The biggest tourist thing to do on the Sunshine Coast is Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. Usually, we're not too supportive of zoos (expecially some of the ones in Europe, recall the bear pits in Switzerland) but they've done a great job in conservation and none of the animals seemed 'caged in'. It's amazing how worshipped Steve Irwin is in Queensland. In Canada, we thought of him as a novelty act but he really has done great things for habitat preservation and awareness. His likeness is all over the zoo and his family still runs the show. Even his annoyingly cute little prodigy, Bindi, who now has her own recording album which they play on a loop in certain sections of the zoo.
We took the bus there with the Munich Boys and another german mate, Timo. We started off with the least exciting animals (otters and lizards) but quickly went for the elephant feeding. It seems everybody at the zoo lines up to pay to feed them. They're stuck in line forever and only get a few seconds with the elephants so we opted for lining the fence along where the handlers lead them down from their paddock. We got
Walking the Asian Elephants to the tourists lined up to hand-feed them
right up close for some great pictures. The handlers line them up one-by-one and they hold the tail of the one in front of them to form some sort of elephant train.
After that we checked out the wombats which instantly became our favourites for their laid back attitude and big rear ends. The bird exhibits were cool as you got to walk right inside a giant cage with a simulated rainforest ecosystem and you had to keep your eyes peeled for the dozens of different breeds. This was followed by the kangaroo park where you went right inside and had the ability to go up and pet the roos. You could do pretty much anything to these roos but they were trained to go to their Kangaroo only 'quiet area' once they got sick of humans playing with their tails. Right outside the kangaroo park there was a koala petting area, carefully guarded by keepers to prevent harassment of these sleeping beasts. We then took a walk through the SE Asia section to look at the tigers.
We had lunch (well, four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches nicked from the hostel because we're too cheap) then took
One of many viciously lethal snakes in Australia
in a few more exhibits while we waited for the Croc Show to begin. It was here where we discovered another one of our favourite animals, the cossawary, and emu-like big bird with a red fin on it's head and raptor feet. Apparently, you can find them in the wild in Far North Queensland so we hope to check them out one day. The Croc Show, which Steve used to do before the accident, was geared for kids but the crocodile feeding was still pretty cool. After the show we just had enough time to walk through the crocodile pens and a few remaining exhibits before it was time to catch the bus back. Of course, we made one more trip to the infamous wombats before leaving.
It was a solid day but we were very happy to have been there. By far it was the best zoo either one of us has ever been to.
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