Yesterday I went to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and it was definitely one of the highlights of the tour so far. I know I’ve said that a few times but this really was special and I feel honoured to have been able to visit it.
I woke up early so I could explore the other side of the river from my hotel during daylight. I took a few good photos then returned to the hotel and had somebody say “Isn’t it too cold for shorts?” to me in the lift back up to my room. I explained it was warm outside compared to the UK but they still thought I was weird. A little while later after getting my stuff ready I headed down to wait for the bus to the zoo. I waited and waited and it didn’t arrive but then the concierge got a phone call saying the minibus was waiting for me at the back of the hotel so it could avoid the one-way system. He showed me to where it was waiting and after getting in we were taken to their offices near the main bus station wher wee were met by another few people before heading off towards the zoo.
The company organised a similar thing to Tour East in Singapore and after leaving Brisbane we met up with the official Australia Zoo “Croc Express” bus at a service station, got on board and then went to the zoo on that. The bus had a photo of Steve and a Crocodile on the side and was so big it couldn’t go into the entrance of the zoo directly – it had to turn into the car park opposite the entrance, do a big loop around it then drive out, across the road and into the zoo entrance. I guess the fact they have a very big bus and huge car park shows it’s a good zoo that’s able to draw in the crowds.
A Croc show in the “Crocoseum” was due to start shortly after I arrived so I walked straight there and didn’t have time to feed the elephants at their regular feeding time beside the park entrance. The people that come on the Croc Express have reserved seating in the best location inside the Crocoseum in case it’s busy so I sat there where there’s a platform they do demonstrations from. In the show they showed off a variety of birds, snakes and of course crocs. They demonstrated the hunting and attacking capabilities of all of the animals and showed us what powerful creatures they truly are. There was a heavy conservation message throughout the show and this is something that Steve was very passionate about so it’s nice that his legacy is being continued.
After the Croc Show I explored the zoo and saw Koalas, more crocodiles, Galapagos Turtles, Snakes, a huge aviary full of birds before finding my way to the Kangaroo enclosure where I spent a while taking photos. I also got a photo of me taken with a Kangaroo for my friend Tiffany.
Next I petted a Koala at a place where you can get photos with them (I had to ask one of the staff to take mine as I was on my own), then went to see the Elephants where a keeper was washing them while doing a talk. He told me lots I didn’t know about Elephants but I won’t bore you with all the details so you’ll just have to visit yourself to learn everything. I then wandered back towards the Kangaroo enclosure as there was still some time before the other demonstrations when I saw a couple of keepers taking a Cheetah for a walk. Apparently they have got some in ready for when the Zoo expands in a few years and they are hoping to do Cheetah demonstrations too which could be really amazing. After talking to the keepers for a while I went back to the Elephants again where there was a feed in progress and this time I was able to feed one of them which was really cool. The final thing I did was to go to the Tiger enclosure for a Tiger demo. The keepers talked to us about the Tigers, about their conservation and then did a demo of how the Tiger stalks and kills its prey – I didn’t realise how high a Tiger could jump!
After the Tiger demo I wandered around the zoo for a bit past the Tasmanian Devils and various other crocs until it was time for the bus back to Brisbane. One thing I did find which shows you should always just wander when you go new places as you’ll find new things – under the stands of the crocoseum there is a memorial to Steve Irwin. It’s not on the map but has lots of khaki shirts, toys and other things that people, including keepers, have left in memory of Steve. On the way back they in the coach they played a video about Steve and the zoo which gave us a lot more info too – it was a really educational, moving and enjoyable day.
I met with my friend Natalie for drinks in the evening. She’s on a working holiday at the moment and I thought it was silly to be in the same city and not meet. We went out for drinks with her and a friend and caught up on things before I headed back to my hotel for the night.
Tomorrow I’m due to head to Sydney – my final stop on this trip!