Franz Josef Glacier
Punikaiki Pancake Rocks
Seal Pup Waterfall Pool
Ok....So now what have I been up to this week. Well I left New Zealand Tuesday morning after missing my first flight and luckily getting on another one. I think the island and Mae and Mark were just having a hard time letting me go, but I did arrive in Melbourne safe and sound. I am staying with my friend Sarah and her beautiful family. Her husband Juergen, who is a fabulous chef and their three kids under the age of 4. Xavier who loves to talk and is a great helper in the family. Finn who is the little dare devil and then Amalia who is 7 weeks old and has a great set of lungs. Staying with them has been alot of fun, especially because the kids say the funniest things. While here I have seen FInn practice and practice signing head shoulders knees and toes thinking no one was watching him . I have seen Xavier realize how puzzle pieces go together and seen Amalia learn how to smile. It has been a great time. Everyday I wake up singing a different kids song and go to bed thinking of Finn say "Oh Man" every time something doesn't work out in the day (Check out Finn Here). I have also seen the stress and chaos of having three kids under the age of 4 and watched in awe at how Jeurgen and Sarah have managed it. Then on top of that Jeurgen is from Germany and they are raising the kids in a dual langauge household. That means Sarah talks to them in English and Jeurgen in German. Which is great for the kids but sometimes hard for me to understand what they are saying. Alot of their words are coming out half in English and half in German. Needless to say I am picking up a bit of German due to the fact that the boys think it's funny to try to get me to read the German books they have.
Since I have been here things have been alot of fun. The first day Sarah and the boys took me to the National Forest by their house where we took a nice hike and tried to feed the killer birds. The birds were a bit tramatizing but the hike was nice. The next day we then went to Phillip Island, which is about 90 minutes outside of Melbourne. Phillip Island is known for it's cool beaches and it's nature parks. We went to see the Penguins. Every night large groups of Penguins come out of the ocean onto Phillip Island to their homes. They come up the beach at dusk and make their way to their homes on the dunes where they rest until the morning. The area has come to be known as Penguins Parade. We went to see the penguins and watched in amazment as over 500 penguins came up the beach and marched off to their homes. It was such a site to see them and wonder how they knew where they were going. The next day we explored a bit more of Phillip Island and took a stroll through town and around the boardwalk of the Nobbies, which is a point on the island. After the 90 minute return trip home with the overtired kids and the screaming baby we all relaxed and went to bed early.
The next day Finn and Jeurgen walked me to the train station and I ventured into Melbourne to see the sights of the city. I had learned that Melbourne was considered the Cultural Capital of Australia and when I got there I could see why. It was a pretty great city full of old buildings mixed with modern ones and some very cool street performers surrounding fun cafes, and store fronts. Melbourne is also one of the only cities in Australia to utilize a tram system which was very cool. I made my way on the free circle tram to the Queen Victoria Market where I walked around the huge market space seeing some really cool things and doing some shopping. I continued venturing through the city on foot seeing some more sites and made my way to one of the art museums that had free admission. (Check out a short video of my adventure) I ended the day returning to Sarah's to see Finn and Xavier waiting in the window for me to get back. Sarah then ordered some fish and chips and we dinned together. The fish here is actually shark and was quite good. I have never had shark so that was a new experience.
For my last day in Melbourne all of us went to Healesville Sanctuary which is home to many native Australian animals. We were able to walk around and see so many animals I have never seen before live. Things like the Tasmanian Devil, Wombats, Wallaby, Kangaroos, and Koalas. We say many native birds and even watched a native bird show. Did you know that Australia has over 50 types of parrots? We even were able to see one of the few successful breeding grounds for the duck-billed platypus. The breeding ground was called the Platypusiary, which gave us a good laugh. We were able to take a picture by the kangaroo street sign and then see the kangaroos up close (Check out the video here). We saw the Koalas sleeping, they sleep 23 hours a day. Due to the fact that they eat 60 different types of eucalyptus that are hard to digest they sleep most of their day away. (Sleeping Koala video). We were lucky enough to catch the koala wake up for a 30 seconds to scratch his leg and move around. (Koala Awakes video) All in all it was an awesome wildlife sanctuary that is working hard to protect the animals and environment of Australia. The animals and enviornment are very important to the people here due to the fact that they an island and their animals are unique to their country.
Saying that we returned home to have dinner. Juergen made a lovely meal of Kangaroo Roast and Sausages. As much as Australian's love their animals, kangaroos are all over the place and some people have no problem eating their own country's coat of arms. (: In my opinion in was really good, lean meat and it was quite tasty. All in all a great day and a wonderful week.
Tomorrow I am off headed to Sydney for week. Stay tuned for the next part of my Australian Adventure! (: