We woke with the intention of going for a training run, but the drumming of the train on our roof had kept us awake on and off all night and was still persisting at 7, the thought of another run on our already aching legs ahead of a day of walking miles around the zoo put us off, instead we dozed and while longer and then got breakfast and packed up, thankfully as the rain began to stop.
We arrived at the zoo a couple of minutes past nine: the entrance fee is expensive so we wanted to make a day of it, from the appearance of the carpark others shared the same thought: it was already really busy despite being overcast with the odd heavy shower.
First stop: just inside the gate we posed with a baby crocodile, it felt a lot softer than I was expecting I wasn't convinced...which was evident by the face that I was pulling in the picture! On the way to the adult crocodiles we looked at some lizards, whilst viewing the crocs, we overheard the presentation for the giant tortoises and so went straight over, the commentator was really good, she obviously adored the animals. After the presentation we wondered around the kangaroos, koalas and wetland animal areas. Although there were fewer species on display than at other zoos it was alot more hands on: we were down in the koala pen, walking between the trees. We were allowed to stroke one too and pose for our own photos.
At the wombat enclosure we watched a mum with a baby in her pouch; it was wriggling around as she lay on her side and at first just had its leg poking out, then just before it left it poked its head out, it was so cute.
Next was the snakes: we managed to confirm, we had definitely seen a brown snake when we had been walking in manly, but with a number of types to choose from we are still unsure which one we saw: they look so similar!
By this time it was just before 12 and almost time for the main show of the day in the 'crocoseum' it was a fabulous show with native birds coming in and flying free around the open air theatre, snakes and of course a crocodile. It was by far the most impressive show I have ever seen at a zoo; fast moving, interactive yet informative it was a spectacle to watch.
After the show we returned to the carpark for lunch, we got our chairs out and sat at the kitchen end and enjoyed our lunch. Once finished we went to the wildlife hospital as we had paid for a 'sneaky peak' of the hospital and its residents. We were able to see some of the koalas in for treatment, as well as the theatre facilities which were unfortunately not in use; if they had been the full glass wall would have provided excellent viewing but we probably would have never got back to the zoo!
Once we looked around the displays we headed back to the zoo, in time for the second croc feeding of the day: a crocodile called casper who due to a genetic mutation lacked the dark pigment in his skin so he was sandy in colour: as a baby in the wild he would have been quickly eaten if he hadn't been rescued, that feeding display was also really well presented, we spent the rest of the day looking around the other enclosures including the rhino and elephant area where people, again in the hands-on sentiment of the zoo, were feeding the elephants their afternoon tea.
Around 4 pm we decided we had seen everything and with tired legs we returned to the van: the area the zoo is on is massive, again in keeping with Australia, away from the coast everything is so spread out because there is so much space!
We returned to the picnic area of the campsite we had stayed in last night (the free one) to use the benches and shelter to prepare and eat tea. We then got on our way, via a few McDonald's, to try and use their wifi but failed to get a consistent connection, we were aiming for the gold coast and more specifically wet and wild in the hope tomorrow's weather would be nice enough for a day at a water park.
We found a nice little spot to park up, just away from road and a couple of minutes drive to the water park, tucked out of the way it was perfect....until we got out to get the bed ready and stepped into quite literally a cloud of Mosquitos.
We quickly sorted the bed and then got into the van. We spent the next half an hour killing the 30+ mosquitos that had managed to get in and then the rest of the evening putting cream on our bites!