Saturday, November 15, 2014

Those Kute, Kuddly Koala's

When we travel, we love the animal experience!

One of our "Tenants of Travel" is to do in other countries / cities / places what we cannot do at home.   We try to eat, see, smell, experience, hold, pet, ride, and taste what we could not do at home.

Our animal experiences fall under this heading.

We are in Melbourne, Australia, and we are taking a day trip 
to the 12 Apostles on The Great Ocean Road 
along the southern coast. 

 It's a beautiful drive, along an unspoiled coastline

We stop at a lighthouse.  It's a working lighthouse.  They are always fascinating.


As usual, I feel compelled to put my toes in the water.  
It's cold!

But.   It's about to get interesting.  One of our "travel rules" is to initiate our "Flexibility and U-Turns" card when needed.  (I adopted this travel motto from a friend, thank you Trish!)   So as we are driving down the coast, I am reading that there is a campground, like right back there, that you can take a gravel road and see Koala bears in the wild.  What the hell, it's a rental car, right?!?   So we flip a U-E, and head up the gravel road into the woods, and guess what we found????

 Do you see it?   Right there in the middle??   No??

How 'bout now??   
Little furball in the tree, right in the middle.........

 How 'bout now?  Yes?!!   So cute!   Just hanging out sleeping........ 
We were so delighted!  
We've know people who have lived in Australia for years and have never seen these little cuties in the wild.   We felt special!

So we continue down the coast to meet the 12 Apostles......

These amazing sandstone columns have been carved from the cliffs and the sea.  They are regal, stalwart, and majestically beautiful.   

There were 12 at one time (hence the name), 
currently there are just 8 left.  

Breezy and rugged and wild and wonderful.  
Reminds me of my Mr. C

Later, at the end of our Australia adventures, we find ourselves at a Koala Refuge.  There's a whole story, but the brief version is, we are flying home from Brisbane after 5 weeks in Australia.  We stayed close the airport, as is our custom, so that there are no unexpected delays in getting to the airport on time.  However.  When we get the Brisbane airport 2 hours ahead of departure, we learn that our plane has been delayed because, get this, the pilot had a heart attack and died!   That's just horrible!   But at least it did not happen while he was flying the last plane, or OUR plane, so........ Our flight home is delayed by 10 hours.  Wow.  

They tell us we can cannot check our luggage unless we are going to stay in the airport until departure 10 hours later.   We do not hesitate.  We lie.  We say we will stay, we check our luggage, and we immediately return to re-rent our rental car.   

And we head to the one thing on our list that we did not yet 
have a checkmark for.  The Koala Bear Reserve.

We find these cutie-pies at the reserve

 They are mostly sleeping
And sleeping

 And sleeping.......Koalas typically sleep a whopping 20 hours a day.   I'm envious.  Their diet is primarily composed of eucalyptis leaves, which has limited nutritional and caloric content, so they are largely sedentary

And ooops!  This one's awake!

We love that this program allows interaction 
with these adorable animals.   
They are rescuing and fostering these babies to adulthood.

So you can hold them!  That's a big yes!!!   
Just put your hands like this, that gives them a platform.  
I am ready!!!

I am instantly in love.  Have you ever held a newborn baby ~ remember how they just "mold" to you, snuggling into your body like they are a part of you?   Well.......yeah.   These babies think you're a tree, and they just snuggle in to hold on, and.....they are instantly asleep!   I remember being amazed at how soft they are.  How moldable they are.  How very very very sweet and trusting.  One of the highlights of my short life!

One of the things I loved about the refuge is their education program.  They give short presentations, always with a Koala guest of honor, where we got an education on their dietary needs, which are dependant on their environment (just like all of us, yes??), their reproduction and life span...................I was spellbound.  I loved loved loved this program!   When you can walk away from a previously unknown species and feel so connected, so concerned, so in tune with the needs of this species ~  THAT'S a great program, in my book.

We were also able to interact with and feed the kangaroos

 I don't have these in my backyard at home
I liked 'em

 And meanwhile Mr. C made friends with the Imu's

So we return to the airport to catch our plane "homeward" with a lighter heart.  With an unforgettable experience.  
With a connection to the animals on another continent.  

And Mr. C finally finds a "Pure Blonde"
Yeah.  That's why we travel.


  1. First of all let me say that this is one of my favorite photos of you! Your dress looks like it was picked for a photo shoot for the picture with the koala bear!! I really enjoyed the photos of the apostles and the trip up the coast! The u turn you made that afforded the opportunity to see the koalas in the wild is such a great story! Classic line about Mr C too - several of them!

    1. Thanks, KS! I didn't think about my outfit matching the koala bear ~ but you're right, it does! Lucky happenstance. I remember that I packed poorly for this trip ~ meaning it was the biggest suitcase I've ever taken, and I had the least amount of the right clothes for the weather, which was much warmer than I expected. So this poor little dress was in almost every picture, nearly wore it out....... And meanwhile I hauled a whole bunch of stuff I didn't need clear up the eastern seaboard of Australia! I've never repeated that mistake.....

      I really did fall in love with the koalas here. I like the programs that let you get close enough to really connect with the animals, like this one in Brisbane. We got to see the "Little Penguins" on Edwards Island, too, but that's on observation only kind of deal, where you they are secluded from you. Still very interesting. I'm always looking for what's different than back home.


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