San Remo - Phillip Island - Wilsons's Promontary

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It's Valentines Day and we are off on our shakedown trip with the new camping gear.   We had already put the tent up in Susie's garden and expected we would get better at it by the time we leave on the big round trip.   We passed through San Remo to cross the bridge to Phillip Island on our way to our first campsite  
Aw shucks - someone has to arrive 1st

We notice pelicans and opportunistic sea gulls assembling by the jetty for their daily feeding. We arrived at 11.00 am, the feeding frenzy was scheduled for 11.30

" Why are we waiting, why are we waiting, why are we waiting oh why oh why" ?
Pelicans of San Remo

 

 

When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to recite the following Limerick.  Usually as we approached 'The Pelican' pub

 

A funny old bird is the pelican

His beak can hold more than his belican

Food for a week

He can hold in his beak

But I don't know how the helican

The leggy young lady in the brochure must have been on her day off as they sent a little old man in waders, the Pelicans didn't mind, he was carrying the box of fish

 

Campground Phillip Island

We were lucky to get the last available site on the beach

Koala Conservation Park

Wandering along the elevated walk gives you a good chance of seeing Koala up close.   They were taking part in their 20 hour a day nap, when one little female woke up.   She went from branch to branch grazing on the eucalyptus leaves, until she fell asleep again as quickly as she woke

"Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree"

 

I See You

We heard our first massed chorus of Kookaburra.  It's impossible not to smile
While we were living in Castlemaine we heard on a radio talk show that Sea World were thinking of changing the name of the penguins to 'Little Penguins' so as not "to upset the gay community not that there had been any complaints"  but 'someone' thought "it could be seen as offensive."    A different 'someone' identified as a spokesperson for the gay community declared he wasn't offended, "If they were called poofter penguins or something,  then that would be offensive".  We thought it must be a joke but if you check, in April 2006 Phillip Island  Nature Park operated by Sea World, renamed them little  penguins .  In February we could still call them fairy penguins and that is how I think of them
'Fairy Penguins' aka Eudyptula Minor

Lights dimly illuminate the beach at dusk and we began to see small groups forming at the waters edge.  They waited until they considered themselves a safe number then waddled as fast as their overfilled tummies would allow to their chicks waiting impatiently in the sand dune bushes.  From the 'bleachers' we walked along the boardwalks and saw dozens and dozens of them tottering up the sandy walks beside us.  Their hungry chicks calling out to them.   Enchanting

Photography is strictly forbidden.  These images made available by Phillip Island Nature Park

In daylight the chicks usually stay in their burrows, safe from predators 

 The smallest species of penguins, only 13" high, are the only penguins in the world with blue and white feathers, dark blue on top to protect from flying predators and light underneath to disguise them from predators swimming underneath

Adults spend 80% of their lives at sea, swimming and foraging for food, consuming 25% of their body weight daily  

Returning to Phillip Island to breed and raise their chicks in burrows nestled in amongst the bushes, they only move around on land after dark

There are 32.000 breeding pairs in this colony, the second largest in the world.   The adults are prodigious swimmers and divers, they routinely swim at 2-4km an hour but have been clocked at 6km.  The deepest dive recorded is 72 meters with the average between 5 and 20 metres

Wilson's Promontary - Australia's Bottom And It's Glorious

Wilsons Promontory can date it's aboriginal occupation back some 6500 years.   The first European to see it was George Bass in 1798 and it became a national park exactly 100 years later but was closed during WWll when the Commando's used it for training.  It is the largest coastal wilderness area in the State of Victoria
Our home away from home once we leave Castlemaine

Does a campsite location get much better than this?

 Not for us the wilderness camping experience, although that is available.  Tidal River campsite has enough mod cons, we do not need power to the site and generators are banned,  Yippee.  We went for 3 nights and stayed for 5

The campground was busy with groups of schoolchildren, at first I thought the Diggers were on manoeuvres as they were all set up in identical tall green and brown tents.  When not cleaning up the beach and listening to presentations from rangers they had the run of a fabulous safe beach with a shallow tidal river to sit in and cool off.  We thought their $150 per person 5 day 4 night trip a bargain

T Ball where Tidal River meets Norman Beach and flows into the Bass Strait         

 

 

Boys played cricket anywhere and everywhere with a flat surface, morning noon and night.  Girls skipped rope and chanted rhymes as I had done 50 years earlier.  We never saw unisex cricket but a teacher was gamely trying to teach the finer points of T'ball to a mixed group of young teenagers 

Ahead of the Commonwealth Games about to open in Melbourne, the youngsters on the beach were taking part in the Promonwealth Games.   You have to hand it to Victoria, if melon seed spitting becomes an official Olympic sport, the next generation of Australian athletes are ready and waiting

Falling asleep to the strains of 'The Farmers in the Dell',  is an indelible memory

The Lilly Pilly Gully a 2.6km Nature Walk

Fire broke out here last April when a controlled burn got out of hand and destroyed 6200 hectares around Tidal River

9 months later amazing charred skeletons emerge from regenerating emerald green foliage

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