If you've followed my three part series Awesome Australian Road Trips, then you've seen all kinds of natural environments by now - from the beaches at the Gold Coast and the blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the Daintree rain forest and the red center. But what's still missing are more wildlife shots! When backpacking Australia there are countless opportunities to see kangaroos, wallabies and koalas in the wild and also in sanctuaries. Of course you may also encounter the occasional snake or a spider on your trip but they are so rare that usually the guide has to point them out to you.
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite animal shots from Australia, partly from the Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane in 2010 and from Phillip Island in Victoria in 2016. And I promise there are no creepy crawly pictures - only cuddly fur balls. Ok, maybe one slightly angry bird... ;)
A cassowary - they're very rare in the wild and a bit dangerous. They could kill a man by slicing right through him with their giant claws and have therefore been named the most dangerous bird on earth. They only attack when they feel threatened and to protect their young. They're also ridiculously fast and can totally outrun you. So leave them alone should you be lucky enough to encounter one of these now endangered birds in the wild! Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - Brisbane
While you can hold a koala at the Lone Pine sanctuary in Brisbane, there is actually a law in Victoria that only allows qualified carers and trained animal handlers to hold and carry the cuddly fur balls. Hence me just snuggling up to this chap and petting him instead of holding him – in all fairness, he did weigh about 12kg according to the carer.
Phillip Island is also the home of the world famous penguin parade. Every evening just after sunset thousands of fluffy little penguins make their way from the ocean where they were eating all day back home to their burrows to feed their young. They are so little that even the fully grown ones are only about 40cm/15in tall.
In order to let visitors be part of this phenomenon, they built a tribune and elevated wooden walkways so that people can see the penguins up close but without interfering with them.
Now you’re probably waiting for some cute pictures of penguins waddling around on a beach but unfortunately I have to disappoint you... you’re not allowed to take pictures during the parade. Reason being that it’s already dark and you’d need your flash to get any decent shots of the little guys. Using the flash would startle them, they’d lose their orientation and won’t find their way back home. And that means baby penguin won’t get its dinner that night. We don’t want to be responsible for that, right?
Although there are always some tourists who think they know better and take pictures anyway, there are wildlife rangers around to tell people off. And rightly so! To have the privilege to see something as incredible as thousands of penguins walking past you so super close is really special and in that moment you’re in the animals’ environment and should behave accordingly. And anyway it’s so much cooler watching it with your own eyes instead of looking though a camera the whole time.
I do, however, have a couple of pictures for you that I took earlier in the day, zooming in from a distance (and without flash of course!). This was at a protected nesting area which we visited on our tour.
And with this our month of Australia-themed posts comes to an end.
I hope you liked the diary & enjoyed the pictures! Australia is such an incredible country which offers so much to visitors and not to mention it’s that huge it takes you quite a while to see everything... so yes, there will be more posts later on as we haven’t even talked about places like Sydney, Melbourne or Tasmania yet! And Australia’s capital may make an appearance as well... ;)