Born and raised in the countryside, I am definitely biased when it comes to comparing the beauty of rural and urban areas. However, Melbourne’s beauty cannot be denied— even by me. So far, it has proved itself to be a very efficient and welcoming city.
Our first full day in Melbourne involved a day tour at Phillip Island. I was very skeptical after reading the itinerary when I realized that Phillip Island, a whopping 40 square miles, was supposed to entertain all fifteen of us from 9am until 10pm. I am very glad to admit that I could have not have been more wrong.
Our tour guide, Todd, was a middle aged bloke from Adelaide who also served as our bus driver. He fit right in with our group and thoroughly seemed to enjoy us as well. (During our farewell at the end of the day, he admitted, and I quote, “if every tour group was like yours, my job would be the best job in the world.”)
Our first stop was Maru Koala & Animal Park, a small park where we were able to experience Aussie wildlife on a very intimate level. At Maru, wallabies, peacocks, and other various birds roam the park freely and kangaroos can be hand fed in their large exhibit. I am not a huge fan of wild animals kept in captivity; however, I did appreciate the fact that most exhibits were fairly large and not all animals were strictly restricted to their designated area.
Following Maru, Todd recommended a local beach to eat our lunch at where we were happy to receive entertainment from fishermen and surfers. After lunch, we realized we had an hour or so to kill before our scheduled visit at Nobbies Centre and a group consensus brought us happily to a nearby go-kart racing track at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. I had never been go-karting in my life and was pleasantly surprised to thoroughly enjoy it’s thrills and to not finish dead last! We even all pitched in and bought Todd a ticket, which he also seemed to thoroughly enjoy!
After the excitement of go-karting, the rest of day had huge shoes to fill which, without a doubt, it did. Although I may be biased because I love the ocean, Nobbies Centre, an ecotourism destination, may have been the most beautiful place I have ever been. We spent an hour walking up the relatively short boardwalk and I definitely could have spent much much longer. Our last stop of the day was the penguin parade. This was fairly anticlimactic compared to the rest of our day, but was still very enjoyable to witness wildlife in its natural habitat. I was very pleased to learn that Phillip Island Nature Parks, the company that coordinates the viewing and conservation of the penguins, is a not-for-profit organization that also supports ecotourism.
Our next stop was KPMG, a business management consultant firm that handles taxes for large corporations as well as many other business activities involving large amounts of data. KPMG had a very unique floor plan of their building. No employee, no matter high up, had their own office; instead, each employee was issued their own locker to store their personal belongings and could sit anywhere they wanted. This unique floor plan discourages clutter and promotes productivity in the workplace— a concept America may want to consider taking note to.