Tuesday - Territory Wildlife Park
The heat was really starting to pick up and a few people had talked about the 'build-up' coming early - the time when the heat and humidity increase again before the arrival of the wet season.
Our day at the Territory Wildlife Park was certainly a hot one, but one we all really enjoyed. We'd been encouraged to get there as close to the opening time of 8.30 as possible, as the presentations in different areas commence at 9 o'clock. We timed things perfectly to walk through the gates and get onto the free shuttle train (a big hit with the kids!) which took us to the first presentation - an information and pelican-feeding session at the billabong.
From there it was a great day of some walking and some shuttling between presentations and displays: the aquarium (seeing Graeme the saltwater crocodile being fed), the nocturnal animals display (including bat presentation), the birds of prey (including a kestrel using a rock to crack open an emu egg), dingoes, aviary and the sandbar. This last presentation involved a few highlights: seeing some big, sleek barramundi and hearing them 'boof' (a loud noise caused by the rapid intake of air and water) as they grab a fish from the trainer's hands; the kids getting fired at by archer fish who were shooting the meal worms out of their hands from two metres below; and Sal getting to feed and pat the huge whip rays - a really hands-on experience which she thoroughly loved.
By 3.30 we were really hot and a little tired, and having seen pretty much all there was to see, we made our way back to Tumbling Waters for a very refreshing swim in the pool. Unfortunately the evening turned rather smoky as a burn-off fire got rather close to the caravan park. From the presence of the rural fire service people that evening it was clear that the fire was not as under control as intended but from what I could overhear, they were no longer too worried as the afternoon breeze had now died down. It did however make for a rather smoky night in Old Bess.