Meeting the Marsupials

Trip Start Jan 19, 2013
Trip End Apr 12, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, February 21, 2013

We spent the majority of today at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, making friends with some cute little marsupials. We didn't have to catch the bus until about 10am so we had a leisurely start to the day before heading out to catch the 445 out of town. It only cost us a mere $6.70 one way! Crazy money! But what could we do, we wanted to meet koala bears?!

Anyway, 20 minutes later we were walking through the entrance to the park and straight away we were face to face with some sleepy koalas perched up on their branches. On this particular enclosure, all the koalas were sleeping, which is what they do for 18-20 hours a day - oh to be a koala, I'd be so good at it! It's strange seeing them in the flesh, they look like teddy bears, you just want to reach out and cuddle them.

We wandered around the first area of the park and saw a wide range of different animals. From tropical birds to dingos and a platypus. We then took our first trip into the kangaroo reserve which is an area of the park where the kangaroos are able to roam free alongside the visitors. When we got inside we saw that most of the kangaroos where laying down in their rest area where visitors are forbidden to enter. That being said there were a few bouncing around the place and we soon spotted one sat on his lonesome. We headed over to him and started stroking him and giving him lots of attention. He didn't seem to fussed about us and just let us fawn over him. He was really soft to touch and you could feel how muscular they are underneath their fur. We spent quite a long time with this little guy, taking pictures of and with him. You can buy a bag of kangaroo food so we promised him we'd come back and repay him for letting us coo over him.

Back in the main area of the park, we listened to a short talk from one of the park keepers about koalas and the park. Then after she finished her presentation, she brought down one of the koala bears for us to stroke. We all lined up and she walked down the queue, answering our questions and letting everyone get close and take pictures of the koala bear. Their fur is a lot thicker than we were both expecting. It's a bit hard to describe but Rikki likened it to a rug...

After the talk we had a quick bite to eat and bought some kangaroo food to feed the little blighters. We headed back to their reserve only to find that most of them were still sat on their rest area. Nevertheless we approached one and he was soon eating out of the palm of our hands, literally! It was such a weird/cool experience. Their tongues are a lot softer than I was expecting. I thought it would feel rough like a cat's tongue but it was a lot smoother and they were really gentle, not biting or nibbling at our hands at all.

We tried to find our friend from earlier but it looked like he had already found our replacement in the form of a young Asian girl. We hung around with some of the other kangaroos, waiting for her to leave our guy alone. But she took forever! We got bored of waiting in the end - she must have given all of her food to him!

We saved about half of our food for later and headed back to the main part of the park. We walked around the snake house and as we left saw that another park keeper was giving a presentation about venomous snakes. It sounded interesting so we went into the main enclosure to listen. The keeper told us lots of interests facts about snakes and how to stay on their good sides!

Once the talk finished we decided to join the queue to have our pictures taken with one of the koalas. We waited for about 20 minutes before finally it was our turn. Rikki went first although it was a tad awkward as the first two koalas weren't co-operating with the trainers and didn't want a cuddle (sad face) so we had to change trainers twice before finally a koala co-operated. The trainer got Rikki to put his hands out by his waist for the koala to sit on and then slowly lifted Barney as he was named, off her and into my arms. They were heavier than we thought they would be but SO SO cute and lovely to hold. It was even cuter that they looked a little sleepy but seemed happy to sit cuddling Rikki whilst he munched on some Eucalyptus leaves. We got some photos and the professional one before it was my turn to cuddle.

We left the koala area and went to wait for our photos. They are both really good photos and you can see them also when we get back. We had a short rest there before heading back to the kangaroo area again to finish feeding them the food we had. We were so excited to see that loads of them had come out from their rest area and hopped up to us to get some food. Loads of people had gone by then as well so we got loads of time to take photos, feed lots of different ones and even as Rikki did, cuddle one a little. Eventually we decided that we should probably leave and so headed back, saying goodbye to the kangaroos and then some koalas on the way.

That has definitely been one of the biggest highlights of Oz so far. It was such an amazing experience and we have loads of great photos to show you!

One we got back we went in search of a place for dinner and ended up at Wagamama as a way for me to introduce Jennie in an albeit inauthentic way to Japanese food.
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