Tuesday, December 28, 2010

17 Nov 2010: Mammals in the Australian Reptile Park?

17 Nov 2010, Wed:

This was yet another special day. I was to revisit Port Stephens, with a tour group. During my visit to Port Stephens on 15 Nov 2010, I did not get to see any dolphin (except those on the postcards). I kept my fingers crossed that I would be rewarded with sightings of dolphins in the wild on 17 Nov 2010.

After a hearty and rejuvenating breakfast, I headed to Holiday Inn Darling Harbour to wait for the transfer coach. The Holiday Inn Darling Harbour has an interesting history. I learnt that the northern wing of the hotel was formerly a wool store. I like the heritage looking architecture of the hotel.

The transfer coach brought the tourists to a coach terminal where we each proceeded to our respective designated coaches. The tour provider for the tour was AAT Kings. It is said to be Australia's and New Zealand'sleading escorted holiday tour operator. My coach was to take me to two key places namely the Australian Reptile Park and Port Stephens.

I realised that the coach driver doubled as the tour guide. That must have taken the tour guide a lot of amazing skills set: to drive, to be learned in heritage and the locality, and to communicate effectively.

On the way to the Australian Reptile Park and Port Stephens, coach travelled north and crossed the Harbour Bridge. My goodness, I have crossed the Harbour Bridge on another mode of transport, i.e. coach.

When we reached th Australian Reptile Park, one of the rangers greeted us together with one of the stars of the morning, a small-size alligator. I asked ranger how he had managed to tame the alligator. I learnt that because the alligator had been nurtured since young by human beings, they were hence tamed and non-aggressive.

Although I was in a reptile park, I realised I was not a favourite fan of reptiles. I was more looking forward to reach Port Stephens. Delightfully, I was nicely distracted by the fact that mammals such as a the koala bears were being raised in the Australian Reptile Park. Wow, I suppose the koala bears were there not because they were reptiles but because they were a good representation of Australian wildlife. I spent quite a bit of time at the koala enclosure. The reward for me was that I had managed to capture on digital film a photograph of myself with a koala bear that was awake. That was a blessing and fortune since a koala bear sleeps an average of 20 hours per day. Technically, they may not be sleeping, they could be digesting their food.

The Australian Reptile Park also housed spiders just that I did not take much interest in the spiders.I must admit that I was figuring out how to while my time away at the Australian Reptile Park after I have seen the koala bears. To be fair, I was told that the Australian Reptile Park does some wonderful and extensive research work on both Australian reptiles and spiders. It was just that I needed someone who's madly in love with reptiles and spiders to inspire me to know how to appreciate these animals.

Back then, I was looking forward to Port Stephens and the dolphin-watching cruise. Reptiles? I shall be grateful that I get to know a bit more about reptiles.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) The weather was surprisingly and wonderfully good.
2) The drive drove safely even though he had to wear several hats. Good job!
3) The koala bear woke up when I touched it so I had a photo taken with an awake koala bear.
4) The Australian Reptile Park was thoughtful to include an enclosure that housed koala bears. While it is a reptile park, I must say that this place has one of the most interactive koala bears enclosure that I have seen in Sydney thus far.
5) The ranger at the koala bear enclosure was very kind to share with me the names of the koala bears. She seemed to be someone who takes pride in her work. Great for the koala bears and us tourists.

New things that I did:
1) I visited the Australian Reptile Park.
2) I stepped into the enclosures for spiders even though I admittedly did not have much interest for spiders that day.
3) I touched a koala bear for the first time in my life.

My learning points:
1) First thing first. It pays to start sightseeing by going for what one loves first. I like to see koala bears so the koala bear enclosure was one of my first stops even though I was in the Australian Reptile Park. As such, when I stepped out of the Australian Reptile Park, I have seen what was most important to me, i.e. the koala bears.

AAT (Australian Accomodated Tours) Kings
AAT Kings Tours Head Office
Level 7, 35 Grafton Street
Bondi Junction, NSW 2022
Tel: +61 (2) 9028 5182
Tel: 1300 AAT KINGS (1300 228 546)
Email: direct@aatkings.com.au

Australian Reptile Park
Pacific Highway
NSW 2250
Tel: +61 (2) 4340 1022 (International phone)
Tel: 02 4340 1022
Email: admin@reptilepark.com.au


pinkie said...

Oh I wouldn't expect to see Koala in a reptile park! Didn't know that the Holiday Inn at Darling Habour used to be a wool store too... thanks for sharing! :)

kyh said...

Oh I love koalas! They're just so so adorable! Although i heard they can be quite aggressive.. dont know how true is that.

oceanskies79 said...

pinkie: I didn't expect that either, until I read the itinerary.

kyh: A high five to a fellow koala bear lover. As for the aggressiveness, I would like to think that if we are caring to them, they respond, don't they?