Lonely Planet is the travelers’ bible. Even though ours is a 2005 cheap rip-off version from Thailand, it has guided us rather successfully on our journey (Lowell has read it from cover to cover).
Between Lake Macquarie and Coff’s Bay (which is as far as we got before the sleepies got the best of Julie) there were several points of interest.
So let's get movin!
1. There’s a rock in Australia called Ayers Rock. This is the real deal:
Since it’s far far away, a replica was built on the east coast for cheesy tourists like Lowell and me to visit. It was a truck stop and a tad weird and styrofoam-like, but what the heck-- now we can say that we’ve been to an Ayers replica. And that obviously makes us so super awesome.
Oh, and they get creativity points for their bathroom door...
2. We have yet to see live, healthy and in-the-wild roos and koalas. But we’ve seen them as road kill, ill in captivity, and as meat. In Port Macquarie, there’s a koala hospital.
It’s totally a real hospital, but the only patients are furry four-legged creatures with tiny brains who sleep 20 hours a day in trees and eat poisonous eucalyptus leaves.
These poor koalas have been admitted as a result of MVAs, falling out of trees, or age-related reasons. Why don’t you just have a look at this little admittance chart. I highly recommend zooming right on in. It was out in the yard, so I’m guessing that confidentiality isn’t such a huge issue with koalas.
As noted in the chart, these koalas suffer from everything from arthritis to Chlamydia. Yes, Chlamydia. I missed the explanation for the acquisition of Chlamydia because the little girl beside us was loudly chastising her Mom for audibly tooting during the tour (it was a painful moment for everyone).
We didn’t get to go IN the hospital (you know, as to not spread or acquire diseases), but we got to watch the volunteers feed the koalas in recovery.
The following koala is George. He was very sleepy and refused to come down for his daily feeding. Let me take this opportunity to explain WHY koalas sleep so much. It's NOT because they're drunk from eucalyptus, it's because the eucalyptus leaves are poisonous and take soooo much of their energy to digest (this is also why their brains are so teeny tiny).
I’d never heard of a koala hospital before, but our guide spewed a bunch of fun facts which I will share with you:
• There’s a 24-hour koala ambulance (this is my favourite fact!)
• 160 volunteers are needed to keep the place running
• There are only 2 paid workers
• It costs $150,000 annually to maintain
• A woman started it in her garage with a couple koalas and it grew from there.
• A lady from Germany came to volunteer, then years later when she passed away, she donated her entire estate to the koala hospital
We should start a GOPHER hospital in Alberta! Just jokes all you farmers out there… just jokes.
3. FREDO’S PIES!
I kid you not. These people have over 50 different flavours of pies (meaty AND sweet).
We chose four flavours- and we were very excited about them.
One of the flavours was KANGAROO.
Lowell was oddly eager.
But I tried some anyway.
Okay...still heading north to hippie town. Let's see if we can't sight a real kangaroo in the meantime...