It was one of the few trips I’ve taken over the past couple of years that wasn’t astronomy (or Astronomy) related, but I still had high hopes for a stellar experience. This was, after all, a country that proudly includes the Southern Cross on its flag — surely there would be some interesting nighttime sights to see.
I eagerly awaited my first non-jetlagged night in Australia, anxious to look up at a foreign southern sky. Alas, the weather didn’t cooperate. A thick overcast, combined with Melbourne’s light pollution, made seeing even the Full Moon difficult. Evening after evening, after a hard day of sightseeing and spousal support, I turned in vain to the skies. Nothing.
My luck changed only once, after the weeklong conference ended. Having heard about the nightly penguin parade that graces Australia’s Phillip Island, my wife and I traveled about two hours to the nearby nature park to see the activity. We were duly impressed with the cuteness and tenacity of hundreds of little penguins (the smallest and only blue-feathered penguins in the world) waddling uphill toward their burrow homes.
It was, you can imagine, a nice trip.