I had been to Australia once before while on my very first home exchange in December 2006 to this very same place on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise. But as unbelievable as this may sound to you, I NEVER got to see a Koala Bear or a Kangaroo. Well I wasn't letting that happen again, so today(May 7th) Sharon and I headed to the Wild Life Sanctuary in Currumbin. The Sanctuary is home to the world's largest collection of Australian native animals. It's not a zoo but a research and conservation facility with a collection of over 1400 mammels, birds and reptiles.
We wanted to make sure that we would get there in time to hold the Koala's so we left about 9am for the 30 minute drive down the I2 Gold Coast Hwy. Within 5 minutes of paying our $39.60 AUD admission we were holding a Koala Bear! His name was George and he was handed to me by one of the sanctuary employees. She first made sure I had my hands in the right position, then she placed a towel over my hands before she put George in my arms. What was the towel for you ask? Well it seems Koala's just keep poop'in and they will do so during the split second that you get to hold them. I was surprised how heavy George was and I was informed that he weighed about 20 pounds.
After Sharon got to hold George we noticed all the other Koala's nestled in the trees still sleeping. It's amazing how they do this and don't just fall out of the trees.
Okay, where are the Kangaroos! On our way to see the Kangaroo's we stop in to check out the Australian reptiles, some of which seemed to be pretty friendly.
We happened to meet a very nice sanctuary employee who was sweet enough to walk with us in the direction of the Kangaroo's and share some information about the sanctuary and some of the shows that would be going on throughout the day. We came to a fork in the road....Kangaroos to the right, Dingo's to the left. Hmmmm. Well Sharon is a big dog fan so we decide to detour to the left and catch a glimpse of a Dingo. On our way we come across some more Koala's hanging out in the trees munching on some eucalyptus leaves.
Of course we spent entirely way to much time here taking pictures. Somewhat satisfied that we have taken pictures from every angle possible, we wander around a bit trying to decide which way to the Dingo's but we can't seem to figure it out. We did pass a spot where the Wombat's hang out though, but they were nowhere to be seen. Alright then, let's get to the Kangaroo's.
I realize I am a bit obsessed with seeing the Kangaroo's but it comes from a picture that was taken when my son was in this very same place in 1997 and he is kneeling beside a Kangaroo! I was so impressed when I saw that picture and thought what a great experience. And now I have the chance to do the same thing. Who knew!
When entering the area of the Kangaroo's it reminds me of taking my children to a petting zoo. Minus the goats of course. There are Kangaroos everywhere! This was so cool because you could just have a face to face conversation about life in Australia.....
or just lay out together and work on your tan.
Well it's time to get something to eat so we decide to buy a sandwich and we settle in at a table that wasn't occupied by an Ibis.
Then Sharon decides that she needs some of those little mustard packets for her sandwich. So she leaves her sandwich behind certain that it would be there when she returned. No I didn't eat it. But within seconds an Ibis swoops down on our table, snatches her sandwich and then boldly lands just steps away from us and proceeds to eat it. I guess this happens a lot here because her sandwich was replaced immediately.
We then bought an ice cream cone and decided to take the little train ride that takes you through the park. But when it arrived at the front of the park, which is where we started, it stopped and the conductor annouced that it would not continue on because the bird show was about to begin. Bummer! So we decided to walk back in the direction of those Dingos! This was the better choice as we were able to see so many more animals. We saw crocodiles, tree kanagroos, wombats, red tailed black cockatoos, emu's, a cassowary, black winged stilts and several other types of birds, and lizards. We were unfortunate though and did not get to see the Tasmanian Devil. But we did see that Dingo!
This has been a full day of being one with the animals of Australia. So what better way to top off this day then to drive just around the corner and be back at the Viking Surf Club. We enjoyed a glass of wine while looking out over the waves crashing against the rocks and tried to wind down from the excitement of our day at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.If you would like to see pictures of all the animals we saw just click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary"