Koala Cuddles & Crocodile Smiles

January 6 – Narrated by Mike
We woke up on our last day in Airlie, said goodbye to our Airbnb host Ernie, and thanked him for letting us stay in his amazing home. We had decided to rent a car the night before as our plans for the morning required some driving and renting the car was the cheapest option. After driving on the left side of the road for 2.5 weeks in New Zealand, it was no problem doing the same in Australia.

 Our morning plans had us both very excited. We were going to drive about an hour away to “The Bush” – Australian for the countryside, to Bredl’s Wild Farm – a privately owned animal sanctuary. 3 days a week they do guided tours through the land, teaching visitors about the animals, and most importantly letting the guests interact with them. The guide, a fairly well known animal expert known as the “Barefoot Bushman,” is mostly regarded for his crocodile handling but we were most looking forward to the fact that it’s one of the few places in Australia that allows you to hold a koala!!!!!!!!!!

We arrived & the tour began as the Barefoot Bushman took us around to meet & feed giant birds similar to emus, find tarantula holes in the ground (Alaina’s favorite part – luckily we just saw holes and no actual tarantulas, otherwise I think she would have spent the rest of the day in the car), and listen to lots of interesting information mixed with some very questionable political & scientific views that the Bushman holds….

 After getting the session warmed up, we jumped in our cars and drove to another area of the farm to a seating location where 2 emus, a deer & a sheep wandered around us to hang out with the group to receive some pets & love. The Bushman then brought out about 5 different lizards to pass around as well as 2 species of pythons. The lizards were surprisingly cool & cute, and for our first time holding pythons, we both did very well despite being a little nervous as they draped around our necks (Alaina may have cheesily referenced Slave for You from the infamous Britney VMA performance).

The highlight of the visit was next as we walked over to an enclosure next to the reptiles and the Bushman fetched Phoebe the koala out of her tree.

 Alaina just about melted into a puddle at this point. Phoebe was obviously adorable and just stretched her arms out to be held as she was passed from one person to the next. She was so soft and cuddly – it was really hard to give her up. I would not be the least bit surprised if we get stopped in customs on the way home because Alaina smuggled her home.

 The next stop was to visit the kangaroos! Unfortunately they were feeling a bit shy today so as soon as the group entered their enclosure, they all ran off into a separate area that we couldn’t go into. Two joeys (out of maybe 15 that ran off) stuck around for a minute or so, so at least we got to see them up close.

  After the ‘roos, we boarded a caged-in truck and embarked on the croc portion of the trip. We got to see 5 crocs in total including Brian, Tripod (so named after an incident with Brian a few years back 🙁 ), Brian’s mom, and 2 HUMUNGOUS guys whose names I didn’t catch. These things were terrifyingly big (the largest being 5.3 meters in length) and the fact that they were able to swim up to the truck so stealthily that we didn’t even know they were there until the Bushman slapped the water to get their attention is even scarier. 

The Bushman put on a show for us, getting the crocs to display their incredible bite strength & even sitting on their backs and riding them for a few seconds. I filmed some video since it was a great experience but in the back of my mind I was positive that I was filming this poor guy’s final seconds on the planet. But he was in total control – mentioning the thousands of times he’s done this & hundreds of thousands of crocs he’s interacted with without any incidents to date. What a job…


The tour ended with us getting to hold crocodiles ourselves – harmless baby crocs, but still! We also were able to feed some turtles & eels in a pond and hold a baby penny turtle, which again may turn up in Alaina’s bags somewhere when we get back to the states… img_0704

After a fun day meeting incredible animals & interesting people, we jumped back in the car and headed to the airport, en route back to Sydney for the final stretch of our trip. Hard to believe we have only a few days left and the next flight we board will take us back the US. Until next time – after a while crocodile!

2 thoughts on “Koala Cuddles & Crocodile Smiles

  1. I cannot believe that you are afraid of a spider and wore a python around your neck like a fanciful boa. I am having nightmares about it and I’m not even in bed.

    The catamaran trip must have been such an experience. Am so happy to know you are still with us.

    Pleasegive Jan, Brian and Kellie stupendous hugs from me and have a safe trip home. Your experience has been a thrill for us all. I recommend you both quit your jobs and be travel writers. You two are awesome.

    Love ,Mom

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