TravelTuesday on RebeccaSaw.com.
Hello! I’m back again with my Travel Tuesday article. This week is all about KOALAs, as I reminisces my Victoria, Australia trip, made possible with many thanks to Tourism Australia & Tourism Victoria.
Just to recap, my 10 days trip covers the Melbourne’s South East Touring Triangle of Yarra Valley & The Dandenong Ranges, Philip Islands & the Mornington Peninsular as depicted by the map below.
By day 3 of my itinerary, we were on Philip Island; whose main attraction is undoubtedly the penguins parade (watch my videos of the cutest species of penguins HERE! ). Other than the penguins, the KOALAS are the other “must-see” +”must-visit” on any tourist’s itinerary. The Koala Conservation Center on Philp Island is a good place for your koala experience as it allowed many opportunities for you to see Koalas in their natural habitat.
When you first arrive, you will walk pass a visitors’ centre which features thorough information about the Koalas on its walls & LCD screens. There were also display boxes of the leaves that is the primary diet of these creatures.
This centre is also the souvenirs shop. I find it very educational to read a bit prior to your tour, as it is a self – walk & spot the koalas activity; and unless you have a personal guide like me, you are pretty much on your own.
That doesn’t take long, so after that you’ll basically step out into the woods. There is path that you walk around and if you are patient & really looked hard enough, you can pick out the little buggers way up in the trees.
Zooming in with my camera…
And there it is! A full sized koala for you!
A koala EATS ALL DAY. Koalas also sleep approximately 20 hours a day, so be prepared to spend your time watching them snoze. However they tend to be more active at feeding time in the afternoon so you may want to catch them then.
Most Zoo’s in Australia have Koalas in some type of enclosure, and they do as well here in a sense, but it is much more open and quiet. Walking ontop & around on the broadwalk within the enclosure, you’ll bump into some of the Marshalls on duty. Feel free to grill them on anything about Koalas, as they are knowledgeable and extremely willing to share their stories and answers any questions you may have.
We were lucky that day to have spotted one Koala sitting right on the edge of the enclosure! He was very very near us, and naturally we were tempted to reach out & stroke him.
But nope, touching the koalas are not allowed. Neither do they have a section here that allows the visitors to hold or hug any. A few friends of mine told me there are some places in Aussie that allows the visitors to hug the koalas & take pictures. Unfortunately, this is not the place!
Anyhow, we were told that koalas are extremely fragile animals and have very soft ribs. They have to be handled with extreme care, and any rough manhandling may result in us crushing their ribs.
I do not know how does the koalas obtained their reputation of being cuddly and cute, for they are not. Seriously!
We spent about a quick 1 hour here in the Koala Conservation Centre. The thing is; there is not that much more here. Still, it it a pleasant destination to go and have a walk around, for it is a serene and soothing place. Relax, and breathe in the cool crisp air like I did, and felt somewhat rejuvenated from the tranquillity and for being so close to nature.
We managed to catch glimpses of the wallabies as well.
Some facts & figures about Koalas:
Koalas have a slow metabolic rate due to their high-fiber, low nutrient diet (they only eat eucalyptus leaves). Because they store little or no fat, koalas must adopt strategies that conserve energy hence they sleep up to 16 hours per day & they are very inactive.
Koalas breed once a year. Mating normally occurs from September to March.
Gestation lasts 35 days, after which one koala is born.
The baby koala, “joey”, is blind, hairless, less than one inch long and weighs less than 1 gram.
It then crawls into its mothers pouch completely unaided, relying on its sense of smell, strong forelimbs and claws. Once inside the pouch, baby koala attaches itself to one of the two teats and stays there drinking milk for the next six months.
For more info on Koalas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koala
Prices & Bookings:
Adults (16yrs+) $10.60
Children (4-15yrs) $5.30
Australian Pensioner (ID req) $7.40
Family 2A+2C) $26.50
Online ticket bookings: http://tickets.penguins.org.au
Phone ticket bookings: 03 5951 2800
Opening Times: Open daily from 10am – 5pm and from 2pm on Christmas Day. Disabled parking, toilets and access throughout.