Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Visit to Mullumbimby

The drive from Port Macquarie to Mullum (as the locals call it) took about 5 hours, with a stop for lunch and a quick side trip to the small town of Yamba. There we saw a very colonial-looking sight: a lawn bowling club.

It was great to arrive in Mullum, with the GPS directing us right to Marti's house. The first morning we drove downtown (walkable for those not using canes) and explored a bit. We found a nice coffee house and the Op Shop (used clothing). Dan found two pairs of shorts and I found one. I don't think we quite realized that we would be warm so much of the time. Autumn everywhere is variable. We also tried a used bookstore but they didn't have what I was looking for. [I collect Nevil Shute's books, and only need a few more for my collection to be complete. His later years were in Australia and some of his books take place here. I think I'll have a better chance of finding them here than in the US.]

Just after the sun has set, the fruit bats (flying foxes) rise up from their daytime sleep. They pass right over Marti's back yard in a stream. There must be thousands. This photo isn't very good, as they were moving, but it does show something of the sight. They are quite large, the wingspan can be nearly a meter.

On Tuesday we drove about a half hour north to the Gold Coast, where we toured the Cullumbin Animal Sanctuary. It was a great day, even if we were quite tired at the end.

A very small train took us around the grounds. The tracks were about 12 inches apart and the seats held two people. Strollers and wheelchairs went on the baggage carts.

Our first stop was a bird show. The stars were a wedge tail eagle and a barking owl. Several of the birds flew very low over our heads, as you can see below.

The next stop was the Australiana show. A small python was one of the stars. But we especially enjoyed the actual sheep-shearing, which we'd never seen so up close and personal.

A black swan was floating in one of the ponds that were spread throughout the area.

The ibises were all over; they totally ignored the people.

One area was wide open with many kangaroos. Children were all over, petting them. It was important to follow the posted rules.

The kangaroos were totally relaxed with all the people walking around. They are all well-fed and happy. And lazy. I did get to see one of them hopping across the area.

This proves I really was there. The little boy couldn't stop petting him!

As we rode the train out of the kangaroo area, I saw a mother with a half-grown joey nursing. We learned that it is likely that she already had another in her pouch. They actually produce two kinds of milk, one for tiny babies, and another for the older ones.

And we finally saw more koalas. Most of them sleep all day, as these round fluffy balls show. But fortunately one of them stirred and looked right at us.

This lizard was trying to get away from the path and into an enclosure. He wasn't successful, but right after I took this, he scampered across the path and into some brush.

These emus were also in the kangaroo area. I was surprised to see them out in the open. They must be less vicious than the ostriches we saw in South Africa some years ago.

 To be continued....

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