Today (SUnday January 17) I made a day trip to the Australia Zoo, the home of the legend Croc Hunter Steve Irwin. The Australia Zoo courtesy shuttle bus picked me up right near my noosa backpacker hostel. The 2 story bus was packed with mostly backpackers. The bus ride took about an hour.
When I entered the zoo, the first attraction I stumbled on was the Steve Irwin tribute. His legacy is very much intact at his park. His plan was to build the best wildlife zoo in the world, and to be honest I think it is on its way. There are major upgrades and new sites in the works.
The zoo was very empty in the early morning, it was around 915 when I entered the gate. In some areas it was like I was exploring the park all by myself.
Going to just go through a rundown of the higlights of the park, don't need to go thru every detail of every animal and wildlife show I saw
- Giant Tortoise exhibit
This showcased the largest tortoise in the world, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise. Not sure I have ever seen these things before but they were huge. Was definitely in the zoo mood after seeing these things.
- Roo Haven
an open area park with Kangaroos. You are able to go up and feed them, pet them, basically anything you feel comfortable with. It was pretty sweet how it was just out in the open, no cages or anything, making you feel like you are almost out in the wild.
- Croc show in the Crocoseum
When Steve Irwin was thinking of a name of the place the crocodile shows took place, his favorite creature of the wild, he finally thought of the Crocoseum. Because of the fact it showcased the beauty of the Crocs and he wanted you to "see um"
It was a special croc show because it was performed by Terri and Bindi, Steve's wife and daughter, respectively. They had performing the shows for about 3 weeks in the summer, and today was there last day doing it. Pretty great to see the wife on the croc hunter, especially after seeing her in some of his shows. The croc show was basically a croc feeding but it was still pretty entertaining.
- Koala Exhibit
Fact: Koalas sleep around 16-20 hours a day because the tree leaves they eat have no energy in them. I was lucky enough when I went back a second time to see most of them up and about and eating. Koalas are pretty entertaining to look at.
One section of the park was dedicated to just snakes. Criky some of those blokes were huge, but all beauts. My favorite was the fierce snake, the most poisonous snake in the world. 1 drop of its venom could kill up to 100 men!
Saw the feeding and the keepers cleaning them. I think elephants are one of the most interesting animals in the wild. Not sure why but I find them fascinating.
Was lucky enough to catch the Tiger show just before the bus departed. The trainers would bring the cats up near the glass window and would give the tiger milk so we could see the mouth open and see its large teeth/fangs. Crikey they were big. The show later continued with the 2 tigers playing in the water with their water toys, including some great jumps as the one pictured below.
The Australian Zoo, Home of the Crocodile Hunter, rightfully displayed heaps of crocodiles, freshwater and saltwater. as well as American alligators. There were alligator dens all throughout the park and behind the crocoseum. Almost every croc as I walked by their dens was sleeping in the water or outside under the trees. Not sure if one ever moved. So those exhibits were ok just to see them but are not too entertaining when you don't see any action going on. Before taking the bus, I had 10 minutes of the croc feeding show that I was able to catch. This was by far the highlight of the day. It was not in the crocoseum but in was of the crocs dens. 2 of the trainers jumped into the fenced off area and we were able to witness the entire feeding take place. The item on the menu....a giant boar head. From the second they croc keepers entered the croc territory the croc knew it was time to get some food. His head slowly came out of the water near the shore. As the keeper came closer to the water with the boar head in hand, the croc quickly jumped out of the water and snatched the entire head in one big bite. It all happened so quick and was o so sweet to see it live rather than on some tv wildlife show
All in all the zoo was great, not totally amazing but still was well worth the price of admission. If anything, I supported and showed my great respect for the man, the legend, the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin