Today we spent the day at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. In South African if you want to see African wildlife you take yourself off to a Game Reserve. This was more of a cross between a zoo and a game reserve. The animals are in enclosures but are relatively free but do not have to rely entirely on themselves to hunt for food. The director of this sanctuary is a South African and according to the volunteer staff that we met he made excellent changes to the place. He is extremely highly thought of.
On my wishlist was Tasmanian Devil and Duck-billed platypus – not easily found in the wild so good to be able to find them here! We are of course also interested in birds. We saw quite a few free and wild and also some in walk through aviaries. The staff – some permanent and some voluntary were very friendly ad helpful and clearly great animal lovers. We spent the best part of 5 hours at the sanctuary and thoroughly enjoyed everything we saw. It could be compared to The World of Birds in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Some parts of the park also reminded me of an Aquarium experience although the creatures we saw were mammals.
In South Africa we love going to ‘Eagle Encounters’ at Spier in Stellenbosch. Here we enjoyed what they call the ‘Spirits of the Sky and features Raptors and Parrots. The birds come out on cue fly around the arena and two men give an informative talk about these lovely creatures. The audience is warned not to stand up nor to try to touch the birds. We were entertained by a barking owl, black kite, several parrots and an wedge-tailed eagle also known as an eaglehawk.
We had a lovely time looking at the platypus and other night creatures but their enclosures were darkened at they are nocturnal and photography was impossilbe. So I decided to have my protrait taken on a carving instead!
At the Tasmanian Devil we met a South African who had recently imigrated to Ausralia. His sister was visiting him from Port Elizabeth. It was good to hear a South African accent – first since we arrived here and I thought Australia was full of South Africans!
Koalas are sleepy creatures and you usually find them sleeping in their gum trees. But today we got lucky and found some wakeful ones. We even watched them climb and jump from one tree to another. I have a video but don’t know how to post it.
These are just some of the creatures we enjoyed today – there were many more. We had lunch at one of the cafeterias and found the food and service very good. Before returning to Mecure Yarra Valley, we stopped at one of the bigger supermarket chains, Coles. Earl was hugely inpressed with the fridges and the way everything was laid out. A young mom noticed that we were a bit confused as to how things worked and she got her little boy to handed us a number at the cold meats counter and explained that it would be called when it was our turn. So of course we chatted for a while. She had two little boys with her and they were pushing miniature trolleys.
We stopped off at the Chocolatery on our way back and bought delicious ice cream for dessert. We only had five minutes to browse as it was closing time. Yum – it all looked so delicious.
Dinner was in again tonight – cold meats and salad followed by ice cream.