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Cowes, Vic

Monday 16 - Tuesday 17 Nov 1998

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Monday 16th

This morning we had an appointment at Electrolux Finch to see to the fridge.

The service guy replaced the thermostat and the broken door catch. He also checked out the ventilation. He said it was OK and little if any improvement would be possible. He suggested moving the fan closer to the roof. He admitted that the Electrolux fridge didn't work fully when the ambient temperature gets above the high thirties. As a full test of the system would involve removal of the fridge from the vehicle for two or three days, and as it appears that the fridge is working as well as it can, I deferred the decision to go that way until we get to Sydney.

On the way out of Melbourne we stopped at the Swamp Observation Tower at Koo Wee Rup. The swamp which was once extensive and a barrier to travel in this area has been drained but no-one knows if Too Roo Dun, the bunyip of aboriginal legend is still in the swamp.

We stopped at Corinella on the shores of Westernport Bay for lunch. There were three or four big seabirds in the harbour which I eventually identified as juvenile or immature Pacific Gulls and not Fleshy-footed Shearwaters as I first thought.

We drove on to Cowes on Phillip Island where we visited the Penguin Parade at Summerland Beach. The Centre is fully developed with shop, cafe, theatrette, and grandstands facing the beach. Its all very organised and controlled. It was a bit disappointing after the intimate experience of the guided penguin tour on Granite Island at Victor Harbour.

However, after sitting in the grandstands watching the penguin gather in the surf and then hesitantly cross the beach to return to their nests for the night, we walked around the boardwalks and spent an hour watching the penguins at close range as they made their way through the undergrowth. It was quite exciting and quite made up for all the other stuff.

Tuesday 17th

Deciding to spend another day on Phillip Island, we drove first to The Nobbies on the extreme western end of the island. It was raining which didn't do much for the view. There is another highly developed tourist attraction on the point which we chose to avoid, largely in the interest of the budget.

We went to Newhaven at the other end of the island to visit the Information Centre. They recommended a visit to Churchill Island which is nearby and which is said to have an old homestead and beautiful bush walks. The island is joined to Phillip Island by a wooden bridge. It has two weight limit signs. One says "4 tonne single axle limit" and the other says "4 tonnes gross limit". Since the truck weighs over five tonnes and is pretty essential to our way of life, I decided that discretion was more appropriate than boldness so we will never know what delights were awaiting us on Churchill Island.

Instead we visited the Koala Conservation Centre, a 40 hectare section of native woodland enclosed and home to a small koala population. Inside the main reserve there is a close viewing area where six koala, one male and five females, with their young are kept in trees beside a raised boardwalk so that one gets to see at least some of them close up. This is the first year that these koalas have bred and there are three young of various ages from 11 months down to a few weeks. It is always exciting to observe these animals at close quarters. The remainder of the park has a dozen or more animals living naturally in the trees. It also is home to a wonderful population of native birds including lots of Eastern Rosella.

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Created by Robin Chalmers on Wed, 18 Nov, 199
Last revised Mon, 23 Nov, 1998