I could not believe this was about to happen… Someone pinch me, I must have been dreaming. I, Alexis Croker, was mentally preparing myself for what was coming my way in approximately 120 seconds. A real-life, extremely soft and cuddly koala bear was heading in my direction (with the help of the animal sanctuary ranger, of course) to be placed in my arms. I could have cried… I would have cried, if it were not for all the small children and their elders surrounding me.
The moment Ashley and I landed in Australia, the only thing on my animal-loving mind were (no , not the 30 or more different kinds of deadly species housed by the huge country) the koalas and the kangaroos. Both of which I had the blessing of meeting this day. As Cassie, Ashley, and I entered the park we eagerly made our way down to the koala habitat where we listened to the park ranger explain to us numerous facts about my beloved koalas: koala bears are herbivores whom live primarily off of the eucalyptus (gum) leaves from the tall tress they live in, they are in fact not bears at all but are marsupials (meaning babies develop in the safety of a pouch), and koalas brains are only the size of two pinky nails combined.
After spending as much time with my new friend, Kodak the Koala, as I could, it was time to move on and meet Wanda, one of the sanctuary’s very own Wombats. Going into the wildlife preserve I had very little knowledge about these giant hamsters. But, leaving the park I felt I was an expert. Wombats are also marsupials who can run to 25mph, use their claws to dig underground borrows in which they live, and are nocturnal (which explains why Wanda was so sleepy when we met that day).
Next on our exploration of the Billabong Wildlife Sanctuary was the pack of kangaroos sun-bathing by the edge of the pond, in the very center of the park. We made our way over to the kangaroos and fed them grain while we kindly used them as our own models for a photo-shoot. Holding hands with a baby kangaroo has officially been crossed off my bucket list!
Billabong Wildlife Sanctuary, just south of Townsville, Queensland, is home to over 50 Australian native species including: crocodiles, emus, parrots, wombats, koalas, kangaroos, and more.