Bucket List item: check!

So when I started putting together an itinerary for this trip I asked Kathy if there was anything in particular she wanted to see or do or whatever.

She had only one request:

“I want to hold a Koala.”

Actually, it’s much easier said than done. In the Australian State of New South Wales, for example, it’s apparently illegal for random people to hold a Koala. And that, of course, is where Sydney is. You can get your picture taken with, near or perhaps petting, but not actually holding.

Queensland is apparently more lax in this regard, and while a “hold a Koala” item was on an original itinerary, it apparently got lost in a later refinement. Ooops.

The good news is that the last change made to the itinerary was to turn our first day in Australia into a free day without any scheduled activities, so as to rest and deal with any jet lag.

I then found The Rainforest Habitat wildlife sanctuary right the way into Port Douglas, the nearest (and I have to say, very beautiful) city. It was clear that this was a “good” animal part (ya never know) – the animals were very well taken care of, the grounds clean, and the facilities very comfortable.

And the Koalas quite content.

And available.

Kathy and Koala by LeoNot, on Flickr

That’s one item off the bucket list.

If you look at Kathy a little more closely, you’ll see that she’s wet:

Kathy and Koala

Don’t blame Glenn (the Koala).

It was pouring rain much of the morning. And hot. And humid. And at times windy (though that died down before we reached the animal park). We braved it anyway – it’s not like we’d have a chance to simply schedule for better weather.

After our morning at the Rainforest Habitat we went into Port Douglas proper, and did the touristy thing – leaving money in exchange for food and random other goods.

More photos have been added to LeosPictures.com.

Larry Moe and Curly?


  1. Oh, Kathy! bring me a Koala back- and a ‘roo, too. they’ll fit right in with the rest of the ‘zoo’ here. Looks like you’re having fun.

  2. Shirlee-Ann Henderson says:

    How great to see you made it safely and that Kathy got to hold a bear!
    As they took great pains to tell us during the presentation … a Koala is not a ‘bear’, but rather a marsupial. 🙂 Whatever – it was VERY cool.
    — Leo —

  3. What a great start to a fabulous trip! Kathy looks pretty content with that Koala.
    Now I have lots of questions:
    – is the Koala as soft and velvety as it looks?
    – Are Koalas considered mean, even dangerous?
    – What other animals did you see?
    I started to remark about the kingfisher trio when I realized they were probably kookaburras. And indeed the two are related. Well, the kookaburra is in the kingfisher family, the largest in the family.
    More, more. I want to see more!
    1) Yes. Their fur is quite thick, actually, and while not feather-soft, it is soft and cuddly.
    2) Not typically – though they do have teeth and you can see the length of their nails, so they can do damage when grumpy, but they’re generally fairly docile.
    3) Lots, though the Koalas were the highlight to be sure. LOTS of tropical birds, kanagaroos, wallabys, crocodiles, and more.
    And the Kookaburra trio (or some relatives) did do some “singing” while we were there. They’re often called the “Laughing Kookaburra” for a reason.

    — Leo —

  4. wow!!! mom you did!!! is there so hot?????????????????????????
    I could see you are so wet.. that is why!!!
    Mom!!! what did you eat??????
    How about hotel? and people there???
    So many questions from your first day trip!!!
    I love you deddy & mom!
    Yes, it’s hot, but also very humid. So with 80 degree temperatures and rain you feel like you’re in a sauna when you just walk out the door. But in the photo above Kathy’s wet simply because it was raining heavily that morning. Food has all been good – we’ve tried some local fish, pretty standard breakfasts (though they seem to under-cook their bacon here), and assorted snacks. Oh, and local beer. 🙂 The hotel is very nice, but not that busy. Apparently a lot of people know not to come during cyclone season. We have a beautiful little cabin with a view of the local forest and beach.
    — Leo —

  5. Whooo, Kathy!
    That picture with the koala.
    I’m a little jealous 😉

  6. Debbie Brumfield says:

    How perfectly delightful, holding a Koala bear! Please bring Glenn home to share. I am sure he would love to become part of the very well loved fur-family at your home! Debbie. Ditto! How dare you leave for that far away and NOT take your son! Had a “shrimp on the barbe” yet? Don
    Something tells me we wouldn’t get far with a Koala in our luggage. And Don, this was an “adults only” trip. Sorry. 🙂
    — Leo —

  7. I live in Adelaide, South Australia Leo, where the climate is much more temperate than in Queensland. We still have the heat but not the humidity.I hope that you and Kathy enjoy your stay in our great country. By the way, Koalas have a habit of peeing on people who hold them so it’s good to see that Kathy only got rained on!

  8. Hi Leo, welcome down under. I’m in South Australia, but im told from friends that a bridge climb recently (Sydney Harbor Bridge) is a lot of fun for the adventurous with spectacular views.
    Have fun!

  9. Ioanna Giannopoulou says:

    My dipest wishes for many happy returns of your wedding day and have many beautiful journeys.

  10. Bruce Meyers says:

    Hi Leo. Sorry I couldn’t make Coffee in Sydney this morning. Enjoy the rest of Oz. Will follow your blog and pics.
    Bruce Meyers

  11. Kathy and leo….wow…cute koala!! i want one to hold!! i am glad it was rain on your shirt and uhhh err not the other!
    Ha..looks like you are having fun!
    Can’t wait to see more…Sheila
    PS…all the furr critters seem good and the house was almost free of most furrballs last thursday!