Kangaroos, wallabies, emus, wombats, and koalas

Kangaroos, wallabies, emus, wombats, and koalas

Red Kangaroo

Jack and Marilyn with Becky the Koala

Three weeks into our trip to Australia, we hadn’t seen any indigenous marsupials of Australia.  We resolved that deficiency with an afternoon visit with Steve and Bev to the Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills.

Mt. Lofty 

View from Mt. Lofty toward Southern Ocean

Our day traveling began at Mt. Lofty, the highest point in South Australia with a splendid view of  Adelaide, the lowlands near the Southern Ocean, farms, and dense forests of gum trees.  The weather was clear, the sky a brilliant blue, blending into the Southern Ocean.

Next stop, Antarctica, 2000 kilometers to the south.

Mt. Lofty, looking south toward Adelaide and Southern Ocean

Adelaide from Mt. Lofty

Cleland Wildlife Park

We were very excited driving a half hour from Mt. Lofty  to the Cleland Wildlife Park where indigenous animals live in natural habitat open to visitors. We hurried through gates from the entrance, down paths through more gates, finally entering a hillside  shaded by  gum trees.

Red kangaroo hoping away when we approached


Then we saw our first kangaroo resting in the shade, watching us approach.  He sat up, hopped off, and we continued our walk, seeing several kangaroos resting in the shade of gum trees.

We approached slowly and fed younger kangaroos with bags of  special food purchased at the entrance.  Other kangaroos saw us and let us approach to offered them food which they took from our hands.  They knew the drill; tourists come with bags in their hands, go over and get a snack.

Joey waiting to be fed


We spent the afternoon walking through the wildlife park, feeding and petted kangaroos, wallabies, and emus, living in gated areas with room to roam, rest, and sleep. We saw wallabies joeys tucked in their mother’s pouches. Wallabies are smaller marsupial similar to the kangaroo but a bit shyer.  They approached us for food,  then hopped away.

Wallaby with joey in her pouch

Wallaby with joey hiding in her pouch


Wombats can be a bit dangerous, so they keep them in a pen and we weren’t allowed to touch them.  They burrows in the ground and are elusive.  After watching three or four feeding from a bowl for about five minutes, we only glimpsed their faces.  Wombats like their privacy.

Shy wombat


Emus are strange birds much larger than I imagined.  They came up to us as we offered them food.    They were gentle, and their big eyes looked right at us.  We were able to get so close we could almost pet them, but resisted, not sure if that beak would grab a finger.

Rosellas and lorikeets

We had a quick lunch back at the park cafe right after caretakers had put food into dishes for the native birds.  The racket was noisy but entertaining as the parrot like rosellas and lorikeets flew from dish to dish, flying back into the trees before diving to eat some more.  We heard the chatter even after we continued our walk to the pond and koala enclosure.

Lorikeets and rosellas at feeding time


The strangest creatures we saw were echidnas, round bundles of yellow spikes around a balloon body.  Echidnas live underground most of the time, spend their days searching for ants and grubs.


Their safeguard are the sharp spikes that protrude from their bodies like darning needles.  Odd creatures, not recommended for house pets.


Our most fun experience was petting a koala under the watchful eye of a naturalist.  Koalas are fragile, cuddly creatures who sleep 20 hours a day.  They live on a diet of gum tree leaves that provide little nourishment.  Koalas eat all day (when they’re awake), their primary activity after sleeping.

Koala ‘twins’

Becky, our favorite koala

Tasmanian Devil 

We also saw birds, waterfowl, reptiles and other strange animals like the Tasmanian Devil – black and furry like a small dog, with a red spot on the inside ear.  Very fast and elusive.  We didn’t get a picture because they ran from bush to bush, only catching fleeting glances at them.

Olive Python

We spent a few minutes at a station where a naturalist was talking about Australian reptiles.  The featured reptile was an Olive Python which can grow quite large.  He exhibited one that was about 2 meters long.  The naturalist explained that olive pythons are not dangerous for human since we’re too big to swallow.  They squeeze smaller animals to death and then devouring them.  They’re not  poisonous.  He asked some children to come down to hold the python to show that we don’t have to fear this snake. (We’ll have more on olive pythons we handled at the Alice Springs Reptile Center in a future post).

Cudlly olive python, safe to handle

* * * * *

Next:  Australian gum trees

As many of you know, I also write mysteries and romantic suspense novels.

I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.

I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan.  I’ll be posting along the way from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.

I have a few posts on another blog,  Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller.  I’ll add more posts there as well.

Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.

Find my books in Apple’s iBookstore
At Amazon including # 1 Kindle best seller “Perfect Crime” 

4 responses to “Kangaroos, wallabies, emus, wombats, and koalas

  1. Ah are they cute! The ‘roos have big eyes and a long nose like Mom’s dauschund, but the daushund lives like a koala, sleeping 20hrs and day and only waking to eat!


  2. Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.

    When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening
    in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give
    you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!


    • Thanks for sharing your comments, always like to hear from readers. I’ll take this up w/ the WordPress back office to get their response.
      I write on Mac Pages, but WordPress publishes from their own software. So I think it’s their issue. This is the first comment I’ve had about format so maybe it was a temporary issue. Have you notice on similar posts from my site?


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