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Day Seven - Kangaroos and Koalas

My alarm clock rang at 4:30am, as I had scheduled a 5 o'clock pick-up for a trip which would include some up close and personal time with some dolphins. Unfortunately, the driver went to the wrong hotel and assumed I bailed out. They left me. How annoying.

She Ain't heavy. She's my koala
(Click to Enlarge).

All was not lost as I found a little side venture to occupy my day. Walking down to the river, I boarded a boat which traveled north for about an hour, slowing along the way for some points of interest, and eventually on to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

We were told by the captain that koala is an Aboriginal word for no drink, as koalas will not often come down from the trees for water, gaining moisture instead by chewing on eucalyptus leaves. A little investigation, however, revealed that some dispute this as a fact. One thing that is not disputed though is the term Koala Bear is completely erroneous. They're not bears at all. They are, of course, marsupials.

At the sanctuary I had a chance to hold a koala for a while. They have rather long, sharp claws, which could be dangerous, but move very slowly and are very harmless. I'm not totally convinced she knew she was no longer holding on to a tree; they seem that out of it. Not because they're stoned on eucalyptus, though. That's another myth. Eucalyptus leaves contain 50% water and 5% sugars and starches. This very low energy diet leads them to conserve their energy by sleeping about 19 hours a day, which makes them appear intoxicated.

Further in there is a large area with many kangaroos and wallabies. A wallaby is a poorly-defined term used for macropods (meaning large foot) smaller than a kangaroo. There are 63 species of macropod altogether, including various forms of kangaroo, tree-kangaroos, wallaroos, pademelons and the Quokka.

Friendly Kanagaroo
(Click to Enlarge)
Hungry Wallaby
(Click to Enlarge)
Joey in the Pouch
(Click to Enlarge)

For a dollar, you can buy some roo food and you'll soon have lots of friends. I was surprised at how gentle they were. They delicately took the food from my hand and even when several were trying to eat at once, they didn't get aggressive. I found they really enjoyed having their necks scratched also. They were really very sweet animals.

The boat ride back was fairly uneventful. Back in the city, I found an Irish pub called Gilhooley's for dinner and then hung around for some drinks once the crowd picked up.

 

Day Eight

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