Nap Time

If you're in the mood for a snuggle, let me recommend Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary just outside of Brisbane. We spent a morning there on our first day in the area with a car and were blown away by the variety of animals being rehabilitated and the furry, grey, bowling ball sized main attraction. Founded in 1927, Lone Pine is the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in Australia and was founded after the species was nearly hunted to exinction. Now, their koalas are thriving.

The koalas have an enviable lifestyle, sleeping 20ish hours per day. It's commonly thought this is due to a narcotic effect caused by their eucalyptus-only diet; but in reality, it is because eucalyptus is so nutrient poor that they don't have the energy to sustain a more vigorous lifestyle.

Getting ready to go to the sanctuary, I had an overwhelming desire to cuddle with a koala (and then kidnap it to be mine forever), and I was jazzed that a major fundraiser at the sanctuary is the opportunity to briefly carry and take a photo with one. But in person, my attitude changed—not captured by the photos is their pungent, powerful urine-like aroma. Plus, they are constantly secreting oils they use to mark their territory and attract mates (that's what the brown coloring is on the males' chest) and are plagued by myriad contagious diseases.

So, ultimately, I decided these arboreal dwellers were better off in the arms of the trees than my own. Later though, while hiking in Noosa Heads north of Brisbane, I had the thrilling experience of spotting a koala in the wild. Not easy, but well worth 10 extra minutes with the binoculars. All our birding practice paid off!