On our way to the local wild life park, we followed some random signs to the middle of no-where deep in the country roads to a winery that once we arrived was closed for business. Since we went so far for no reason, we followed another group of signs and this time found a small family winery.
On our way down the long driveway, we stopped to see multiple kangaroos eating in the fields. We of course took pictures as if we don’t already have enough kangaroo pictures from this trip! Unfortunately, after our kangaroo pictures we proceeded to taste the wine and were not impressed. Each wine he gave us had a sort of sour tang on the finish…maybe a mixture of new vines and a not so good winemaker.
We left and finally found the wildlife park…we were the only people there. They gave us a map of the small park and circled the animals that were being fed in the next few hours.
We made our way straight to the back of the park which had a big sign labeled, Wallaby Country. A Wallaby is very similar to a kangaroo, but an easy way to tell the difference is the size…wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos and they usually have a reddish tint to their fur. We walked through the gate noticing there were no staff members to be seen but multiple Wallabies walking around…some behind a fence and some right out in the same field we were walking through. We had purchased food to feed them so walked up to the fenced in kangaroos first and put the Dixie cup full of feed right up to their face. They didn’t hesitate to nose dive straight into the cup. We walked up to some that we’re walking right by us and they too went straight into the cup. We were a little nervous being this close to them…we had heard on the news of stories where the kangaroo had “mulled” someone with their sharp fingernails. At one point, something scared them…maybe a car on the highway or other sound but they all started charging in one direction and Giff and I just froze hoping not to be trampled. But these animals weren’t aggressive, obviously use to seeing humans in the same fenced in area. We had fun taking pictures and video as they gathered around us to eat the food we brought them…still no staff members or other people, only Giff, myself and the Wallabies.
Once our food was gone, we walked straight to the koala bear breeding center where they were feeding the bears. Since we were the only people there. They got one of the koalas and brought him straight over to us so we could pet him and get a picture. There were about 10 koalas in the one area and all were bred in captivity.
After the koalas came the reptiles. There was a building marked ” Reptile House”. As we walked up to the building we saw an escapee standing guard…it was a large reptile looking at us as if we were the ones out-of-place. We passed him and went into the dark building full of glass enclosed cases of snakes and lizards. Australia has some of the most deadly snakes in the world…one of them being the Taipan. In one bite, it has enough poison in its venom to kill 50-100 humans. They had one in the reptile house as well as the tiger snake which is also very dangerous.
We saw other animals…a couple of monkeys, a ostriche, a peacock and other random birds, as well as some dingoes (wild dogs) and 2 sleeping little brown bear looking things they call wombats.
After playing with the animals all day, we went back to our place to relax and make dinner.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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One Reply to “Day 254-255 of 400: Port Macquarie – NSW, Australia”
“A dingo ate your baby!” What movie is this line from? I think I prefer the Wallaby over the Kangaroo, probably because they are mini Kangaroos.