Mission Beach - Townsville

Trip Start Jan 2003
Trip End Dec 2003

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Day 141 - 142 - Mission Beach - Townsville

The rain has relented and the sun seems to bear a direct correlation to our energy levels. While for the last few days we've all been chronically lethargic, our drive to Townsville and subsequent day here have proved that we are still young. Our spirits lifted during the journey (as much bad singing as possible never fails to accomplish to pick people up) we felt able to camp again. Depressingly boring of us is the fact that we are now fully fledged members of the Big Four group of campsites throughout Australia. I don't know what privileges or benefits we derive from this but we seem to be staying at them enough to make it worthwhile. My new aim for the remainder of our camping time in Australia is to develop an understanding of the system by which Australian camp sites are awarded stars. While staying in a 4.5 star site sounds luxurious I can't fathom what distinguishes them from the others. Maybe we need to expereince the un-comforts of a less well-decorated site.

Due to the more favourable conditions we've finally managed to achieve something during the day and our visit to The Billabong Sanctuary didn't disappoint. Basically a zoo where the less danderous species are free to roam about, it concentrates on mammals and birds unique to Australia. This meant everything was new to us and therefor more interesting. Immediately after entering we were greeted by a rather threatening male kangaroo (incidentally sporting a large erect penis) and we were able to feed and stroke (not in the sexual sense) him. In addition to benefits like those mentioned, the place scored further points on other zoos I've visited by being less crowded and structuring the feeding/holding timetable so that you didn't need to be in three places at once to see everything. In four hours we were able to hold a wombat, a koala, a crocodile (baby one which pissed on me), a python and various birds, feed kangaroos, turtles, eels and more birds and watch full size crocodile feeding. Most of these activities were even presented by a Steve Irwin wannabe. It may have been a bit cheesy but it was undoubtedly great fun and at least no I won't feel cheated by leaving Asutralia without seeing any of these creatures. The crocodiles were less impressive and scary than I imagined, the kangaroos smaller but the koalas lived up to all cute and fluffy expectations. The wombats while not being visually stimulating while stationery were the unexpected stars of the show, undeniably hypnotic to watch on the move and reactive to everything you did.
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