I’ve only been in Australia for little over a week, but already I am craving that ‘authentic Australian experience’. I’m not really sure what ‘authentic experience’ means in this case, but, for example, in Boston you might eat lobster, or you may go to a Broadway show in New York City. You do the kind of stuff that places are known for so that people don’t get upset when you say, ‘yeah, I was in Philly but I didn’t have a cheesesteak’. I mean, what a let down!
So, I was looking for an authentic experience, and I found one at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket near Brisbane, Queensland. This place has over 130 koalas just waiting to be all cute and cuddle with everybody. Right. Up. My. Alley.
The fact is koalas are even cuter in person than they are in pictures. Other facts:
- They are not ‘bears’; they are marsupials. They HATE it when you call them koala bears.
- They sleep for approximately 20 hours a day, usually curled up in a tree.
- It’s not a stereotype: they love the shit out of eucalyptus.
- When they are angry they make the loudest, most unholy noise I have ever heard. A sound that truly belies the size of these little things.
So, I fell in love with koalas. Serious love. The ‘how can I smuggle one out of here so I can cuddle with him forever’ love. But to be fair there were other animals at the Sanctuary too. Dingos (looks just like a dog), Tasmanian Devils (all talk) and a duck-billed platypus (camera shy), just to name a few. Lone Pine also had kangaroos, and kangaroos are even cooler than I realized.
The kangaroos run free in a huge fenced-in area, and you can just waltz right in and start hanging with the ‘roos. Pet them, feed them, hop around with them, whatever you want – it’s pretty much unsupervised. It mostly goes like this: a kangaroo hops up, you give him food, you pet him, he realizes you have no more food and he hops away looking for somebody with food.
I was simply amazed at the amount of access I had to the animals, which made this place really special. Let’s face it, I’m not heading to the outback looking for these guys, so this was a fairly ‘authentic’ way to meet the animals of Australia without as much worry of running into the ‘I’m gonna kill you’ element of creature-dom (I am totally talking to you, Taipan snake).
Words can’t describe how adorable the whole experience was, which is why you should check out the most adorable Flickr album here.