A weekend visit.
When you visit Australia there is a list of things that simply have to be done. This past weekend I managed to check a bunch of things off on Philip Island.
Philip Island is about 140km to the south of Melbourne. We left here at about 7pm in a car belonging to swedish Niclas' aunt. We punched in the address of the caravan park in the GPS and off we went. I would say Philip Island is a cross between Prince Edward Island in Canada and Cocoa Beach in Florida. For one thing, you can cross the island in all direction within half an hour and there is lots of rolling farmland and the whole south coast is full of surf beaches and the whole "surfing desitnation" atmosphere persists throughout the island. Most cars you see are carrying a surfboard. We stayed at Amaroo Park in the town Cowes (pronounced cows) in a caravan park where we had a little cottage.
After a BBQ friday night, a few of us were up at 8:30am to go and rent boards and wetties (wetsuits are worn by everyone since the water isn't quite warm enough to stay in for 2.5 hours at once). I have to say that people working in surf shops are super cool. I don't want to say we talked him into giving us a deal, because we barely asked. We ended up getting our boards and wetties for 35$ (normally it's 50$) for the day and then we asked to have that day extended so we didn't have to give the equipment back at 5pm so we could catch the tide on its way in later on and then again in the morning. We went to the first beach and the swells were breaking very neatly but were not huge. This and the fact that my board was huge made it very easy for me to get going and I rode the second wave I attempted and most after that. Being "stoked" is the word that best describes that morning in the surf. No signs of sharks either which is good because I've read that great whites have been spotted not far from where we were.
That afternoon we headed for the Nobbies, which is basically a set of islands at the tip of Philip Island. What I was most surprised to see was penguins. I knew they were in the area, but I thought they were all out fishing for the day and that I would have to pay 17$ to watch them parade back in at night. But nope, there were a few that stayed behind; I guess they love the camera as much as I do. They all live in little holes in the cliffs and some of these burrows are really high up so it's really impressive that they walk all the way up every day.
Later in the afternoon we checked out Wollomai beach, which signs posted said is a world famous surf beach. It was big and the surf was pumping so we went at it. The current was a bit stronger here and the waves were a bit bigger which made using my boardwalk of a board difficult to use. No worries though, our time ran out as a huge squall passed over us. It was some of the most intense rain I've ever been in. We could barely even see the beach if we could even manage to look up with the rain driving into us. The lightning was a bit worrisome to, but none of the locals seemed to be in any rush, and hey, "when in Rome" right? We wrapped up surfing for the day since some people we were with got absolutely soaked.
After another BBQ that night we were up at 7:30am to get back to the beach while the tide was coming in. The waves were much "dirtier", less consistent and less pwerful but we stuck it out for a while and made the most of it. It was a refreshing way to wake up being the first ones on the beach, on a cool morning in the salt water. After we returned our gear we set off for a nature reserve of sorts. For 11$ we could wander the park and see and feed all the animals. There were wallabies (like a kangaroo but smaller, 3rd picture), koalas, wombats, emus, echidnas, kangaroos, tasmanian devils, dingos, birds and reptiles. The kangaroos and wallabies were free range and they had a huge area to roam and there were tons of them. The kangaroos were super friendly and fun and contrary to what the picture makes you think, they aren't boxers. The emus were the scariest, they have crazy eyes and can't take food from your hand without plucking it so hard it hurts. I asked the lady at the desk if she ever had an emu steak thinking she would be offended since they have them in the park, but she responded without a wink that she hasn't but has eaten heaps of kangaroo before. I wasn't going to take it to the next level and ask if she had ever eaten a koala. So the wildlife park was heaps of fun and so was the whole
weekend. It was really a perfect island to spend a weekend at.
School starts this week for me so we'll see what thats all about since it's been over almost 3 months since I've been to a class.
Now I'm going to go and figure out how to acquire a pet Kangaroo from the black market!
To view photos from this trip, visit www.ryandownunder.blogspot.com