June 25, 2008

Australia Zoo: Koalas, and Crocs, and Roos, Oh My!

We are on a pretty tight budget, so we have to be careful which pricey excursions we choose. With discounted fares of $41 each, a day at the Australia Zoo was quite an investment. Our new friends Clementine and Ryan told us it would be worth the price, and they were right. The Australia Zoo is one of the coolest things we've done in our 8 months of travel.

Australia Zoo is run by the Irwin family, of Crocodile Hunter fame. Steve Irwin's image and legacy eminate throughout the place, adding a poignancy to the day. Naturally there were lots of crocodiles, many caught by Steve Irwin. All the crocs are deadly, especially the saltwater crocs, so they were each surrounded by not one, but two thick fences. One croc named Acco is 16 feet long and weighs one ton!

The zoo is one of the few places in Australia where you can actually hold a koala. Ever since we started seeing koalas, holding one has been a dream of mine, and at the zoo I happily ponied up $20 to have my picture taken with one. Since they sleep 20 hours a day, koalas are usually pretty docile when they are awake. My koala, a male named Minty, smelled like grass and poo and felt like a heavy cat. I only got to hold him for about two minutes, but it was absolutely priceless.

Australia Zoo's trademark is that you can get up close to most of the animals. Aside from holding the koala, we also got to feed an elephant, pat a few more koalas, and we fed kangaroos out of our hands. They even have packages where you can pay extra to walk a cheetah on a leash for 30 minutes. Where else can you do that?

We could have spent all day feeding the kangaroos. When we saw them in the wild outside of Armidale, they hopped away before we could get within 50 feet. The kangaroos at the zoo are used to people, and they will happily eat out of your hand. That's right, the KANGAROOS EAT OUT OF YOUR HAND! It's awesome! A bag of roo food cost only 50 cents, and last for quite some time. The roos walked right up to us, knowing that we had food. We had to keep them from just sticking their heads right in the bag.

There's more to the zoo than koalas and 'roos. We tried and failed to take a picture of a tasmanian devil, which never once stopped running around its enclosure. Safely behind a fence, we met a deadly Aussie bird called a cassowary that can disembowel humans with its middle claw. Bright orange dingos looked just like dogs, except they were only visible behind a thick glass wall. The only Australian animal we missed was the platypus.

So if you are going to be anywhere near Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, don't miss the Australia Zoo! Don't forget your 'roo food! Take a look at our photos from the zoo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

reminds me of our trip there. we did the same in adelaide. fun fun!