Could we come to Australia and not meet a koala? Of course not! We are on a bush adventure for four days. The first stop is the Koala Park Sanctuary. Our tour operator, Sally Bray of Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures had arranged for us to go in the koala enclosure and actually pet koalas!
We were very fortunate in that all the koalas were active. Since koalas sleep upwards of 18 hours a day due to the low nutritional value of the eucalyptus that they eat, many visitors only view them sleeping. One youngster scrambled around on the floor, while the rest munched fresh leaves in the low trees. A couple moved from tree to tree and one was eyeing George's back as a waypoint.
We were able to pet the koalas. Their fur was so soft. Holding one wasn't advised since their claws are very sharp.We did see a photo of Oprah holding one in the newspaper- her visit to Australia has started. We're not sure how they managed that.
A number of other bush animals were in various pens but a few kangaroos were in the park but not in pens. We also went in the large enclosure with grey kangaroos and were able to pet them too. Their fur is equally soft. Two had joeys or babies in their pouches. The larger joey's limbs stuck out - he was getting too big for the pouch. We also saw wallabees and wallaroos (same families, but different sizes). We only viewed the backend of the wombat and echidna or spiney anteater from the backend as these nocturnal creatures slept in a log.
A couple of years ago, near Tucson, AZ, we stopped at the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch. They about pecked our fingers off as we attempted to feed them. We vowed never to get close to an ostrich again! However, we were told that the cassowaries - large, colorful, flightless birds - are even nastier. They were behind wire and out of reach. Keep 'em there!
Australia has many colorful birds you associate with the tropics - cockatoos and parrot-like birds. They also have fairy penguins. The penguins were out and about, anticipating their upcoming feeding time so we got to see them.
One daily ritual we started in the park before heading back out on the road was morning tea. Sally provided tea and scones. We are hoping our pants still fit at the end of our Australian trip. This could get addicting! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak