The Kangaroo Sanctuary

One of the classic Australian activities to do is to visit a kangaroo sanctuary. The one here in Alice Springs is world famous, and that’s likely for two reasons. One is Roger, the infamously strong kangaroo, and the other is the BBC documentary about the sanctuary.

The Kangaroo Sanctuary offers sunset tours of the sanctuary, usually led by Brolga, the founder. You have to book in advance, and then you take a bus out to the sanctuary. On the bus there’s a video about the sanctuary, and it also goes over dos and don’ts.

Then when you arrive, Brolga greets you, and leads you on a tour of the sanctuary.

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This is Brolga. He rescues baby kangaroos who have been orphaned (usually because a car kills their mom). He created an kangaroo sanctuary to house the orphaned kangaroos to prevent them from being sent to a zoo.

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This little gal is about 3 months old. She still needs to be carried most of the time. The pillowcase creates a “pouch” for her, where she spends most of her days.

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The males are kept in a separate enclosure. Most of the females are aunts and sisters to the males, and he wants to prevent inbreeding.

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This guy is about two. Usually there is one alpha male who has multiple female kangaroos who he mates with. The alpha male stays with the females for about a year, constantly having to defend his “claim” to the females. After a year, he’s usually pretty beaten up, and another alpha takes over. The males (usually the young), eventually get chased off by the alpha, and they band together for protection. Dingoes are their primary adversary.

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This is Roger. He was alpha for about 10 years. His son, Monte, recently battled with Roger, and won.

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This is Monte.

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Brolga has been “mom” to these kangaroos, and when they are still young, he’s able to pick them up and carry them around.

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Outside of the male enclosure, the females can wander around. There will usually be a male who is allowed outside to mate.  In this case, she seems uninterested.

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The females don’t fight and live peacefully together.

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These two are apparently best buds. The one who is lying down is apparently slightly disabled (has trouble hopping), so the other kangaroo is often with her, just hanging out. Right now she’s up, alert and on duty b/c of all of the people (potential threats).

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Tasmania – Part 4, Maria Island

This may have been the highlight of the trip. Maria Island is a magical place – peaceful, beautiful, full of gentle creatures.

We took a ferry from Triabunna, which is about an hour drive from Richmond. We took the 1030 am Maria Island Ferry. It was a lovely 45 minute ride to Darlington, Maria Island.

When you first arrive, there’s a welcome center where you can learn about the rehabilitation of the Tasmanian devil population, as well as the life of the prisoners who were sent here in 1825. You’ll also read a little bit about the original land owners were the Puthikwilayti people, who lived here for more than 40,000 years! There’s more of the history here.

It was raining off and on when we arrived, so we spent some time exploring this old settlement. Once the weather cleared up a little, we headed out. We decided we would walk to Encampment Cove, which according to the map, was 3.75 hours away. Along the way are the Painted Cliffs, a sandstone formation with beautiful colors.

The rest of the walk had quite a diverse landscape, and was very enjoyable. It rained a little off and on, but it was a pleasant rain and it helped to keep us cool on the hike.

When we reached Encampment Cove, we sat down our belongings, and took in the setting. There were all kinds of kangaroos, and – the most amazing animal EVER – a wombat!

And then we set up the tent, and as we were getting the fire going, a rainbow came out over the water, with a kangaroo and a wombat in the foreground. It was the most picturesque Australian scene I have ever seen!

And the of course the sunset was great.

That night we saw two Tasmanian devils sprint through our campsite. We saw the flash of white on their fur, which helped us to know that they were the infamous tassie devils.

The next morning we lingered, enjoying the wonderful scenery before we headed back. We even saw an echidna on the way another first!)!

Once back at Darlington, we saw these cool Cape Barren geese, and then when we got on the boat, we saw dolphins! The perfect end to our Tasmania adventure.

Maria Island will always hold a special place in my heart.

Tasmania – Part 3, Sightseeing

After our awesome trek in the Tasman National Park, hiking the Three Capes Walk, we packed up our tent, and did a little sightseeing in the area for the next two days.

First we went to the Remarkable Cave, which is about half an hour away from Fortescue Bay, and about 10 minutes south of Port Arthur Historic Site. Depending on the tide, there are really good views of the caves.

Then, from the same parking lot, we heading to the Maingon Blowhole. There was actually quite a lot to see, so we played in the area for almost two hours. We continued past the blowhole, along Mount Brown’s Track, and around towards Crescent Bay. It was gorgeous weather and we had a lot of fun. The trail goes through interesting vegetation to a natural pavement of rocks, and eventually leads up Mount Brown. For time’s sake, we skipped it, but I am sure the views from the top are stunning!

Then, we headed to the World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site. We didn’t go in, but we did stop in the cafe for a light dinner. For those with more time, this is a place worth seeing, as it provides a detailed history of the penal colony that was first established in 1830.

 

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That night we slept in the car far into the woods along a logging road. The next morning, we headed north, and stopped at Tasman Arch. It was raining, so we didn’t explore too much. Then we continued north, back to the mainland.

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We had lunch at Dunalley Waterfront Cafe & Gallery, and then onto Richmond, which was about 40 minutes away. We stayed at a great little B&B called Richmond Barracks, and then explored the historic town. Richmond is famous for having the oldest bridge in Tasmania, a gorgeous stone structure, still in full use today.

After recuperating from our 3 day trek with some sightseeing, we’re off to Maria Island for more trekking and camping!