I wrapped up my time in Melbourne by getting absurdly drunk in the hostel bar with my new friends Katie (the bartender), Rubin (her boyfriend) and eventually Jones who might have been called something different, but I couldn’t tell through his accent.
The bar the hostel was completely dead, but I had decided I needed to meet some people and have some drinks, so I saddled up to the bar and ordered a pint of Tooheys. After I asked how to order, of course. The various sizes in Melbourne are a pot, which is about a half pint, a pint which is a pint and a jug which is a small pitcher. About two pints. I eventually started chatting with the above mentioned crew and ended up having a great time. We capped the night with a few games of pool, all of which I won, but I think my opponent Jones let me. Anyway, it was a good night.
Before going off to the bar to get hammered I booked a day tour for Phillip Island to see the fairy penguins make their daily attack on the beach. Every day, before the sun rises the smallest penguins in the world go out to sea to eat and eat and eat, and then all at once, as soon as the sun sets they come floating ashore and storm the beach to head back to their little homes and feed their young. It is without a doubt the cutest thing anywhere, ever.
On the way to see the penguins we stopped at a winery for a quick wine tasting. It was terrible. The wine just sucked to my taste. Sorry. Then we went to a wildlife park where we got to have our picture taken with a koala, feel up some wombats, romp around with some kangaroos and just generally bath in wildlife. The roos were of course the highlight, since we were allowed in their area to feed and play with them. All in all they were super cool but those fuckers have some giant claws on them and the bigger ones can get pretty aggressive when they want some chow.
We also saw a tassie (tasmanian) devil and learned about him. They are all dying from a disease that is passed via saliva and unfortunately the devils tend to swap a lot of saliva. They don’t really spin around in circles like Taz does but they really tear into their chow and are constantly biting it, each other and themselves. We also learned they can’t see for shit but can smell and hear really well. They move up to 30 kilometers a night in hunting and only eat already dead chow. The one we saw was in a pretty large cage, but certainly not 30km large so he ran in circles the entire time sniffing up a storm. I took a video of him, which I’ll post soon.
After the wildlife park we had a quick lunch and then were taken to an airport to have the option of a helicopter ride for an extra $60. It sounded cool, but I had already paid $99 for the tour and didn’t want to spend any more. Plus at least two people had to go and no one else was interested. So we headed off to a surf beach on Phillip Island to… waste time. It was a really gorgeous beach though, as you can see from the pictures.
Then it was off to Seal Rocks, where I saw no seals, and The Nobbies which were beautiful and then to the main attraction!
I won’t write pages about the penguins, but man they are cool. After they got up on the beach to their little huts they stood outside singing, trying to attract a mate. It was really pretty incredible and even though it’s a massive, massive tourist trap I totally recommend it. Skip the tour if you’ve got access to a car. It’s only $16 or something to watch the penguins. Oh, and there’s no taking pictures at all, so sorry about that.
So that was pretty much it for me in Melbourne. The morning before the penguins I wandered into a travel agency and picked up a ticket to Sydney. I was getting a little bored of Melbourne, and I figured if I am gonna suffer in a big city it might as well be THE big city.
And big it is! I grabbed a hostel in King Cross, which is east of the city center and had a free shuttle take me there. After settling in for a bit I found the entrance to the underground (subway, trains, whatever) and bought a return ticket for Town Hall, which is the main train interchange for the city lines. When I got there and walked out into the city I basically turned around and fled in terror. Probably not a good idea to have popped out right during the rush. It was completely crazy, and dark and I just wasn’t ready to face it just yet. So I wandered back to my hostel, got my laptop and here I sit, down the street catching up.
Tomorrow I’ll get down to Sydney proper and see what there is to see. I know I am definitely planning to go out of town in the next few days to the Blue Mountains and maybe go do some caving too. And I hear there’s some kind of opera thing on the harbor I should look at.
That’s it for now. I’m kinda beat for no good reason at all and am gonna call it an early night. I imagine I’ll be doing plenty of walking tomorrow, and maybe some bridge climbing. There is a tour that lets you scale the Harbor Bridge and it looks pretty awesome scary. Make sure you check out the latest batch of pictures. There are some good ones in there, if I can say so myself.