Today was our last full day in Australia and boy did we cram it full. In the morning we started out at the Koala Park, just down the street a ways from the Baileys' home. We once again saw an array of animals, although most of them were still sleeping, and a sheep shearing demonstration complete with a boomerang demo. After that we went to a koala talk where a lady told us all about koalas and then we got to pet them! EEK! Did you know that koala comes from the aboriginal word meaning 'no drink' because they rarely drink water because they get all of their hydration from the eucalyptus leaves? After the koala talk we got to go into the kangaroo feeding area where, you guessed it, we fed the kangaroos. Tyler bought us some food for them, which was basically rabbit food, as kangaroos are essentially giant rabbits.
While waiting for Shaunee to meet us there and accompany us to our next destination, we saw that the Koala Park had honeycomb Magnums, and of course we bought them. Shaunee met up with us, delivering one last lunch from Pie Face, and we drove to Gosford to go to the Reptile Park. It was great because we got to see many animals that we hadn't had much luck with at the other parks. We saw another even bigger crocodile that actually swam around for us, a normally nocturnal Tasmanian devil that was out and about, dingos and even dingo puppies, and a wombat that was running around to pat. They had a reptile show where a reptile specialist told us about all these different animals and let us pet them, gators and crocs included. We then walked through a snake house and a spider house and saw all the different Australian spiders. Did you know that Hollywood imported the Australian huntsman spider for the movie Arachnophobia? It's because they needed a spider that was big and scary, but not deadly, and the harmless but horrifying huntsman fit the bill. Tyler said he killed giant huntsmans all the time when he was here... Yikes.
After the Reptile Park we drove home and dropped Shaunee off before meeting up with a couple more of Tyler's friends from his mission. We had Chinese food with a missionary from his mission who had come back to marry an Australian from one of his wards, and then we met up with a convert who treated us to a Taiwanese dessert. While we were there, we ran into an Australian missionary couple from Tyler's mission that was back in Sydney again for another mission. It was so fun to meet everyone and the food was great to boot. Once home we had the daunting task of packing everything into our suitcases. We are bringing a lot back to the States, but I am confident we can make it work.
These cockatoos were fun to talk to (they'd say "hello" back to us like parrots), but Tyler showed me that if you get them excited, the crest on their head fans out and stands straight up. So crazy!
Koalas have white-spotted bums as a sort of marking on their body to help them blend in to the trees. (The koala talk lady said that tourists always ask if their bums got bleached.) It's a funny thought to think that grey and white is what helps them blend into the green trees, but it definitely works—they can be tough to spot.
I had been looking forward to seeing koalas the whole trip, and I was giddy to be able to actually come up and have a pat with Alinga here. It was such a fitting activity for our last day down under.
Tyler was right at home feeding kangaroos, plopping right down on the ground and scratching them while they ate.
I, on the other hand, didn't start out too well with the kangaroos grabbing my hands and licking them, but I got used to it.
There was a point in time when I had two kangaroos eating out of my hand at once, until one got impatient and started eating the paper bag I was holding… sheesh.
Shaunee thought that it was hilarious that a woman of this age and weight would wear tight black leggings as pants. She wanted to take a picture to show her siblings so they could mock her together, and had us pose for a photo as cover. Therefore, ignore this sort of weird photo of us and just look at that crazy outfit!
This lizard is the only reptile in the world to actively seek affection from humans, like a cat or dog. It is illegal to own one though, because they are hunted for their beautiful skin. It had such a funny long, pink tongue—we loved it!
This Taiwanese dessert was a little intimidating, but quite good. It was very sweet, but it was interestingly balanced out with the barley, taro jellies, and tapioca pearls.
Elder and Sister Smith (the missionary couple), Shawn Powrie (a member from a ward in one of Tyler's old areas), Annie Powrie (a sister missionary from Tyler's mission who came back to Sydney and married Shawn), Yuki Liu (a convert from China), and the coolest people you will ever meet.