A few weeks ago, Charli Delany from the children's television program Hi-5 was watching the Channel Nine Today show and saw an amazing little girl. Her name is Shanti Woodend and her story had an enormous impact on Charli who is a patron of TLC, a children's charity. The charity's mission is 'we help put smiles back on sick kids' faces'.
Shanti, who is just five years old, was born with VATER syndrome, a condition where children are born with a series of multiple defects affecting the heart, bowel, lower arm and kidneys. She has had many operations and visits a number of special clinics at the Children's Hospital at Westmead in Sydney. She'll need more operations in the future.
Despite being dealt a difficult hand in life, Shanti's a charismatic little girl and when she performed a 'Pocahontas' song on the Today show, she captured the hearts of Charli and the entire audience.
Charli just happens to be Shanti's hero, and her parents approached hospital staff to see if the two could meet. Charli jumped at the chance, and with the Getaway crew, took Shanti, her parents and two brothers on a trip to remember for all concerned to Phillip Island.
They all met at the Jetty Shed Kiosk in the town of Cowes, the island's principle township located on the north coast. It can be reached by road from Newhaven or ferry from Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula. After an ice cream from the kiosk, the fun began.
At A Maze 'n Things theme park there is something for all ages. It recently had a $1 million upgrade and added some new attractions, including Australia's largest indoor vertical slide.
The maze takes an average time of 45 minutes from entry to exit, but there are emergency exits for those who become frustrated! There are five Illusion Rooms designed to confuse the eye and mind. Watch water flow uphill, people flying, bodies disappearing, houses being flooded and even heads being cut off! Lots of laughs guaranteed in the Illusion Rooms! The maxi golf course challenges beginners and experts.
The shop has games and jigsaws for children and adults, as well as a wide range of gifts and novelties.
You can even stay the night in one of the four- and three-star, air-conditioned, two-bedroom ensuite cabins. There are also powered and unpowered sites for caravans and tents.
Even after a vigorous time at the park, Shanti had loads of energy left and couldn't wait for the nightly penguin parade at Summerland Beach, around 10km from Cowes.
The little birds appear for their walk at sunset and they don't mind the lights, which are carefully placed to not create shadows. They are the smallest of the penguin species, measuring only around 33cm. They are found only in the southern hemisphere and these days go by the name Little Penguin, rather than Fairy Penguin, as it's a more accurate translation of their scientific name, Eudyptula minor.
The birds can stay at sea for weeks, diving for food, and dozing as they float on the surface. Their built-in waterproofing keeps their skin nice and dry. They might swim up to 20km a day in their search for food and have been recorded diving to 65 metres.
Their feathers are actually a deep, rich blue, unlike other penguins whose plumage is jet black. Their colour gives them good camouflage from above and below the ocean's surface.
Natural hazards for the little penguins are sharks, birds of prey, rough weather and fish shortages, but their biggest danger comes from human beings. Plastic rubbish, oil spills at sea and on land, as well as introduced foxes, cats and dogs are all a dreadful threat to the little creatures. Foxes are probably the worst and dedicated rangers are kept busy protecting the penguins.
The Nobbies is a series of boardwalks on the headland that pass the penguin reserve. They provide wonderful coastal viewing and have lookout points set among natural seabird gardens. Just 1½km off-shore is Seal Rocks, home to Australia's largest fur seal colony.
Shanti had a wonderful time with Charli and absolutely everyone Shanti met fell in love with her. We send her every good wish in the world.
90 minutes south of Melbourne
A Maze 'n Things Theme Park entry is $24 for adults and $16 for children. Family passes are $72 based on two adults and three children. It's open everyday.
A Maze 'n Things Holiday Park cabins range from $76 to $115.50 a double. Powered sites range from $17 to $30. Guests receive 20 percent off park attractions.
The Penguin Parade entry is $17 for adults and $8:50 for children.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Jetty Shed Kiosk
Ph: (03) 5952 3829
Mob: 0402 624 901
A Maze 'n Things Theme Park
1805 Phillip Island Road
Cowes Vic 3922
Ph: (03) 5952 2283
Fax: (03) 5952 2227
A Maze 'n Things Holiday Park
Ph: (03) 5952 2020
Fax: (03) 5952 3031
Phillip Island Penguin Parade
PO Box 97, Cowes 3922
Ph: 03 5951 2800
Fax: 03 5956 8394
Spice Island Retreat
1a hill street Sunderland Bay
Phillip Island Australia
Ph: 03 5956 7557
Fax: 03 5956 7550
TLC For Kids
12 Elizabeth Street
Kensington Vic 3031
Phone: 03 9372 6511
Fax: 03 9372 6522
Hi-5 SPACE MAGIC- NATIONAL TOUR SCHEDULE
Sunday November 13, 10am, 12.45am and 3,30pm
Ph: 131 246
Thursday November 17, Friday November 18, Saturday November 19 and Sunday November 20 at 10.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm
Ph: 136 100
Tuesday November 22, 11.30am and 2pm
Ph: 132 849
Friday November 25, 11am and 1.45pm
Saturday November 26 and Sunday November 27, 10am, 12.45pm and 3.30pm
Ph: 132 849
WIN Entertainment Centre
Monday November 28, 11.30am and 2pm
Ph: 132 849
Wednesday November 30, 11.30am, 2pm, 4.30pm
Bookings: box office
Ph: 1300 655 299
The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Thursday December 1, 12 noon and 3pm
Ph: 132 849
Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Friday December 2, 12.30pm
Saturday December 3, 10am and 1pm
Ph: 132 849
Sunday December 4, 11am, 2pm and 4:30pm
(02) 4921 2121