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March 16th 2009
Published: May 7th 2009
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Doesn't this scenery just grow on you?
Monday we headed to Rockhampton. We took some time in the morning to check out the town of Hervey Bay before heading out, and afterwards we waited at the bus stop for the Greyhound. This trip was about 6 hours, and got us into town after dark. With autumn in full swing by March 1st, it was starting to get darker earlier and earlier. Luckily when we arrived in town, the hostel was kind enough to pick us all up. Keith had taken the same bus as we did to arrive in Rockhampton and since all the supermarkets had already closed up for the night, we (Mike from Ottawa as well) all headed out for some KFC. Nothing like bonding over dinner.

The next day it was suggested that while in Rockhampton, we should check out a Crocodile Farm. This is a farm that breeds crocodiles for the meat, their skins and keeps some in captivity for tourists to visit. Supposedly it’s illegal to kill crocodiles in the wild, so we’re assuming that special licenses need to be obtained to run a farm like this. The tours however emphasized educating people about crocodiles, and people who worked there really seemed
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Rockhampton here we come.
to care about the animals, which was nice to see.

First we learned about some history regarding the big animals. Don’t ask me to repeat any of it though. It’s been a while since I sat through a class. Lol We saw some of the products that have been made from crocodile skin, and it’s definitely durable stuff. We then took a tour around to the crocodile pens, and watched some of the feeding. It’s amazing how close the keeper was getting to them, basically chucking food at them. I’m surprised none of the crocodiles have taken a chunk out of him yet!

We learned about some of the history of the crocodiles at their farm. We heard stories about how one male crocodile drowned another male crocodile, as crocodiles are very territorial creatures. Crocodiles can hold their breath under water for hours supposedly, and this was a real shocker to hear. Another was how one crocodile had had half his jaw ripped off by another male crocodile, and was able to stay alive by hiding under water and basically shutting down his body to slow the blood flow and let things repair themselves. It’s no wonder that
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Great sunset, even with the factory in the way.
crocodiles have survived for so many millions of years! Crocodiles are truly amazing creatures and our respect for them has definitely grown since being in Australia.

Wednesday we went for a long walk to find the Botanic Gardens and the Rockhampton Zoo. Both were free, so we crossed the town on foot in search for them. After about an hour and a half, we found the two of them! And just in time for lunch. One thing about homemade style burgers in Australia, slices of beet root is a regular ingredient. Not something Hillary or I plan on getting used to around here. Lol

The Botanic Gardens were great. We got a guided tour which lasted about an hour and a half, and learned plenty about plants. Mark (our tour guide) showed us many of the native plants in the park, and what kind of vegetation they brought from other countries. Things like the Japanese garden had to be adapted with certain Australian plants that could survive the warmer climate of Rockhampton. We also learned about ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and the type of services that are held at the gardens on Anzac day (April
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Welcome to the jungle! We've got fun and games! lol
25th) for the troops. Some plants were growing some fruit, and he taught us a handy little bit of information for survival: if you see a bird eating a fruit, it’s safe for humans to eat as well. Handy if you are ever stranded on a deserted island!

After our tour, we checked out the zoo. Lots of the animals were the regular fare seen at most Australian zoos: koalas, dingoes, wombats, emus and plenty of other birds. We did however see a spectacle of nature during our time in the koala area, two koalas mating! Took us quite by surprise. We saw two koalas climbing up a tree, and then all of a sudden start going at it! Lasted about two minutes, and then they parted ways. Must have been a casual encounter. Lol

With an entire day of walking behind us, we weren’t too excited about the hour and a half walk back to the hostel, so we took the bus. Turned out for the better, since we were able to see much of the town that we hadn’t seen yet! With the two of us safely back at the hostel, we spent the rest of
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Ready to come out for lunch time!
the day napping and eating before having a good long night’s sleep.

Thursday was our catch up day. Blogs and laundry. Whenever laundry needs to be done, it’s a few hours experience between the actual washing, waiting for a machine, and this time we even gave drying outside a try. Unfortunately for us, it decided to rain. Lol Another little exercise we tried out was getting rid of ants in your room. Silly us had forgotten a dirty dish underneath the bed, and it seems the ants had no problem finding it. It was a real pain getting them out, and keeping them out, but it definitely taught us a lesson about keeping our dishes clean, and keeping food out of our room.

Our last day in Rockhampton was Friday, but the bus wasn’t until that night. So we just spent the day watching movies like Demolition Man and The Hunting Party with other travelers. The bus we planned on taking was an overnight Greyhound, Rockhampton to Airlie Beach. It would leave at midnight, and arrive in Airlie around 6am. Another 6 hour ride, but on the plus side, we could skip one day’s worth of accommodations for
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That guy's getting a little close.
two people while in theory still getting a decent amount of sleep. On the negative side, you travel at night and miss seeing any scenery while driving, and that theory of sleeping doesn’t always work out. In the end, we made to Airlie Beach with a bit of sleep behind us, and a lot of time to kill before we could check into the hostel at 1pm. Lol

Kevin (and Hillary)

Additional photos below
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Action feeding shot!
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This guy lost half his jaw in a fight. In the wild, the poor guy wouldn't have survived.
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As Keith said "I wonder how much his insurance is?"
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Holding a baby croc. Still a little dangerous, so the tape was needed. lol
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Hillary and her turn with her cute baby croc.
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Time to leave the farm.

Our little hostel in Rockhampton.

Think they can get any closer together?

Great colours!

Hillary and the local hostel pup. When she sees a dog, she's just got to pet it. lol

A fountain on our long walk to the Botanic Gardens and free Rockhampton Zoo.
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It's finally within reach!
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Mail box

A little small, wouldn't you say?
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Botanic Gardens

A banyan fig tree. As it grows, it sends down roots to support the branches.
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An ANZAC memorial (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps).

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