Another day, another great place. The next not-to-miss spot was The Entrance. On our way up the East coast, this was the first spot after Blue Mountains. Although we later learned, that this is a very beautiful place, there was just one reason, why we decided to stop there.
The Pelican Capital of Australia
This is actual other, unofficial name for The Entrance. And there is a simple reason for it: the city is full of them. They come here for their daily feeding.
It all started 20 years ago by a local fish and chips staff. They were feeding fish scraps to the birds every day. When their work was taken over by Jimbo’s Seafood, the pelicans were so used to it, that they were crossing the road and went into Jimbo’s restaurant, demanding their fish. In 1996 local authority stepped in and built a feeding platform known as Pelican Plaza.
Today it became a local attraction. A group of experts feed pelicans every day at exactly 3.30 PM. Besides feeding, they seize the opportunity to check the pelicans for any injuries or bad health. They capture them, treat them and then release them back into their habitat. There is a lot of pelicans in the town at all times, but at 3.30 PM, there comes a pelican invasion. »Flying roasts« (our nickname for them) are coming by air, sea and land. They are headed directly to Pelican Plaza.
It’s fun to watch them fly and especially land. They look really clumsy. But as a brochure says: despite their bulky appearance pelicans are powerful flyers, able to reach 3000 m and can stay airborne for 24 hours.
As said the feeding takes place at the Pelican Plaza, which is literally in the town center besides the shore. You can’t miss it. It’s free to join (although the feeding is done by the staff). The volunteers explain information about the pelicans. They are fighting and crowding for fish. Another funny thing to watch is pelicans turning fish in their pouch so they can swallow it easily. They turn the fish around in their bill pouch so it goes longways down their throat and then they swallow the fish whole with a jerk of their head.
The Entrance itself is a beautiful town, situated right between the sea and the lake (Tuggerah Lake). We spent 2 days there. We were stationed in camp on the other side of the bridge, directly by the sea. There are also a few great, sandy beaches. Since this was one of the first real sights of the beach in Australia (in Manly it was raining so no swimming), we went right in.
Since this was the start of our trip, we were getting used to life in Australia. A few things surprised us: Australians go to bed really early and get up even earlier. There are a lot of beautiful, but very loud birds. Birds of all sizes and colors were wandering (literally wandering, not just flying) around and they were letting everybody know, they were there. Especially early in the morning. However it was a great, being so close to nature and animals.