Melbourne to Eden Thursday 13th November - Friday 21st November Phillip Island
Once we had picked the campervan up we headed off to Phillip Island a little way south of Melbourne, its home to lots of wildlife specifically lots of little blue penguins. By the time we'd packed up and left for the island it was late afternoon and getting into early evening once we'd actually arrived. We cooked our first meal in the camp kitchen as the van was small (still had a kitchen), the van is a little 3 berth hi-top some what easier to drive than the huge thing we had in NZ. It came with a little sink, fridge and cooker with grill there were 2 beds which would be very cramped if both were up but all in all it seemed a little better!!!
We started are exploring on the Friday 14th by watching the local pelicans get fed the leftovers from the morning catch. The giant birds come from all over the island to nab some easy tucker and giant stingrays wait in the shallows for any missed bits, the pelicans have a wingspan when fully grown off around 2.5metres. For lunch we had some nice fish and chips from the place that fed the pelicans which was very nice the chips weren't quite right though.
In the afternoon we went across to the Nobbie's visitor centre were we went round a walkway through thousands of breeding seabirds, was a bit smelly and high risk of getting poo'd on! After a cappuccino we went to the penguin parade for our big thing for the day. We arrived and had a look around the visitor centre some of the baby penguins were still in the burrows. Soon after we joined the hordes and set off for the beach to wait for the big group's arrival, around 8.30pm just after dark we watched the first groups leave the water and start to head up the beach. It was funny to watch them running backwards and forwards near to the waters edge trying to decide whether to come in our not. Some interesting penguin facts each of the little 30-35cm high penguins needs to eat between 20-25 pilchard size fish a day and once baby penguins leave the nest the go on a 1 ½ year jolly before returning and setting up there own nest about 10 metres from were they were born. Once we'd watched the 1200 or so penguins come onto to the beach we followed some of the individual up the hill to their nests, the noises they make are so cool.
On Saturday 15th we went off to the koala conservation centre in the morning, koalas are facing troubles ahead do to a rise in Chlamydia infections and habitat destruction and the best places were they are thriving are Phillip and Kangaroo islands. In the centre there are two tree top board walks and were found a big sleeping male and a young one who just loved the spot light posing and all. Around the park we saw kookaburras and eastern rosella and a big male koala just walked around on the ground around us. In the afternoon we chilled out around Cowes the main town on Phillip Island and checked out Point Woolami. Nearly run over an echidna on the back to the campsite just missed it lucky little b*****.
Our final morning on Phillip Island was spent playing mini golf which Wolfie won yeahhhhhhhhhh and we spent the rest of Sunday 16th driving north with a cheeky stop at the Prahan markets before arriving in Wodonga just near to the New South Wales border.
Canberra So we left Wodonga on the morning of Monday 17th and drove the remaining 200 or so kilometers to the ACT - Australian Capital Territory and Canberra. Along the way we passed lots of dead road kill Skippy's and stopped for an ice cream. Once in Canberra we went first to the Telstra tower on Black Mountain, for $7.50 we got to go up top were the views were amazing and the silence golden. It's was panoramic all the way around and wicked views of Canberra. Afterwards we found lots of live kangaroos a little way round town.We also done a self drive tour off all the embassies the USA one was like a mini white house and some of the Asian ones were so grand, the German and polish ones were eastern block and the New Zealand one had cows (metal one) out front. We passed the same police car a couple of times and considering that we were driving a small camper, Wolfie had some beardy type stubble we left before being sent off for being terrorists!!! Late evening we booked into a campsite and had us a nice BBQ. We had grapes and yogurt for breakfast on Tuesday 18th a couple of lost grapes that fell on the floor and were snapped up by the rosella parrots. We went to the war memorial and had a look around the WW1 museum, walked around the courtyard of names and seen the tomb of the un-named soldier. We then hit the mint and got our own $1 coin straight of the press and looked at the displays of coins from the years gone by like 3 and sixpence. Our final stop of the day found us walking around the botanical gardens and kangaroo spotting, we also seen some water monitors (lizards) and lots of nice flowers. One of the funniest things of the day was watching the galahs play by dangling from the telephone wires. Much to Corinne's delight we started the final morning in Canberra in the national institute for sport, were they train most of the future Australian sports stars. We had a tour around the various buildings and venues taking in some of the memorabilia on display and had some fun in the interactive room. We then had the afternoon in the national museum of Australia learnt about the mistreating of the aboriginals and Torres Straight Islanders, an example is where they would take the babies of their families and 'integrate' them in white families. There was also an awesome pink caravan and aboriginal dream time stories. We left Canberra mid afternoon and headed for Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains.Jindabyne - Snowy Mountains We arrived in Jindabyne after dark with all the campsites closed so we stayed just outside the entrance of one but Corinne wasn't impressed about as the showers were all locked off. So we crashed for the night and read until we were tired before booking into the site on the morning of Thursday 20th November. We relaxed for part of the morning with the back door up and the cool breeze coming into the van over looking the mountain lake. Mid morning we set of for the Kosciusko national park and went in search of wombat holes that we could stake out that night.WE drove up to charlottes pass with the intention of walking to the summit of Mount Kosciusko (Australia's highest mountain) but the weather was terrible the rain came down so hard the camper leaked a little. So we parked on a slope to prevent the dripping and had lunch before driving away from the rain clouds and went of for a walk in the bush. We seen snow on top of some of the crags which was just bizarre for Australia you juts think of hot weather. In the evening we had dinner at the van and went off to stake out the wombat holes early from the day. We didn't see any bit of a shame but there were hundreds of roo's and wallabies across the roads just standing in the way making the drive back verrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy slow. We left Jindabyne on Friday 21st November for Eden on the southern coast of New South Wales. Along the way we stopped in Bombala heart of platypus country again we didn't see any but we did see some gorgeous black yellow tailed cockatoos and sixty million flies which were so annoying. Along the road to Eden we seen some gang gang cockatoo's which are grey on the body with the female having a blue head and the male a red head. We arrived at the campsite just before they closed and had a walk along the beach.