But you know what? That stuff wasn't going anywhere! We decided to through caution and domestic bliss to the wind and hop in the car and do our first Day Out in Canberra. After some debate, we decided on Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, maybe about a half hours drive from our house.
Organised mothers would have plastic containers full of healthy, nutritious food, perhaps an esky (cooler for my vast overseas readership), at least a bottle of water. I took my camera. As you do.
There was some debate over what that line in the mountain-side was - a road? (nah, too steep), a pipeline? a landslide (my suggestion, but poo-pooed by the hubby). Still don't know what it is. What do you think?
Never let it said we take the path less travelled. If there's a sign for a lookout, we generally follow it. And overlooked the valley of the mighty Murrumbidgee River (part of the Murray Darling Basin - we're definitely not on the coast now!). It was out there on Lambrigg Station that William Farrer developed the first strains of drought resistant wheat (pretty bloody good idea, given our lack of rain).
A short drive onto the Tidbinbilla Visitors Centre (where I gratefully looked at the employees and decided I was glad I wasn't working in a Visitors Centre on Sunday and was instead out and about), where we decided to buy a annual pass for the princely sum of $30.
It was, as Visitors Centre's go, a pretty good one, which lots of great souvenirs (Jane, there's wombat poo bookmark in my wallet to head your way) and interesting displays. Science? Tick. Geography? Tick. History? Tick!!!
|Endangered Green and Golden Bell frogs|
|Damn - can't remember what he was! A toadlet of some description!|
The VC also sold food and drinks! So we bought some water and some chocolate and headed out into the wilderness. Or a big grassy paddock. Take your pick...
It's different country out here. The light is harsher. The sky wider. The geology is different (granite, for those that need to know). We named this rock Wombat Rock. You can see it, can't you?
|Wombat Girl on Wombat Rock. |
Because you just have to climb rocks when you are 13.
Unfortunately not just native wildlife. All of a sudden, the kangaroos and the emus headed for the hills in a stampede. We wondered what the hell happened. Then we saw him - the cunning fox! And then another one! It's quite unusual to see them out in broad daylight as they are super-sneaky. But I captured him (what I pity I didn't have my gun. Apart from fact I don't own a gun).
I wasn't joking about the geology. Granite. Pink granite - see!?
|And a geology lesson for you. You are welcome.|
We headed down to the Sanctuary, which is set up like a small scale Zealandia, that we visited in New Zealand. It's a (artificial) wetlands system, protected from foxes and other feral predators by a large fence (electrified). It has a great accessible track (wheelchair and walker friendly, which meanders around the dams (err, wetlands).
|Not allowed in!|
Needless to say, I didn't expect to see pelicans in Canberra, but there they were, with many other waterbirds.
And lots of lovely sculptures and words in unexpected places:
There are supposedly platypus in that creek, but given the large group of what looked like uni students actually in the creek, I didn't like our chances. Plus, in a past life (as a fluvial geomorphologist - look it up), I spent many days in and around creeks and rivers. Have never seen one in the wild. One day...
The temperature had taken a dive and the lack of lunch was getting to Video Boy, who was taking whining to new heights. But there were koalas to be seen! Everyone else wanted to head back to the cafe, arguing that you see as many koalas in the wild as you do platypus. But I said, just quickly! So we hopped out and they had very kindly set up a display with four koalas in it! They don't do much else except sleep (about 18-20 hours a day) and they are nocturnal. Nevertheless, they are pretty cute (ignore the claws):
We went for the walk around the "koala circuit" anyway. Video Boy was told that if he spotted a koala in the wild, he would get something to eat (we didn't say when, though...). Off he sprinted...Needless to say, we did not spot any wild koalas. I swear I smelt koala pee though, but no dice. Anyway, by the time we got back to the enclosure, the keeper had arrived, with fresh leaves and voila! Awake koalas!!!! I went NUTS with the camera! Enjoy!
|You can clearly see his scent gland on his chest!|
Oh, and since Sunday, it has been SNOWING up there, people! Here's a very dodgy shot from the carpark at work with my mobile:
|Really, there's snow up there!|
So I'm even MORE glad we got out and enjoyed our day, because it's freaking freezing now!
Do you have any good nature reserves or National Parks near you?
Do you EVER tire of seeing koalas?
Does it snow where you live?