On the week-end of my first school week I went for a day trip to Philip Island. The trip was organized by the university’s outdoor program. We were 23 students many of which lived at International House. We left early morning on Saturday and went to a sandy beach and hikes up a cliff near it to see the view. We then drove to a koala preserve. There was a boardwalk built in the trees so that we could walk around at the same level as the koalas sleeping in the trees. We got to see many of them really up close. They sleep up to 20 hours a day because their Eucalyptus leaf diet is low in nutrients and so they have very little energy. Also Eucalyptus leaves have toxins in them that very few animals can ingest but koalas have special enzymes to break the toxins down so that they do not harm koalas. Koalas have very long sharp claws that help them climb trees and even though they seem very cute and cuddly they are known to not be so friendly. We then went to a wildlife preserve where we got to feed and pet kangaroos, wallabies, wombat, swans, emus, cassowaries and many other animals. It was a huge enclosed area where the animals could just roam free and you could go right up to them, feed them and pet them. Some of the less friendly animals such as dingoes were enclosed and could not be petted . A lot of female kangaroos had joeys in their pouch which were adorable. They would pop their heads out of the pouch to see what was going on. A couple of the older joeys would be roaming around and come back to drink milk from their mother. There were also not so cute and really imposing emus that would peck at your hands even if you didn’t have any food to offer them. They would also chase you around. I did not like them very much. We also saw cassowaries which are prehistoric looking animals that have the same general shape of emus but with blue and red neck and head (you should look them up). After the preserve, we waited for sunset by the beach and once it got dark enough we saw the penguin parade. It is when fairy penguins get out of the sea and waddle onto the dunes for the night. They were very cute and small. It was the end of mating season so they were about to stay 2-3 weeks on land to grow a waterproof coat. Because they would not be able to feed during that period, they had to build fat storage and eat a lot, so most of the penguins were too full and kept stumbling and falling over or taking breaks while walking across the beach.
The next day we decided that after petting and feeding kangaroos we should know what they tasted like and so most of the Haverford people got together to have a big barbecue! It was nice seeing Haverford people after so long. I then went with others to see “Donnie Darko” in the last screening of the open air movie theater located in the botanical gardens.
The following week-end I went on the Great Ocean Road for the whole week-end. This trip was also organized by the Outdoors Program. But that’ll be for another blog entry! =)