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Published: June 19th 2013
Yes I know my snout is like a pig, but I am a Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat
And Yes, we are not as pretty as Common Wombats, but we are lovely though.
Today is my Dad's birthday and it was Father's Day yesterday, so as usual I have missed both, so Happy Birthday Dad and Happy Father's Day! They are touring somewhere in America at the moment so Dad will have to wait for his cards.
Well, today we had a plan and part of that plan was to include a short drive into Hahndorf, yet another beautiful part of the Adelaide Hills that would benefit from another tourist.
Of course as most other days, we did none of what we planned.
It's still cold here, except not as cold as it was yesterday morning, that was a blessing. I could not get any hot water out of the taps when I went for a shower this morning, so I gave up on that. I am guessing that the gas had run out or it was just so cold it was taking a long time to heat up.
By the time breakfast was on the go, the mist had cleared and the sun had come up so the day was actually starting to warm up a couple of degrees.
Now it was Monday morning, Andy could call the
fridge manufacturer and get the thermostat sorted for the fridge, this was all good except that we now have to wait in Hahndorf for a couple of days whilst we wait for Express Post from Caloundra. I can think of worst places to be held up!
So I booked in for another night or two at the Hahndorf resort, it sounds very nice, but the caravan park side of it needs a little bit of TLC, we have a grassy site on a hill side, all of the sites are nicely terraced so that we are camped on a level surface, I just hope it does not rain to hard otherwise we may be washed down to the bottom of the hill.
The amenities are at the bottom of the hill, I think this is good for a little bit of exercise, so I run down to the bottom of the hill and then I run back up again to our little campsite, I think about my little runs up and down Mount Ainslie whilst we were still living in Canberra. I do miss that.
Whilst we have some sunshine and clear skies we felt the best
thing to do was to head up to Mount Lofty and take advantage of the views across Adelaide. We take the tourist drive as opposed to the freeway and find ourselves again driving through some spectacular towns. I am liking this area very much!
At the summit, the sun is still shining and the views are stunning, plenty of people seem to have walked up to the top for exercise, I suddenly feel quite envious and have the desire to run all the way to the bottom, but that soon passes when Andy suggests a coffee in the cafe that is at the summit.
Inside we find plenty of people who look as if they have walked up (well they are in their sportswear, perhaps they just want to look the part?), indulging in coffee and cake and undoing all that good work. There was no cafe at the top of Mount Ainslie, but perhaps that was just as well!
As we were in the vicinity we decided to drive a short distance on to the Cleland Wildlife Park. Andy has wanted to come here for a while since he found out that there were two Golden
Wombats here. I would think that no matter where we were in Australia he may well have found a way to get here to indulge his love of wombats.
The day has now clouded in a little and is starting to feel a little cool, but we pay our $20 each and off we set with our little map and $3 bag of animal food in the hope of some good encounters.
We were not going to be disappointed, as soon as we were out of the door we spied a potoroo, it was very quick on it's feet, but then we see lots of potoroo's, no sooner than we see them I cast my eye over to Andy who is now indulging a group of potoroo's at his feet, he has given them a little bit of his animal food (he doesn't normally have to bribe animals).
A Potoroo looks like a cross between a Womble and a rat, but about twice the size of a Rat and a 12th of the size of a Womble. If you don't know about (Womble's) a 1970's British children's show, the characters created by Elisabeth Beresford, the Wombles lived
Love is in the air
'For these gorgeous Wombats, lets keep our fingers crosed
on Wimbledon Common and took it upon themselves to clean up the rubbish, look them up up the internet, there is a descriptive article on Wikipedia.
The Potoroo's were friendly little creatures and would let you hand feed them, I am more worried about stepping on them as they come out of nowhere.
Of course the first place that we really need to head to is the wombat enclosure, but that means wandering through the Kangaroo Island Kangaroo enclosure, where we are immediately delayed by these adorable animals.
Normally in the wilderness, close contact is not a good idea, but here the animals are used to human contact and they also hope for some food, we both had some food and held out our hands and how lovely was it to feel the warm of their furry chins eating out of the palm of our hands, you could feel their teeth brush over your skin and in their enthusiasm for the food some of them left you with a big present of kangaroo saliva!
I spy a small group of kangaroos that appear to be having a fight, it is nothing serious but a smaller kangaroo
Icy & Polar
Polar at the back, was trying to herd, Icy back in to their burrow for some afternoon Loving.!!
obviously concerned hops back to it's mother for a bit of reassurance.
We eventually tear ourselves away from the Kangaroo's and into the Wombat enclosure, the two Southern Hairy Nose Wombats are snug in their burrow and fast asleep, on the opposite side of the path we see Icy, one of the Golden Wombats that we have been waiting to see, now as she is on her own in the burrow, that can mean only one thing, Polar, the male Wombat must be outside.
A small sign tells us that it is mating season and Icy has some marks on her back where the mating tends to get a bit vigorous, but not to worry as they are healing nicely, although it looks like she has mange, but she hasn't.
Polar is outside wandering up and down the fence, we watch him for ages and then go back to watch Icy, but she has decided to leave the burrow and get some fresh air, which sends Polar into a bit of a frenzy. He pushes her back into the burrow but she soon spins around and runs out again after a bit of a tousle.
These two Wombats were found, starving and dehydrated in the outback
on separate occasions in outback South Australia, these two rare Golden Wombats would have certainly died, they were dehydrated, hungry and clearly unwell when found as joeys, we are lucky to be able to see these two magnificent wombats.
A couple of people turn up and we start talking (I know, that is really unusual for us!) we find out that they lived in Braidwood for a while and have hand reared wombats in the past. We have a good conversation about the behaviours of wombats and then we discuss road accidents and tell them about the kangaroo (I am not going into it again, but if you have not been reading the blog then you need to go back to the day we drove into Ivanhoe).
This guy asks if we checked the pouch, but we did not, they both explain what we should do in that circumstance, they seem very clued up and give us some good advise, if there is a joey in the pouch, if covered in hair it will probably be old enough to survive being hand fed they also tell us how to be kind and despatch an animal very quickly should
The creatures were so sweet.
I wonder if the animals say, Oh that lady was so sweet, she fed us.
it be required, both Andy and I cringe. The lady tells us that usually if you pick up a kangaroo then use a hessian sack or a pillow case as it will subdue the animal, you can then take it to a vet in the next town who may be in a position to hand it over to a carer, you apparently can also purchase the appropriate milk for baby wombats, joey's etc. so that it can be hand reared easily, so I guess we will need to keep a pillow case behind the drivers seat just in case, though I could use one of Andy's anyway.
A group of school kids come through, Andy and I hang back so that we don't get caught up in them whilst we wander around, we then head off to the next enclosure containing swamp wallabies, where we again indulge in feeding these beautiful animals, there are some Cape Barren Geese who are also very interested in being fed, along with the Mallee ducks! It is amazing how the wildlife reacts when you have food, the ducks quack as loud as the can and try to push the other animals away.
It is our lunchtime so we head indoors to grab something to eat and sit by a lovely real fire enclosed in a glass kind of brasserie. It was lovely to get indoors out of the cold for a while at least, but soon after lunch we needed to get moving again and tear ourselves away from the fire.
Amazingly it is not very busy here today, but one small crowd is heading down to the Koala enclosure which is where we are heading (my favourite). It is time for an up close and personal with Halle (as in Berry) the Koala.
A short queue, entertained by more potoroos and soon we are standing next to Halle, the keeper tells us she is about 7 years old and is also making sure she eats while she is pleasing the small crowd. If she doesn't eat she gets changed for another koala.
We stroke her fur, we discuss the differences between these koala's and the Queensland koala's, mainly being that they are more furry here as they need more protection from the cold winter weather. Halle starts to eat, it's obviously a tough life for a Koala in
We love these guys,
We let her go to the next people, and we wander off to look at the others before heading back up to the Tasmanian Devils, taking in the Dingo's on the way.
I know that I could go on for hours with little animal stories and the excitement of the day, but to feed a kangaroo or wallaby is very special, and sometimes the way they hold your hand with their dextrous little paws while you hold the food, maybe just to make sure you don't take it away, we could have done this for hours, which we probably did anyway.
The Red Kangaroo's and Western Greys were no exception to this, except the size of the male red kangaroo was a little bit daunting, but you soon realise they come up and are happy to take the food from you, and are so gentle in doing so. It feels so very strange to have an audience of kangaroo's eagerly awaiting you with a "Pick me, pick me!" look on their faces.
One of the kangaroo enclosure's contained Emu's, now this is the funny bit, one emu took a shine to Andy, and it
Caroline feeding the Kangaroo's, you would defiantly not do this with a wild Kangaroo
seems that everywhere Andy went she followed! I think it scared him a bit, I watched Andy creep around a large tree trunk and around she followed, there was a stand off for a short period of time and then she came round to him again.
You have to just appreciate how big an Emu is, it would be really difficult to get one on the BBQ, still the leg or breast would feed about 50 people at least, but I would never tell that to an Emu.
We headed toward the gate and eventually she realised that her unrequited love was not to be and we headed toward the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby enclosure, where we only saw one! These we hope to see more of in the Flinders Ranges, we have been told where to find them.
I think we may have seen more if we had the time to sit and watch, they blend into their habitat well and are very skittish, but time was advancing and if we hung around then I think one of the rangers would have been chasing us out of the park.
Through the aviary and into the
Ocean to Outback building, where we find snakes, plenty of them. I always find it fascinating looking at snakes, there are so many different species here and each one of them is scary (except for the pythons).
Without trying big note Australia, we have 23 of the top 25 Most venomous snakes in the world and here at Cleland, it probably had 9 of the Top 10 which was good to see and they all looked in beautiful condition.
We see some other furry animals such as Bilby's, Pygmy Possums, all of which would make great food for snakes! I am fascinated by the Pygmy Possum and I still wonder if it was actually a Pygmy Possum that I saw in the wilderness while we were camping at Mount Granya. I would have been lucky if it was but I have no photographic evidence so cannot prove either way, except that this little fella was sat on the top of a branch, looking rather bewildered and a little bit like a small version of a Gremlin (from the movie that is!)
Heading back to camp, the afternoon starts to give way to the evening, and our evening
is spent in Gypsy.
It won't be a late night tonight, we are both feeling tired after a good day of fresh air and exercise.
Sweet dreams! Yes, even though the snakes were one of the last things we saw before we left the park!
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