The Australia Zoo
07.03.2014 - 07.03.2014 27 °C
Brisbane is the 3rd largest city in Australia with 2.2 million people. Brisbane is about on Australia’s east coast and it is about the same distance south of the equator as Tampa is north of it so it has hot, humid summers. We had originally planned on doing a walk-about in this well planned city or taking a river tour through it on the Brisbane River, until we attended several lectures on the ship’s lecture series on Steve Irwin – the famed “Crocodile Hunter” of TV fame. The more we learned about him and his work in conservation, species preservation and animal care, the more interested we were in visiting his privately-owned Australian Zoo. We had current and former zoo personnel on the ship delivering those lectures and were really quite amazed at their passion for Irwin’s work, deep admiration for the man and devastation at his untimely death. (They all remember what they were doing at the moment they learned of his passing – he was stung in the heart by a stingray.) We booked a visit to the Australian Zoo and headed out with great expectations.
The Zoo is about an hour’s drive north of the city. It is a most welcoming and family-friendly place – with loads of pictures of the Irwin family at various locations.
Typical poster of Steve Irwin at the Zoo entrance
Terri, Bob and Bindi with anteaters
Bindi, Steve and Terri
Bindi and a koala
The zoo is divided into a number of areas devoted to different parts of the world and different types of Australian animals. There are a large number of reptiles. We saw
Albino Burmese Python
There were a huge number of birds both in enclosed areas and wandering freely around as well as lots of signs providing information about Australian Birds – especially parrots.
Which one – an Brogla or a Sarus Crane?
There were also lots of mammals.
Asian Small-clawed Otter
There were loads of these girls – you could pat them or have a picture taken with them. (Many of the animals on display were females because they are less aggressive and easier for people to pat.)
We saw a couple of animals which we had never seen before in person.
Echidna – Ant eater
The wombats were hilarious. We watched a trainer introducing one into a compound and it escaped while she was closing the door and went scurrying off after the resident wombat with the trainer chasing behind trying to catch it.
Wombat with a turkey vulture
Of course we saw lots and lots of kangaroos and wallabies. Animal food was available in vending machines at several strategic locations so people could feed the animals if they wished. Often the Kangaroos were so full, they mostly just rested on the ground and watched the guests. The Kangaroos behave like domestic pets and seem to enjoy being patted and will nuzzle your hand if they by chance want a little of the food. We didn’t see any moving very quickly – they seemed to move in slow motion although we learned they could be very, very fast if motivated.
Dave and friend
Roo and lizard
Everywhere we went there were trainers with animals in hand showing them to us and answering any of our questions.
Holding a Blue-tongued Skink
Handlers and guests patting a 6 month old tiger cub
Bird eating an almond
Showing us a snake
Trainer with parrot
Bird of prey
The highlight of the visit was the Croc show at the Crocoseum. The Crocoseum was a vision Steve Irwin had to create a 5000 seat coliseum to have a croc show to demonstrate to people how easy they are to live with if you know how. The croc of the day was Graham.
They called Graham out by splashing their feet in the water. Crocs are very territorial and will immediately investigate any motion or sound. Crocs are lethal in the water and at the edges of the water but once out of the water that powerful propelling tail just becomes a land anchor.
Graham being called
Female trainer feeding Graham
Male trainer feeding Graham
Graham jumping for food
Equally as entertaining as Graham was a birds of prey show. They had birds swooping around the Crocoseum flying from a trainer on one side to one on another.
3 birds on railing with trainer ready for take off
Bird catching food thrown up in the air
Vulture searching for carrion
One of the birds was trained to fly to an audience member, land on her arm, pick up a 5 dollar note and take it to the trainer. It then returned the money.
Bird picking up a 5 dollar bill from an audience member.
All in all this was one of the best zoo experiences we have had and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the Brisbane area. It is hard to believe that the zoo is privately funded and survives on donations and various fund raising activities.
Dave at the zoo
Brisbane skyline in the distance
We were tied up in the midst of a busy commercial port district
Dave particularly liked where we docked in Brisbane – beside a small cement plant – not Lafarge
6:00 pm and looking back at Brisbane from the Ocean view bar on Deck 14 as we pushed away from the pier and headed out to sea again headed for Newcastle