Rick and Ann Brown's Travel Adventures travel blog

Sleeply, little Koala

Wombat--what a lap full

Kanga and baby

Big Croc

First a lesson in Aussie lingo: A Billabong is a watering hole.

We set off for a short trip, 18kl (kilometers) about 11 miles. We wanted to see some wonderful and mysterious Australian animals. The Billabong Sanctuary is somewhat like a zoo only it is where they take care of wounded or animals that might otherwise be destroyed. So early Monday morning I start driving south from Townsville, yes I said I am driving. Much to Rick's dismay, I do make him a little nervous, well, I make me a little nervous but I must practice. It is a beautiful day; warm sunny and about 75 degrees.... We get to the Billabong and start our wandering through the trails to first see the Wombat, yes a Wombat; I didn't even know what one looked like. They are big, about the size of a very fat 3-year-old....about 60 pounds, fuzzy and very docile. Picture is enclosed. Everyone was holding the little fat guy and he didn't even care. We roamed on, saw snakes in cages of course, not any of which I would have cared to see outside the cage. So many gorgeous birds, and the Churkey I talked about last time is really a range turkey. We saw several kangaroos up close and personal, one with a baby in its pouch. They are very tame in the sanctuary and you can feed them, unlike the ones in the wild. The Koala was my favorite. We were allowed to pet them, they were very sleepy looking and their fur was not soft as I imagined it to be, but it was course and lumpy. They were very unique and allowed us to take their pictures, one actually posed for us, as you will see.... On to the Aboriginal Cultural center where we learned some extremely interesting things about these people. Their culture is very old and the younger ones are now trying to keep it alive. We watched a young man show us how to "make fire" from fire sticks and play a didgeridoo. Amazing. Then off we went to see the biggest crocodile I have ever seen, 17 ½ feet of "untamed mean". I was too close at about 6 feet, there were two fences between him and me and I looked like lunch I am sure. You see these guys on TV but up close they are the most awesome creatures I have ever seen. As you can see from the pictures, Rick was even a little leery of the small one he picked up with its mouth taped shut. The skin is a very odd texture, smooth on their belly and very much like plastic on their backs. Rick wants croc boots, he thinks he is "Crocodile Rick Dee" now. The sanctuary itself is very cool and shady, the lake it surrounds is full of wildlife of all sorts, and many kinds of birds, ducks, and of course the churkeys. We have seen the biggest croc in the world, petted the koala, met the python, saw the wombat, and I shouldn't forget the Dingo. Wild dogs, looks like your neighbors pet but very nasty little guys and did they ever smell bad, wow, no wonder no one likes them. What a day, we had, back to our Hotel to set on the deck and watch the sun set over the marina. Do we have drinks with little umbrellas in them in our hands? Well of course.

To be continued.

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