Saturday, March 26, 2011

More Melbourne

Well, we have officially left Tasmania.  It was bittersweet since it had been our home for the last seven months but we were excited about our upcoming travels.  We flew to Melbourne Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning had an appointment with immigration to switch our visas to tourist visas.  We were a little nervous about what this would entail, but the meeting went well and we were granted the visas on the spot.  In the afternoon we went to the Melbourne Museum.  We saw an IMAX movie about Egypt that ended up not being very good at all and was a waste of money, but the museum itself was good and we got to see a stuffed Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine.

The Tasmanian Tiger is extinct and the last one in captivity died in 1936.  It was the largest carnivorous marsupial.  It more resembled a dog than a tiger but had stripes on it's back.  Many factors may have contributed to it's extinction including disease, loss of habitat, and maybe most significantly, bounties that were paid to people who killed the Tasmanian Tigers because they were thought to be killing chickens and sheep.  Some people think the tigers still exist and there are sightings reported at times.  There is even a $1.75 million reward being offered by a Tasmanian tour operator for anyone with evidence of their existence.

We also saw a huge skeleton of a Blue Whale that was found stranded on a beach in Victoria in 1992.  It was 19 meters long and quite impressive to see.  We saw some Aboriginal artifacts as well including a crocodile shaped headdress made from turtle shells.  Here is one more picture of me at the museum checking out the ant farm exhibit.
We had dinner on Lygon Street which is known for it's Italian restaurants.  We picked up the campervan Friday and headed to Ballarat.

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