Just because Dazzler is up for sale doesn’t mean that we won’t be going on and sharing adventures with our friends and followers. After all, adventure doesn’t just have to happen on the water.
Wow, wow, wow….one day you wake up and you’re fifteen then you turn around and it’s your double nickel birthday. How in the world did I get to be fifty-five? Seriously. It just doesn’t seem possible that I’ve lived this long. Actually, I never thought I’d live this long so there’s that. But, I awoke on my special day and learned that my amazing hubby planned an extra special day for me. Of course he did…it’s just the kind of guy my hubby is and probably the reason my daddy sent him to me directly from heaven.
Off To Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
What’s on the agenda? Oh, well, this is a Jungle Jilly Birthday Extravaganza. We left early in the morning making the hour plus drive from Redcliffe to South Brisbane where we ended up at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Opened in 1927 with just two koalas, Claude Reid, a Queenslander, had a vision that still lives on today. His goal…save the iconic Australian koalas who were at the time, being culled for the fur trade. Ironically the first two koalas were named Jack and Jill. Of course they were…just one more reason I was destined to spend this special day here.
The opening of Lone Pine to protect koalas was simply the beginning. In 1974 they brought their first platypus, Peter, home to live there. In the late 80s they established an education department and in the 90s they opened up a wildlife hospital. Guinness even added them to their record books naming them the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary.
Home to over 100 koalas as well as 300 other Australian critters, this 18 hectare park also has a Eucalyptus plantation that spans 60 hectares. After being here and seeing how much the koalas eat I’m quite certain they need ever single bit of that.
In addition to koalas they house saltwater crocs…you know…”you’re in no real danger M’am”. And, there are wallabies, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils (ugly buggers they are), emus and other birds, dingos, platypus and more. In all they have over 70 other specials in addition to the koala.
We arrived at this magnificent park just before they opened at 0900. My hubby, my Captain, loves to be on time and he had a magnificent day planned. The doors finally opened and we made our way through the park. Within seconds we were greeted by the wild bush turkeys who literally run wild throughout the park. Not much to look at but kind of cool to see them just flittering about.
The Water Dragon Standoff
Our next encounter was the water dragon who we also learned runs wild throughout the park. He stood tall right in the middle of the walkway. No, we didn’t even frighten him. On the other hand, I’m not a big lizard, snake, gecko kind of gal so he did sort of intimidate me. I made Dan walk past him first. Funny…he never moved until I started to come near him. Sort of like he knew he was playing the power role there. Fortunately he ducked back into the woods and decided not to cross my path or foot when I got too close.
Here in Australia the Aussies would laugh at me for that comment. In fact, they will tell you if one of their most deadly snakes, the Taipan, decides to slither over your foot it is “Not an emergency Mate.” They say you are supposed to just stand still and allow it to use your body as a highway. Yeah, NO! If this ever happens to me you can rest assured I’ll end up taking the big dirt nap as I’ll try to bolt and the thing will likely strike me. So, let’s just hope this never happens.
Feeding The Animals
Since we were there so early we literally had the park to ourselves so we just walked around a bit to get our bearings. Saw the farm animals and peeked in at the croc and dingos. Then came the first “scheduled” event….feeding the Lorakeets. I just thought we’d just watch the zookeepers do this but apparently I was going to get to participate.
Well, this was pretty cool. These colorful birds were zooming about and landing in the food bowl we presented them. Heck one even landed on Dan’s head. My mama would have lost her mind with they way they swooped around our heads but we loved every second.
From there we watched the raptor show with barn owls, falcons and other raptors. Even had a barn owl swoop right toward my face once. This was pretty cool. I mean, you have to respect birds that are so smart and seriously intense after all.
Jungle Jilly Heaven
Next we went to the Kangaroo, Wallaby and Emu pen. Well….this was one of the most amazing and fun things I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. Here we not only got up close and personal with the Roos but we even got to feed them right out of our hands!!!! How can I even explain what an epic experience this was for me?
At one point I even had one of the lil buggers hold my hand. OMG! I almost cried it was so special. Of course Dan reminded me that he was only doing that because I had food but I didn’t care. I was beyond happy and would have held his little hand for hours.
One thing I do have to say is that Roos have hideous feet! They are three toed creatures with long claws on their toes and, well, they just look like they need a good pedicure. Reminds me of a time when I walked into a nail salon after waiting too long between pedicures. The little Asian lady looked at my feet and said, “Your toes nasty. You need pedicure. I give you now…sit down.” Can’t imagine what she’d have said to the Roos!
I could have stayed there for hours with these critters. They are so cute and sweet. Of course the Aussies think they are nothing but giant, destructive rodents. They literally think of them like we think of rats in the USA. They say they do nothing but eat their crops and destroy their yards and farms. When you figure there are over 50 million of them in the country and just 26 million people here it’s no wonder the people don’t like them. People are the minority after all.
I do find one thing rather odd about the Aussie’s relationship with the Roos. Think about this….most of them seem to have nothing good to say about these animals and many will tell you they need to eradicate them all together. That said, everywhere you go in this country you’ll find Kangaroos on t-shirts, logos, signs, flags….you name it. It’s like they despise their national icon. Seems a bit crackers to me but who am I to say? After all, look at that adorable face. How could you not love it?
It Just Keeps Getting Better
One of the highlights of the day was getting to hold a koala. I can’t even explain how exciting this was for me. I mean, honestly, how many people actually get to hold a koala? And, by the way…this is especially for us Americans….they are not koala bears. They are koalas and the Aussies get rather agitated when you call them koala bears because they are, in fact, marsupials. It’s been a hard habit to break but I think I’ve finally got it down.
So, what was Sergeant like? That’s his name. Well, he was calm…even calming. When he laid against my chest he made me feel a sense of peace and serenity. His eyes…oh my, his dark brown eyes. When the keeper put him in my arms and he looked into my eyes I knew I was in love with him. He looked deep into my eyes as if to tell me he knew what I was thinking. I could have sat there looking into those eyes for the rest of the afternoon.
Sergeant held onto me tightly yet gently. His long, rather sharp claws never even came close to hurting me. He just lightly set them on my chest…fortunate because one was laying on my left boob. HA HA
His fur was thick and not as soft as I’d have expected. Don’t get me wrong. It was soft but it was very, very thick like wool. In fact it felt more like that of a sheep than furry and soft as I expected. It turns out that their very thick coat acts as not only a raincoat, but it protects them from extreme heat and cold. Fun fact: The hair on their arse is very thick and acts like a “cushion” to protect their backsides from the branches upon which they rest for hours at a time.
As we strolled through the park and most specifically the Koala Forest where everywhere you looked you’d see a Koala, I came to a decision. Koalas remind me of little furry drunks. Yep, furry drunks. They sleep 18-20 hours a day and they fall asleep wherever the mood strikes them. Heck, most of the time even when they are awake they can barely hold their heads up. It’s really funny when you watch them with that thought process in mind. You can definitely see it. Either way, I still fell in love with my new friend.
I only got to spend about five minutes with Sergeant but it was five of the most amazing minutes of my life and I will always cherish the time I got be up close and personal with one of the most incredible works of God. Things like this don’t happen often so you have to embrace each and every second and I like to think I did.
You’re In No Real Danger M’am
After lunch we watched the crocodile show. Dan got a kick out of the fact that the keeper said, as Steve Irwin would have said in his best Aussie accent, “He can take you out in the blink of an eye”. I couldn’t resist and my out loud voice blurted out another Irwinism… “But, you’re in no real danger M’am”. The folks nearby got quite a chuckle out of us. Seems they may have enjoyed the fact that a couple of yanks found their Aussie style humorous.
Having grown up in an area of the States where the American alligators are prevalent I learned that Aussie crocs or “Salties” as they refer to them here, are quite a bit different. Salties, much like gators can be traced back to prehistoric times. That said, the crocs appear to have been around a bit longer at over 200 million years!
Some of the more interesting characteristics of the Salty is that their teeth are meant for tearing meat rather than crushing prey like the gator. Their jaws pack a powerful 3700 psi of force when they clamp down too! OUCH! Salties also can grow to be over 20 feet long and weigh in excess of a ton where as gators usually top out at 17 feet and 1000 pounds.
Unlike alligators that tend to be more shy, Salties are rather aggressive. In fact, they aren’t just aggressive but incredibly intelligent. They watch patterns and will lay in wait for their pray. In Northern Australia several years ago a man on a sailboat would jump off and swim laps around his boat each morning. One morning he jumped in and within moments all his wife heard was splashing and yelling before seeing the blood. A croc had watched his patterns and finally took him.
Not to speak ill of the dead but hey, if you know these suckers are in the water and know what they are likely to do, why in the world would you swim in their territory? Seriously, just Google croc attacks in Australia and you’ll find that many a person here has met their demise by not using the sense God gave them.
As for me…I learned a lot listening to the zookeeper educating us while he was standing in the enclosure with one of these beasts. I can assure you that I will not be swimming anywhere in this country! Because, as you know, if it’s not the Salties then it’s sharks, box jellies or a myriad of other aquatic animals just waiting to inflict pain and potentially death.
The Dingo Ate Yo’ Baby
Dan also arranged for us to have a few moments with a dingo. These dog-like animals are apex predators and live on top of the food chain here. In fact, I watched a 60 Minutes Australia special recently where a couple and their two children were camping on a beach in their ute. Here they have utes (trucks) that are made for camping with tents attached to them to keep them off the ground and away from the deadly snakes and things like that.
In 2019 on Fraser Island, a place where they believe the most pure breed of dingos exists in the world, a dingo got inside of their ute and took their 14 month old baby boy out by the scruff of his neck. All of this happened while the parents and sibling were sleeping just a couple of feet away! Fortunately they heard the baby cry and the father was able to run out and make enough noise to get him to drop him before they hurt him.
They were lucky however others have not been. Just last year a five year old was attacked on Fraser Island as he was playing in the sand mere feet from his parents. This youngster ended up in hospital with severe bites to his arms, legs and buttocks. Yes, these animals may look like your family dog but they are definitely predators and should be treated with the upmost respect.
To get a chance to sit next to one was pretty cool. Now, I will say it felt more like I was sitting next to a family pet but just knowing that this dingo was really an apex predator gave it a whole different vibe. Dan said when he was sitting next to it he was “guarding his man junk”. You never know what they are going to go for I guess.
A Platypus Is Poisonous???
We ended our day at Lone Pine with the platypus experience. Here we got to go behind the zoo doors and learn about how they care for these weirdly adorable creatures. Did you know the male has a spike on his back feet that is poisonous and that they are the only poisonous mammal?
Behind the scenes we got to see the tanks and even got to prepare their daily meal. Well, I should say that Dan got to do this. Yes, I could have but then I don’t do snakes or worms and these buggers eat worms. So, Dan dug through the dirt and cleaned the worms and then helped to feed them by throwing them into their tank. I was content with watching and videoing it all.
One very interesting thing is the way these critters go from the water tank each night into their burrows. You see, they have a series of interconnecting PVC pipes that create a tunnel from the water tank viewing area to the behind the scenes burrows. It was actually very cool to see this. Some of the things you just wouldn’t know if you didn’t get to go behind the scenes.
Italian Food To End The Perfect Day
After one of the most incredible days ever we made our way back to the Redcliffe waterfront where we stopped for dinner at Mamma’s Italian. We’d never been there before but WOW, what a great find. The food was simply smashing! The staff were amazing too. We finished our meal with some chilled Limoncello and Amaretto before retiring back on Dazzler.
Yep…my honey knocked it out of the park for my double nickel day! I’m so blessed and happy to have him in my life. Thanks my love!!!
Another Dazzler adventure is in the books with many more to come!
Until next time,
PS…If you ever find yourself in the Brisbane area you simply MUST take a few hours or a day and spend it at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I promise you’ll have a cracking good time!