A Travellerspoint blog

The Australia Zoo

Australia Day done right.


I'm feeling extremely guilty about how far behind I am on entries... it's been 3+ weeks since my trip to the zoo, and I just got back from an incredible trip to Cairns, which is more presently relevant. I'll try to have my pictures developed and an entry posted by next week, but I can't make any promises because I have two midterms, a project, and a paper due.
Anyway, Australia Day was a day for heading to the Australia Zoo, also known as the Steve Irwin Zoo. After a short bus ride, we arrived and took a quite meandering look at many of Australia's (and some of Asia's) indigenous species. The first stop was at the home of a giant (monitor?) lizard, who was sunbathing to absorb some heat on the lovely day.
Right next door were the mammoth turtles, who were just getting ready for a feeding.
This picture shows their size with contrast to their feeder, who was giving them a special treat that day: hibiscus.
After that we ended up at one of many sections for Koala bears. All they do is sleep and eat! What a life!
Here's another cutie takin' a snooze:
Next, we headed to Kangaroo Heaven, outside of which was a home for these funny looking porcupine type guys:
This was the first kangaroo we came upon... We were afraid it would run away so we took about a million pictures.
Fortunately for us, the kangaroos in Kangaroo Heaven are marsupials of the unnaturally tame variety, and they let us pet them!
We took a few pictures with the kangaroo...
This is me with Matt and Matt, who along with Christine were my zoo-visiting partners:
A whole family of 'roos of a different species:
One of the family, hangin' out:
More of the family:
Little teeny cute guy of another species:
Me petting the little teeny cute guy:
This one made me laugh because it was more into the ducks than the other 'roos:
This one also made me laugh because it looked so contemplative and was sitting in a silly position:
From Kangaroo Heaven we decided to hop on the tram around the park, from which we saw the most adorable procession of elephants hooked nose to tail... If you look close you can see the front one is holding an Aussie flag.
We got off at the next stop (realizing we might as well have walked...) and headed into the open air bird section. This little guy was just hanging out in the middle of the path. It reminded me of Lizzy, my late iguana who passed of osteoporosis quite a few years ago.
We had a real go at trying to capture a picture of the black swan, who is only indigenous to Australia, and quite stunning in my opinion. Here's a shot of it through the trees:
Another shot of the black swan:
We rounded a bend and there was the most fun emu ever. It kept following me around as I took its picture, which made things very difficult!
Afterward, we went to the Asian section of the zoo and saw the elephants:
And tiger!!!! I really wanted to see a liger, but no such luck.
On the way out, we went to the koala petting area, where I saw this crazy plant:
And took more pictures of koalas, who were awake and "on-duty" for petting:
Afterward, I wanted to go see the camel exhibit, and got this lovely and flattering picture:
He wasn't out for feeding so we decided to leave and come back. We saw the cute little lambs:
And then wandered a bit more.... to find the dingoes!
Maybe the dingo ate your baby!
We wandered a bit more and found these jungle birds... I forget the name, but they're endangered and in the emu family:
Afterward we came to yet another area of koalas. Apparently they keep them separated by gender and age because they become hostile toward the opposite gender outside mating season. Here's a cute one having a snooze:
After that, we went to the Tasmanian devil section. Although they aren't nearly as fast as the ones from the cartoons, they hop around quick enough that it was pretty difficult to get a good picture. These are the best I could do:
Then we went to see the crocs. They were pretty sedentary, so not quite as intimidating as I'd imagined.
On the way out, I saw a woman with a snake. I opted not to hold it, as appealing as it may have been...
Afterward we went back to see the camel, so I could get a more flattering shot:
The only photogenic snake in the snake exhibit:
After that, we went to the enclosed bird sanctuary. I was hoping to see those mohawked white parrots, but to no avail. I'm going to blame the jerks who blatantly disregarded the "one door open at a time" policy. I did get to see this guy, who is pretty colorful. I think they fly around campus sometimes, but you never get this close.
Another cool-looking parrot:
Next, we went to see the wombats, who were just being introduced to a new home. This one was so funny. They let him out and he immediately went to the nearest corner to get cool. These photos are best viewed in succession.
They are really some of the funniest looking creatures ever:
A cool looking fern and fiddlehead near the wombat area:
Christine took this gorgeous picture of a pretty hibiscus near the center of the park:
The last thing we did was pay to get out picture taken with a koala. It was the cutest thing I have ever touched or been even been in the near proximity of since my guinea pig died.
Overall, it was a great trip. If you're planning on going to a zoo around here, though, those short of cash might consider the Currumbin Sanctuary to save a few beans. It doesn't have elephants and tigers, but you'll save about $60 and still get a chance to hold a koala and pet a kangaroo... not to mention you won't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch a bus to another bus.

Posted by mintleaf37 17:07 Archived in Australia Tagged animal Comments (0)

Nimbin, New South Wales

Hippie Colony of Australia


So I've only managed to get even further behind on my blogging. It is now week six and I've only written four of my weekly entries. This entry is documenting my trip to Nimbin with Keebler and Brett a few weeks ago. The two of them have bought a station wagon which I actually find quite lovely and endearing. Here is Keebler trying to set up our plan for navigation outside their wonderful new vehicle:
Despite the boys' extensive planning (which consisted of digital photos of a mapquest query), we managed to get lost a few times. Once we got into the rural parts of New South Wales I completely stopped caring if we every found our way, as the countryside is one of the more beautiful landscapes I've ever seen. Here is one of my sad attempts at capturing the sights from a moving vehicle with a digital camera (delay and all).
And some lovely birches:
Eventually we did arrive, and I think the welcome sign does a lovely job of summing up the town's culture:
Every business was quaint and locally owned, with creative murals decking their exteriors:
Another shop (sorry these are all from the car before we got parked):
After we parked, I came across some melting flowers that caught my fancy:
Then we decided to take a stroll along the strip. The town is quite small; really it's all on one main street filled with colorful shops of all varieties. Here's Brett and Keebler taking some first looks around. Everyone keeps asking me if Happy High Herbs sells marijuana. While the drug is decriminalized in the province of New South Wales (and likely used heavily in Nimbin), it is not sold in business establishments. The owner, who we met later, told us that she sells a lot of passionflower. Gourmet Genie (in the middle here) sells some food that looked incredible. Buy-a-Bong in the background is pretty self-explanatory.
A note to anyone planning to travel to Nimbin: try not to look so damned American. Or at least try to look like an American from the 70's unless you like getting starred at. I'm sure hippies don't like feeling judged by surprised stares from tourist kids in graphic t-shirts.
Next we went to the Nimbin museum to try to gain some perspective on this strange and beautiful town. It was both a baffling and enlightening experience. A diorama I found intriguing:
The token VW, in all its glory:
Prayer flags among peace writings:
More sweet mural action:
A clever command on a cloudy mirror:
Meandering passageways...
Did I mention they aren't a fan of cops here? More muralage:
I wish I could share some deep and important significance of the eggbeaters... mostly I just think they look cool:
Another look at the prayer flags:
By judging the characters who camp out in the back of the Nimbin Museum at first glance, I imagine this might be an outlet for some Happy High Herbs of a decriminalized variety. After checking it out we left to do some more perusing of the local shops. We finally ended up in a coffee shop and bought some delicious, locally made sodas. Mine was called "Wild Potion" and had a Renaissance lady in a flowing dress on it. It was made with citrus juices and rinds, lemon myrtle tea, chamomile, echinacia, and spice laurel extract. We talked to the incredibly fascinating store owners: one with dreads and a misaligned glass eye, one old man with a multi-colored woven fez. They introduced us to the languid Happy High Herbs store owner, who tried to get us to buy some of her passionflower. After a while, they started talking about things that were either completely insane or completely over our heads. The man with the fez gave me a paper about some man who had sovereignty over his name or something. It was complete legal banter verbiage, which as far as I could tell meant absolutely nothing. The dread lock glass eye dude told me that his name was spelled entirely in lower case letters. We left pretty shortly after that. On the way out of Nimbin, we passed three or four separate parties of hitchhikers, all completely stereotypical: Birkenstock lover, woman with Psychedelic dress, creepy looking might-be-a-serial-killer guy, posse of teenaged backpackers, etc. The other side of the "Welcome to Nimbin" sign featured a completely bizarre design with no words...
Here are some more out of the car window shots of the New South Wales countryside that I took on the way back to Queensland:
I really liked this lone tree on the hill. I probably should have cropped the picture before sharing it, but then again, I took it out of a car window:
My friend Matt says that the clouds seem more majestic in Australia. I think he is right...
More attempts at photographs with delays at high speeds...
Driving is so scary here. I've almost been hit by a car because of my "right, left, right" street-crossing strategy. On the windy and ill-paved roads around Nimbin, I was extremely nervous... the locals seem to think that a safe speed is far too slow and "overtake" (pass) at their own convenience. Brett driving on the "wrong side" :
All in all, Nimbin was a completely novel experience. It's only about a 1.5 hour drive from Uni if you know where you're going, and quite close to Byron Bay if you want to make a weekend of it. I'm over and out for now-- it's time to orchestrate my ride to the airport, as I will be in Cairns tomorrow, and preparing to explore the Great Barrier Reef!!!!

Posted by mintleaf37 05:38 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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