Thursday, 4 December 2014

Koala-ty Time ~ Part 2

The next morning on Maggie was a special treat for me as a birthday present from my husband. A bit childish maybe, but definitely my cup of tea – breakfast with the koalas!

Bungalow Bay Koala Village offers a chance to have a buffet breakfast, surrounded by animals, at their purpose-built koala park!

Everyone booked for this experience arrived and were shown through to the area, where we were introduced to the various cockatoos and parakeets, and a koala! Then we enjoyed a nice buffet breakfast, which included a bit of native Australian and campfire cooking, plus a glass of native guava champagne.

After brekkie, it was time to meet some more critters! There was a gorgeous coastal carpet python – I saw one of these outside our apartment shortly after moving in!

A selection of lizards

A sugar-glider

And then some more koalas! Like this mum and baby

After seeing all of these animals, we then had a chance to get a photo taken holding a koala. We thought that this was included in the price, but it turns out it’s an extra $16 each for this. Queensland is (I’m told) the only State to allow people to hold koalas, so I hope it doesn’t distress them. I must say though, the koala we held did not seem distressed at all, but I think that maybe the practice of getting them used to being held can be a bit distressing for them.

All too soon and the koala cuddling is over, but we still feel the need for some more caffeine, so we headed to Nourish café again for some coffees. The café is across the road form the beach, which has a tiny strip of park next to it. On one of the park tables I can see loads of the beautifully coloured rainbow lorikeets have descended to make a meal of some fruit that has been left there.

I go over with my camera to see if I can get some photos, but the birds aren’t at all bothered by me and I actually get to sit at the table and watch them! They are squawking and pecking away like mad, and are so comical!

After a while (and many many photos!) I leave the birds to it, and head back to the café. Adam suggests another walk, so we head off to find a different trail. This time we take the Forts trail which you can easily pick up from the road between Bungalow Bay where we are now, and Arcadia which is near where we’re staying.

We follow the trail, and Adam gets to indulge in some military history, as this walk takes us to some key features from the defence of Australia during WW2, while I get all excited about animals again as we spot another wild koala! 

The Forts walk is a pathway that ends in a loop, so we follow it round and spend time reading about all of the different features, such as the gun emplacements, and the control buildings. 

The sun gets lower very rapidly when you’re this near to the equator, so the light is changing quickly by the time we are heading back along the loop. We join up again with the outward path and follow it back, looking out for the koala again. We spot one, a sleepy little thing in the trees :)

Then Adam spots another koala a bit deeper into the trees. This one is wide awake and very active – climbing up and down trees, even leaping between branches that are not too far apart! I never knew that koalas leapt around so energetically, and it certainly is fantastic to watch!

The light is too dim now to get clear photos, but I do my best to capture his antics :)

Eventually we leave – I’m nervous about walking in the bushy areas when you can’t see where you’re treading. With snakes around that have names like ‘death adders’ I don’t want to put a foot wrong! Driving back to our little cottage, I decide to go to the end of the road to spend some time with the rock wallabies again – they are too cute to stay away from! 

Hiding down in the rocks amongst the wallabies is a little possum – I’ve never seen one before and I love his great big eyes and big pink ears!

It gets dark and I go home again, but we still have one more day left on the island.

In the morning we have to clean up the cottage, then we go out for a leisurely breakfast. We have time for one more walk, so we pick a different trail. This one starts across the road from the Forts trail, heading off in the other direction.

The vegetation and scenery is really different here, despite being so close. The plants look fantastic, to us it’s like walking through a botanical garden showcasing exotic plants!

We keep an eye on the time as we have to meet the ferry home, so when Adam says it’s time to go back I ask if we can just go a little bit further, just to the next bend in the path to see if we can spot any animals. He agrees – we have mostly walked uphill so the return should be quicker.

We get to the next bend and there are still no animals to be seen. I turn back to tell Adam that there is nothing there and we can go now, and in the tree above his head is another koala! 

I could stay and watch it for ages, but Adam reminds me that we have to get back to the ferry, so reluctantly I tear myself away.

Over 3 days on Maggie, we managed to see wild koalas every single day. I assumed that this was normal, but I’ve since heard of lots of people who have been there without seeing any, so I feel especially lucky in my wildlife spotting!

Maggie is certainly somewhere that we will return to before we leave Townsville, there is plenty more to do that we didn’t get around to – and I can’t wait for the marine stinger (potentially deadly jellyfish!!!!!!) season to be over so that I can follow some of the self-guided snorkelling trails around the island.

It’s amazing here!

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