After our morning of touring St Monica’s Cathedral and the Cairns Aquarium, we got in a bus and drove north along the coast before turning into the rainforest to visit Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. Basically, Hartley’s is a kind of naturalistic zoo, focusing on animals found in Queensland. It is named for their crocs, but they also gave us the chance for close encounters with koalas, kangaroos, raptors, and snakes.
We began by walking their nature trails. After seeing their birds of prey, Mrs Bear then had a close encounter with a Roo.
But the fun had only begun!! After attending a presentation on crocodile’s ability to attack its prey,
we were introduced, up close and personal to their koalas. I am not sure if I said this in an earlier post, so here goes again. Pandas and koalas are actually quite similar. They both subsist exclusively on one particular plant, bamboo and eucalyptus respectively, that actually have very little sustenance. As a result, they spend most of their day consuming vast quantities of vegetation, and then sleep almost all the hours they aren’t actually eating. Neither exert themselves very much because they can’t afford to use up the calories. So most of the koalas were sleeping during our late afternoon visit.
But a naturalist brought out one more lively marsupial (you get in big trouble here if you call them bears). It was cheesy but very cool to be able to pet one.
Our last activity was to board a boat and see crocs in their natural habitat. On our first encounter, the guide put some bait on a stick that she then used to beat the water. She then demonstrated how quickly and strongly a croc can attack its prey:
I didn’t really like this part of the show. Although eventually the croc was given the food, I thought it was tacky to make them pounce repeatedly and pull the food away, just for audience pleasure. I much preferred seeing them in their more natural state:
This experience was much more artificial than our visits to the rain forest and the reef. But I guess everyone who comes to Australia wants an up-close-and-personal encounter with Koalas and Roos. A half day was the right amount of time.