Last week I went to Australia Zoo and had a terrible time.
Said no person ever.
Australia Zoo is the best zoo down under and by far the biggest zoo I’ve ever been to. It is also the home of the Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin, and his family. Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past 10-15 years knows who the Crocodile Hunter is, right? He took over what was once just a “wildlife park for reptiles” decades ago and turned it into the world’s best zoo – that was his vision anyway, and I have to say that the park and its employees are oozing with the famous Steve Irwin enthusiasm.
They love Steve Irwin here on the Sunshine Coast. Highways are named after him, his face is plastered everywhere, and God help you if you’re a non-Australian and make fun of the guy. I think it’s adorable how proud they are of him and how much they seem to want to continue bringing his vision to life at the zoo. You did good, Steve! Your zoo really is something else.
My day at the zoo got off to a rocky start when I was woken up by my friend calling to say I was already supposed to be at the bus station to catch our ride. (The fact that I overslept had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we were in our orientation week at university, a time where there is typically more nighttime activity than usual. Nope, nothing at all.) I did get to the bus in time – needless to say, a little bit frazzled and still starving from the night before – and tried my best to get excited about our furry friends. (Remember, I’m not an animal person… not really. Some of them are cute and all, but I don’t go out of my way to see animals.) When we got there, we quickly discovered that not only is the area much larger than you would estimate at first, but the signs are useless. I walked around for 40 minutes following the signs to find the elephants – and my friends, who had walked on ahead – and ended up in the exact opposite corner of the zoo than where the elephants are. Later, we also circled the dingoes for 20 minutes while actively looking for them, all because Steve obviously thought we’d figure it out after one or two signs earlier on. We didn’t. We need more signs, Steve. We need you to treat us like idiots, please.
Just when I thought, oh man, this might turn out to be a looong day (after a long night), I met this beauty and quickly forgot all about being hungry and lost and tired:
Can you spot the baby koala in the pouch???
The awesome thing about Australia Zoo is that you can pet practically all the animals – I mean the ones who don’t find humans particularly tasty, of course. We got to chill out on the grass with kangaroos and wallabies, pat koalas on the back, hand-feed elephants… it’s all about getting up close and personal at Australia Zoo.
Everyday at noon, they have a wildlife show in the Crocoseum. Birds and snakes and crocodiles all get to show off, and it’s definitely a can’t-miss part of a visit to the zoo. The crocodile they used the day I was there was Mossman who is the largest croc they have at Australia Zoo. You could tell immediately that the croc team had no idea whatsoever what Mossman was going to do… They spent 10 minutes circling around the beast trying to feed him a fish to get him to show off his teeth, but Mossman wouldn’t play along. Instead he kept focusing in on the trainer’s legs as if trying to work out a strategy on how to get a bite out of them.
The trainers were constantly trying to distract him in other directions than where he was going, and I got the feeling that they weren’t exactly comfortable with Mossman’s mood that day. If I wasn’t scared (enough) of crocodiles before, I certainly am terrified now. Professional crocodile trainers don’t even know how to deal with them half of the time – how the heck am I supposed to know what to do if I see one? Oh wait, that’s right – I won’t see one. He’s the best strategist on the planet when it comes to ambush attacks. I’ll be dead long before I’m even aware that there’s a croc in the water. Strangely enough, I find a lot of comfort in that.
In summary, Australia Zoo is absolutely worth a visit (or two! or three!). I can’t wait to back with my family and friends whenever they get around to coming for a visit. My external hard-drive has room for another 500 pictures of koalas. (Do you have any idea the kind of restraint it took to only choose three of my koala pictures to put on the blog??)
Too much fun. Seriously. I’m exhausted from ooh!‘ing and whoah!’ing.