Cuddly koalas and kangaroo skanks

26 Jul

Saturday 23rd July – Currumbin

One of my best memories of my last visit to Australia was going to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and making friends with the kangaroos, so I dragged John and Phoebe out there to see if it was as fun as I remembered and if any of the kangaroos recognised me from last time. We set off late and got stuck in traffic so we didn’t arrive until after lunch, so our day was a bit of a mad rush, but we still got to see lots of weird and wonderful Australian creatures, for example this thing, which looks like a snake and a turtle had babies:

Super cool snake turtle

After seeing all the strange turtle incarnations, a fairly large variety of snakes that can kill you in various horrible ways and the rather hilariously named knob-tailed gecko, we hurried on to see the birds of prey show, with only a short diversion when we spotted all the adorable koalas sitting in their little eucalyptus trees (more on those later). The show was really good: they had a crow that tidied up litter, a big buzzard that broke open a pretend egg with a rock to get the dead mouse inside it, a great big gawky pelican, and a massive wedge-tailed eagle that could quite easily have carried off one of the very annoying children who kept running up and down pretending to be prey items. After the birds of prey we went to see the crocodile feeding show, which was a little disappointing because unfortunately crocodiles don’t eat for six months during winter! I had my picture taken with a large but very friendly python. We were all a bit concerned by the fact they appeared to be keeping some Aboriginals in the zoo as an exhibit. We also saw the Tasmanian devils, who spent most of the time having a massive scary bitch fight about nothing. It’s an awful shame they’re all dying of face cancer but at the same time they aren’t exactly the pleasantest of creatures. Next it was time for my favourite part, the kangaroos. We were amused at first by a budding kangaroo romance in which the lady kept playing hard to get:

Kangaroo romance

When the lady kangaroo finally ran off to hide from her amorous partner, we bought some food pellets of some description and went to feed the little grey kangaroos, they are so tame and just sort of come and stand next to you even if you’ve not got any food left! I really wish I could have taken one home; I know someone who had a wallaby as a pet once (it drowned in her swimming pool, so perhaps not the best example) but I’m not sure I’d be allowed to keep a proper kangaroo in my garden 😦 We also spent some time with the bigger red kangaroos, before something majestic happened.  The actual king of the kangaroos, whose name was Spartan and whose arm and shoulder muscles were so enormous from years of boxing that they physically weighed down his upper body, came lumbering past us to sit with one of his kangaroo wenches:

Spartan: king of the kangaroos and total BAMF

There ensued a bit of an awkward kangaroo love triangle situation, in which another much younger and punier kangaroo stud tried to steal Spartan’s woman: she seemed interested for a bit, but Spartan wasn’t having any of it and eventually scared him off without a single punch being thrown. You could tell the kangaroo slut just LOVED having the boys fight over her… After spending a brief amount of time with the most adorable baby kangaroo ever, which had clearly only just come out of its pouch because it could barely walk without falling over, and going to see the dingos, we went back to see the koalas again. They were still mainly either sleeping or, in a small minority of cases, pooing in their sleep.

Snuggly koala ladies getting their beauty sleep

One thing they do to make money at the sanctuary – they’re a charitable organisation run entirely on donations – is let you have your picture taken with various animals. I had already got one with an eagle and a snake, but the best one was always going to be the koala, they seem to have evolved to cuddle everything they come in contact with, even me:

Koalas are good for cuddling

We spent a good 45 minutes admiring how snuggly all the koalas looked in their trees (and trying to ignore how smelly their poo was) before taking the obligatory trip to the gift shop. I once again resisted the temptation to buy trashy items – I really wanted a giant cuddly wombat – as I had already spent a small fortune on photographs! We had a whistle-stop tour of Superbee HoneyWorld (Tasmanian Leatherwood honey is a taste out of this world) before finally setting off home.

I managed to ruin my overwhelmingly animal-friendly day by eating shark for tea: the Australians call it flake, and it makes great fish and chips.

Sunday 24th July – Pelicans

I decided to continue my animal-tastic weekend by going to see the pelican feeding at Charis Seafoods in Labrador. It’s a ritual that’s been happening for years, and the pelicans now know that if they turn up at about 1:30pm there will be more fish-heads and out-of-date fishy produce available than their tiny pelican brains will know what to do with. We arrived at about 1pm, and already there was a pod of pelicans (I took the liberty of looking up the correct collective noun) hanging around the gorgeous broadwater waiting for their lunch:

Pelicans arriving for their lunch

Pelicans waiting impatiently for their lunch

The best part of the whole experience was the fact that pelicans are very civilised animals and queue up in an orderly fashion to receive their bits of dead fish. Once the pelican at the front had been given his portion, he tottered off to the back of the line to enjoy eating it and queue up again for his next portion. If they accidentally dropped their bit of fish, they went to wash it in the water before they ate it. The whole thing was very impressive to watch!

Queueing up for delicious fish heads

Obviously, as in any queueing-based scenario, there were a couple of renegade rude pelicans who kept trying to push to the front and steal food from other pelicans, but they were soon dealt with and shooed away to the back of the queue again. It was fantastic!

Once the pelicans had eaten their fill and disappeared off to digest it somewhere, me and Linda went inside Charis Seafoods to get something for lunch. I was in heaven: there was a ridiculously huge selection of fresh fish and seafood, including salmon the size of baby whales, the biggest mackerel I’ve ever seen, live mud crabs (which are really, really vicious and can easily have your fingers and toes off) and piles of Moreton Bay Bugs. We got a bit excited and bought an enormous box of fried seafood and chips to eat for lunch, which was my second portion of fish and chips in 24 hours. It was gooooood.

In the evening we went to Moo Moo’s in Broadbeach to eat some steak. I had my first ever Wagyu beef steak – with a marbling score of 9+, the highest you can go! – and it was delicious; the extra fat makes it meltingly tender and it tastes so much more interesting than a standard fillet. I also had my third portion of chips in 24 hours and could practically feel the grease clogging up my arteries by the time I’d finished! Thankfully the next day was a chip-free zone.

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