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Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Australia Day

Australia Day At The Toronto Zoo.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  Jan 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Australian wildlife is being affected by wildfires.  The Toronto Zoo pledged to donate all the income from their Australia Day tours to help support the animal rescue efforts.  We took advantage and felt this was a great time to take an Australasia Pavilion behind the scenes tour.

A Matschie's Tree Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

  Our tour started with the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo.  These kangaroos spend the majority of their time up in the trees and are more agile moving through the branches than down on the ground.  The kangaroo pictured above is a female called Puzzle.

Victoria Crowned Pigeons At The Toronto Zoo.

    The next section of the pavilion features free flying birds.  One of our favourites is the Victoria Crowned Pigeons.  They have white tips on the feathers that stick up from the top of their head like a crown.  If you are lucky you might hear the drumming whooping sound they make when they wish to attract attention.

A Macleay's Spectre At The Toronto Zoo.

  Next we went through a Staff Only door for a behind the scenes visit.  The tour guide opened a wooden door and we found ourselves at the back of the Macleay's Spectre exhibit.  We half expected insects to come flying out to make their escape.  Nothing happened as the usual defense mechanism for this stick insect is to cling to a branch and gently sway in order to make us think it is a leaf.

Kangaroos Behind The Scenes At The Toronto Zoo.

  We travelled down a small hall and were taken into the kangaroo winter home.  There were a few holding areas where the kangaroos were all lying around just relaxing.  Once we arrived and lettuce was offered things picked up.


   The Toronto Zoo has a mob of Western Grey Kangaroos.  A mob is what you call a group of kangaroos.

A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.
 A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

    The kangaroos have big teeth for munching.  The kangaroo above on the left was a new mother about three months ago.  The baby joey will not leave the pouch for almost six more months.

Senior Kangaroos At The Toronto Zoo.

  One enclosure contained what the keepers called the old timers.  This is where the senior kangaroos were kept.  They often get annoyed by the constant hopping about of their more youthful family members.

A Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  There was a Bennett's Wallaby in with the older kangaroos.  Wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos so despite being thirteen years old this wallaby appeared very young.  Thirteen is an upper age for a wallaby but hanging around kangaroos keeps it looking youthful.

A Swamp Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  Another wallaby was in an enclosure by itself.  It was called a Swamp Wallaby.  The keepers ensured us that it was not alone and behind a piece of wood a bettong was sleeping waiting for dark.  A bettong is still a marsupial but more of a kangaroo rat than a kangaroo.

The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.
 The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.

  After leaving the kangaroo area we travelled through the pavilion to the Great Barrier Reef tank.  This tank is filled with various Australian fishes.  We went through another Staff Only door and up some steps to the top of the tank.


   We enjoyed feeding the fish in this tank.  Two of our favourites were the Clown Triggerfish and the Scribbled Angelfish who make a snapping sound when they bite down on the seaweed we dropped into the water.


    If you wish to identify the other fish in these videos above you can check out our Toronto Zoo page and scroll down to the Australasia Pavilion (Great Barrier Reef) section.  We enjoyed our tour and hope the money donated helps Australian wildlife. You can always go "down under" anytime if you visit the Toronto Zoo.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 276

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Cairns Tropical Zoo

A Crocodile Billboard At Cairns Tropical Zoo.

Location: Cairns, Australia
Address:  Captain Cook Highway, Palm Cove
Date:  May 2012
Website:  www.crocodileadventures.com

  Cairns Tropical Zoo closed in 2016.  The zoo was owned by the same family that owns the nearby Hartley's Crocodile Adventures so when the zoo closed a lot of the animals were transferred there.  We were lucky enough to have visited Cairns Tropical Zoo in 2012 and had some great experiences. 


  We visited the zoo over two days and started one morning by having "Breakfast With The Koalas".  We were served a full buffet breakfast and also had a very special visitor.  A koala came into the dining area on a small wagon with a tree attached.  We got to see the koala up close and he seemed just as interested in checking us out as we were in him.  Forget about breakfast, if you start your day off with a koala it is bound to be a great day.


  The same keeper that kept an eye on the koala during breakfast also had a supporting role in the crocodile feeding we watched later that day.  The keeper had told us over breakfast that he prefers working with crocs rather than koalas.  As for us, we will take cute and cuddly over cold and chompy any day.  The real star of this show was an almost 4 meter long saltwater crocodile that lunged out of the pool to take a bite at a chicken or anything else it could grab.

Freshwater Crocodiles At Cairns Tropical Zoo

  Australia has saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and so did the Cairns Tropical Zoo.  Freshwater crocodiles have a long thin snout and usually eat insects or fish.  There is no known human death caused by a freshwater crocodile attack.  The same cannot be said of their saltwater cousins.

A keeper Holds A koala while a wombat watches at Cairns Tropical Zoo.

  Two other animals that are cousins are koalas and wombats.  A keeper talk explained what these two marsupials have in common and how they differ.  Wombats are a lot more aggressive said the keeper as she showed us a big bandage on her leg.  Koalas don't mind being held.

Koala At Cairns Tropical Zoo

  It was at Cairns Tropical Zoo that we held our first koala.  The koala didn't seem to mind as far as we could tell.  Someone put the koala near our arms and it grabbed on.  We put one hand under its butt so it could sit comfortably.  Photo! Photo! Photo! And then the koala would be transferred to the next waiting arms.  Photo! Photo! Photo! And then back to a little tree for the koala.  All the time it had the same expression on its face while we had huge smiles.

A Big Green Frog On A Toilet Seat.

  Australia is known for having many deadly and unusual creatures.  The reptile house had an exhibit where a big green frog was siting on a toilet.  Remember in Cairns to lift both the lid and the seat, then tap the bowl for good measure before getting down to business.  You never know if a frog, spider or snake may have claimed your toilet as its new home while you were away.

Central Netted Dragon

    This central netted dragon is a reptile that is only found in Australia.  He was a cute little guy.

Cassowary Cairns Tropical Zoo

  This next bird is sometimes called the world's deadliest bird.  The cassowary is a large flightless bird that can stand over 6 feet tall..  With a hard casque on its head and three toed feet with sharp dagger-like claws it is not to be messed with.  If you saw one walking around you might feel like you were watching a dinosaur.

Barking Owl

  During a bird flight show we were introduced to a barking owl.  It has a call that sounds like a dog barking.  It also had bright yellow eyes that can look right into your soul.

A Kangaroo Up Close At Cairns Tropical Zoo.

  No Australian zoo would be complete without kangaroos.  Cairns Tropical Zoo had its share of kangaroos.  We found ourselves surrounded by a mob (a group of kangaroos) looking for snacks.  The kangaroo above was the biggest of the bunch and must have been the mob boss.  We enjoyed ourselves so much that we could have spent a few days at this zoo.  Oh wait, we did!

Map of Our World
Cairns Tropical Zoo

Post # 262

Friday, 20 July 2018

Brisbane & The Machine

Wintergarden Facade.

Location: Brisbane, Australia
Address:  Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Date: May 2012
Website:  www.brisbane.qld.gov.au

  We found ourselves walking around Brisbane in the evening while we were in Australia.  The first night we were looking for somewhere good to eat.  We headed south and ended up at the Queen Street Mall.  It is a pedestrian only road with many stores and restaurants.  It also has a pixel light display above one portion of the street.  We were looking for somewhere nice to sit and relax and enjoy a meal after a long day.

It's Hungry Jack's Mate.

  One restaurant caught our eye.  It had a familiar logo.  This is Hungry Jack's and is the Australian franchise of Burger King.  Another hamburger chain was already operating as Burger King when the American company decided to expand down under so a different name was chosen.  We didn't really feel like a Whopper so we continued our search.

Jo-Jo's Over The Rainbow.

  We turned around and there were people enjoying dinner on a balcony.  A little rainbow lead the way upstairs.  This is Jo-Jo's and we decided to check it out.

Number 60 At Jo-Jo's

  We were given a number card on a stand.  We were told to put it on our table and then we could go to the stations to choose what we wanted to eat.  You had to pay at the stations and then someone would bring your food to you back at your table.  This was the first time we encountered this service, but it was common in many places around Australia.  We enjoyed our dinner and then took a stroll around Brisbane.

Number 11 Balcony Seating At Jo-Jo's

  The next night we didn't try too hard to find a new place to eat.  It was back to Jo-Jo's.  This time we ended up on the balcony and held card number 11.  We now knew how the routine worked.  After dinner we went for a little walk again.

Queen Street Mall.

  We walked out of the restaurant and noticed a lot of people headed south along Albert Street. We decided to head south as well.  We were curious where everyone was going.  As we walked we noticed more and more people.  Soon we reached the gates of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.

In The Park After Dark.

We decided to follow the crowds into the park and see where they would lead us.  It was very dark in the gardens and we could barely see the strange trees around us.  Maybe they were doing fireworks in the river? 

Old Government House.

  We went deeper into the gardens.  Some people rushed past us.  On the edge of the garden was an old building.  This is Old Government House.  It was built in 1862 and was Queensland's first public building.  We went a little further and could hear music.  Then we were at the gates of the Riverstage.  This was the end of the line for us and we would wonder no more.  The tables selling merchandise told us that British act Florence & the Machine were playing a concert that night.  Mystery solved.  We do enjoy the band's music and would have loved to stay for a show, but we had another busy day planned tomorrow and no tickets.  Instead we fought our way back against the flow of Florence fans and past Jo-Jo's one last time


Map of Our World
Wintergarden
Hungry Jack's (Brisbane) , Jo-Jo's
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Old Government House

Post # 221

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Flinders Street Station

Meet Me Under The Clocks.

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Address:  Flinders Street
Date: May 2012
Website:  whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au

  On Flinders Street in Melbourne, Australia stands a beautiful gold, orange and green building.  This is the oldest and busiest railway station in all of Australia.  The current building was completed in 1910 but a train station has exisited on this spot since 1854.  We admired the building as we drove by on one of Melbourne's trolleys and while we waited for a tour bus in Federation Square.

All Aboard At Flinders Station.

  The station boasts the fourth longest railway platform in the world.  The photo above was taken from across the street at Federation Square and only shows a portion of the width of the platforms.  The station portion is enclosed but where the trains arrive is mostly open to the air.

Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone?

  One end is the main entrance and it has clocks just above the entrance which show the different train departing times.  We loved the colour of the facade and the copper dome roof which has turned green with age.

Golden Clock Tower.

  The opposite end has a large clock tower showing the actual time.  We never did make it into the station, but we found this to be the most beautiful building in all of Melbourne.  We drove rental cars and flew as we travelled around Australia, but maybe next time we should take the train.

Map of Our World
Flinders Street Station

Post # 208

Monday, 30 January 2017

Wild Roosters

Red Junglefowl.

Location: Daintree, Australia
Address: Mount Alexandra Lookout
Date: May 2012
Website: www.npsr.qld.gov.au

  Jan 28, 2017 is the start of Chinese New Year.  This year is the year of the rooster.  On our travels we have seen many different types of chickens, but this blog is about feral chickens.  Feral chickens are chickens that have left domesticated life behind and taken to the wild.

Another curve on The Road To Hana.
 The Maui Coastline.

  In Hawaii, the road to Hana is a winding right of passage for many tourists.  The road has many twists and turns as you make your way along the beautiful Maui coastline.  We encountered some Red Junglefowl at one of the first parking lots we stopped (picture at top of post).  The  roosters had beautiful feather combinations of red, yellow, orange, green and white.

The mouth of the Daintree.
 No Farm in Sight.

  While in Australia we took a tour that brought us into the Daintree rainforest.  The Daintree is Australia's largest tropical rainforest.  At Mount Alexandra Lookout we encountered another group of feral chickens.  An Australorp is a special Australian chicken that is usually black with a red beak and a red comb.  The comb is the part on top of the rooster's head.  Again these chickens were just roaming the parking lot without a farm in sight.

Wild Australorp.

  Instead of calling these wild or feral chickens we think there should be a new classification called Parking Lot Roosters.  While in the Daintree we noticed a small little fruit stand at the corner of the parking lot.  It appeared to be operating on the honour system as no one was around.  We wondered if it was the result of entrepeneurial chickens or if they were secretly the security guards.  Happy New Year roosters!

Cock-A-Doodle Do you want a piece of fruit?


Map of Our World
Mount Alexandra Lookout , Hana Highway

Post # 159

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Hanson Bay Galahs.

Location: Karatta, Australia
Address:  Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, South Coast Road
Date: May 2012
Website:  www.hansonbay.com.au

  One place we just had to visit while on Kangaroo Island was the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.  The sanctuary is home to a koala colony and other Australian wildlife.  When we first entered the sanctuary we spotted a short beaked echidna digging in the grass.  Once we had paid our admission fee we headed off towards Koala Walk.

And Now The Galah Event.

  As we entered the rows of eucalyptus trees we were greeted by a group of galahs.  Galahs are also known as rose breasted cockatoos.  They are a beautiful grey and pink with a lighter coloured forehead.  They look a bit like someone has pulled a pink turtleneck up over their nose.  Galahs can be found all across Australia and have become as common as pigeons are to other parts of the world.

Who you calling Pigeon?
Cheeky.

  Speaking of beautiful birds, we also spotted some crimson rosellas.  Crimson Rosellas are a type of parrot that is blue and red.  The ones found on Kangaroo Island are the largest in all of Australia.  Rosellas are usually found in mating pairs like the two we photographed below.

 A Pair Of Parrots.

  After admiring the birds we looked up into the trees.  Looking back at us was one of the resident koalas.

G'day Down There.

  The koalas at Hanson Bay are a wild group that is free to leave at any time.  Any one of them could have easily followed us to our car and out along the driveway to explore the rest of the island. 

Koala Tea Time.

  Koalas are a close relative of the wombat.  They are both marsupials and both have backwards facing pouches.  Wombat pouches face backwards to keep them from filling with dirt.  Koala pouches face that way since the babies eat a substance called pap from their mother's butt.  Anyway, wombats prefer digging in the ground while koalas spend most of their day sleeping high up in the eucalyptus trees.  Despite their pouches facing in opposite directions both koala babies and kangaroo babies are called joeys.

Like Kangarooz-z-z-z-z

    We had a great time spotting koalas up in the trees.  When our necks were sore it was time to look down again.  Much to our delight there was more to explore at ground level.

Maybe Tammar.

  Sitting underneath a branch is what we believe was a tammar wallaby.  These are the smallest of all the wallabies and are quite common on Kangaroo Island.

Hey little buddy do you think we will ever get off this island?  I don't know Skipper.

  Another macropod we spotted was the Kangaroo Island kangaroo.  It is similar to the western grey kangaroo but is more chocolate coloured and much stockier.  Macropod means large feet in Greek.  We also had to move our feet as the afternoon was almost over.  Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is on the western end of Kangaroo Island near Flinders Chase National Park and we had to drive all the way to Penneshaw at the eastern end.  Anybody need a ride?



Map of Our World
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Post # 119