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Friday, July 19, 2013

Winter Holidays - Sunshine Coast

Our last day of driving was a short one. Just a couple of hours to the sunshine coast and Maroochydore. 

It was a cold and rainy day, but we arrived in Eumundi just in time for the Wednesday morning markets. It was huge - 300 stalls!

The kids love Aussie markets as much as we do. They love looking through all the stalls and comparing prices to see if there is anything worth spending their money on. And of course markets mean buskers and food. If Hannah can find some entertainment and a sausage roll anytime after 9:00 am she's a happy girl.

This one had balloon twisting clowns. One light saber and a minion coming up!

We scored some sunshine the next day so we made our way to the world famous Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter.

We arrived just in time for the wildlife show in the Crocoseum, a huge outdoor auditorium often featured on Animal Planet. We were wowed by various tropical birds flying in and around the auditorium on cue from their trainers. You know an eagle is big, but it really sets in how big when it flies directly overhead! 

There were birds, snakes and of course crocodiles as part of the show. This little guy swam out into the enclosure to demonstrate to us how difficult it is to catch prey on land with short stubby legs. As we learned earlier in the trip at Hartleys, their tail really is their best asset.

It worked out really well that the weather was cool, since this was the most we've seen the tassie devils moving. They are super fast considering they are almost completely blind. Tasmanian devils are an endangered species. They suffer from what appears to be a genetic facial cancer, and their numbers are dropping quickly. The kids school even had a fundraiser earlier in the year in an effort to help.

No matter how long we've been here, seeing the koalas and kangaroos never seems to get old.

Wombats are a personal favourite of mine, I reckon that they resemble giant guinea pigs. I was eager to check them out and surprise there was a baby there too...extra cuteness!

The usual zoo animals were there to be seen as well. Amazing elephants, giraffes and zebras, and  surprise there was a bay white rhino too. Even the big babies are cute.

Hannah found a dingo that we could guarantee wouldn't eat her :)
The zoo was originally started by Steve Irwins' family long before he became the Crocodile Hunter and since his death his wife Terri, daughter Bindi and son Robert have kept the zoo running as a popular tourist destination, wildlife sanctuary and an honourable memory of Steve Irwin. We were concerned that it would be "just another zoo" and a bit of a tourist trap, but it turns out there was no need to be concerned. The animals are well cared for, the shows were fantastic and the keepers answered every question the kids had. It was a memorable day.

Crickey, who are those extra kids?!

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