Friday 13 December 2013

Places to see koalas and kangaroos around Melbourne

One of the reasons why I came to Australia was to see the kangaroos and koalas. They are one of my favourite animals (I also love hippos), so a trip to Oz wouldn't be complete without spotting a skippy, or a sleepy, gumtree eating cute bear.
I imagined I would go to the zoo, or make a one day trip to the Philip Island outside of Melbourne, where you can see koalas in the conservation centre.

My friend, I stayed with, had a different idea however. She was determined to show me less touristy spots and therefore took me to two places, where I had a great pleasure of seeing those animals in the wild.


We got up on an overcast Sunday, thinking what we should do with the day. It was cold-ish and I wasn't too keen on going to the beach. So we went on a search for kangaroos.
We drove to Woodlands Historic Park. This turned out to be a double score: the park is not only full of wild kangaroos, but is also a special place to the Aboriginal people, who are owners of that piece of land.

The entry part of the park is the Aboriginal cemetery, where till this day the native Australians bury their relatives.
The graves are spread among trees. Some don't have names, but quite a lot not only have written information about the dead (who they were, who was their family, what they liked when they were alive), but also are  surrounded by items related to the things they enjoyed doing. So, there would be a football, a pot with a plant, a bottle of whiskey, pink ribbons and hair clips.
I found myself wandering among the graves and thinking of the people buried in the ground there. It was so easy to imagine what kind of people they were.

One of the graves in the Historic Park

Most of the park is kept in its wild state and it is very similar to the landscape seen by the European settlers in 1840s.

Old trees, like this one, have a great religious significance to the Aboriginal people 

But, back to the kangaroos. They are not easy to spot. Their grey fur melts with the surroundings, making them almost invisible.
There are lots of them in the park, but you really need to pay attention to the surroundings.

The reason why I like them so much is the way they observe people. They tend to stop, stand straight and watch you - it seems like they think: 'who is it? why are they here?'

They usually escape when you try to come closer, but be careful they are strong animals and can attack people when they feel threatened.

A family of kangaroos in the Historic Park 

When it's hot kangaroos like to rest in the grass, under the shade of trees 


As much as kangaroos are considered pests and there are quite a lot of them running around, koalas are not as common and are harder to spot.
Their grey fur is almost the same colour as the gumtree they eat. They sit high on the trees and don't move much and are pretty quiet.
They are also very picky when it comes to food. Out of over 700 gumtrees they eat only around 30 of them, so you can only see them in certain areas.
One of them is the bushland between Lorne and Apollo Bay, which are both located on the Great Ocean Road.
Drive up the Grey River Road and look at the top of the trees.

I was very lucky as one of the small koalas for an unknown reason climbed down a tree. I was literally a meter from it. It was an amazing experience.

Isn't it the cutest ever?

What was the most exciting sighting of a wild animal that you have experienced?
Don't be shy! Leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. That is so ironic that you mentioned the Aborigines because I commented back to you about that in the comment you left on my post, Jo! :) How amazing that you got to see the kangaroos and koalas...that rocks! I've had lifelong love of wolves. I was able to first see a wild one ahead of us on the trail in Yellowstone National Park. I then was able to pet one in the Wolf habitat in West Yellowstone! :)