Road Trip – Part 3

27Dec09

Take the phone off the hook, light some candles and slip into something silky as we embark on the final, magical chapter of – ‘Road Trip – Highway to Hotpants’. Please remember to extinguish all candles after reading as they can be a fire hazard.

We roared into Phillip Island in the early evening, looking for stunning vistas and blue, blue seas. That wasn’t our immediate experience unfortunately. A stroll along the main strip revealed drunken teenagers (one of them unconscious and being loaded into an ambulance), concrete-block-based architecture and souped-up cars driven by Bogans (Chavs), tyre squealing up and down their tarmac playground. Several took time out from crushing beer cans on their foreheads to loudly grunt in our direction. This is an actual quote “Ooiiiiiiiii wantttttnii? Wot you ffuuuuuuucccliookkkkkuuuuuuuu!! Ayy HA HA HA HA” I am quietly confident that our dignified silence left them feeling thoroughly ashamed.

The most picturesque photo I could find of the centre of Phillip Island. The line of Bogans, mooning at the camera have been airbrushed out for the sake of decency.

 

Our Phillip Island experience was all uphill from there as the next morning we visited the Koala Conservation Centre. These are the top Koala facts wot I learned:-

1. Koalas are addicted to hit TV show Gossip Girl and will happily watch an entire box set if not physically restrained.

2. They make excellent administrative staff

3. There is NO conclusive evidence that Koalas wear toupees

4. The Aboriginal word for Koala is Dharuk Gula which literally translates as ‘Price Reduced Slipper’

Seth Rogan was forced to stick the top of his head out of this box for up to eight hours a day as punishment for 'Zac and Miri Make a Porno'

 

Next, we sauntered breezily along to Churchill Island Heritage Farm, doing our bit to help strengthen the bond between human and animal. Hey, can’t we all just get along?

Mr Widdlebum looks rather melancholy. So does the rabbit.

 

Determined to beat our own personal record of adorable animal viewing sessions in a 12 hour period (set in 2002 and involving a chinchilla), we set off for the Penguin Parade. Every evening at dusk, the officially named Little Penguins (a guide helpfully explained that the name derives from their diminutive stature) waddle out of the sea in groups and head up the beach to their homes in the sand dunes. There was something otherworldly and peaceful about sitting at the ocean edge, waiting for the stars of the show to arrive as the sun dipped. Suddenly, a seal broke the surface and began looping dives in what many in the crowd interpreted as a hunt for the Little Penguins. Were we about to witness a fight for survival?

No.

A tannoy announcement informed us that the whiskery sea-hound posed no threat. Took a bit of the drama out of it for me to be honest.

As darkness fell, tiny dots began appearing in the black ocean, gradually moving towards the shore. Eventually, the first battalion bravely emerged, desperately scrambling against the tide as they fought their way along the wet sand. The leader at the head of the group made a heroic dash forward as the others hung back. This created a gap between the safety of the cluster and Rambo the Penguin. Undaunted, his flippers spun furiously, propelling him towards home and the promise of a fish supper. His blistering momentum was checked abruptly as he found himself beak to beak with a seagull. Rambo did a double-take of comedic perfection as he looked behind at his cowering comrades and back at this unexpected adversary. The renegade penguin raised himself to his full height of 16 inches, puffed out his chest and eyeballed the interloper before whipping around and legging it back to his mates. The others didn’t waste any time and were back in the water quicker that you could say “oooooh ain’t seagulls dead scary though?”

Jonathan he's back again with that bloody camera. If you were any kind of penguin you'd go out there and thump him. Mother was right - agreeing to marry you was the biggest mistake of my life and... and... this isn't easy for me Jonathan but Tobias isn't even yours. I've been having an affair."

 

I looked along the beach at the hordes of seagulls and felt we were in for a long night. So it proved as wave after wave of black and white squadrons teeter-tottered their way back and forth between sand and surf. It was genuinely fascinating, funny and rather moving (God, I’m wonderfully sensitive) to see them overcome their trepidation and finally make the valiant dash to safety. 

The next morning we gave Phillip Island an inappropriately sensual farewell kiss on the lips as we hightailed it back to Melbourne. Once back in the city, we torched the motor and abandoned the smoking husk in a disused railway siding (dropped it back at Hertz). 

For our final night in the city I have come to call ‘Melbourne’, we stayed in the Youth Hostel that was our temporary home when we first arrived. The circle of life my friends, the circle of life.

At the Godforsaken hour of 4am we hopped in a cab and sped to the airport for the next leg of our ‘working from anywhere on the planet’ adventure. Our destination? Brisbane. Our plan of action? Devilment and mayhem followed by a lovely snooze…

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