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Cuddle a koala

Sunday 15 March 2009
AustraliaWalkingBy Boat

Last night during the dinner with Clare, he mentioned that there was a boat going up the river to a place where they keep lots of koalas…

This morning I powered up my laptop and found the website of Mirimar Cruises.

The Mirimar has a daily cruise from Brisbane (just across the river from my hotel) to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Since I am in the land of the koala and kangaroo, I just had to get on board of course. The cruise takes about 1.5 hours to get from Brisbane to Lone Pine. Every now and then there is some information from the captain about the history, houses, nature or culture along the river. And that’s done with a great sense of Australian humor. It’s a hot day today and there are a lot of speedboats on the river.

After this very enjoyable cruise, we ended up at Lone Pine. Lone Pine was founded 1927 to save koalas. In that time the koala was hunted for its fur and as a result they were disappearing. The sanctuary started breeding koalas and has a lot of them today. And there is more to see then koalas; kangaroos, wombats, reptiles, dingos, birds and more.

The kangaroos have their own reserve. You can walk along them, touch them and feed them. Here’s an impression (by the way: the one in red is not a kangaroo…):

This sanctuary was founded to save the koala. So here you will find everything for the whole lifespan of a koala. It starts with the young ones:

Some background information: a koala sleeps about 18 hours per day. When they are not sleeping, they spend the time to eat leaves of the eucalyptus tree. You will hardly find a koala drinking. All the water they need is extracted from the eucalyptus leaves which contain 50% water. Oh and by the way: the koala is not a bear!

Here at Lone Pine, you can cuddle a koala. In Australia you are not allowed to touch koalas since it causes stress to them. However, since most of the koalas in Lone Pine have been in touch with humans as of the day they were born or rescued, you can cuddle a koala here. And the staff will make sure that each individual koala will only be in touch with humans for a limited amount of time per day or week (so we are told).

Then after all those years of hard work and labor, they end up in the elderly home. Here they can relax and enjoy the last years of their life, spending a whole of time doing what they do best: sleeping and eating.

Both on the boat and in the park, there was a group of students creating nice drawings of each other and interesting things in the park. Homework?

After visiting the sanctuary, it was time to get back to the boat for the trip back to Brisbane city. It was a lovely day out. Weather was very good (sunny and 30 degrees).

Here you can find all the pictures of today: 2009 Australia Brisbane Day 5

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