I’m sure every Ozzy and/or Australia fanatic is with me on this one: you simply cannot visit Australia without spooning a Kangaroo or cuddling a Koala. But (yes, there’s a but!) while it’s one of the local most popular animal experiences, holding a koala is only possible in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. You cannot cuddle them in certain states, it’s simply illegal. I bet you never expected that, hey? Don’t get discouraged though, there are ways to get close to the marsupials, it just requires action. Best way is to search for animal parks that have this option.
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
To spot Australia’s cuddliest I take a trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The popular park is situated at the Gold Coast, Queensland, is well kept and fully dedicated to conserve Australia’s Indigenous, natural and historic heritage and culture.
Besides the bird show, which is totally amazing, you get a lot of animal interaction.
What the Croc?
The most unexpected highlight of my day is the moment when the zookeeper puts a baby croc on my lap. Interesting, very interesting. The leather looking creatures have the craziest eyes I’ve ever seen. They don’t seem to move at all to a point where I start to doubt the realness of the croc. You also get to see a crocodile feeding happen.
They basically hang a piece of meat above the massive pond for the croc to ‘hunt’ it and you will see his tall body jump out of the water to catch it. So Jurassic Park!
After that I move to a large piece of land surrounded by a fence. Over there I meet up with a bunch of kangaroos and joeys. The Red Kangaroo isn’t included, of course.
They are way to dangerous to interact with, considering kids (and people in general) are running around the area. I can buy treats for the roos but I don’t, they come up to me with no effort. So I can pet them as long as I want. They just lay in the sun, jump around and enjoy life.
Koala vs Bear
Koalas sleep around the clock so don’t expect too much movement. According to the zookeeper, they get quite intoxicated from the Eucalyptus leaves they eat and therefor require 16 hours of napping a day. So how do people manage to take pictures with them, right?
The assistants prepare a special area for the most active marsupial to stay awake for its photo and you get to hold it for a brief moment. Holding however doesn’t mean petting and taking selfies, you get one look at the photographer and you give the cutie back to its sitter. The moment is over before you know it. And that’s a good thing, we don’t want them to be kept awake for too long. Also the additional picture fee (about 25 AUD) is donated to keep them happy and healthy.
The Cuddle Moment
Koalas are not heavy, they are super light weight and they got maaaaasive claws to grasp onto your body, like onto a tree. And you do feel the claws, believe me. So if you’re scared to get scratch marks, you better wear long sleeves.
The fur has a very coarse, thick consistency, almost like sheep fur, therefor they often get mistaken for a bear. ‘Koala bears‘ do not exist, they are in fact marsupials who carry their babies in a pouch until they get big enough to sit on the back. Very cute, all of the above. Can I cuddle it again, please?
The Operation Quarters
As mentioned above the funds from the Koala pictures are mainly used to provide good health for the animals. That point is definitely visible when you take a walk
around the block. In fact, I get to see a surgery happen right outside the window. A koala has been hit by a car and is brought to the zoo. The staff is doing all they can to save him. Now, that’s something you don’t get to see everyday.
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is without a doubt one of the most easy going and most natural zoos I’ve ever seen. The animals are cherished and have the luxury to move around. No caged feeling whatsoever and you can get in touch with Australia’s exquisite species in a very personal, respectful way. Big love for that park. Job well done, therefor recommended to all!
PS: Don’t forget to buy your Koala bracelet
yours blissfully xo