No Penguins in Penguin – Day 137

Man looking for penguins on beach with signpost

Next on the agenda was a ten-day stint on the island of Tasmania. The team was now five as my sister joined us for a few days on the island (she had flown in from Canada to visit us). I had no preconceptions about Tasmania as Paigey had planned this entire leg on her own. I knew there would be some driving (which I didn’t miss in the least) but I also anticipated good food, scenery and wildlife. And boy, were there some wildlife memories to be had.

Two girls boarding airplane waving

I should have realized sooner that Paigey had really done her research for this part of the trip. I was confused when she told me to turn off the highway within half an hour of getting our rental car. I was even more confused when I was told to turn off at the arboretum (Paige isn’t nearly as excited as I am about arboretums). And I was even more confused when she told us we had to go for a walk at this arboretum. But then I saw the signs for the Platypus hide and it all made sense. She wanted to see platypuses and this is one of the places you can see them in the wild. So as we rounded the corner to their pond, Paige sprinted off and flew across the stepping stones to be the first to spot them. Paige and my sister must have taken fifty pictures, all of them terrible. I was just happy the kids didn’t fall into the pond.

From there, we made our way to the town of Penguin. I have always wanted to see penguins in the wild and assumed this would be the place (Tasmania is really far south). I was once again confused when Paige told me to get out of the car at the tourist information centre to ask about penguin viewing. I was even more confused when I was told that you can’t actually see penguins in the town of Penguin. You have to drive to the (less appropriately named) town of Burnie to see them. So we drove past the penguin statue in Penguin, and made our way to Burnie at 7pm with our hopes set on seeing some Little penguins. At sunset, the Little penguins return from the ocean to their nests on the rocky outcrops.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare early and strolled along the well-built boardwalk. Isabella proudly spotted a penguin chick hidden in a nest first. Once it got darker, the local guides brought us to the key viewing areas. Within ten minutes, there were penguins aplenty. We watched them waddle in from the ocean and across the rocky shore. A few of them came within a foot of us on the boardwalk. During this whole time, the kids are squealing and shouting. Katie took another bazillion blurry pictures.

After an hour, the kids were fading so we bundled them up and made our way home. They fell asleep before we got out of the parking lot.

Up next is Cradle Mountain with wombat viewing on our minds.

Family in front of Penguin statue on beach in rain

Where we Stayed (5 words or less):

By the Numbers:

  • Chocolate bars eaten in the airport lounge: 7 – they even had Tim Tams
  • Elapsed time from plane landing to platypus viewing: < 2 hours – apparently Paige was on a mission
  • Number of times Mike turned on the windshield wipers instead of the signal light: 7 – my passengers thought this was hilarious
  • Cost for a loaf of clearance bread from the bakery: $1.50 – I still don’t understand why it was on clearance, the bread was still hot

Ciao for now


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