A Travellerspoint blog

Melbourne to Mildura to Apollo Bay in a little over a week.

I haven't even had a job and I still find it hard to blog. Why?! Anyways here we go.

rain 13 °C

We stayed in Melbourne until our friends Andrew and Mary left for Adelaide and then our Scottish friends drove up to Mildura to look for work and call on some of their Scottish friends who are working that way. Nance and I had decided to drive south and see the Mornington Peninsula and from there to Phillip Island. We left Melbourne a bit later than intended so we drove part way down the peninsula and then turned and drove towards Phillip Is. We camped in a nice caravan park and then checked out the island. It was larger than I thought oh and even though it's an island it's connected to the mainland via a bridge so no exciting ferry rides or anything. So first stop was a place called the Nobbies and that was the southernmost point of the island. You look out over the Tasman sea and there is nothing from there to Antarctica. There is also a few camera of a seal colony on a island a bit off the coast. The Nobbies are some huge rock formations that you can almost literally see being eroded by the intensity of the sea. Such a cool spot. From there we went to the info booth and booked us some tickets to the penguin parade. Learned that it takes place at dusk when the little guys come in from a long day in the ocean to their nests. Wasn't sure what to expect but the lady said that they had 600 and some penguins come up the night before. We got there and met our ranger who explained how they count them every night and have been doing so for the last 30 years or so and that the population has been ever so slowly increasing especially after they got the land made into a national park. So with our ranger we walked down to the beach and met up with that night's designated counter. Her job is to start counting from the first 5 penguins who cross the beach and then count for 50 minutes. She explained how the little penguins form 'rafts' out past the breaking waves because they are the most vulnerable when traversing the open stretch of sand. The rafts were just dark patches in the distances so you have no idea how many penguins have amassed until they come ashore. And boy oh boy do they come ashore. It was a slow progression at first but then they started arriving in droves. One raft alone had over 100 penguins! So we watched from the counter's platform for a but and then headed down to the beach and watched many many many more waddle their way home. They would slowly emerge from the sea and then one would start running across the sand and then the rest would run after. It was a spectacular sight and one I'll never forget! We spotted our ranger as we were leaving and asked what the total was and it was 1599! He said that we picked the best night we could have because as the winter comes more and more penguins spend 2-3 weeks at sea and their numbers are less each dusk because of it. Sadly they ask that no photography be taken because it's dark and the flash isn't good for their eyes but if you're ever in the area it is more than worth a visit.

From there we went and did the Mornington Peninsula properly which of course included fish and chips for lunch and some aimless wandering along the piers that dot the towns along the way. Nance's friend from back home Brian has a relative who lives on the Peninsula so he'd given us her contact info and we dropped in for dinner and stayed with her for a night. Was so wonderful to not camp! Her name was Deb and she was actually Brian's mum's cousin so almost a distant relative but she'd spent her childhood around Reed City and was close to Brian's mum. She lives in a beautiful house and is neighbor's with a very cool little art gallery. We didn't know it but it was her daughter's birthday that day so when we came in the door we got to sing happy birthday to her. She was going out with some friends and had left for work before we had gotten up but was great to meet her.

The next day we took off for Mildura to pick chillies with Sarah and Mairi! We left Deb's a bit later than intended so we didn't get into Mildura until late so not much to report from that day except that all I wanted was a slurpee from 7 Eleven and they were all practically on the other side of the road until we were out of Melbs. Story of my life. Haha though since we were way out in the middle of nowhere they don't have gates on their railway crossings and we came up to a surprisingly long queue of cars waiting and waiting and waiting until some of them just started going even though they lights were flashing. When it came to our turn we could actually see the train just sitting on the tracks maybe broken down or something but it felt strange to just blatantly ignore the flashing lights and go. We are such rebels I know. Got into Mildura and set up the gazebo and tent and got pumped for picking chillies.

Ugh picking chillies...worst 6 hours ever. We got there and got handed a bucket and told to pick 'good' ones only. Umm ok but what are 'good' ones? Turns out good, which is of course a relative term, is also different to the same guy. I would go up and mine were too orange so I'd go back tell the group and then someone else would go up their's would be too soft. I'd go back up and mine were too this or too that. He told everyone something different. I picked 4 buckets and just called it a day. Made all of $36 bucks to boot. He said he'd call us tomorrow and let us know a time and when he didn't call the next day we didn't even bother calling him. He did end up calling us like 3 days later but we were 'busy'. We instead hung out with Sarah and Mairi's friends Karen and Martin who had just came up to Mildura a few weeks prior because Karen got a teaching job. Days were warm enough to hang by the pool and call around for jobs. When we had spent a week doing this with no luck Nance and I decided to go do the Great Ocean Road for a week or so and try again then.

So here I am. Apollo Bay YHA Eco Lodge spending my first night indoors since Deb's almost 2 weeks ago and the last day indoors before then would have been...Canberra YHA way back in March, wooft! We do love us some camping. Anyways the Great Ocean Road as far as we've driven it has been great. It's May so it's cold but that doesn't stop the views from being magnificent. Well that brings us up to speed let's hope that the weather warms up because we're going to see the Twelve Apostles tomorrow which is one Aus's most photographed places and I'm sick of being cold!

Posted by owensj11 02:51 Archived in Australia

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