Australia: rare animals, bush walkabout, exploring the outback

A bush walkabout in the Australian outback
After arriving safely from the ocean sailing from Fiji to Auckland, exploring the nearby volcanic islands and doing some sailboat racing in New Zealand, I headed to Melbourne, AUS.

Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia, has an amazing art scene and a great alternative crowd, a beautiful and rare nature, and is located close enough to Tasmania for an easy weekend reach-out. This time, I did not have the time to go to Hobart, but will be hoping to join the Sydney-Hobart race in December. However, I managed to do some outback exploration in far Southern Australia, and got a possibility to get closer to the amazing flora and fauna.

The Australian bush.
The wallabies and kangaroos are a regular sight throughout the whole country, and you will be able to spot them if you get to the outback and keep your eyes peeled. A lot of other interesting animals only come out at night, and are much more shy. The best way to meet them without disturbing the habitat is in a sanctuary. There, you will also be able to receive proper information about the animals, take close photos, and get acquainted with the endangered species without endangering them further. 

Kangaroos feeding on the grass

A feeding kangaroo, close up

The 'Roos are strong, fast, flexible, curious and will not hesitate to punch you in the nose

Close up, the 'roos do look a lot like other herbivores, almost like deer.
In Australia, the kangaroo is called just "roo", as the Aussies like to shorten down all words. A kangaroo baby is called "Joey". In fact, all marsupial babies are referred to as "joeys". I was lucky to see several!

Here is a wallaby with her baby looking out from the tummy pocket

A wallaby with her joey
Wallabies are just like tiny cure kangaroos, also very curious and sweet. Which you cannot say about the next one on the list: Tasmanian Devil! This one must have been in a fight and got its cheek ripped off, because the teeth are really showing all the way out. It definitely does look like a diabolical creature.

Tasmanian devils, expecting a snack
The Devils are amazing animals, unique and nearly extinct. The female gives birth once a year, but the tiny devils are only 0,2 grams heavy, naked, pink, and a centimeter or so in length. After being born, they crawl towards the pouch. It's a fierce competition. In every litter, there are 20 to 30 joeys, but only a maximum of 4 of them will survive because the mother only has 4 nipples. If you thought you had a tough childhood, think about the Tasmanian Devils. After this first race, the life will be a bit more comfortable, as the pouch will not open for about a hundred days - until the youngsters are more ready for the outside world.

As we are onto quirky animals, and also onto expecting snacks, here is a photo of an owl with its take-away meal. As it is daytime, the owl is (mostly) asleep. The breakfast is dry-ageing for another few hours.

This is what I look like when I got breakfast, but did not get the coffee yet.
Now we get to some more typically Australian animals. The koalas are just gorgeous, moving slowly and carefully, hugging trees along the way, posing for cameras.

A koala admiring its own fluffy butt.
A happy wombat munching on fresh grass. Rare sight during daytime.

In a sanctuary, it's possible to feed the roos and the wallabies from your hands. There is a special plant mix that they can eat without getting sick. Most of these are salvaged from bad environments and would not survive in the wild, making many of them very tame and hugable. 

Feeding a wallaby from hand

A young Kangaroo lady is enjoying a snack. This one is bottle-fed, and extremely tame.

Returning from the outback, just a short car ride inland, I took some time to explore Melbourne. The fauna here is also amazing, possums coming out at night in local parks and gardens, huge fruit bats, etc. Flowers were abloom practically everywhere, October being Spring seasons and all. Any time I opened the door and took a step outside, I was overwhelmed by the sweet fragrance from the trees, bushes, and flowerbeds. Incredible for such a cosmopolitan and urbanized place.

A five-million cosmopolitan city, located right between the ocean and the outback, packed with art and flowers. What could be better?

Urban animal life, Melbourne

The next post will be about the emu birds, enjoy!