Upclose Encounters w/Aussie’s Finest

by Brian Carroll on June 11, 2012

Post image for Upclose Encounters w/Aussie’s Finest Having wrapped up my Fraser Island adventure, I boarded a bus and made my way to a beach town called Noosa.  Coming into this trip, this was another one of those places I knew nothing about but as I traveled more, I heard numerous people speak highly of the area - so I decided to stay a couple days in the town.  Moreover, I had been in touch with my old NZ travelmate Nuria and it so happened that once again, we'd be in the same area at the same time, so we made plans to meetup while there.

Surf's Up Mate!

Noosa is a beach town set amidst rainforests and is known for a number of good surfing spots.  The area also has a really nice national park trek that meanders along the coast, providing a number of good lookout points.  The size and pace of Noosa reminded of Del Mar, CA and it seemed like a nice place to relax between a couple touristy things I had in mind:  specifically a hike along the coast and a visit to the Crocodile Hunter Zoo.  

I thought you deserved to experience this too

Despite running into some rain in the area, Nuria and I picked a good time to do the national park hike as the weather cleared.  As we were walking along one of the beaches, an old man strolling by informed us (in a non-verbal manner) about one of the unique features of this particular beach...Nudity...but not in a good way in my opinion...yikes!!!  Anyways, despite that surprise, the rest of the walk was really pleasant and at the tail end of the path (no pun intended), we were able to spot a wild koala chilling in one of the trees - first one I'd seen out in the wild which was pretty cool. The following day, Nuria and I made plans to meetup and head to the Australia Zoo (basically home to the late Steve Irwin, "Crocodile Hunter).  Honestly, I probably haven't been to the zoo in 15 years and as such, was interested in seeing what the Aussie version would offer.  While there were some cool and unique things to it that I liked (explained below), after spending the day there, I did not feel like it matched the San Diego Zoo or Wild Animal Park in terms of breadth, which made me appreciate that more, even though I haven't been in so long. What was pretty cool about this zoo though was the opportunity to do a few unique things: feed kangaroos and hold a koala (not just stand next to one) - both things I was pretty stoked to do.

Pretty sweet!

Now as a kid, koalas were one of my favorite animals.  I don't know how or why I came to that decision as a kid, but to now have the chance to interact with one in person was pretty cool to me.  So when there was a chance to hold one (which is only allowed in a few spots of AUS), it was a no brainer.  What I didn't realize about holding a koala was just how bad a koala smells (the males specifically) - their stench will stick to your clothes...    Between eating eucalyptus leaves (that provide drug-like effects), a pungent scent, stoned looking eyes and an overall pretty lazy demeanor,  I've decided that koalas are the hippies of the animal kingdom. On top of that experience, the zoo allows you the opportunity to feed kangaroos.  While I had seen and fed wallabies, I had yet to do this with kangaroos.  While I am by no means an animal biologist, I know that a)kangaroos are much bigger than wallabies and b)while it looks like they have regular tails, this actually is an extension of their spine that they can use for support and will use if there is a need to fight by resting on it and kicking their feet (in wallabies, their tail is just that, similar to a dog or cat). The rest of my time in Noosa I spent exploring the city, grabbing a few drinks and planning the next stage of my trip:  Byron Bay and the Gold Coast.

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