Today was the big day....Koala Day. As I've mentioned before, Cathy had two big plans for Australia - swimming with the fishies at the Great Barrier Reef and hugging a koala. And after passing up several chances to go and see koalas, we decided to head out to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which claims to be one of the best of its kind in Australia, with more than 130 koalas.
So off we went. And I've got to say, it's a pretty nice place. We've been to a bunch of zoos over the years. Cathy loves them and I don't mind, although I tend to have mixed feelings about them sometimes. I've seen some that haven't treated their animals very well. But this one seems to do a pretty good job. Not fond of how they take care of some of the birds in cages (the enclosures seemed too small), but that seemed to have been made up for other areas where birds were allowed to fly around free.
But anyway, this was a very specialized zoo. Yes, they had birds, snakes, Tasmanian Devils (very disappointing as they did not spin about and make fun noises, but rather just lay there in the sun) and you could go into a free range area and feed the kangaroos if you want (which we did), the main attraction are the koalas. It's also not just one enclosure. I've been to other zoos and there is a cage area and inside it are a half dozen awful sad looking koalas. Here, they split them up. There are the mothers with new babies, there are the new koalas, the ones under two years old, the adult males, the senior citizens and other groupings. There must be at least a dozen different enclosures for them. Hell, they even had one in the big cafe, so you could eat your sandwich and watch koalas eat their leaves.
And they all look pretty healthy. Later in the day they were all pretty active as well, eagerly climbing trees and playing with each other a bit. And yes, they are insanely photogenic. I suspect a good bit of the SD card currently in my camera is now taken up with koala photos.
I'd put some up, but alas, the computer I'm using in our hotel's lobby doesn't allow for it, so you'll just have to wait until we get back to Canada.
The highlight for Cathy was when she finally got to hold one. They rotate in a bunch of different koalas, very carefully explain how you are supposed to hold them and then you get your moment. They're also pretty good about photos. As long as you buy at least one from them (at a price of $16) you can take as many of your own as you want, including video. So Cathy has her official picture, a calendar with her and the koala and the 20 odd pictures I managed to snap in the two minutes she got to hold the bear. But it made her insanely happy, so who am I to mock.
So there we go, Koala Day was a success. We also went riding on a ferris wheel down by the river in town, which also made Cathy happy, as she has a big thing for ferris wheels. All in all, it was a pretty good day for her.
Tomorrow we're going to hop on trains and buses and make our way down to the Gold Coast for the day...an area Lonely Planet charmingly refers to as "Australia's Florida". Plus, there's some place that has a Dracula cabiret that we might take a look at. It should be an interesting last day in the Brisbane area.