January 31 at 12:56 AM · Ballarat, VIC, Australia ·
Another early morning for another tour, so since the buffet is so busy in the mornings, we ordered room service instead, then met our tour for Melbourne. Our excursion today took us over an hour drive away to Ballarat Wildlife Park ( https://wildlifepark.com.au/ ), where we had an excellent guided tour of koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, cassowary, vocal social Little Penguins, wombats, Tasmanian devils, and a Sumatran tiger. The kangaroos there who roam everywhere are originally from Kangaroo Island where they’ve never been hunted by humans and are naturally curious & friendly, so combining that with visitors every day who are allowed to give them snacks meant many of them enjoyed our pets. One young 8-month-old roo follows one of the rangers around as her second mother so joined us for our whole tour, which was adorable. Today I finally pet a couple wombats, but I still haven’t even been able to pet a koala, let alone hold one like Grandma did, so at least I held a nice cuddly stuffed koala in the gift shop. ;)
at Sovereign Hill.
February 1 at 2:30 PM · Ballarat, VIC, Australia ·
Sovereign Hill in Ballarat is an award-winning attraction with period costumes in an 1850s Melbourne Gold Rush town, complete with examples of steam-powered machinery. Our first stop was the bakery for a genuine Australian meat pie for lunch, then we checked out the shops along Main Street. The guys went to a shorter mine tour while Ruth wanted to find the horses that were on their lunch break. We saw 4 draft horses get hitched to the bus coach and head down the hill again, then we saw people panning for gold in the camps off to the side, but we ran out of time for a mine tour since we had to get back to the bus on time. Sure wish we all had more time for the extra-cost longer mine tour with special effects!
February 1 at 2:35 PM · Melbourne, VIC, Australia ·
Our ship didn’t sail until midnight, so we wanted to go into the Melbourne city center for the evening. Our tour guide said Asian fusion is what everyone is eating in Melbourne these days, so he recommended a restaurant on Flinders Lane called Supernormal. Glen saw it was #27 of over 4000 Melbourne restaurants on TripAdvisor so we were sold. The Szechuan chicken salad was a little too spicy for me, but the special chicken & scallop stuffed zucchini blossoms and mini lobster rolls were fantastic, Ruth & I enjoyed some local hard cider, and we were almost too full for the Wagyu beef at the end! We strolled through nearby Chinatown then got a car back to our ship just after sunset.