We had planned to go on a road trip down to Phillip Island this day. Sarah also wanted to visit a couple National Parks while we were down that way. Unfortunately, one was pretty far away so we didn't get to it, but the other was closer and we were able to fit it into our schedule.
We were out of the house before 9am to head down to the QVM again to get pictures of some Mali elephants we'd missed the day before. Then we walked down to East Coast Rentals to pick up the car we'd hired for the day (hire = rent). There were a few people ahead of us, so we had to wait a while before actually getting our car and heading out.
Then we were on the road. Google Maps came through for us, and the directions I'd printed got us out of the city and all the way down to Mornington Peninsula National Park, one of the places Sarah wanted to visit. We walked around the paths and down to the water's edge. The boardwalk down to the water consisted of over 200 steps! TWO HUNDRED! And we walked all the way down, around the rocks at the bottom for a while, and then all the way back up! And that was just the beginning of the day.
We followed our Google Maps directions around Western Port, stopping briefly for lunch, all the way to Phillip Island! Oh hello beautiful island, how I missed you. Our first stop was to the Koala Conservation Centre, and you will never guess what we saw there. A BABY KOALA. It was so cute! It was just hanging onto Momma, and they were both grabbing a snack from the tree. Adorable. We saw quite a few koalas, some wallabies again, but this time we also saw a Kookaburra! They're big birds.
Next we were off to The Nobbies and Seal Rock. (This was when Becca practiced her Australian driving.) I was super excited to see seals! Unfortunately, Seal Rock is far enough away that you can't see much, even though it is Australia's largest colony of fur seals. We paid to use one of those coin binocular/telescope things, and were actually able to see a few seals on the rocks. If it was sunnier out, I think they would've been easier to see.
|The Nobbies and Seal Rock in the background|
Last stop was to the penguins! Thankfully, it was much warmer this time that it was when we first went. Although, of course this time we were much more prepared. This time we had layers of clothing: shirts, sweaters, jackets, and we had a blanket, too! The penguins were as cute as ever. There was a lot of beach for them to waddle across, unlike our first time when they had to emerge almost right on the rocks. The downside was that there was a congregation of seagulls scattered all over the beach, so it was heart-pounding and nerve-racking to watch these little rafts of penguins (around a foot tall), huddle together and make their way from the water to the safety of the rocks and their burrows. The worst was the first two brave souls that didn't have the safety of the raft while making their way across the beach. I thought Becca was going to cry or run out on the beach and chase the seagulls away! On our way out, we noticed at the information booth that you could buy return tickets for only $6, almost 1/4 of the regular price. So we got 3, and maybe we'll go again when Juanita is here.
Lastly, came the drive home. I'm a genius and forgot to print directions home (back to our apartment), so we stopped for dinner/a snack at McDonald's, and I utilized their free wifi to chart a route home. Sarah slept the whole way, and I drove. Becca stayed awake with me and we sang to stay awake. It was fun to get to our parking spot. I forgot to take a picture, but I'll have to do that at some point because it's awesome. We literally have the absolute last spot in the garage. You can't go anywhere else but to our parking spot. The best part was having to drive in circles for 7 floors until we finally got there. (Oh yes, the first 7 floors are all parking.) By the time we got up the apartment, it was at least 11pm, and we basically fell into bed.
Morning came too soon, since we had to get up and drive Sarah to the airport for 8am. And my goodness, who knew there would be traffic going into the airport at 8am on a Sunday? WHO KNEW?? Afterwards, we almost got lost driving around looking for a gas station, and then returned the car. We did some fresh foods shopping at the Queen Victoria Market, and then went home and just veg-ed for the whole day. We needed to catch up on our rest, and boy did we ever.