Archives for April 2013

The Nobbies and Seal Rocks

Down at the boardwalk.

The morning after we observed the penguin parade, Mike and I headed back over that way to another of Phillip Island’s popular spots, The Nobbies. From a series of boardwalks set amid sea bird nesting grounds, visitors are able to view the sea from a variety of different vantage points.

Throughout our travels around Australia I’ve enjoyed observing the wide variety of shorelines and seascapes. It’s interesting to notice how the color of the water changes as you move down the coast. The deep blue and light turquoise of the water around The Nobbies was particularly gorgeous.

A kilometer and a half offshore from The Nobbies is Seal Rocks, Australia’s largest fur seal colony breeding ground. It’s too far to see with the naked eye, but if you’re willing to pay $5 for a few minutes with digital binoculars, you might glimpse a seal or two. Don’t worry though because even if you don’t see a seal (we didn’t), you can still learn all about them from the educational displays located inside.

xo, jill 

From the Hip Friday

Cozy blankets.Today’s photo from the hip comes from Copenhagen, Denmark. I distinctly remember taking this photo. I was charmed by the thick red blankets folded over the chairs at an outdoor cafe. As someone who is always cold, I loved how thoughtful it seemed for a restaurant to provide a cozy warm blanket for its chillier patrons. But, I was traveling solo and felt a little silly taking photos of cafe chairs and blankets. I solved the problem by shooting from the hip!

xo, jill

From the Hip Friday features photos taken without the use of a viewfinder. If you have a photograph that was taken from the hip you’d like to share here, please contact me!


Big Thing Thursday: Prawn

The comeback prawn.

Today’s big thing, The Big Prawn, narrowly escaped destruction. In 2009 the Ballina Shire Council voted to demolish the prawn that had been a fixture of the West Ballina transit center and restaurant for 20 years. The community did not appreciate their pragmatism. Luckily, Bunnings Warehouse* heard the cries of the community and stepped in to save the day. Last year the prawn was moved to its new home at a future Bunnings Warehouse construction site. Of course, when we visited the prawn we didn’t know the history. We just thought it was an old, faded, and forgotten big thing living amongst a lot of litter and construction.

Big Thing: The Big Prawn
Location: Ballina, NSW

Glad to know he’s actually just gearing up for his comeback.

xo, jill

*A hero to Mike and me as well. That’s where we bought our beloved jumper cables that have gotten us out of several jams. It’s like Home Depot. 

Behold! The cutest tourist attraction I can’t show you…

the Penguin Parade!When I first heard about the Penguin Parade I was really excited… and then immediately disappointed. Who wouldn’t be charmed by the idea of little penguins on parade? However, I knew we’d be operating on a very strict budget in Australia. I predicted that the $22 entry fee would be out of reach and resigned myself to no penguins on parade in my future.

Yet, when the day finally came that we arrived on Phillip Island, Mike and I decided to drive down to the “parade grounds” just to check it out. Well, that little drive turned into a “Screw it! We’ve been good at budgeting… let’s see some penguins!”

Best decision ever.

Are you wondering what a penguin parade might be? Every night at sunset hundreds (sometimes thousands) of little penguins (that’s their actual name) “emerge from the sea and march across the beach to their sand dune burrows.” They’ve got little fluffy babies to feed! The Phillip Island Nature Park has organized a formal viewing experience for visitors to observe the phenomenon in order to help protect the penguins and conserve their habitat.

A former version of the parade via ABC

Sadly (and wisely), cameras and recording equipment are not allowed on the premises. (We actually saw one person get kicked out for trying to secretly use a camcorder.) So I can’t actually show you photos of the adorableness, you’ll just have to trust me (and this official video).

Here’s how it works.

Buy your ticket and enter the grand tourist complex. If you’ve got money to spend you can enjoy a snack at the cafeteria or buy penguin souvenirs at the shops (yes, plural). There’s a countdown clock predicting the penguins’ arrival on the wall which will surely get you pumped up and ready for the parade!

Go outside and walk along the boardwalk to the grandstand on the edge of the ocean. It’s time to wait.

Gradually you will begin to notice small groups of penguins arriving on shore. They’ve been out fishing all day and are ready for dry land. Some go directly up the embankment while others linger (fall down) in the waves. As more and more penguins arrive, they start to walk single file up the hill past the counting devices. There is a literal parade!

After the majority of the penguins arrive, the crowd leaves the grandstands and wanders along the boardwalk. From here you can see the baby penguins (pure fluff) in their burrows chirping and waiting for dinner. Baby little penguins are painfully adorable. The temptation to snuggle one is just too great for some. I saw a grown woman reach out and pet one…twice! Her behavior shocked me, but I can’t say I blame her. Those little guys are cute!

Although it doesn’t seem possible, eventually you’ll be ready to head for home. There are numerous signs reminding you to check under your car for penguins. These little guys take over parts of the island so much so that certain roads are closed after dusk to keep them protected.

At the end of the night, I was happy to have paid $22 to a worthy cause. All of the proceeds of the Phillip Island Nature Park are invested back into supporting the penguins. These little ones have been my favorite tourist attraction by far and are highly recommended, even to travelers on a budget.

The Penguin Parade is truly delightful.

xo, jill

PS If you’re ready for cuteness overload, check out this little scheme to knit the little penguins little sweaters to wear in the event of an oil spill.

From the Hip Friday

Sand dunes.

Today’s photo from the hip comes from West Beach, just outside Adelaide, Australia. Mike and I were watching the sunset on the sand when a couple of energetic little boys started climbing the dunes and chasing down that giant green ball. I tried to capture some of this boy’s delight, but mostly just got the sand. Oh well. I still like it.

xo, jill

From the Hip Friday features photos taken without the use of a viewfinder. If you have a photograph that was taken from the hip you’d like to share here, please contact me!

Redhead Beach

Gingers only.

This morning I was once again going through photos on my computer (need to free up space), and I came across evidence of an outing back in December. This was right before settling in to house sit for the holidays on the Central Coast. On our way to the house sitting house, we camped one night in Newcastle and spent an afternoon at Redhead Beach. Redhead Beach is named after the eighty meters high Redhead Point. My photography skills didn’t quite capture it, but if you saw it in person you’d see that the head is indeed red(ish).

No complaints about a day at the beach.

xo, jill 

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