With a terrain so different from the states, one would only guess that the wildlife would be different as well. That is definitely the case! I couldn’t wait to see the kangaroos, crocodiles, and koalas. But upon hearing of a giant bird that could stomp small animals to death, I waited with anticipation to meet their Australian Cassowary. Here’s my encounter with the animals down under.
Cuddling a croc
My visit to Green Island was arranged as part of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival. The morning light lit the beach making it a spectacular back drop for the Quicksilver Green Island swim. The festival celebrates the adventure and competition of both local and international athletes and weekend warriors.
After the race which was made up of families, pro athletes and recreational swimmers, I headed over to the Crocodile Habitat on Green Island. A tribute and museum of both live and historic artifacts representing the crocodiles as well as the aborigine people of the country. It was here that I cuddled my first crocodile.
I was apprehensive and unsure if I really wanted to to hold that small reptile. I watched the other larger ones lie silent in their cages. The enormous teeth and sly like movements of each one made me nervous. Cassius was the largest of the habitat, sported just under six meters. It hid beneath the water. But to see it move at feeding time, it was like a tank coming ninety miles an hour out of the water to snatch up the pigs leg.
It was my time to hold the baby. The skin was cold and his mouth was taped closed. That made me feel a bit more comfortable in holding him steady. After a few minutes, I became relaxed and held onto to “Cuddles” for twenty minutes. It’s skin was smooth albeit the ridges along his back and this “tamed” croc has been held daily since his birth by humans. However, he is still a wild animal.
The Zoo Adventure
It was the Cairns Zoo that brought me face to face with my first encounter of kangaroos, koalas and the famed bird too. Their educated keepers toured us around the amazing collection of both local and exotic reptiles, birds, kangaroos, koalas, and even the cassowary.
The Koala Kiss
First stop was to hold a koala. Learning about this marsupial mammal was exciting. There normal patterns are to sleep most of the day. This is because their main source of food, the eucalyptus, is a highly toxic plant. This rubber tree is where you will find the koala and their young. Speaking of young, the koala I was able to cuddle was just a few months old and clung to my arm and shoulder like a newborn. It’s grey fur although mottled in color on their backside, was silky and soft just like the adults. I’d never been this close to such a sweet, innocent creature. I felt like a kid with the best stuffed animal.
I was graciously invited to Queensland by the family of Challenge Cairns and the Tourism Board of Queensland, Australia. All events and opinions are strictly my own and I was not compensated for my views. I am a healthy lifestyle advocate and author of Naked Fitness. This adventure was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I wanted to share to inspire others to dream, try and live your fullest life. You will be in better health when you leave than when you came to Australia.