31 July 2010
We awoke in the rest area around 7:30 this morning pretty much exhausted from listening to trains all night. But, we were excited to get up and going as we had a day at The Australia Zoo to look forward to...the zoo made famous by Steve Irwin ("The Crocodile Hunter"), his wife, Terri, and kids, Bindi and Robert.
It was a beautiful, sunny and warm day...perfect for a day at the zoo. We slathered up with sunscreen, popped on hats and good shoes and packed a back pack with drink bottles, snacks, more sunscreen and our radios. Because it is winter and "low" season, there were few lines and it wasn't crowded, which was very nice.
Five at The Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland
The admission price for the five of us was a hefty $187, but we soon saw why. The Australia Zoo is a top-notch tourist attraction. But, regardless of some people's opinion of The Crocodile Hunter, famous for throwing himself in harms way again and again and belting out "Crikey" more than most Australians normally would, his passion for animal conservation and education comes through clearly. The zoo is impeccably kept. The staff is clearly passionate and seem to enjoy their work. They do everything from clean animal droppings to feeding the 1000 animals every day to swimming with snakes and tigers. There is also a new Wildlife Hospital, built in 2008, which saw 7,800 patients just last year. It is very impressive.
Sydney Rachel patting a baby croc Cheeky Asian Small-Clawed Otters
We fed elephants, pet wombats, fed kangaroos by hand; plus, Sydney Rachel rode a pony (for free), watched tigers swimming and playing with their keepers and we just missed seeing Bindi and Robert (who have become quite famous in recent years) and their security guards while riding on the kids (again, free with the price of admission) rides.
A Rhinoceros Iguana A typical sign at The Australia Zoo -far from drab
Alison the Alligator - has been around since at least 1933 (tough old bird) ...and, cranky Daisy (she's been around since the 1960's)
Only the very best food is served at The Australia Zoo Devon feeding an Asian Elephant
Every display has signs that educate without boring and Steve Irwin's dream has become quite an amazing reality.
Amazing staff swim with the tigers...and snakes
Jenna, Devon and Sydney Rachel near the elephant habitat
Sydney Rachel sitting on a statue of a 175 year old tortoise
Sydney Rachel riding Charlie the pony
A red panda A snake and his trainer in the Wildlife Warrior Show
A maccaw flying in the Crocoseum during the Wildlife Warriors Show Jenna feeing a kangaroo
Jenna being eaten by a croc while her brother helps Grahame the crocodile having a feed
An echidna hunting for food An exotic bird in the Wildlife Warriors Show
Devon patting a wombat An Asian Elephant
A patient at the Wildlife Hospital (Steve Irwin's mother's dream)
After our full day, we phoned a few caravan parks to the south, most of which were full. But, we did find one (The Toorbul Caravan Park) not in our guide book in Toorbul on the water, just 40 minutes south of Beerwah.
Rob grilled up chicken and onions for fajitas and we supplemented with leftover pasta.
One of the peaks along the Glasshouse Mountain Range