"" Writer's Wanderings: Kangaroos and Emus and Koalas, Oh My!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Kangaroos and Emus and Koalas, Oh My!

Anticipation. It can be delightful. Or it can be a bit ominous--I write this anticipating a huge snowstorm about to bury us again. In the case of looking forward to our Australian trip though, anticipation makes the heart leap and want to race. It is an exciting country with natural beauty and intrigue and some of the friendliest folks you'll ever meet.

On several trips to the land downunder, we've had encounters with kangaroos, emus, and koalas. The first time was at a wildlife park where you could buy a bag of food and feed the kangaroos and emus. It was during the off-season and I think the animals were hungry for attention. They eagerly made their way to us. One of the kangaroos even put arms around me trying to get my attention. I learned later, that out in the wild, he/she could have knocked me dead with those powerful legs. Glad I didn't do anything to rile anybody.

While we saw koalas in the animal parks and zoos, we also discovered one in the wild thanks to my ever observant son. We were walking a trail and he noticed droppings on the path. He looked up to see a koala snoozing in the branches of the tree just above our heads. Koalas in the wild are not the nicely groomed furry bears you see in the zoos. Let's just leave it at that.
During another trip, we rented a car for the few days we were in the Cairns area. We had never been to Cooktown just north of Cairns and wanted to see it. Now one of the things the car rental places stress down there is that you cannot drive the rental cars on unpaved roads. We stopped at a visitor information center and asked if the road to Cooktown was paved.
"Gertie!" yelled the woman at the desk to another in the back room. "Is the road to Cooktown bituminous?"

"Oh yes, deary, I believe it is. Bituminous all the way."

We thanked them and left. Not long up the highway, construction signs appeared. Traffic was diverted to a parallel road that looked like a temporary graveled dirt bypass. The "bypass" led us north another 300 km (about 180 miles) all the way into Cooktown. The car was covered in red dust by the time we got there. And then it rained.

There was no choice but to go back the way we came. After exploring Cooktown, we gassed up, bought water, and prepared ourselves to face the dangers of the unknown. Thankfully, by the time we were on our way, the rain stopped and the sun was out again. But the most amazing thing happened. Along the way back to Cairns we saw dozens upon dozens of kangaroos out along the side of the road. Now to an Aussie, that's as exciting as us seeing a deer around our homes is to us but to the tourist, it was thrilling.

When we arrived back in Cairns, the car was totally red from the dust and mud. We were so embarrassed for having taken it where we shouldn't have, we found a car wash and cleaned it before we returned it.

Bituminous has a whole new meaning now.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...