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                       AUSTRALIA Queensland - AUSTRALIAN ZOO! and a Tour through the RAINFOREST

Crikey!! A Ripper Day at the Zoo

March 25

We left early for the hour drive to The Australian Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter 'Steve Irwin.' The Wildlife Park features a 70 acre home to over 1000 animals, both indigenous and exotic.

We arrived just in time for the beginning of the "Wild Live" show in the Crocoseum Stadium. We took our seat in the hot grandstand amongst the throngs of Saturday Zoo-goers, probably not the best choice of days to pick to visit. But we were thoroughly entertained as well as educated about some of Australia's very unusual creatures.

Snakes!

A variety of snakes were brought out in a big barrel and a little skit was performed that educated as well as entertained us about some of Australia's 140 species of land snake, and around 32 species of sea snakes. 

Around 100 Australian snakes are venomous, although only 12 are likely to inflict a wound that could kill you. The most dangerous snakes are the Tiger, Brown, Death Adder, Mulga or King Brown, Brown Tree snakes, Mangrove snakes and a few species of sea snake. The most poisonous snake in Australia is the Taipan. Australia’s other snakes include pythons and blind snakes.

The Big Cats!

Featured next were Sumatran Tigers from Indonesia. The area was prepared beforehand for these animals to ensure that none would escape into the crowd and each animal had 2 handlers. There was a demonstration of how the cats love to play and can easily drown their prey in the water, being excellent swimmers. Just when I thought that there would not be any stupid circus tricks, they had the animals simultaneously jump up into the air!

Birds Abound

Down came the high protective fencing around the performance area and out came the exotic birds, flying freely around the stadium. They seemed to know exactly where the handlers were situated throughout the stands and flew from one to another, swooping just slightly over the heads of the spectators. There were the familiar pink parrots, cockatoos, kookaburra, Roselle, and other large colorful parrots.



Crocs Rule!

With a little coaxing, the crocodiles appeared. Although the crocs were only youngsters, they were about 3 meters long.

As adults salt water crocs grow larger than freshwater crocodiles, they are capable of eating very large prey. Large crocodiles can ambush and kill cattle and horses as they come to drink at waterholes. Prey can also include wallabies, pigs, and even other crocodiles.

Humans are in the size range of the prey of saltwater crocodiles 3m and over, and attacks on humans occur ever year. We will have to be very careful as we head north into crocodile country being that we live in the water and in their environment!

Kangaroo Encounters

After the show, we walked through a large paddock where sleepy kangaroos lay soaking up the sun. Some never even bothered to get up when we patted them. There were plenty of kangaroos for everyone to maul, and lots of varieties, grey and red kangaroos and even some rock wallabies.


This Joey looks like he has almost outgrown his pouch.

Live Stuffed Koalas

Not really stuffed in the sense we use the word. But Ozzies refer to being very tired as being "stuffed" and koalas are always very sleepy!

We watched an excellent demonstration about the habits and habitat of koalas learning about everything there is to know about these unique little marsupials.

It was a hands-on, so to speak, so again we got up-close and personal with the cuddly creatures.

I couldn't resist including the collage of koala pics on this page as their comical vacant facial expressions can keep me amused for hours!

A few Koala Facts:
The koala gets its name from an ancient Aboriginal word meaning "no drink" because it receives over 90% of its hydration from the Eucalyptus leaves it eats.
The koala is the only mammal, other than the Greater Glider and Ringtail Possum, which can survive on a diet of eucalyptus leaves.
In Australia there are over 600 types of eucalypts, but koalas will not eat a large proportion of these. Within a particular area, as few as one or two species of eucalypt will be regularly browsed.

A walk around the park brought us to numerous other exhibits of the indigenous mammals, birds, snakes and reptiles of Australia. 

Camels and dingoes are  common sights in the interior
Large Land Tortoise Hyperactive Tasmanian Devil Enormous Cassowary birds

A Multi Talent

As we were leaving the Park, we stopped to enjoy some local entertainment. This musician was playing almost every instrument you could image, including the native didgeridoo. He would pick his guitar, while tapping a percussion instrument with his foot, while blowing on a sax or didgeridoo, all at once! We bought one of his CD's because his music was so uncommon.

The Glass House Mountains

Heading back to Manly, we took the Glass House Mountain Tourist Drive, detouring to several scenic lookouts that offered panoramic views of the curious group of crags rising up from the coastal plane. These mountains were named by Lieutenant James Cook who thought the mountains resembled the glass furnaces from his hometown in Yorkshire, England.

The Glass Mountains were once actually lava plugs within volcanic cones. These volcanic cones and surrounding sandstone were eroded by the wind and water over 25 million years to reveal the lava plugs which can be seen today. There are 14 mountains spread over over 600,000 hectares. Mt Beerwah is the highest of the group - 556 m.

The landscape through the Parkland was lush with forests of gum trees opening up to fields of planted pineapple and green pastures. That evening we were rewarded by a pink and orange sky to end a perfect day.

April 4

Blackall Range

After the folks left to go home to Canada, Gord and I returned to the Hinterland Region where we continued on past Landsborough and through the Blackall Range. This segment of the journal is out of chronological date range but I am including it because of the massive views of the Blue Mountains that we encountered from the The Mary Caincross Scenic Reserve.

Tranquil Pastures

The scenery through the Range was very pastoral and consisted of gentle rolling green hills, dotted with trees and pockets of rainforests.

Lakes and Waterfalls

We drove to Lake Baroon, near Montville along the Razorback, which offered great coastal and lake views. There were lots of walking trails in the area, most of which ended up at a waterfall. We had to be careful as we were warned of snakes all through the area and we only had flip flops on.

The Reserve is a living museum of diverse plants and animals  in what remains of the once vast sub tropical Rainforest, many of these species are rare and threatened.

Among the 100 tree species found, The Strangler Fig (left) grows to an enormous size as it eventually chokes its host support tree.

The Dense Rainforest

Beside the numerous varieties of Gum Trees, (Scibbly, Blue, Spotted) there are Beech Trees with their smooth bark, the Paper Bark Trees with their shaggy trunks, Red Cedars, Palm Groves and others trees that have adapted to wetland areas. The most curious is the Wonga Vine that seems to be wrapped around everything!
The forests were profuse with Epiphytes, the Staghorn Ferns and Crows Nest Ferns being the most prevalent clinging to what available space there was on almost every tree trunk,

Put a Peg on Your Hooter!

I heard this expression from one of the Ozzies and it was good advice as we continually kept smelling a very offensive odour that at first we thought was a Skunk. But we were sure that there were no skunk in Australia and so inquired. We found out that the culprit was Stinking Roger, a seasonal plant the releases the stench.

We left the Blackall Range and headed from the charming village of Mapleton to the surfer coastal town of Maroochydore. Maroochydore is situated on a River inlet but the ocean surf is just minutes away. We spent the night in a cabin at a Caravan Park surrounded by trees chock full of thousands of screeching parrots gathering to roost. It was quite a sight! (and sound)!

The following day we drove along the coast to Noosa Heads passing one stunning beach after another. We both really liked this area of Australia, its beautiful landscape and tranquil coastline with clear blue water.

From Noosa we traveled inland and somehow ended up on a 4x4 trail that short-cutted across to Tin Can Bay along about a 25 km bright red, bumpy sandy road. We decided that the "outback" of Australia was likely this color. The landscape had changed from lush to scrub and the area was definitely home to the blue collar or perhaps the aborigine sector of the population.

There wasn't much at Tin Can Bay, so we ventured on to Rainbow Beach where the colored sands are supposed to be impressive. However, although the beach was nice, we didn't think a strip of black in the sand intermingled with the white constituted anything really impressive. There were cliffs in the distance but these were only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles on the beach. Perhaps that was where the attraction was.
As it was getting late we headed back toward the Bruce Highway and drove back to the boat in about 3 hours.

PHOTO ALBUM VISIT WITH MOM & DAD In Queensland

NEXT>>> SUNSHINE COAST & AQUARIUM

 

Links to TOURING WITH MOM & DAD Manly, Brisbane Stradbroke Island Tamborine Mountains

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