Ciao bellas. So we offskied it from Melbourne still resplendent with the worst collective hangover breath in the history of mankind and curved southwards towards Philip Island. A bit of confusion surrounded Philip Island in my mind. I assumed that it was a wildlife mecca famous for the Pengun Parade and koala sanctuary however on reading the brochure it looked more like a theme park. Which it was in truth. The 3 of us had a wander round the headland marvelling at the randy seagulls getting it on everywhere. Rough business that gull coupling - all biting and squawking and flapping and pecking and shrieking. Next up was the Penguin Parade, a world renowned spectacle its stars 500ish small Little Penguins which walk out of the sea at dusk having consumed a whopping amount of fish for them to then regurgitate it later for their young. Sick pie, kids? Now then, this natural show used to allow the observer a seat on the beach as these funny flightless fellas waddled past up to their nests in the dunes. Times have changed though spectator numbers have swelled and now there's a gift shop selling penguin action wear, toys and tat in general, and a huge concrete grandstand which stretches up from the beach for miles it seems. All a bit surreal really - watching real-life nature in action while eating penguin-branded popcorn and tutting at the camera-wielding personal space-invading invasion.
The koala santuary rocked - one Evil Knievel-style kidder was dangling from a branch which simply wasn't going to hold his weight as we, the Eternal Punters, watched in fascination at his dexterity in not falling 50 feet to his death. Tapped out the theme tune to Mission Impossible as he was swinging around the spindly eucalyptus twigs. He eventually realised that there was no way on earth he was going to transfer from tree to tree so came all the way down, wary of everybody, then shinnied up the target tree to the lush green leafy goods up high. Where he then fell asleep, of course, knackered from having to move more than 4 centimetres. They rarely do anything, koalas, as discussed (even Big Nick from Bimbi Park waits til dark to get his party groove on) so this was a good show all round. After leaving the sanctuary, it must be noted at this juncture that I then obtained victory in the deciding mini-golf contest, taking the championship to 2 games to 1 in my favour. Don't like to brag Abs but 2:1. 2 to 1. 2 games versus 1 game. Deux a un. Makes me feel marginally better about my beehind getting whupped in the chess debacle.
Around the coast to a non-descript place called Lakes Entrance which would have been a picturesque town had it not been monsooning the whole time we were there then up to Canberra where we spent a couple of days and nights. The museum was ace, info and facts galore - did you know that Australia is an Aborginal word from Oossentreelyah meaning "man who becomes eagle sees air of own self within reflection in lake on mountain during cyclone". Er, well, I made that bit up because I can't remember any info or any facts, but it was dead good anyhow. So we've been shopping til we are dropping, eaten some top nosh in an excellent cafe called Milk and Honey, ma's had a massage and we're about to plough on to Sydney. Pretty cool place, Canberra - excellent clothes shops and eateries but because it's all so young (Canberra is the capital because as recent as the turn of the last century, Sydney and Melbourne had an eggy with each other over who gets parliament and top dog status - they couldn't sort it out like adults so chose somewhere geographically in between) it resembles Milton Keynes. Next and final stop - Sydney. Laters gang, love C x