My idea of walking on the wild side is hanging out with the koalas and kangaroos at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, just south of Brisbane. This privately run wildlife park, along the banks of the Brisbane River, is also home to other Australian wildlife, including Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, wombats, and dingos. But for some reason, they don’t let you snuggle or feed those creatures!
Ever since I was a little kid, I have adored koala bears. Well, I adore any bear, but koala and polar bear definitely top the list (and someday on this blog you will read about a trip to freezing cold Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears in person and in the wild). So, even though I had to pay more than 50 USD to visit the park and get a picture, I just put down the cash and didn’t give it a second thought.
When I had my chance to hold Fin, I had to firmly cup his soft behind while the trainer placed him on my shoulder and arm. His claws were large but not too sharp, but the trainer wore a special sleeve on her arm to protect her when she was holding him between shots. He was very slow and gentle, looked into my eyes ever so softly and turned his face to the camera. What a ham! Nate took a few photos with my cameras and then jumped in with me for the official picture.
After the koala picture, we decided to feed the kangaroos. After all, how often do you get the opportunity to feed kangaroos straight out of your hand? The first kangaroo I offered my food too had obviously had enough, but it didn’t take long to find a few kangaroos who were interested and hopped right over. Most of the kangaroos were quite small, but we did see one with a joey in its pouch and another that looked like it was at least 5 feet tall. Many of them were just lying out under the shade of the eucalyptus trees on this hot summer day.
As we were driving toward the Gold Coast along the Pacific Ocean, we saw a road sign with a koala bear crossing the road for the next 3 kilometers. While I would love to see both the koala and the kangaroo in the wild, I definitely don’t want to see them on the hood of our car. Needless to say, I braked.