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Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Quite possibly the best way to spend my birthday!

Ever since I first decided to come to Australia, I'd always wanted to go to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Why did I want to go to Currumbin? To hold a koala. Yes, there are plenty of places in Australia to hold koalas - Australia Zoo and the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary spring to mind - but I'd set my heart on Currumbin for reasons unknown.

Anyway, in the days and weeks leading up to my birthday I'd been hinting like no tomorrow that all I wanted to do was hold a koala. Peter, typically, remained tight-lipped as to the day's activities, which could've meant one of two things: either he hadn't planned anything, or I was going to hold a koala. Fun drinking game: take a shot every time I saw 'hold a koala'.

I'm pleased to report that I did, in fact, get to hold a koala. Words could not express my excitement. I also got to feed some kangaroos and an emu. I was ecstatic. If you're interested in having your own koala photo, there are a range of different packages you can buy - it's a bit like choosing your graduation photo package. The cheapest is $25 for a single print, I believe it's 8x10. I'd recommend getting there as early as possible to avoid queues, which won't be a problem if, like me, you wake up at 5am in anticipation. For the kangaroos, the food is $4 and can be bought from the cafe opposite their enclosure.

If kangaroos and koalas aren't your thing, then I just don't know what's wrong with you. But seriously, there are all sorts of Aussie animals here . . . but thankfully no spiders. One of my favourite animals? The bilbies which, according to wikipedia, are desert-dwelling marsupial omnivores. Whilst I'm not entirely sure what that means, I do know that they are cute: they've got massive ears, long tails, and are furry. What more could you want in an animal? I didn't manage to get any photos though as they're in a nocturnal enclosure. I did, however, manage to get plenty of photos of the lizards, snakes and crocs. Honestly I knew crocodiles were big but oh my. They are huge. It's no wonder they've been around since dinosaur times, they're built like tanks. I'm already planning my visit to Crocosaurus Cove.

It was hard to tell who was more excited that day: me or the groups of school kids there too. Just kidding, I was obviously the more excited. Did I mention that I held a koala?

It's not all fun and games though, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary also have a fantastic conservation programme going. They have a wildlife hospital that has, to date, released over 50,000 native animals back into the wild and they're also helping many animals that are on the verge of extinction; for example the Tasmanian Devil. In 1996, researchers discovered 'Devil Facial Tumour Disease', a type of cancer that causes open tumours on the face, often killing the animal within months. Since the discovery of the disease, it's spread to almost 60% of Tasmania and has killed approximately 80-90% of the Tasmanian Devils in this area. So how is Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary helping? They're helping to breed these little powerhouses so that, in the future, they can be released into DFTD-free areas in Tasmania, thus replenishing the population. If you'd like to be involved, you can donate to the wildlife hospital here!

All in all, a fantastic day. Quite possibly the best birthday I've had so far. I'm already brainstorming ideas for next year . . .