After spending a very relaxing few days in Mission Beach, we continued in our hired motorhome further down south towards Noosa, on the aptly names Sunshine Coast, where the parents of a good friend or ours had kindly offered us the use of their apartment in for 6 days.
Noosa turned out to be a lot busier and more up market than the previous towns we had visited in Queensland, with a generous array of shops and restaurants, especially in Hastings Street, and a very lively nightlife. We particularly enjoyed our evening at Bistro C, where we had perhaps the best meal of our holiday so far.
We loved the sunny beach and the boardwalk to the National Park, where we admired the koala bears on the gum trees and some weird-looking spiders from a safe distance.
It was from just across the rear of the apartment that we caught the Australia Zoo official bus to take us to the zoo itself in Beerwah. During the 40-minute journey, we were treated to a video of the charismatic and one-and-only Steve Irwin, also known as The Crocodile Hunter, whom we were hoping to catch a glimpse of during our visit.
Once at the zoo we were told that unfortunately Steve was out filming that day, but we didn’t have much time to be disappointed as, once again, the very well trained and professional staff at the zoo made this day another memorable experience. We, of course, enjoyed the awe-inspiring crocodile feeding time show, as well as the pythons and the dingoes. We also met Harriet, the 172-year-old Giant Galapagos Land Tortoise, and an albino kangaroo with blue eyes and its joey, to little Peter’s delight, as we were allowed to go right to them and feed them the food we were given by their carers. It was here that we took one of the most endearing photos of the holiday, with mummy kangaroo sprucing up her baby: something that one doesn’t get to see everyday, even in Australia, I should imagine.
I would like to use this blog entry to pay my respects to the late Steve Irwin for all the wonderful work he did for nature and conservation. If passion for wild life had a name it would be Steve Irwin. I had never heard of him or seen him until I took my son to the cinema to see the film Crocodile Hunter in 2002, as I never really watched TV that much. It wasn’t long into the film that I realized that although the movie was fictional, the man, the job and the passion were very real and that got me interested. After that, I watched the Crocodile Hunter TV series as often as I could, where viewers could learn about the care of all kinds of animals, not just in Australia.
Steve is the man who made us love the unlovable and taught children and adults alike to care for and respect all creatures great and small in a way that couldn’t be ignored. I have nothing but admiration for the man and this is why I put Australia Zoo in our itinerary on our tour of Eastern Australia.
My only consolation on his passing is that he died doing what he loved, what he believed in and lived for. His body might have passed on, but his spirit, legacy and passion are very much alive and will live forever, not just in Australia Zoo, but in all our hearts. Gone, but definitely NOT FORGOTTEN.