19 06 2011

Alright, let’s get back to that Australia trip eh?

So as I said (here: Miles Away)  I booked two day trips for myself to try and get out and DO something.  If I’m being completely honest, I have to admit to being nervous to go on these trips… I was actually worried about having forgotten how to make friends, since the friends I had at that moment I sort of had for years and hadn’t needed to make new ones for a long time.  That’s probably a little ridiculous to be worried about.  A little bit more realistically was my worry that I wouldn’t get to the pick up location at the right time or even find it!  Since I’d only been into the city once before (Declan took me out ‘exploring’ one day) I wasn’t really confident in my navigating abilities!

Well, I google mapped it, tried my damnedest to figure out the tram system to get me into the city and decided on a route.  It turns out the tram system I worked out was NOT the best route I could have taken, but what do you expect from a Canadian in Australia going into the city for what might as well be his first time?  Point is, I made it!  I was in the right spot, right time, the tour company showed up, I asked the guide if it was the right tour and so it was, so he asked my name to check me off his list.  A list that I wasn’t on.
After a slight freak out, mostly from worry about spending my mother’s money on a tour that was about to fizzle out, we realized that I was indeed in the right place at the right time, just a day early…

No worries though!  I had managed to figure out exactly where I had to go, how early I had to leave, and got to look around the city a bit more on my own again!  I was happy, just very tired since I had to get up really early to get there.

Next day I head down, get there in plenty of time, and hop on the van to go on my trip for the day.  I don’t remember the times exactly, but this trip was a long one, from about 7 am till 12 pm.  It was called the “Penguin Parade” and I was so happy to have a WHOLE day taken up by something more than sitting at home, or walking around Fitzroy (my neighbourhood).  Once I was on the bus and we were off, I immediately took a disliking to the girl sitting at the front; she had apparently been on the van since about quarter to six in the morning that day because she was visiting friends who lived outside the city and they picked her up there.  I decided I didn’t like her mostly because she was the kind of person who just wouldn’t stop talking, she yacked to the driver making dumb jokes and laughing at his dumb jokes etc.

I ended up being pretty upset at the turnout of travelers for this trip; there was the loud girl, a quiet asian girl (who spoke english), an asian couple (who didn’t say a word at all), another woman from… Zimbabwe I think? and there may have been another older couple.  Sooooo I’m sure you can guess that I was expecting yet another day by myself, just touring while being lonely.
Here’s where the story takes a wonderful turn!  Our first stop was  at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens (if you clicked the tour link, you’ll see that it’s been changed a bit and the first stop is now a winery.. too bad I missed out on that one), and when we got out the driver said “I’ll be doing a bit of a tour for a bit before giving you time to look around on your own if you want to listen, you can just go explore right now if you want too.  Either way, let’s just meet back here at xx:xx time.”  I didn’t have a watch, cell phone (yet), or my iPod so I was at a loss for keeping track of the time, so I broke my loneliness-induced shyness bubble and actually asked the loud girl and the english speaking asian if I could walk around with them because I didn’t have any way to know what time it was.  Of course they said ‘sure!’ and we were off.  Moral of this little story?  Don’t be too judgemental; the loud girl was actually hilarious and so sweet and kind, she was just being talkative and annoying with the driver because he was annoying and talkative and the only way to bear an hour and a half with him alone was to basically do the same thing.  These two girls turned out to be great people and I quickly became able to call them friends.

Coraline, Me, Kelly

I’m not 100% sure I remember the order of destinations.. but I guess that doesn’t really matter right?  Anyway, our next stop was at a Koala reserve where we got to see lots of koalas, wallabies, kookaburras and the like in ‘the wild’.. even though it was protected.. whatever.  Beautiful place!  And we got to chat and get to know each other a bit more.  Coraline made a bet with us that whoever spotted the first koala would get a drink bought for them when we stopped for lunch.

Koala reserve, and the girl from Zimbabwe(?)

Turns out Kelly spotted the first Koala and so earned herself a drink from Coraline but when we got to the little town where we were eating (can’t remember for the life of me what it was called) Kelly told us that she was pregnant!  So after some congratulations and awestruck remarks when we found out how far along she was (since she was still so small) Coraline was still intending to buy a drink for someone and so got one for me!  Oh the bonding. hahahah

Next stop was a chocolate factory right outside of “Phillip Island” (which is where the Penguins Parade up to).  This place was super cool but I’m assuming it was just like any other chocolate factory out there.  There were lots of cool demonstrations and stuff and a One-Tonne hunk of chocolate!

Phillip Island

Literally a tonne of chocolate

After the chocolate factory was the actual Penguin Parade.  We got there and explored around the island a bit, then when it started to get dark we all moved down to the beach to the sitting area where we were to watch the penguins come in.  You weren’t allowed to have cameras so as to not bother the penguins or blind them with the flash, this viewing is supposed to be harmless and not affect the penguins at all so you weren’t even supposed to talk, hushed whispers were allowed.  It was super peaceful to have the quiet and just watch the penguins pour onto the beach and call to each other without everyone around you going crazy.  It was definitely worth seeing if you’re down under!

Phillip Island

Baby Fairy Penguin




4 responses

19 06 2011
J Alexander MacDonald

I remember when I first step off the Eurostar into Paris, Gard du Nord…It is connected to all the tram and underground lines and I had NO Idea where to go…Haha I Had the street address and the stop I was to get off at, It was locating that stop that was tricky…It is very stressful…and I am pretty sure I actually laughed out loud at some point…just out of my mass confusion. I found it no problem at the end, but I can completely relate to the stress of your situation for meeting the tour group.

The Penguin Parade however looks like a very good tour! Must keep it on the ‘To Do’ List when I do a trip to Australia! The Philips Island looks as if It would be off the coast of England…amazing how certain areas have the same feel.


21 06 2011

I had such a hard time on my first walking tour in Europe. I didn’t know what to do or say to strike up a conversation with these other travelers. There was in fact one loud girl just making friends with everyone, I initially judged and disliked. Turns out when my turn came up on her tour around the group she was a genuinely nice girl and helped me meet some others that I spent a few days with afterwards. Funny how that works.

22 06 2011

i had zero idea that theres penguins there thats amazing! im glad your first trip took a turn for the better!

22 06 2011
Here Comes the Sun « Pterodactyls And Veggies

[…] second trip I went on was with the same company that did the Penguin Parade tour that I mentioned here.  This tour however was of the Great Ocean Road! The Great Ocean […]

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