back to The Elephant and the Wheelbarrow (this place about 8 blocks away that has a live band play on Friday nights).  It was pretty fun except the band played the same stuff that they played two weeks ago so it wasn't as exciting as I hoped it would be.  Either way, we stayed until the end of the show, which was like 2:30.

Saturday, we woke up around 9ish and went out for breakfast.  We wanted to go to the Big Pancake Place but Greg had to convice us otherwise.  Therefore, we ended up buy smoothies, cinnamon scrolls and muffins.  We left for Phillip Island at noon.  Our tour guide was named Luke and he was pretty cool.  He brought us to Moonlit Sanctuary first where we saw a ton of different Australian animals.  We saw a few birds, a koala, dingoes and a wombat.  Then we walked further and there were a ton of wallabies hopping around loose.  We got to feed them and they came right over to me and ate from my hand.  They are pretty much like small kangaroos.  It was probably the most awesome thing that happened so far.  We then saw kangaroos and got to pet them too.

From there, our tour guide brought us to a winery.  Apparently Australians love going to wineries, since we always end up at one on these tours.  Anyways, Potts, John and I ended up eating a ton of grapes and Corinna and I smuggled a ton out.  I was surprised we didn't get caught.  We then stopped at this beach and had pizza for lunch.

From there, we drove to Phillip Island.  Apprently it is illegal to take pictures of the penguins coming onto the beach, so I have no photos of them, except for a few after they made it to the beach.  Although it was pretty cool, a lot of us were expecting more.  It was still worth it though.  A lot of people got on everyone's nerves though on the ride back.

Sunday, we got up pretty early and Potts, John, Kemal and I took the train out to Lilydale, which is one of the ends of the line.  We met our receptionist Lauren there and she drove us out to Healesville Sanctuary, where we had our own private tour guides.  It was a pretty cool place, although we have already seen most of the animals already.  The best part was the Bird of Prey show, where they had a bunch of huge birds flying around the crowd.  At the end of the show, some other guy came up and showed everyone how to throw a boomerang.  I'm going to have to buy one before I leave.

She then brought us to a bakery for lunch and I got a bacon, egg and cheese "toastie", which is pretty much a toasted sandwich.  Then she drove us to where all the bushfires were and it was absolutely insane.  The town was almost completely burnt down.  In some spots, the only things standing were chimneys.  The bark was burnt off of all the trees and signs were black from ash.  You could also still smell the smoke.  The weird thing was there were still people walking around the town as if nothing had ever happened.  There was a man pushing his daughter on a swing set and a burnt-down gas station was in the background.  Apparently it exploded and destroyed everything in the area.  There was a story in the paper about how a pregnant lady died from the fires not from burns or smoke, but from the heat.  Seeing all this in person was just so weird.  We then we to the receptionist's house and she showed us some photos her father took of the fire from their doorstep.  Then she brought us back to the train and we rode back to Melbourne.

On the way back, we got a message from Jillian and Corinna.  They were trying to find a place to eat tonight that they heard about but they were having a hard time.  They ended up heading back to the hotel without any luck.  We got back and Potts and Renda went to look instead.  Apparently they found it and they said it was a pretty fancy place.  John, Corinna, Jillian, Sally, Rachel and I got ready and met them there.  What follows is probably one of the most interesting things I've ever done.

So this restaurant specializes in Australian food, as in food from Australian animals.  That being said, we all ate a lot of stuff we never ate before.  John and I split some kangaroo, wallaby and emu, as did Jillian and Corrina.  Potts got crab and they gave him a whole crab on a plate, almost like you would get when you buy a lobster in Maine.  Sally got crocodile.  Surprisingly, the food was all really food, but really expensive.  The entire bill was over $300, which would probably be about $275 American.  From there we all went to a place that sold crepes and I got one with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, cream and chocolate syrup.  It was really good. Then we went back to the hotel and John, Sally, Corinna, Chris and I hung out for a while and tried to figure stuff out for Tasmania.  We still need to figure out more of that this coming week.

There should be a bunch more pictures under "Healesville Sanctuary", "Phillip Island" and "Bushfire" under the slideshow.



  1. I'm having a hard time finding the video of the koala bear. Did you upload it?

  2. Although the sanctuary is an awesome place in the country, I would suggest that you look for those animals in the outback too. It's a lot exciting to see them in their natural environment. Specially the kangaroo. It's awesome to see them run (or hop) in numbers with their babies on their pouch. Kinda felt like kangaroo Jack for a while when I did it.