With this post, let's skip the story and move right to the good stuff:
All together, awwwwwwwwwwwww
Little joey there sticking out of his mum's pouch.
Here's my best wallaby shot
And another pretty good 'oala.
So the only true tourist thing I've done is visit Phillip Island, which is about 2 hours southeast of Melbourne. Phillip Island is most famous for the "penguin parade". A large colony of fairy penguins live there and hundreds of people go to see them return from the sea and a day of fishing as the sun goes down. I was only on Phillip Island in the morning and saw no penguins, but I did visit the Koala Conservation Center.
They basically have preserved a little eucalyptus grove and built walkways about.
A koala, as I learned apparently spends about 20 hours a day just sleeping. This is largely because there's not really that much energy in eucalyptus leaves, so they just rest all the time. At night they come down from the tree, climb up some new tree, and then go back to sleep. Ok, I guess the eat some, too. The "rangers" walk around each morning and find where the koalas are that day and put a sign there.
A couple of the koalas were at a level pretty close to humans, but many can get way up there. Here's a young but independent koala. See that ball way way up there?
This one was particularly high, but all were at a fair distance.
And then I used my camera's zoom lens to get a decent view of them.
They also had black wallabies, possums (supposedly, never saw one), and tons of birds that are common in Australia, but funky outside of it.
Here's the famed kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree.
Here's a few more pics of the proud mum and the joey hiding progressively further into the pouch. I wonder if those claws hurt in there, the same way children kick their moms inside the stomach.
And, finally, just to prove that I was there... The koala behind me is the one right near the top of this post who doesn't have the baby. (And to answer clothing questions, the answer is Nashville Predators ice hockey).