The good news is, Tyler and I took the train into downtown Melbourne today - pretty much all by ourselves! The even better news is, we also managed to find the aquarium!
We arrived at the aquarium and the first exhibit was the penguins. We could have stayed there all day. They had 2 kinds of penguins - the King penguin, which are pretty big (the second largest species of penguin) and they have yellowish markings at their throat. They were tall and proud, walking around and preening, often stretching up to make themselves taller than their buddies.
There were also Gentoo penguins, described as cheeky, curious and outgoing, and they are the fastest underwater swimming bird in the world. They were very funny, waddling around, sliding down the ice slopes, and we even saw two little guys mischievously trying to pry open a water valve in the corner of their enclosure. We actually went back to see them again after making our way all the way through the aquarium because we liked them so much and got there right as they were being fed.
My second favourite exhibit was these little sea horse/ sea dragon type animals. They were so weird and almost ghostly and just floated through the water. Some were red and slinky and spiny, and another one was green and leafy looking. Never seen anything like it.
Also in the weird and wonderful section we saw some Axolotl, these strange and pale amphibians that can regrow their own body parts! There were just a ton of amazing creatures - itty bitty long-necked sea turtles, fish of every shape, size, and colour, a crocodile, more turtles, eels, crabs, jellies, squid, and almost plastic looking bright green frogs.
We caught the end of a presentation where a diver fed the fish and sharks, and one of the aquarium staff explained that they feed the sharks about once a week - this way, they get accustomed to being fed and not having to work for their meals, and so they co-exist with all of the other aquatic life this way (most of the time - sometimes a sting ray will go missing). The rays were gigantic and floating through the water, wavering above our heads. Tyler got some great video footage that does better justice than the photos.
We left the aquarium after a few hours and spent a little while wandering around trying to figure out how the city tram worked. We walked back and forth and finally located the street it left from, and sat and waited for it to come by (we\'re still a bit mixed up about which side of the road is the "right" side here). The tram is free and runs in a huge circle around the city with a recorded voice pointing out the attractions and stops, and we jumped on and off a few time to check out some sights.
Melbourne has some of the nicest and wackiest buildings, as well as art sculptures, that I've ever seen.
We also took an accidentally really long walk through the city to find our way back to Lygon street for some pasta. There were so many places to choose from that we just picked one advertising a complimentary glass of wine with your meal (then both ordered a coke instead?)
Our waiter mentioned that his wife was from Vancouver and that Canada was one of the best places in the world. He also said Melbourne was much better than Sydney, with friendlier people, so we'll see if that's true (I bet they say the same thing in Sydney).
To top off the day, we went to a nearby Krispy Kreme shop and grabbed a doughnut and latte. Tyler ordered, then as the girl turned away, he took his hood down (it was raining towards the end of the day) and she spun around and tried to take his order again. Oops. The coffee was good and the doughnut was great, and we managed to find our way back to the station, take a train home and then hop on a service they have locally in Gisborne called the Gis-bus. You get off the train and there is a free shuttle bus that drops you right off at your house. It worked great and we were the last to be dropped off so we knew we were at the right house.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Melbourne and we are taking a bus tour up the coast, starting out bright and early!