One of the first things you learn about Australia as a kid, is probably that there are a bunch of really weird animals inhabiting this continent. Many of them are so-called Marsupials, mammals who carry their babies in their pouches after birth. Additionally, most of them they are very cute even when they left the pouch and are all grown up. Apart from the Kangaroos! Unlike the smaller Wallabys, I personally think they do look quite sinister. You might say they are the Swans of the Marsupials.
So, long story short, when in Australia, it is suggested you go and visit a place where you can see these animals. Since it’s very unlikely that a Koala will jump off a tree in a Sydney park or a Wombat will wombattle across the next street in your neighbourhood, that will have to be a zoo or wildlife park. There are quite a few of these about in Sydney and around. There is the Sydney Wildlife at Darling Harbour, where I met my first Koala – a poor fellow who has to serve as a poster boy hanging from a tree stump outside the park. Then there is Taronga Zoo, famous for its vast amount of species, presented with the backdrop of the city skyline. Yet, it is expensive and I was just keen on the Australian species anyways. So eventually I did decide to go to Featherdale Wildlife Park, 27 $ – Koala encounter included.
I took a train out to Blacktown, then the bus and there I was. Koalas abound – in rather tiny stalls, pooping, eating, scratching, sleeping… and all over again. I am not sure if being chosen to sit in the photo area is the highlight or the lowpoint in the life of a Featherdale Koala, but I felt pity and at first dreaded the thought of standing in line to have a picture taken. Yet I did, for Mom and Dad and the diary. All I can say: it’s a great photo – not! – the Koala is completely lost in its Eukalyptus slumber dangling from the tree stump and I am trying to hide the fact that I am in a similar state as Kirsten Bell, when her boyfriend get’s her a Sloth encounter for her birthday.
Apart from the Koalas you have Wallabys, Kangaroos, Wombats, the ever so cute Quokkas, Echidnas that are probably some of most weird animals in the world, Flying Foxes, a lot of owls and other Australian birds, etc. The Wallabys and some Kangaroos roam the areas freely and you can feed and pet them, still I believe there was a reason why most of them were preferring to hang out in the “animal recreation zones”, rather than being touched by just about everyone.
All in all I again realized that I am not a big fan of zoos or wildlife parks and I’d much more prefer to see wild life in the actual wild. But if you want to pet a Koala and get an overview over the Australian fauna, you better just go there and try to push away these thoughts until you reach the gift shop.
A train brought me back to Sydney and I went to my favorite bakery to get some fresh bread, but they were already sold out. So it was just a Flat White and some pastry that would be served as dessert for the dinner at Maria and Will’s place. I walked over to Potts Point, quickly browsing through Gorman on the way and buying a very perfect dress. The dinner was lovely, the conversations were great and food absolutely amazing. Another highlight: walking home after dark, wearing only shorts and a t-shirt. Oh sweet summer nights.