Friday, 25 August 2017

Australia Zoo: Animals on the Sunshine Coast

I was hosted on this trip by Visit Sunshine Coast.

I've just visited Queensland's Sunshine Coast for the annual convention of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. As part of the event we go on short media tours before and after the formal proceedings, so the local tourism organisation can show off its attractions.

On Sunday a group of us made a quick visit to Australia Zoo, made famous by its founder, the late Steve Irwin. We started at the attached animal hospital, where injured animals are regularly brought in by rescuers. Visitors to the zoo can also enter the hospital and see how it works for a small additional fee.

This was a possum which had just been brought in, and was being looked after by a carer:

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Inside the main zoo, we started at the koala enclosure, where a number of the animals were dozing in the branches. I know exactly how this guy feels on a Sunday morning:

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A large open kangaroo area led past a red panda to Bindi's Island, where there were hard-to-photograph lemurs.

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Then we zipped back to the, ahem, Crocoseum for the midday show. This started with birds of prey and progressed to saltwater crocodiles. As our hosts explained the habits and hazards of the croc, a saltie was released into the water at their feet and lurked ominously nearby.

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That was a scary creature to watch as it moved in its purposeful reptilian way. I wonder if there's a race memory stuck away at the back of our minds when it comes to these crocs, telling us to BEWARE?

In any case I shot a short video clip of the croc grabbing the meat it was offered by the handler, generously passing up him and the white bird which was hanging around suicidally nearby.

Here's the clip:


At the end of the day we took part in a special session where we met several animals up close, including a wombat, macaw, lizard, snake and koala. It made for good photos:

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It was a great day out among the animals and the surrounding greenery. Australia Zoo was much bigger than I expected, and there's food available onsite, so if I returned on my own I'd make a full day of it.