Cohunu Koala Park

Earlier today we spent a delightful couple of hours at Cohunu Koala Park. The park is located near the town of Byford, just 40 minutes drive away from the city of Perth in Western Australia.

According to their own website ….

Come and make friends with some of the unique Australian fauna living in the park. Stroll the bush tracks and pathways. Hand feed many of the free roaming animals. Have a chat with over 30 talking parrots, see dingoes, kangaroos, emus, deer and koalas, just to name a few of the animals that live at the park.

Needless to say I had my camera to hand so here are a few snaps of the, always photogenic, creatures.

First up are the Koalas, after which the park is named ….

Never the most dynamic of animals, the Koalas were, for the most part, sleeping.

Again, from the parks website ….

The Cohunu Koala Park colony was established in 1982 with the arrival of 4 koalas from South Australia. It now boasts more than 25 koalas in its colony. Our colony in Western Australia has an increase of approximately 4 baby joeys each year.

Koalas are marsupials, the female carries its young in the pouch for 6 months then on her back for a further 4 months.

Koalas live almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves which have a poor nutritional value, thus to conserve their energy koalas sleep 18-20 hours per day, rarely drinking but relying on the water content of the eucalyptus leaves.

18-20 hours is pretty close to the sleep time for the average teenager. I wonder what their excuse is ?

Next up, here are a few Kangaroos. Also mostly asleep but there are a few that were hopping around.

It must be the heat that makes the kangaroos seek shady corners to doze in. They certainly didn’t seem to be too interested in the popcorn that we offered them.

Unlike the birds, and in particular the biggest bird on the planet, the Ostrich.

Two examples certainly made light work of the popcorn that we offered them. And, when shown empty hands, scarpered pretty quickly. I guess it was cupboard love after all.

One of the nice things about Cohunu is the fact that many animals are allowed to roam pretty freely. Although they may be kept segregated to different areas, Joe Public is still able to get up close and personal.

The pony, above, made itself known by nudging each of us in turn. Usually in the rump, as if to say “Gimmee the food”. It followed us round until, I guess, it got bored. Certainly the Emu was quite inquisitive too. Due to their size, they can be fairly intimidating but they are small when compared with the Ostrich. The Kangaroos didn’t seem to be phased by close proximity of us humans.

One species not encouraged to mix with us humans was the Dingo, although this one did seem to be quite friendly. At one time coming over and sitting by my feet, the two of us separated by wire mesh.

Dingo – Cohunu Koala Park

I got the feeling he was just looking for some company although, even mine wasn’t good enough, and he took himself off to the shade of the pipe.

In their blurb, the Cohunu folks claim to have over 30 talking parrots. Of course that is probably true and I am not here to dispute that figure. All I can say is that I am glad they weren’t all speaking at the same time.

Many did indeed say hello and at least one seemed to be apologising although we couldn’t work out what for. They are all characters and at least one let rip with the loudest bird call I have ever experience at close quarters. The repeated shriek fair rattled my ear drums. Here are just a few of the residents.

All that remains is for me to show you some snaps of some of the other residents of the park.

Also to be found around the park are a number of unusual creatures.

All in all, a very enjoyable visit.

This One I Want To Take Home

Exmouth, WA

We arrived in Exmouth in the early afternoon of Friday,  We were spending two nights so that gave us plenty of time to take a look around. What we didn’t realise is that, although it is summer time, we had arrived in the off-season. This meant that many of the tour companies were taking a break. It also meant that the whales were elsewhere along with the whale sharks who presumably were off on their holidays.

This left us to entertain ourselves, which we duly did.

On arrival at the Ningaloo Lodge we were greeted by this character …..

Emu – Exmouth, WA

He was back again the following morning too !!!

During our first afternoon we went exploring and discovered Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt …..

VLF Antenna – Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt

The station provides very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission to United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines in the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean. The thirteen towers are huge, the tallest is called Tower Zero and is 387 m (1,270 ft) tall. These towers are visible for miles.

…… further along the road we arrived at a car park with access to the beach to view the wreck of the SS Mildura …..

SS Mildura – Exmouth, WA

The SS Mildura was carrying Kimberley cattle south when it foundered on the reef during a cyclone in 1907. No human lives were lost but many cattle did not survive. During WWII, allied planes used it for bombing practice.

We spent an hour or more on the beach overlooking the wreck. Paddling and just sitting in the sunshine. We were the only ones on the beach for quite some time. We did have some wild company …

The wreck  can be viewed from the beach at the end of Mildura Wreck Road. As I said we had the beach to ourselves until, just before we were about to leave, three guys turned up to fish.

We watched for a while, to check out their methods. However their method entailed wading a long way out until they were waist deep, fishing with a lure until they got it caught on the rocks and lost it. Then they would wade back to shore, re-tackle, and wade back out. One of them lost his tackle several times. I think they spent more time tramping back and forth than they did fishing.

Having decided that there was nothing to be learnt we headed back to Exmouth to search out somewhere for an evening meal. We eventually settled on 5 Kennedy St.

The food here is superb and if you are ever in Exmouth I highly recommend a visit. To give you a hint of what is on offer I had Chilli Pepper Squid, Berry Vinaigrette, Chilli Lime Sauce as an entrée, followed by Lamb Shoulder, Israeli Cous Cous Salad, Baba Ganoush, Dukkah. The lamb was quite a substantial dish and I didn’t think I would make it to desert. However, I struggled manfully on to round of the meal with Churros, Chocolate Chilli Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream.

Feeling pleasantly plump we took ourselves back to the Ningaloo Lodge for a well-earned kip to prepare for the next day.

Saturday morning saw us up and out searching for a breakfast venue. And for the early morning jump-start we settled on See Salt. Suitably fueled we set of in search of the visitor centre.

They confirmed that we were indeed visiting out of season but informed us that one tour company was still operating and that they still had spaces available. We duly booked ourselves onto a glass bottom boat trip out over the reef. Our departure time was to be 07:30 Sunday morning.

That left us with the whole of Saturday to go and explore. After studying maps and brochures we decided that we would follow Yardie Creek Road which winds its way down the western side of the North West Cape. Our target was to follow this road all the way to Yardie Creek and then to wend our way back to Exmouth, stopping off en-route to go swimming and even get in a little fishing. As always our plans are flexible and any trip is likely punctuated by numerous stops to admire the views and take pictures.

Consequently we hadn’t been on the road very long when we detoured of to visit Vlaming Head Lighthouse.

The wreck of the SS Mildura was directly responsible for the building of this lighthouse. Vlaming Head was also the site for a radar station. There is quite a comprehensive set of information boards pertaining to the history of the area and providing information about the views and wildlife that may be spotted. It is well worth the visit.

Continuing along Yardie Creek Road we did eventually reach Yardie Creek. This is pretty much the end of the paved road. To continue on requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle and the courage to cross the creek.

As you can see from the photos this area is absolutely swarming with tourists. No room to move on the beach. Honestly though, I’m sure it would be busier here if it wasn’t out of season. Would love to have taken the boat trip up Yardie Creek Gorge. Perhaps next time.

So, we managed to drag ourselves away from the creek and start our meander back to Exmouth. Although there are many tracks off Yardie Creek Road, to various beaches, we had decide to visit Turquoise Bay. We were not disappointed ……

We spent a good couple of hours here. The water was warm and very clear with loads of fish. They, the fish, were big enough to have given great sport to a fisherman. Unfortunately, fishing is not allowed here as this is a protected zone. Great for snorkelers who can observe the fish and the corals on the reef. Once again the beach was absolutely swarming with people…… not.

Alas time, as always, moved on and we had to set off back to Exmouth. As the sun sets the kangaroos and other wildlife become active and it becomes decidedly risky to drive after dark. We saw several kangaroos as we motored along and Gerry managed to get a couple of pictures ….

Back in Exmouth we again ate at 5 Kennedy St and with it being Saturday night the restaurant was very busy. The food was really good, five-star. My compliments to Dexter and his chef.


Elizabethan Village Pub & Serpentine Falls

Have taken it easy today. Just a gentle drive up to the Elizabethan Village Pub for lunch followed by a trip up to Serpentine Falls.

Elizabethan Village Pub is the nearest thing I have seen to an English pub in terms of appearance and atmosphere.The food was delicious. My wife and I both had Black Angus Sirloin Steak while my daughter and her husband both had Grilled Barramundi Fillets topped with Creamy Garlic Prawns. Top grub.

The pub is also home to the Last Drop brewery and we sampled their Thunderstorm brew, an unfiltered pilsner. They have other brews too, however as I was driving I couldn’t sample them. They all appear to be around 4.8% ABV. We’ll just have to go back again when someone else is in the driving seat.

As I said we also took a run up to Serpentine Falls.

Serpentine Falls, W.A.
Serpentine Falls, W.A.

We thought, given the amount of rain Perth has experienced recently, that the falls would be running quite high and hard. I have been there before and the flow didn’t seem any higher than our previous visit. I’m guessing that the dam, upstream, is retaining as much water as possible since W.A. does have a water problem and they like to retain as much as possible.

On the entrance road to the falls there is a picnic area and we noticed a number of Kangaroos. Each and every one of them appeared to be carrying a joey. Most appeared to have clambered into mums pouch head fist and had their hind legs hanging out. All barring one, who had his head out and was feeding himself from the comfort of mums pouch. Sorry I have no pictures as I didn’t feel it was right to intrude so we just kept the car rolling.

After the fresh air and nature watch the girls felt in the need for some retail therapy so we headed into Armadale where the girls perused the various clothes stores. Following a cup of tea we headed home to relax for the rest of the evening.

Needless to say, after a very filling lunch, none of us was up for anything to eat for tea so relaxed with a beer and some nibbles.

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