Up at 4.50am and off to the airport by 5am.
The shuttle man was even early! And it was only me. So we were at the airport by 5.20am and check in hadn’t even opened yet.
Today I’m flying down to Alice Springs.
We left on time at 7am and the flight was just under 2 hours. I caught the shuttle bus from the airport ($13) into the town. The scenery was orange and there wasn’t much until we reached the town. It wasn’t far, only about 20 minutes. I was there by 9.45am.
I couldn’t check in yet, so dropped by bags and went for a walk into town. My map had marked a river next to where I was staying. There was a bridge. But it was running over totally dry land, with a few trees. Must have all dried up!
The town is relatively small and laid out like a grid. I walked up the main shopping street. Wasn’t much. A few cafes, banks, souvenir shops and pharmacy. I stocked up on sun cream (Australian stuff is good). Again, lots of aboriginal people hanging around doing nothing.
And then walked to the north end of the town to Anzac Hill. This small hill has been turned into a war memorial and only took a few minutes to walk up. It has good views across the city. On my walk back through the town I managed to buy a hat for the next few days.
Then I headed to the south end. Here there is a reptile centre. This place was full of all the different snakes, lizards and geckos that are found across the Northern Territory. They also had a crocodile in a small pool, that was rather mean. (Well it kind of all was – keeping animals in cages).
There is one particular lizard that I wanted to see and is only found here – a thorny dragon. These are small brown/black patterned lizards, about 20cm long and covered in spikes. So cool.
I went to the supermarket and bought a couple more bits. I love the supermarket! Then went back repacked all my things for the next few days, as I am only taking a small bag. It was just so hot. Between 36-40 degrees all afternoon. So lucky I wasn’t doing anything!
At 5pm I was picked up. Off to a kangaroo sanctuary. This sanctuary is run by a man called Brolga, or ‘kangaroo dundee’ after the BBC programme about him. He rescues orphaned kangaroos.
It was about a 20 minute drive to his sanctuary. He doesn’t let people drive themselves here. He runs tours around only 3 times a week and the rest of the time the kangaroos are just left alone.
In Australia there are more kangaroos than people and they are seen as a pest. So much so that they are shot and killed regularly. These are then sold as meat. Lots are often run over too. As they jump across a road when a car is coming. If a mother kangaroo is hit, she would be killed. But often a baby kangaroo inside a pouch would survive. This is because the muscles of the pouch keep the baby secure. It is illegal to keep a kangaroo as a pet. However, if you have a licence (apparently easy to get), you are allowed to look after a baby kangaroo in your house until it is old enough to be returned to the wild.
So at the kangaroo sanctuary, he takes in orphaned kangaroos and looks after them until they can be returned to the wild. These kangaroos are kept out of sight of people. The kangaroos that are unable to be returned to the wild – e.g. They are injured or too familiar with people or dogs, are kept in his land here. He is currently looking after 15 babies in his house. Each of babies need bottle feeding every 4 hours..!
There are 2 babies which he isn’t planning on returning to the wild and has permission to keep them for the purposes of educating people. These two he has brought along with him. Wrapped in a pillow case inside a bag. They like to be wrapped up securely, as if they were in a pouch. They also like to feel breathing and a heartbeat, so like to be held.
We were able to hold these babies (in their pouches) – so cute!! He has the men kangaroos kept in a separate area to keep them away from the females. There is always a dominant alpha male who ‘owns’ all the females. This can make kangaroos aggressive and dangerous.
In the BBC programme the dominant male at the time (Roger) was shown frequently on the programme. However now the dominant male is Roger’s son, who is now much bigger and stronger. They were both so much bigger than the other males – massive arm muscles. When standing up, they are over 6 feet tall. We also saw lots of smaller girl kangaroos. They hang around together and in pairs. These are the pairs in which they were raised. He always raises them with a friend, as they are social animals.
We walked around the area a bit. Saw some kangaroo beds – they dig out small indents underneath bushy trees like the widgety tree (where widgety grubs live in the roots). The sun was setting over the fields, pretty with kangaroos jumping around. So cute. It was 8pm by the time we got back and I was so tired. So no dinner and straight to bed.