Anne Thorsen (our "friend of a friend" and personal tour guide who grew up on Whidbey island) picked us up in a convertible and whisked us off to Phillip Island, and the Phillip Island Nature Parks about 90 minutes from Melbourne.
First stop was The Gurdies Winery overlooking the lowlands of Phillip Island.
The winery is a great place for a picnic or just a nice relaxing glass of wine (or two)
The rolling hills are pasture for many of the cattle that roam the area. This is some serious free-rage cattle, mostly all grass fed
Agapanthus grow all over the area, flanked by yellow/green shrubs.
Jacaranda -- one of my favorite trees ---unfortunately does not like cooler temperatures in Western Washington.
Churchill Island Heritage Farm (dating back to 1801) is the first farm in Victoria
One of the farm's many birds.
The Nobbies, and Australia's largest seal colony and millions of feeding seagulls.
Local birds along the path, and one very different type of goose, the Cape Barren Goose.
At the island's Koala Conservation Center, two elevated treetop boardwalks allow close viewing of wild koalas in six hectares of Australian bushland. The center Center plays host to a special koala breeding program which forms a vital part of the center's ongoing research activities. Originally established 1991, the Center is dedicated to koala research and conservation and has played a vital role in saving Phillip Island’s koala population. The center is also home to a host of Australian wildlife – swamp wallabies, nocturnal brushtail and ringtail Possums, echidnas and over 150 species of birds
For this kangaroo, it's time for lunch!
The Fairy (Little Blue) Penguin is the smallest penguin in the world. Every evening, after dusk (it was about 9:30 when we were there) they come up from the ocean in groups. Due to the low tide the evening we were there (huddled under a blanket in a drizzle) they came up slower and in fewer numbers than normal, but walking back on the boardwalk, hundreds of babies penguins could be seen and heard calling out to their parents for food. Since no photos of any type were allowed, these were taken off the their website.
We got back to our apartment around 12:30 at night, it was a fun day and great to get up close to some of the native animals.