24 July 2012


When planning our trip to Sydney, Nicola had one thing in mind and one thing only: “Right. I need to pet a koala.” Nic was devastated to learn that koalas are not seen sleeping in the trees or wandering across the street in downtown Sydney. In fact, koalas are not typically seen anywhere within an hour of Sydney.

Luckily for Nicola, Sydney has a wildlife park.

I think the best part of our holiday was our ability to make a list of things we wanted to do without scheduling every minute of our trip. We knew we had the concert Monday night and we knew we needed to book the whale watching cruise in advance so we scheduled those events. Everything else we just did when we wanted.

One morning, while enjoying our breakfast and free Wi-Fi at the café down the street, we looked up a wildlife park where we heard we may be able to pet some koalas.

Along Darling Harbour, there is a touristy area housing an aquarium, a Madame Tussaude center and Wild Life Sydney. We weren’t sure we could handle the excitement of all three attractions, so we focused on the goal: we must pet a koala.

Once we escaped the cheesy touristy photo trap at the entrance by bolting in front of a family, we made our way through the dark corridor, up a series of ramps that wound from one end of the corridor to the other and back again and finally out into the sun. When we opened the door, we were transported into the deserty outdoors and were greeted by the cutest (and likely the first) koalas I had ever seen.

While the majority of the koalas slept in the most seemingly uncomfortable positions, one was hungry and did not care who he disturbed in the process. He shook branches, moved up, down and around the tree and yanked off leaves. We loved him.

We saw wallabies, strange birds and kangaroos (they were quite boring). We saw a ginormous crocodile and I touched a praying mantis. 

We happened upon a sort of carved-out-of-a-rock balcony that overlooked the crock tank right at the time birds in the same enclosure got to feed. So, when presented with the opportunity, I gladly took hold of the feeding contraption and attracted the birds.

They were so colorful! Bright, bright green and orange and blue. 

They flew right over, landed on me and the contraption and threw their beaks into the porridge bowls with such force that I ended up wearing bird porridge on my jacket, my scarf and in my hair for the rest of the day. LI-trally, I picked porridge out of my hair when we got back to our hotel late that afternoon.

The place was pretty small – there were not a ton of attractions – but we had fun. And, they did have something that made our entire trip worth the eight-hour flight on a cheapo carrier with screaming kids and no customer service – they had an area where we could indeed pet a koala.

For an extra $25 (kids, of course, had free admission), Nic and I could enter the sacred koala club and get some up close and personal time with the furry creatures. 

This is Nicola, waiting impatiently for her turn:

This is Bob:

This was Nic’s reaction when she actually got to touch a koala for the first time:

Koala fur is very thick and coarse. We were instructed to use the back of our fingers to stroke the koala’s back in a downward motion so that we did not scratch or harm the animal.

This is a picture of us kissing a sleeping koala:

This concludes my tales of the Sydney adventures. The trip was fun but I was ready to go home. I have many fond memories of Sydney but that's all I need. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

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