A Travellerspoint blog

The Wild Side of Australia

sunny 24 °C

Although we’ve toured the most populated part of Australia there are vast distances between cities and we have driven through thousands of kilometres of nature punctuated only by occasional tiny communities. The 800 kms coastal road from Melbourne to Canberra took us past miles of pristine beaches, acres of lush farmland and through the densely forested Snowy Mountains. There is a landscape painting around every corner…

Despite repeated roadside warnings to watch for wombats, wallabies, kangaroos and koalas the nightly death toll is quite disturbing. Speed limits are relatively slow, with speed cameras absolutely everywhere, and penalties are substantial, but the twilight roads are deadly for critters – and sometimes for drivers who hit them. However, the alarming rate of road kill is testament to the abundance of wildlife here. Unfortunately, many of the animals are shy and just refuse to show their faces…
The kangaroos are not shy, we even caught this one in mid flight…
But many of the animals are nocturnal. The amazingly flambouyant birds are the easiest to see, but the most difficult to catch on camera. Here is just a sample…
However, it was the penguins that we really wanted to see. We had searched for them in vain in both New Zealand and Tasmania – even visiting the Town of Penguin where they were supposed to be – but our last chance was Phillip Island, south of Melbourne. Unfortunately, the fairy penguins of Phillip Island are like spotty teenagers who only come out of the water when no one can see them. And here’s what happened…
O.K. So these are not fairy penguins – they are not even real penguins, just a clever camera trick. But we actually saw hundreds of the cute little fairy penguins waddling ashore and up the beach at sunset on Phillip Island as they brought food for their young. We can’t show you because of a complete ban on photography, and because of political correctness, we are told that ‘fairy penguins’ are now referred to as ‘little penguins’ in Australia – who knew?

Posted by Hawkson 15:04 Archived in Australia

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Excellent bird photos especially the one of the big white crested whatever in a pine tree.
800 km! That's one long drive. Trust you broke it up into comfortable segments with some enjoyable repasts. No McDonald's to be seen, I hope.

by R and B

I love Sheila in her best penguin pose. Fetching! So much beautiful wildlife.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Must be the easy care sub-species of fairy penguins. Suitable for garden ornaments. Lovely shots of other birds too. I love the one napping. Up all night I suppose. I remember well the night-long avian racket in Australia.

by Tom

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