Sunday, January 04, 2009

Tasmania: Day 5: Christmas Day, Coles Bay, Wineglass Bay, Penguins!

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning on Christmas Day. Steve and I exchanged presents and had a nice Christmas breakfast before heading off to Freycinet National Park for an 11 km hike. We bumped into Santa on the way, who was riding the back of a fire truck and throwing candy to the kids who had gathered in their pjs at the end of the driveways to greet him. He even threw us some candy that landed in our van. It was pretty cute:)
Of course the hike was beautiful...amazing views.

We hiked to Wineglass Bay...the beach was rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world by a US was gorgeous!
Just as we walked onto the beach, we saw a wallaby munching away. He was just chilling almost seemed staged, it was just so perfect!

The water was very cold, so I only put my feet in...
...but of course, Steve went snorkeling...

We continued on our hike, which lead us to another beach called Hazard Beach... was just as beautiful, Steve actually liked this beach more than Wineglass...

Not sure if I was supposed to but I collected lots of beautiful shells with perfect holes in them for jewelery making!
We met a little old lady from Holland, who was traveling alone. She was doing the same hike as us, all by herself. She must have been at least 75 years old and I swear she was in better shape than me!!! We walked a little of the way with her and she was fast! Steve and I couldn't believe it!!
We saw a tiger snake on the path, but it left pretty quickly when we came around. I read in my Tasmania book that there are only 3 kinds of snakes in Tassie (tiger snake included) and they are all very poisonous!

Christmas dinner...nachos! Yum! I was just super impressed that we could make nachos in a camper van! It had a grill!
After dinner we took a drive to a town called Bicheno. Dan and Amy told us we could see penguins there at dusk, so we found the town, found a beach, asked some locals where the best spot would be to see some (they said anywhere...the penguins go right through the town!), found a spot and waited...
The beach was deserted and cold! I can not tell you how much it felt like home. I could have been sitting on an East Coast of Canada beach! It reminded me a lot of when Steve and I first started dating and we would go to the beach:)
I bundled up for the wait! After staring at the ocean for awhile and wondering what we should be looking for, we suddenly started to see little black bird like shapes popping up on the water. Then, as we were watching, they started waddling out of the water, gathering together in groups on the beach and making their way up the beach to their burrows. Steve and I sat so frozen on the rocks, right in the middle of them! They would walk right past us and snuggle in the rocks we were sitting on! It was absolutely amazing. By far the best part of our entire trip. Steve and I were snuggled up so close, trying so hard not to move and risk scaring them, that minutes would pass and I would realize that I had hardly breathed! I just loved that we were able to be a little part of nature and experience a piece of the penguins nightly routine, so first hand! Those little penguins were so, so cute! The perfect end to our Christmas Day! We have no pictures because we didn't want to use our camera and scare the little guys, but it's definitely something we will never forget!

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