You might believe it or not, but the Cliché that Downunder is full of wildlife is actually true. And this even on the populated East Coast south of Sydney. Thanks to the successful Aussie travel marketing and a dozen Australian animal children books, that we borrowed from our friends in Bali, we were well prepared. On our way south from Sydney to Melbourne, we encountered many wild animals on the road, listened to them from our tent, fed and touched them or almost walked into them on some lost forest trails.
Joey in the Pouch! Kangaroos crossing along bicycle journey.
The Marsupials (animals carrying their young in a pouch) are of course especially fascinating (Kangaroo, Koala, Wombat, Possum, Wallabie). But Australia even has egg laying mammals: for example the baffling Platypus, that looks like a mixture of a duck, a beaver, an otter, that on top is venomous… We met Kangaroos typically in the late afternoons, before the sun sets, grasing on some juicy grass lawns and even hopping over the roads, that we cycled along. We also found out that the big eyed possum wakes up in the evening. And we found many huge burrows of the up to 35 kg heavy Wombat.
Already during my first visit 15 years ago with my sister to Downunder, the colours and songs of the incredible birdlife amazed me. Kings Parrot, Lorikeet, Galah, Cockatoo are just some of the many birds that wake you in the morning – more or less loud or harmonious – and some come close for some little snacks. We especially love the funny laughter of the Kookaburra.
Rainbow Lorikeet (parrot)
However, we have also encountered some of the Aussie animals in the wild, that you rather wish not to meet. The dangerous red bellied black snake for example or a few spiders, where I am never quite sure, whether there are harmless or not…
Dangerous Red bellied black Snake
And we had some encounters with normally not so dangerous animals, but pretty nasty nevertheless. The leeches, that hide under the damp eucalyptus leaves (even in dry Australian forests!!). Or the ticks, that fall from trees or hide in the bushes (not dangerous as long as they don’t carry any disease). The other blood sucking one, the mosquito, is not even worth mentioning any more, as in this part of Australia there is no Dengue:-)
Unsurprisingly, the wildlife is also leaving its traces in the children’s minds. Tayanika loves to pretend-play being any of these Aussie animals, especially the furry, cute looking ones of course. And Amaya would happily tell new friends, that Koalas smell of eucalyptus.