I grew up in the country, riding horses, bushwalking and swimming in creeks. My parents have lived in the same house for almost 40 years and are surrounded by a mix of farmland and bush. This scene is pretty typical of the area and it is a scene that always fills my heart with joy. As much as I love cities or walks along the beach, it is the countryside where I feel most at peace.
A visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland is highly recommended, for children and the young at heart it is a fabulous way to spend a day. As soon as you walk through the entry gate you will smile at the sight of koalas sitting among tree branches, munching away on eucalyptus leaves or having a nap. These beautiful creatures, like so many of our native flora and fauna are victims of progress, their natural environment destroyed by developers and their lives threatened by domestic animals and traffic. The wildlife sanctuary does a wonderful job of raising awareness of the plight of our native animals, educating children and caring for the sick and injured at their wildlife hospital.
There are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the animals. For a fee you can have your photo taken cuddling a koala or you can buy food for the lorikeets and kangaroos and feed them by hand. We didn’t do any of that, however we did venture into the kangaroo enclosure and took great pleasure in patting young kangaroos while they were dozing in the sunlight. The largest and oldest of the male kangaroos was taking a nap near the gate, at 8 years old he has fathered plenty of kangaroos, the second male is 4 years old and not quite as large although one of the volunteers told us that his nickname was Fatty.
My friends and I spent a day there recently and we loved every minute. When our legs grew weary and our stomachs hungry we hopped on the people mover train and enjoyed a ride through the park and selected a lunch venue. The sanctuary’s rainforest environment is filled with the sound of birds calling and at times, howling dingoes, the train passes by the enclosures of kangaroos, wallabies, water birds and the Tasmanian Devil. Cameras and phones in hand we took hundreds of photos of creatures we don’t often get to see as well as a few that we will never see in the wild because their numbers are low and they are on the endangered list. I regretted not taking a camera with better zoom than my iPhone, the digital zoom on an iPhone really isn’t great and many of my photos look more painterly than photographic.
8 yo Male Kangaroo with a volunteer
Young kangaroo enjoying the sun
Hairy nosed Wombat
Dingoes – where do they come from
Having a stretch
About the Tree Kangaroo
Cassowary – huge birds and quite dangerous with their sharp talons and beak
The other half of our coat of arms, the emu
Where to start?
Time for a swim
Water Monitor, these little fellows were everywhere
People can walk amongst these wonderful creatures in this environment but not recommended in their natural environment.
With all of the bushland surrounding the local shelter it isn’t unusual to see a variety of creatures other than dogs, cats, birds and guinea pigs. Most days you can see a few wallabies, plenty of ibis, bush turkeys and magpies however, on occasion you do get to see green tree snakes or a python. I’m not sure what sort of python is residing at the shelter, it is possibly a carpet python or a diamond python, whatever the type it certainly has a full belly as you can see from these photos.
It is moments like this when I wish I had my DSLR, the iphone digital zoom is really not great and there was no way on this earth that I was going to climb the tree to get a better view. If you think you know what sort of snake it is, please leave a comment and let me know.
Recently I spent a few days with my folks in the small country town of Beechwood, located inland on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. It is a town surrounded by rolling hills, forests and bush tracks, cows and horses are a common sight as are wandering dogs and 4WDs, as a child many of my friends came from families living on dairy farms or they had brothers and fathers working at timber mills, but that is no more. Beechwood has become popular with young families and ‘city folk’ desiring a tree change, they move out into the country where a sense of community still exists and real estate is much cheaper. Once upon a time I knew everyone and they knew me, but that too has changed.
My time in Beechwood was husband and black dog free, the year has been an exhausting one, mentally and physically and I needed a break somewhere quiet, familiar and without any pressure to do anything. It is the perfect place for me to have a break, I always sleep soundly and eat well, plus there is always something comforting about being at home with my parents. Wherever I look there is nature, clear and sparkling night skies, elegant and tall gum trees, laughing kookaburras and wallabies dining on new green grass, of a morning I stalk birds in the yard and in the afternoon I wander through the paddocks enjoying the warmth of the sun.
I didn’t stray far when it came to taking photos of this place that I love, that would have required more energy than I wished to expend and I was happy sticking close to home. The horses were curious when they saw me approach, once they realised that there were no carrots or treats in my hands they turned their back on me and pretended that I didn’t exist, one of them didn’t even both to lift his head from eating, obviously the grass was too sweet and delicious to pay attention to the camera toting human. Wallabies and Kangaroos show up when there is less light, they feed at dawn and dusk so I was thrilled to make it out of bed early enough one morning to catch them enjoying the fresh pick in the back paddock. Farmers and those who live in the country consider Wallabies and Kangaroos to be pests, they destroy fences, eat all the grass and create havoc on roads in low light, but I love seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural environment.
It was an enjoyable break in the country, I returned home feeling a little refreshed, it would have been wonderful to stay longer and experience total rejuvenation, maybe next time…
In need of a scratch
Sun setting over the farm
Wallaby or Kangaroo?
Wallabies at dawn
Too busy eating
I love the country
This butterfly seemed quite happy to pose for photos.
This took patience to capture
Who doesn’t love seeing butterflies
A spider web glowing in the afternoon sun
Old grave site on the exterior of the local cemetery.