To my fellow Spartans, family, and friends.
Sorry for the delay in getting this out there, but we went off the grid for the past two days (no wifi). This excerpt deals with Monday, July 10th:
Today we ventured off to Fraser Island to explore some of the coast and get a taste of some of the geographical diversity Australia has to offer. The day began nice and early with a departure time of 7:45 am followed by a 4 hour bus ride and 2 hour ferry ride. However, we made quite an impressive pit stop at the world famous Australian Zoo, home of THE crocodile hunter STEVE IRWIN himself! Our zoo excursion lasted about three hours, but we learned and saw so much despite wishing we could have stayed there even longer. The first hour was a guided walkabout tour where we gained some great knowledge and insights on how the zoo functions. The Steve Irwin zoo was started in 1970 by his parents. The zoo prides itself on the big and natural enclosures it provides to all its wildlife. They also make sure each animal is given the proper interactivity to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
We were also lucky enough to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most famous wildlife. We got to “feed” (basically pet and played with) kangaroos in the Roo Heaven portion of the zoo as well as take a stroll through the koala walk.
Another impressive feat of this zoo was Harriet the giant tortoise. Although she passed away in 2006, she was 176 years old. That means she was born in 1830! She was brought over from the Galápagos Islands by Charles Darwin himself.
We also learned about the saltwater crocodiles in captivity and the research that is currently being done on them. These amazing creatures can stay under water for 7 hours and have the homing ability to return hundreds of kilometers back home (territorial instinct). They are able to go months without eating by conserving their energy!!
*The crocodile eating Maddy is not real*
Australia has the utmost respect for its environment and wildlife. Having been to many zoos all around the states I noticed a completely different behavior from these animals. All the animals here were active and engaging with the visitors. For example every zoo I have been to the Tigers seem to be sedated and immobile, however here they flourished and were very active. Photo credits to Theresa Duffy.
After the zoo we boarded back on the bus (most of us sleeping away the 3 hour ride) and hopped on a ferry in order to get to Fraser Island. We were blown away by the beauty of the landscape and couldn’t wait for our following day of exploration!