Now that our current Ultimate Year Out girls have started their epic travels, our 2012/3 blogger Sophie has started to relive some of her adventures. First it's time for the penguin lowdown from two of our favourite cities, Cape Town and Melbourne!
As a child, I used to have a Pingu hot water bottle- but really it was more of a cuddly toy, that accompanied me everywhere I went. It kept me warm during the depths of winter and remained pride of place on my bed during the summer. Now I have (hopefully) grown up, I can see real Pingus with my own eyes!
One the first morning when I touched down in Melbourne, I took my jet lagged body down to the pier at 5am in order to see the tiny penguins which inhabit the rocks there. Here, these Little Penguins (that is their official name!) were about the size of an AFL ball (in Australia, everything is comparable to AFL). Unfortunately, despite it being 5am, the Penguins become an irresistible tourist attraction, so large crowds with their humongous Nikon cameras flashing away can often scare the penguins off!
Fortunately, the life long quest of seeing a Penguin that didn’t house a refillable hot water bottle inside could be attained again at the famous Boulders Beach in Cape Town. Here really is the tip top spot to see Penguins, as it houses up to 3,000 African Penguins. I was lucky enough to pop along to the beach in birthing season, which meant the Penguin families were all tending to their 2/3 week old penguin babies (Also known a chicks or fledglings). If you crouched down low among the bushes, you could see all members of the family caring for each other, from the mini fledglings to the protective fathers circling the mother- it really was super cute!
If you keep following the winding path down to the beach, you are greeted by the Atlantic sea crashing into the rocks and several hundred Penguins waddling across the sand. As with Melbourne, the presence of Tourists is unavoidable but with the close proximity, this feels a lot more personable than before, and a few cheesy snaps with Pingu’s brother in the background is almost compulsory!