I am not a fan of traditional zoos, for obvious reasons but I couldn’t travel to Australia and not pay homage to the man that made me fall in love with animals and who sparked a deep interest and care in me for all the beautiful creatures of this world. You know who I’m talking about… Steve Irwin.
So, on our way back down to Sydney we decided to stop at the Australian zoo. I pre-booked our tickets and also ordered a personal encounter with an animal that I’ve never seen in the wild and that was incredibly Australian: a wombat.
I honestly was super surprised with all conservation efforts of the zoo, but further and more importantly the well being of the animals. Of course, you can never tell what happens behind closed door, but from what both A and I could tell, all keepers and volunteers were incredibly happy and proud to be part of the zoo and it showed in their work. Everyone was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable and helpful.
A and I showed up a bit early to our encounter but we were immediately met by a photographer who instructed us on our encounter. She told us what to be aware of and how to never stand in front of a wombat. They can run 40km/h over short distances… Usain Bolt on the other hand runs 38km/h over 100m. And wombats are small and heavy and unassuming… so there is hope for all of us!
Minibus, our one eyed grandma who was 22 years old and who’s mom was hit by a minibus therefore was named minibus and given to Steve Irwin personally to take care of, was a fierce musipial. She was so small when Steve took care of her and never knew a different life than that in captivity. She may also have not survived more than a few days out there. Minibus did allow us to take some photos with her but then was ready to walk US! Not the other way around. She was playful and happy as can be. She did her own thing and basically walked herself home, while her keeper told us everything about her.
I am an honest person and if I didn’t like something, I would tell you honestly! But I can honestly say, having spend a few hours at the Australian zoo my heart was full of love. Steve’s present is still part of the zoo and so is his family. There is lots of spaces dedicates to Steve’s fans and friends and most importantly family. Of course the Irwin’s are very savy when it comes to marketing, but honestly I didn’t mind overspending money because I could see that the money was going towards the upkeep and wellbeing of the animals but also the happiness of the people working there…
Once we were done with the walk, we saw a little show were A started tearing up like crazy and sneezing and coughing and in between wheezing he said, “I think I’m allergic to wombats”. The most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard… He is allergic to wombats. Who has two thumbs and is severely allergic to wombats? A!!!! It was hilarious! It’s not like you can keep them as pets and of course any old regular allergy test would not include wombats but maybe they should… especially if you live in Norway. So after I was done laughing tears at A’s expense (he is fine, BTW), we were mesmerized by the animal show. About 70% the keepers talked about conservation, what not to do, how to handle a snake bite, not to go into crocodile territory and so forth. The focus clearly wasn’t showing magic tricks with trained animals and when animals were included in the show, they were in for maybe less than a couple of minutes. Also, I should mention that the majority of animals were indeed from Australia and a few from Africa which were all accustomed to the tremendous heat! No north pole exhibitions there and that’s incredibly important!!
I will admit that A and I did take an opportunity and got a photo with a koala, which by far has been the most touristy thing A and I have done during our entire time in Australia. The animals get switched every few minutes and the keeper keeps a close eye on the animal making sure they’re not stressed out. I thought they were super fuzzy while A still couldn’t believe how smelly koalas are… so, be aware of that!
After a wonderful day at the zoo we headed down south halfway to Sydney. And although we had an incredibly big day, we had so much fun and joy and really enjoyed the zoo, also because the people working there ooze out happiness. Being at the Australian zoo refueled my animal spirits, like only Steve Irwin can! So, yes, I’d you get a chance and you love Steve, which who am I kidding, we all do, make the drive, it’s so worth it!!