Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adventures in Oz: Port Douglas and The Road (Part 3 of 6)

Link to Part 1: Cairns
Link to Part 2: Great Barrier Reef

After the dive trip ended, we picked up a camper van and drove north to Port Douglas to visit the wildlife habitat. Good news/bad news: good news, it's like a larger version of the Cairns Wildlife Dome with more areas and things to see, and it's so open that the ceiling is just netting. Bad news: It rained all day. So that was a bummer because it made everything cold and wet and most of the birds were hiding.

But we saw a cassowary. They look like dinosaurs and don't care to be photographed because they have more important things to do like pace back and forth.

More frogmouths, still looking sleepy.

There was also a buffet lunch offered (good food, too) in an open air area with exotic birds scattered around.

Please Touch? Don't mind if we do!

I can't help but read this label as "panda anus."

And this...I'm not sure it belongs in the table of things that people can put their hands on.
Moving on!

In the wallaby/kangaroo section.

Our first buddy was a nailtail wallaby, so named because they have something very much like a fingernail growing out of the tip of their tail. It's kind of bizarre.

But they're awfully endearing.

In fact, the one with the scraped nose on the left followed us around for a little while.

Then we got to the wide open area with the much larger kangaroos.

And some interesting birds.

Observation: full-size kangaroos walk funny. They don't hop at a slow pace, they sort of totter around by shifting their weight between their spindly front legs and their tail.

I've looked at this sign a dozen times and I can see the differences pointed out, but if one came up to me I still wouldn't know which one it was.

Thoroughly soaked, we drove south to start the Road Trip to Sydney portion of our trip.

When it got to be about 8pm we started looking for a campground. It was about two hours until we found a rest stop with a public restroom (not exactly the facilities we were looking for, but it was fine). On the way to the bathroom, we saw some of these in the road:
The first one was on its back, apparently having fallen from a nearby tree (a couple others were squished with their legs in the air, so it wasn't the only giant beetle trying to climb that tree). Husband flipped it over and nudged it with a leaf to get it to move out of the road and it had the audacity to raise its two front legs and hiss at him! Ungrateful little jerk.

Shortly after that I found another one on its back in almost the same place, hanging on to a broken twig like its life depended on it. I guess it was still hoping that if it held on tight, it wouldn't fall out of the tree. Beetles are not known for their intellect.

The next morning we saw a flock of black birds eating breakfast from the ground. You'd think they were crows, but they were red tailed black cockatoos like the one that I made friends with in Cairns. There were a handful of sulfur-crested cockatoos, too! In the US they would be $3,000 pets. Here, they're about as common as crows and robins.

For breakfast we tried this bread product we found at a grocery store. I mean, who wouldn't want to eat a type of roll called "crusty tiger paws"?

And we hit the road again!

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