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Welcome to Phillip Island

Rochel Burstyn

The sky is blue, sheep are grazing in front of a beautiful, still lake … when suddenly I bring my car to an abrupt halt. There are shaggy cows (Highland cattle) sitting in the middle of the road! Apparently we’re in a city where animals can feel safe, even in traffic! Welcome to Phillip Island, a small, quaint town at the edge of Victoria, Australia, which has flourishing and amazing wildlife.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our first stop is the Heritage Farm. We pass squawking chickens and turkeys. A sheepdog runs by, urging sheep into their enclosure. Red and blue birds dive among the native Moonah trees. Everything seems quieter, cleaner, and simpler.

We see a humungous pile of hay. My friend Miriam relishes some old-fashioned fun. “It makes me want to jump in!” she says, and we walk closer. That’s when we see the small sign sticking out of it. It says Fresh Manure. Maybe not!

There’s a wooden gate that says “Vegetable Garden.” We push the door open and see tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, lettuce, and radishes growing. There is even a banana bush and we are amazed to realize it’s the first one we’ve ever seen.

A crowd gathers as a farmer leads a cow from the barn. He places a bucket underneath her and demonstrates a hand-milking. Kids line up to take a turn. No mass-milking machinery around here!

“The Nature Park preserves history by using the same farming methods as 200 years ago.” Says Sue-Lyn, our tour guide for the day. “We also protect wildlife, as I’ll show you.” Off we go into the car for a short ride.


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