I am thankful to declare that once again I received a wonderful shore excursion to experience a bit of Melbourne from a different perspective.  We were first driven 90 minutes from the port to tour through the Healesville Sanctuary, home to koalas, kangaroos, lyrebirds, platypuses, echidnas, and many more fantastic Australian animals.  They all seemed in good health with great habitats, but I still find the concept of housing wild animals a little unnatural.  One of the koalas looked at me with what I interpreted as some of the saddest eyes I have ever seen, while visitors snapped away at their cameras and moved on to the next enclosure.  I always wonder if tourists to these attractions even care about the animals.  I witnessed one lady climb over rocks to the edge of a fence to shoot photos of a dingo and then turn around and leave without even properly admiring the beauty of the animal.  This is the same woman who bent over in front of me as I was observing a strange bird.  My view immediately went from feathers to full moon.

From the reserve, we went to wine country in the Yarra Valley.  We stopped at two wineries to taste and even received a full lunch from one.  I am very happy to say that my taste in wine has developed drastically from that first sip of champagne I was offered on my sixteenth birthday!  I just loved tasting the different blends – wish I could have afforded the bottles!  I would highly recommend Rochford, our first stop, if anyone is interested in sampling and purchasing wines from that area.