Follow by Email

Monday, June 29, 2009

"The one with visiting the penguins once again..."

Boy, this entry evokes such a feeling of dejavu.

Last weekend, Fifah's parents were in town for their Australasian getaway. Being that a familiar face was in town, it was only customary that I grace the liberty of bringing them on a day's tour to Victoria's best attraction(s) - and there's no place better fit for this purpose but Philip Island. An extension from Australia's mainland, this scenic island extends a mere 100-minute drive through the continent's south coast. Ask everyone who's been a tourist to Melbourne - and they would always share very kind remarks of their experience visiting the island.

It's so good, that I even went for seconds. Well, this time the party was different though. Bear with me as I try and recapture those memories again in this post.

Having been there before, I found myself without the aid of an experienced driver to cater for the travel this time around. So instead I mustered all my diplomatic efforts of getting Yusry to tag along; considering Philip Island was the only place he hasn't set afoot on throughout all Victoria. So there I was; in front of my laptop with my hands tapping out on the keyboard, the words "Europcar". A quick gaze at Yusry's plastic card - we ended up with a 7-seater Kia Grand Carnival by Friday afternoon. The rest, as they say - is history.

At Saturday's dawn break (and a few hours later) we found ourselves, (hugely) under the influence of caffeine - on the tarmac, set forth for another adventure that'll pleasure the senses and nuture the inner naturist in ourselves. Either that, or just seeking solace from the blistering cold we've been having lately; a product of Melbourne's horrendous winter season.

God's will, the day debuted to the cheeriest of mornings. Bygone are icy breezes and grey gloomy skies, it's the sun's day to shine that day, and so striking it indeed was. I attributed this as a good omen that it'll be a nice trip ahead but my mind still wonders upon the uncanny feeling that is Australia's totally unpredictable weather. Fingers crossed, we kept an optimistic view of the climate and before we knew it had ventured to our first stop of the day.

Maru Fauna Park; a privately-owned 10 acre landscape, homeground to a petting zoo of Aussie's most distinct animals. If you're looking to pet kangaroos and wallabies alike, you've come to the right place indeed. From the likes of the charmingly cool koala, to thumping cute wallabies to the wolf's canine cousin dingo, you can almost cross out all of Australia's indigenous animals in just one place.

Our visit to the park was of course, through the assistance of an experienced ranger; delightfully competent at explaining why koalas often lead solitary lifestyles, how much less irritating tasmanian devils are in real life compared to in the cartoons, and why you must never, ever agitate a kangaroo unless you bear an affection of being kicked in the face by a size-20 foot.

Other than that - immitate Harry Potter's homage bow and pay respect to these astonishing creatures. Chances are, you'll be surprised at how much you'll receive back from them.

Of course, you can't be at a petting zoo - and not pet and feed the animals now, would you?

The stars of the ranch was of course the kangaroos. Maru has a whole few acres dedicated to these critters hopping and rolling about; in numbers and in pairs. If you need to be close to a decent, fairly friendly kangaroo - ditch the woodlands because they don't come more 'jinak' than this. Just be sure to bring extra napkins because it does come handy when you wipe their saliva off from your hands and fingers. If you're a bit raunchy - probably even off your pants.

Yes, not only the now-late MJ has skin tone problems. Turns out kangaroos also suffer from it as well. I bet this is the roos' version of the king. The King of Hop, that is.

Uncle Ijap had a lot of flowing ideas of how this place can be imitated to complement the industry back in Malaysia. We shared a lot of opinions as to the whys and hows such an establishment can be pursued if the initiation was right.

A good hour and a half, we departed from Maru's and resumed our journey into Philip Island. It was already mid-day and there wasn't a dark cloud in sight. Tis' was a delightful day to be out indeed. A few kilometres ahead, and the famous San Remo bridge greeted us into the island. Being such a nice day, the party enjoyed the meandering drive very much as we parted land and sea through lush greens of mangroves and trees. An indication that we're close to our next pit-stop; Churchill Island.

It was here that we decided to break for lunch and bask in admiration of the breathtaking scenery. Lucky for us, there was a local Farmer's Market going on as well. An excellent opportunity to mix with local cultures and customs. Stalls of authentic products were at offer; from the sinfully scented lavender soaps to cinnamon-flavored popcorn. It wasn't your usual fish-and-poultry market here; it was the locals bartering their finest products for a price of your dollar.

As we resumed lunch, we found ourselves falling in love with the scenery. Domains of picturesque coastlines with green hills as its backdrop; chirps of kookaburras and parrots swarming the air with the calming scent of lavender from the nearby garden, enough to soothe even the weariest of souls. I've known for a fact from previous experience, that Churchill Island is famously notorious for being such an eye candy - and this time coming she wasn't the least short to leave a good first impression on the others.

Being in the presence of such scenic panoramas, how can you not fall in love for nature's free sanctuary. Coupled with the cool weather and comfy breezes; you'll fell unwary of time's passing very easily here. Sometimes your thoughts wander as to how lucky our forefathers were to have all these to themselves during their prime. No wonder the youngest of them had outlived even the oldest of our generations nowadays.

I had previously planned to give the Koala Reservation Centre a visit prior leaving Churchill Island, but considering we've already had our fair share of animals at Maru's I'd settle for the next renowned landmark Philip Island has to offer - the overwhelmingly beautiful Nobbies. At the back of my mind; if they were swept away from Churchill's vast landscapes, then Nobbies would surely be an awe-inspiring wonder.

True to form - Nobbies greeted us thriving with such a spectacle. Lady luck whispered her gracious side onto us once again; this time with whales disembarking the straits at viewpoint. At this point of the year, it is quite a common sight for the world's largest mammal to borne these seas as it's substantially warmer compared to the much colder waters of the Antartica just oppositely situated from the Nobbies.

Approaching dawn break, catching gaze of breathtaking sceneries almost comes as a second nature aside the location's unique coastline. The Nobbies has not changed since my last visit, and that consistency is just sublime.

Just if you're wondering - the Nobbies refers to these two rock monoliths at the tip of Australia's many endpoints. Australia's Simpang Mengayau, to say the very least.

As you cover Nobbie's circumference, you witness Australia's finest and most stunning scenic views. To bask yourself within the confines of its docks makes you harbor that coherent affirmation with mother nature - a subtle existence which if not preserved, shall tremble and be lost in the clutches of modernization.

The sky was a panoramic gradient of clear blues; in hues that promote fabulous camera shots capturing every passing gesture and memory. It's hard to resist being shutter-mad snapping pictures whilst being here in the Nobbies.

Philip Island, being one of the most scenic spots in Victoria - is also home to the world's smallest penguin species. So small, that they bear resemblance to their names - the Little Penguins. This penguin species is native to Australian soil, therefore making them a magnet for tourist attraction. Being the strategic locality of Philip Island's many coasts, my last destination planned for the party was of course the world famous Penguin Parade which was situated a shy 5-minutes driving distance from the Nobbies.

Sadly enough, the pictures end from this point on. A tribute to the park's consensus of forbidding any flash photography for preservation's sake of the penguin's very vulnerable daily parade.

Anyways, here each night at sunset the world's smallest penguins come ashore after a day's fishing and true to test this natural phenomenon works like clockwork the moment the light of day dims to the bright of the moon. The only God-forsaken thing is, because it's such a famous attraction tourists populate the place in masses, so you may want to disembark to the viewing grounds particularly earlier before sunset. That means waiting by the beachhead in the coldness of subzero climature; shivering and drooling with mucus. Imagine sitting in the masses, sea breeze blowing against your face whilst trying to keep warm with only a jacket on. Dressed down to flip flops? Bad, bad idea. The viewing docks are probably the only place where you'll see everyone shiver in agony - be it caucasions or even asians. I felt a bit sorry for Uncle Ijap, Auntie Noriah, Uncle Jaafar and Auntie Mina whom were freezing cold sitting on the stands; this being their first experience in winter after such a long time.

The penguins were kind this time though; deciding to battle the surf and make their way to their dune burrows far earlier compared to my last visit. There were more of them as well - skedaddling away in the cutest manner ever. To see the little penguins emerge from the sea and waddle their way through you is an experience you won't find anywhere else but this part of the globe. The distinctive performance does not end there - as we made our way back to the center, we caught ample views of the small birds parading into the confines of their nests. Some encounters were so close that we were in contact-distance with them.

We ended our day's visit from the Penguin Parade at approximately 7 pm. Battered and tired from the arduous trip, everyone had their fair share of shut-eye during the journey back to Melbourne. Yusry and I decided to bring the party for dinner at Antz, and everyone had a wonderful meal to culminate such a memorable day out. We dropped Ina, Fifah's parents as long as Uncle Jaafar and Auntie Mina at their apartment in the city shortly after dinner, and then headed home to the suburbs to retire for the day. It wasn't until 1am that I was sound asleep that night.

Philip Island remains one of the most scenic places I have ever been in this short life of mine. It has harboured many warm memories and in this regard I hope that the party had enjoyed this trip as much as I had of their company. InsyaAllah, God willing I shall set foot again on its soil - although then with a different entourage, but hopefully the same distinct feeling.



fifah said...

Hi syg!

Thanks for the long-awaited, eagerly anticipated entry about my parents' OZ trip. :P

Also thanks so very much to you and Yusry for organizing the Philip Island trip and the transportation, as well as everything else. I really really appreciate it syg.

All the places look so picturesquely beautiful and awe-inspiring, tak sabar nak pegi check them out for myself. Hopefully next year! ;)

I hope you had a nice time, as much as they had enjoyed your entertaining company. Ina is currently complaining takde gang kat NZ skrg, wished you ikut jugak. :P

Thanks again for updating syg, im already looking forward to your next entry!

Missing you muchly.

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum wbth,

Ooo..Jaafar Untong yg ikut Hj. Ijab..Itu officer mama masa mula2 join Jabatan Kesihatan dulu. I know his wife too...and off course, mesti ada gambar dengan kambing la...

I hope you are looking after your health n taking every precautions to avoid contact with any sneezing, coughing or seemingly feverish characters! Wear a mask when in a crowded place...ok...take care..mama.

farizahisa said...

Fantastic pics, Jep!! Sure terrer camera tu!!(haha tak nak puji photographer!!)

I especially like the King of Hop part!!

Mak Teh

ps. i'm now resigned to posting comments in people's blogs, our office has blocked fb!! Demmit!! And just when things are getting interesting with pakcik and even your MOM in fb.. hmm..must find ways to get back in...haha!