Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Under Down Under Tour Day 2 (27th Nov)

Another early start for day 2 of our trip with our first stop being the small pictureque town of Ross.

Town plan of Ross - there was not enough time to walk all around it. Use your imagination!

I think that this town has some Scottish influence to it - waddayathink?

Centrepiece is this war memorial.

I didn't take many other pics as I was too busy getting some breakfast but I was drawn to this sign:

But as I have said - always look twice at any signs:

On the way to our next place we happened upon an Echidna so Ian turned the bus round and headed back to look at it. By the time we got there it had well and truely buried itself in the ground and was not for budging no matter what anyone did (short of taking a shoval to it) We did all get to feel its spikes though.

Once we left I looked back to see the wee turd getting up and walking away. I was sure it gave us the finger as well.

On to Freycinet National Park where the plan was to climb up a hill and get breath taking views of the famous curved sandy beach of wineglass bay. That was the plan but as usual the weather was against us with cloud mist and rain meaning that the hike to the top of the hill would be pointless.

Bloody mist!

DM is disheartened - don't jump DM!

This is what we COULD HAVE SEEN (taken off the internet)

If only!

We did manage to go down to some rocks and take pics of nice big waves:

We also got up close to some Bennetts wallabies in the parks car park:

Whos a wallaby?

Mother and joey

My new friend

Ian did have a contingency plan which involved firstly going to a blowhole in Bicheno (where we would be staying that night)

The gang at the blowhole

Unfortunately (theres a theme appearing here) the tide was not far enough in to produce a big spout - I still managed to get soaked though:


After the Blowhole it was on to Natureworld wildlife park which proved to be a great place. As well as the usual koalas, wombats, kangaroos, birds it also had large enclosures of snakes.

Its a koala train


What a cute lil devil

Tiger Snake

I really liked this place as a wildlife sanctuary. Most of the enclosures looked to be big and well maintained (some of the bird ones where slightly small) Also most of their animals were abandoned or injured and were there because they could not be rehabilitated back into the wild. We arrived in time to see the keepers feed all the animals - including the devils (something which Ian had planned).

I had to buy one!

Devil Update:
This place was great for devils. They had several large enclosures an seem to be really well looked after. One of the keepers fed each of the sets of devils while explaing things about them. Some of them were like puppies - although we were still warned not to get too near them. THey also had a whole interpretation centre devoted to information on the devil and DFTD.

Some info on Devils from the parks centre.

Their top speed is about 13 kph - not very fast at all so they are mostly scavangers.

They can have up to 30 young each the size of a grain of rice which have to make their way to the pouch to find a nipple to suckle on. However they only have 4 nipples so only ever 4 of them will survive the initial birth - a harsh beginning in life.

They are very usful for getting rid of roadkill which, if left ontouched, would be used by flies to lay their eggs. THis results in less disease carrying flies.

One of the other major threats to wildlife on the island is foxes which so far are very scarse. This may be due to devils preying on fox young.

DFTD info
65% of Tasmania has been affected by the disease - mostly on the east side of cradle mountain.

The reduction of devils may result in an increase in foxes and feral cats which will be catestrophic to the rest of the islands fauna.

One final stop before heading to our hostel was to Diamond Island.

Diamond Island

One slight problem though. In order to get to the island you had to wade out to it over a sand bank!

Everyone rolled up their trouser legs (Its the first time on this trip that I was thankful for my zip off leggings) and over we went - Anthony leading the way.

Followed by us

And Anthony is over

Made it!

Even DM made it

Once we were over it was a very quick photo of the ones who had ventured over and then back as quick as possible before the tide came in!

Quick! - The ones that made it

And back we go!

Made it back. - Hurrah!

Another reason for getting back so quick was to get booked in to the hostel quickly so we could get to the local pub for HAPPY HOUR!

Pints and pots at half price for 1 hour. I did like any normal Irish person would and loaded up. They soon ran out of clean pint glasses and we had to use half pint (pots) instead.

Oh happy days, Happy hour

Hey thats my drink DM!

After some food we returned back to the hostel for an early night.

Bennetts Wallaby (only new wild animal - I don't count wildlife parks)

Not a lot of people know that Errol Flynn was born in Tasmania. Even fewer people know that he lived in Belfast when his dad was a professor of zoology at Queens university.

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