Saturday, November 15, 2008
Nov 4 Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (just south of Surfer’s Paradise)
An incredible highlight of our trip. All the special wildlife unique to Australia. Topping the quirky list of personal Must Sees, I get to watch two husky wombats snuffle about in all their little wombatty glory. The wombats in question are the Southern Hairy Nose variety. Despite appearances, they can actually ramp up to a speedy 40 kilometers per hour. The tiny region of Australia they still occupy receives only 500mm or less of rain, so they essentially rely on roots & shoots for moisture.
There are two species of crocodile in Australia - the Saltwater & Freshwater varietals - just to cover all the bases. The largest crocodile in the sanctuary is over 15 feet long and could seemingly care less about anything. There is a double gate “land lock” system, however, just in case, as visitors walk through the crocodile arena to the kangaroo paddock....
There is an entire enormous corral of kangaroo that we wander through - feeding and petting the inhabitants! [Kangaroo petting tip: approach in a crouch or tucked position - a standing posture is seen as a challenge - you know, just in case this comes up the next time you meet one on the street.] Kangaroo are quite velvety soft and generally mild-mannered - essentially hanging about resting or eating with intermittent tustling. We saw mamma marsupials with little joey hind legs dangling out of their pouches and slightly bigger joeys, no larger than a housecat, popping about. Bailey had one kangaguy who was interested in a camera assistant position - he hung out hopefully next to the tripod for about 10 minutes as Bail filmed.
...And then the koalas! (Marsupials, not bears!) Both kids got to hold one - they wanted to get a good grip with those good tree climbing claws, but are otherwise quite mellow - spending about 14 hours a day sleeping, and then resting and eating up to XXX kilo leavesXXXX during the remaining hours.
at 8:41 PM