We were delayed a day up here in Gunnedah, NSW (the “Koala Capital of the World”) so we decided to go see some stuff. My wife’s been in Australia for almost seven months now, and has never seen a wild (and live) koala, so I figured now might be a good day to knock that one on the head. She’s seen a couple of road-kill koalas in our travels, but thus far we’ve not spotted one in a tree.
We got a lead on an animal park that has koalas and other native wildlife all in an enclosed space where you can easily see them, but that a) involved paying for the privilege and b) kinda sounded like it would suck the fun out of the whole thing.
My dad gave me a lead about the information centre, which should have some maps of walking trails and such and that he’d walked up one such trail when stuck over here once before. Sabriena googled the information centre and found that they apparently have a koala resident in the trees outside it every so often, so we searched those trees and came up empty handed.
We then walked up to the Porcupine Lookout, and bit off more than we could chew. After walking a couple of kilometres and not finding any wildlife to speak of (though there were some fantastic views of the plains), we returned to the car ready to admit defeat and pay for the privilege of my wife losing her koala-virginity.
Duncan didn’t survive the 8km trip or so out there, and was napping by the time we arrived. No problem, they close at 4pm and he’ll be up by then we thought. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and they apparently decided to close early while he was still napping. We hung out for the rest of his nap, and about 15 minutes more, in the hopes they were closing for a break or something – but it was not to be.
We then realized we were on the wrong walking track to have the optimal chance to see koalas, so we went around another track and walked probably a K all up before admitting defeat again. It looks like we’re just not meant to see any.
We did see a pack of kangaroos or wallabies from the car though.