Noosa and Australia Zoo

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September 27th 2009
Published: September 27th 2009
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Our next stop up the coast was Noosa. It is about halfway between Brisbane and Hervey Bay and so a convenient stopping point but our main reason for being here was to visit Australia Zoo. Australia Zoo was the home of the late and great Steve Irwin and is now run by his wife. It is famed for its spectacular croc shows.... Crikey!

On arrival into Noosa we hit the beach, but soon left as it was pretty windy (Joe hates sand, especially when it is blowing in his face) and also rammed with people. Apparently it is the start of another school holidays in Australia and Noosa is a popular destination for holidaymakers. We could see why as it is a very nice upmarket type destination and Sarah took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping. Laden with bags we arrived back in our hostel ready for our much anticipated trip to the zoo tomorrow.

Early in the morning we got on the free bus for the zoo. During our 1 hour transfer we were shown a video of the life of Steve Irwin detailing how he started off in animal conservation by "rescuing" endangered crocs from human inhabited areas (including some interesting and downright stupid capture techniques) and how the zoo started. This was absolutely amazing and really peaked our anticipation for visiting the zoo.

We were really looking forward to some of the shows including the interactive feeding of the elephants, hand-feeding kangaroos and of course the croc show. But first we took a bit of a wander round the zoo to see some of the animals. At one point we ventured into the repitle house and as you all probably know, Sarah has a pretty major fear of snakes so this was a big step - she went round and looked at all of the snakes and did not scream once. Joe took a fair amount of time reading all about each snake and when finished found Sarah outside in a cold sweat. He had to admit that she had been pretty brave though.

Feeding the elephants was awesome - holding out your hand with pieces of fruit on to have them gently taken by the trunk of a 4 tonne elephant was a brilliant experience, despite the large amount of elephant snot that was left on your hand afterwards.

We next went to the Koala enclosure to stroke a Koala. They are pretty soft with loads of thick fur and are so sleepy that it did not seem they even noticed that they were being touched let alone care.

Feeding the kangaroos was less good. The animals seemed incredibly bored by the whole thing and did not even bother coming over to see what goodies you had for them. You literally had to go over to them and put the food right under there noses before they almost grudgingly ate the food. I suppose it shows that they are well fed but it doesnt help when idiots pick up their kids for a ride on the kangaroo whilst it is eating!!!

They had several huge crocs on display each with a story of how it had been captured by Steve Irwin - most were truly amazing. The croc show was pretty good altough not the spectacle we were expecting. The keepers explained how deadly the crocs were in and around the water but dispelled the myth that they are dangerous on land. Their massive tail which is a majort asset in water helping them to swim at around 20km/hr is a bit of a burden on land maling them slow and laborious, the keepers getting really close to them and knowing they could easily get out of the way if the croc went for them.

Whilst the zoo was a good experience, it did not quite live up to our expectations. Steve Irwin was really keen on animal conservation and his thoughts were to make the animals as high profile as possible so that people would get to "love" them and therefore be as keen as him to save them, which was evident throughout the zoo. It is difficult to see where the line between getting people interested in animals and exploiting the animals is crossed but the zoo does seem to be heading that way. Whilst we enjoyed and took part in all of the interactive parts (tad hypocritical then!), it did leave you with the feeling that maybe the zoo is more for human entertainment, for instance, the tigers are so tame that the keepers were wondering around in the enclosure - kind of takes away from the fact that these are supposed to be fearsome wild animals that we should respect not cuddle. The zoo is a good day out, but a little too commercial for our liking.

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