February 28th, 2002 – by: Soultrekker
Rollin in the Croc Hunter truck!
We were out of Surfers Paradise early in the morning heading to the Famous Crocodile Hunter's (Steve Irwin) zoo in Beerwah! I was and still am a huge Croc hunter fan, and I not only loved his shows on TV but I heard he actually had one of the best zoos in the world! Beerwah is about 50 miles north of Brisbane, so we drove through Brisbane and on into Beerwah and the Glasshouse mountains. This was a very nice and lush area of the country. Finally arrived at the zoo and could not believe I was there! The zoo was very clean and well maintained.
Entrance to zoo
As I scanned every spot the zoo and looked at all the personnel hoping to catch a glimpse and maybe a photo of the man himself, we were later told by the staff that Steve and Terri were unfortunately not there, and were out on location filming. I was very disappointed, but wasn't going to let that ruin my time here. We walked around and saw amazing animals and awesome demonstrations. We were able to stand next to a koala and pet her while we had a photo taken. Our first opportunity to pet a Koala...awesome! The only thing we couldn't do was actually hold a koala which I was a little upset about that. But moved on, and also got pet some Kangaroos and the famous albino kangaroo that I remember seeing on one of the Croc Hunter episodes. Saw lots more animal demonstrations, snake, koala, & otter demos.
Me and Steve
..but the BEST was the crocodile feeding demo! These salt water crocs were HUGE! We saw the croc "Charlie, the very naughty croc "Monty", and Acco...the biggest Croc. Had a fantastic zoo day...the best zoo I have been to so far! We took lots of pics, bought some t-shirts and souvenirs. and a Boomerang...lol. After being there all day we had to hit the road and find an RV park somewhere to make camp as the sun was starting to set. So we hit the road...and somewhere we had picked up a brochure for Mon Repos Conservation of Sea Turtles on Mon Repos beach in the city of Bundaberg. It was in the direction of where we were headed so we decided that would be a sort of once in a lifetime experience.....to actually be able to watch sea turtles hatch on the beach and crawl to the ocean....and this was to be done late at night since sea turtles when they hatch follow the moon into the ocean.
So we drove several hours from the zoo toward Bundaberg. We were starting to get into subtropical Australia, and Bundaberg has a subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Bundaberg is also known as the 'Southern Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The city lies near the southern end of the reef in proximity to Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands. The nearby town of Bargara
is an increasingly popular holiday destination. When we arrived it was already dark. These ranger guided turtle encounters operate seven nights a week from November to March. Nesting turtles can be viewed November to January, and the turtle hatchlings can be viewed from January to March. When we arrived we were put into groups that start walking down to the beach and turle nest around 7pm.
We had a later group and didn't get down there until around 9. We were guided down the beach, bright FULL moon shining on the ocean...very cool! We got to the nest and there were just a few eggs and turtles left. Saw some that were just hatching and getting their bearings, looking for the moon. The guide picked up one or two and we were able to touch and hold the turtles. The guide then put them down on the beach and they were OFF to the ocean! What another amazing experience, watching sea turtles hatch on this beach somewhere in Queensland australia, full moon shining on the ocean, waves crashing, late at night...for a moment I had no idea where I was...a million miles away from the world! By the time we were leaving it was around 11pm and we had no idea where we were going to crash that night.
Croc feeding demo
I remember at one point leaving the turtle conservation place in the middle of nowhere it seemed, pitch black, and we came to a crossroad. I looked up at the full moon and there was this huge old sort of scary looking tree, and I saw a large shadow fly by and it perched right on a branch of that old tree. It was an owl, and all I could see was it's silhouette right in front of that huge full moon. It was like out of a book or scary movie...but very cool. Anyway we were off to try and find somewhere to pull in or else we were going to have to pull over on the side of the road. And this was 10 years ago, before smartphones and GPS's in cars, all we had was a paper map...old school...lol! We found one park but the chains were up so we couldnt drive in and pay the next day. Kept driving and finally found a place to pull in around 12-1 am. Wow, this was an awesome day with some great experiences that we will remember forever!