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Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie
Wednesday 9th February 2011 – Port Macquarie, Australia
I awoke to the chorus of bird song outside my window this morning. It was a lovely sound and put a big smile on my face as the sun began to fill the room. It wasn’t a beautiful day by any means as there was a covering of cloud all about, but it was light enough to be heading out today.
My destination today was the Koala Hospital. I have seen leaflets about it and spoken to a few of the guests who have already been, and it sounds like a nice day out. I finished my breakfast in the hostel where people don’t seem to speak very much to one another, then set out. The birds were still singing, and I heard the same noise I heard yesterday coming from the distance. It sounds like monkeys, or some king of bird but I hadn’t a clue what. After asking the guy in the hostel, he said they were kookaburra. I had heard stories about these birds, and I know the song about the kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree. Now I know what one is, but I didn’t know what it looked like yet.
I arrived at the Koala hospital after some time walking, and was a little disappointed at how few there actually were on show. Those that were here were covered up by the foliage they sat in. I could see some, and one looked particularly old. The information informed me that this is in fact the oldest Koala in the world. He certainly looked old. Others sat on their branches sleeping, whilst half the enclosures were unoccupied by any animal.
In one of the larger enclosures, a young Koala was trying desperately to climb onto a branch from his platform, and was getting himself into all sorts of trouble. At one point he was hanging upside down with his legs in the air. I – as well as others who were standing beside me – thought he was going to fall, but he redeemed himself with some grace it has to be said. Some people in the small audience that had gathered decided it was deserving of a small round of applause.
The information around the hospital gave some indication of the work involved here, and what state some of the animals arrive here in. Some are so badly burnt from bush fires that they cannot be saved. Others die in captivity, but a proportion of Koalas get released back into the wild which was nice to know. Most are too traumatised though, and cannot survive in the wild on their own anymore, so this becomes their permanent home. I was shocked at how many arrive here having being attacked and mauled by family dogs. I felt sorry for the little things.
I had a look around Flynn’s House at some of the history, looking at old artefacts and reading some of the stories. It passed an hour or so. Later, I headed off along Flynn’s beach to watch some of the surfers. A school had turned up for their surfing lesson, and I was pleased to see this. At home we don’t have anything like this. I love the fact that kids are taught from an early age how to surf and how to be safe in the water. I also saw a pod of dolphins out in the ocean coming back from their day of work, back into Port Macquarie Harbour.
Lunch time was upon me, and I sampled one of the burgers in a nearby takeaway. It was big, and very messy. I hate the way they put beetroot in everything here. It looks horrible and tastes not much better in my opinion. I knew I had managed to get most of the burger over my face and down my front, but it was a nice burger aside from the beetroot. I headed back to the hostel for my hat as the sun had come out and was now burning my head.
In the afternoon I wandered along the beaches, stopping to watch the surfers and to do a bit of sun baking. It was nice to wade in the water to cool my feet down. There were a few more people out and about today, largely due to the change in weather I thought, and a lot of people were enjoying the beaches. It was quite late when I returned to the hostel, and I spent the evening talking to one of the guys in the hostel about fruit picking, and how hard it was. You can get paid around 18 dollars an hour though, so that can’t be too bad.
All that was left for me to do was to go to bed, so that’s what I did.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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