Day 6 Thursday 21 September Swansea and Bicheno

We had a quiet morning this morning, relaxing and then drove to Kate’s Berry Farm for morning tea. Richard had pancakes, Steve had crepes, Katharine & Sandy had scones, and Patrick & Henry shared a self-saucing chocolate cake with berries. There were also several different jams that we were able to taste, including Mingledberry Jam, which was made up of Strawberry, Raspberry and Blackberry and was quite delicious.
We then took the boys to a playground and went for a walk to along the beach, where Patrick was delighted when Katharine took off his shoes & socks and rolled his jeans up and he was allowed to paddle at the edge of the water, running and squealing with delight when a wave came in. Then it was back to the cottage for lunch and Henry to bed for a sleep while Patrick had a rest.
We left the cottage at 3.30pm and drove up to Bicheno, which is a family seaside holiday town that was established as a whaling centre in 1803. The Governor Island Marine Reserve has some of the best diving spots in Australia, with kelp-covered reefs and sponge gardens. This “water wonderland” can also be experienced by glass-bottomed boat.
Our first stop was to see the Rocking Rock and the Blowhole. The Rocking Rock is a huge 80 tonne piece of granite balanced so that it rocks with the movement of the tide.
Bicheno Blowhole can shoot 20 metres in the air if the ocean swell is big enough – it rains down over the lichen-covered rocks. The rocks along this part of the coast have an interesting redish orange colour as a result of the red lichen. We enjoyed watching the water spurting out of the Blowhole and then drove along the Esplanade beside the Tasman Sea. The boys played in another playground for a while and then we had a wander along the waterfront before heading to a café for dinner.
At 6.20pm we drove the short distance to our Bicheno Penguin Tour meeting point. Bicheno Penguin Tours was established by a privately owned local company, started by Paule Male and Nic Wardlaw in 1992, to protect the penguin population. When they began, the penguin colony had been reduced to 40 penguins because of feral cats and local dogs, but now as many as 600 birds come ashore at the peak of the season.
At 6.30pm we were taken by small bus bout 10 minutes out of town where we met Zac, our guide, who took us to visit the rookery. We followed him down to the beachfront via a path with little lights with Zac leading the way and another guide behind our group, both with torches. When we reached the beach we gathered around while Zac shone his torch onto a group of penguins who had just come out of the ocean and were having a little rest beside some rocks before continuing their walk across the beach. Zac explained to us that the Little Blue Penguins leave the rookery early in the morning, swim out to the Continental Shelf about 20 km away, spend the day fishing for food for the chicks and then swim back, covering about 60km per day. He said that when the chicks are young only one of the parents goes fishing but when the chicks get bigger, both parents go fishing to be able to collect enough food for the chicks. We watched as one of the groups walked up the beach and headed to their chicks in the burrows. We then followed Zac to another two “highways” and watched some more penguins coming ashore and then he took us to a man-made burrow “the honeymoon suite” where there was a Little Blue Penguin, her mate and two little new chicks that had just hatched. Further along the track, there were two Little Blue Penguins with their very insistent little chick, fighting with them to get as much food as possible, while the parent pulled away every so often – it was very interesting.
Patrick and Henry both loved the little penguins and were very excited when we were able to see them so close. The tour finished at 7.30pm and the bus took us back to the meeting point. Henry said goodbye to everyone as we got off the bus, much to everyone’s delight.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos during the tour.
We arrived back at our cottage at 8.15pm with two little boys both asleep. We didn’t get to ask Patrick what his favourite part of today was, but we know what his answer would have been!

2 Responses to “Day 6 Thursday 21 September Swansea and Bicheno”

  1. Maria Hughes says:

    Gorgeous – I am sure the boys would have loved the penguins – so many adventures – will be very interesting at the end of your trip to ask Patrick then what was his most favourite thing of his whole holiday 🙂

  2. sandy says:

    Thanks for your lovely comments Sis. Yes, it will be interesting to ask Patrick what his favourite thing of the whole holiday was. xoxo

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