Before heading for the evenings arrival of the little penguins we went to visit the State Coal Mine in Wonthaggi. Operating from 1909 to 1968, the State Coal Mine produced almost 17 million tonnes of coal for Victoria's industries and railways. This is a great place to visit especially as everything above ground can be explored for free. To do the below ground tour there is a fee but for once we could get concessionary price. As the lady issuing the tickets said, 'we don't discriminate between Auzzi pensioners and the UK oldies'.
|Hair nets and hard hats were the order of the day. Ian had to go one better!|
|The two photos below... yep it's the loo! Spending 8 hours a day in the mines, men had to go somewhere. These loos were situated throughout the tunnel system.|
|Top left and we had reached the coal face. Then it was back to the top by Coal skip or 'Monkey cage' as the miners called it.|
|Notice a familiar name amongst all those Pit Ponies?|
|One of the miners cottage.|
Doors opened at 7pm and there was a mad exodus to the viewing stand, most heading for the general cheaper seats. We managed a front row seat on the plus stand and then we waited. Pacific gulls kept circling hoping to grab an early arrival. Alan our guide told us that until the gulls went to roost they would stay away.
He also predicted the Penguins arrival by 8.26pm. He was a tad out as the first arrived at 8.22pm! Over 4,000 of the 32,000 little penguins living in the waters around Phillip Island have their burrows around Summerland Beach. Native to Australia they are the smallest of their species at just 33 centimetres. These tiny birds leave their burrows about an hour before sunrise and swim up to 100 kilometres each day before returning at dusk.
|General viewing platform (cheap seating)|
|Penguin Plus seating. We had the front row at the bottom.|
We stayed until we were kicked out. Another one of those fantastic experiences ticked off our 'to do' list here in Auzzie.
And more wildlife
|More huge ants|