On the way to Port Macquarie there was really only one thing on our minds…Koalas! We had fixed our eyes on the eucalyptus trees at the sides of the road hoping to spot one in the wild and there had been a couple of children’s type zoos which offered visitors the chance to ‘pat’ the Koalas but we decided it wasn’t worth the price ($26 pp entry +$50 per 2 persons to ‘pat’) so when we heard about the Koala Hospital that you could visit for free we made our way straight there.
If you ever needed a sure sign that something was for free, just count the number of campervans with backpackers in! There were about 5 I think, all keen to join the 3pm guided tour, get to know theses loveable creatures and find out what their injury or illness was. The hospital has been in operation since 1973 and treats around 200-250 koalas annually. There were Koalas being treated with injures from road traffic accidents, burns from bush fires and the most common one of all…chlamydia. And they were still utterly adorable. We got to see quite a few of them up and moving around, which is rare since they sleep 20 hours per day! My favourite had to be the big lad – 10kg of fluff balled up and perfectly balanced on his tree. If you haven’t seen the way a koala sleeps I urge you to look it up or if you’re out here in Oz then go and see for yourselves – don’t wait 7 months like I did!
When we arrived in Port Macquarie we were greeted by…rain. In all honesty, so far we haven’t had the best of luck with the weather, which considering we’re in Australia during their summer is a bit disappointing. But oh well, the holiday must go on! We checked into our hotel, Waters Edge, and went in search of life in the town. It was Friday and we found an understated Japanese restaurant that could squeeze us in, the food was amazing and we ate a lot! We ended up heading back to the hotel to find everything was closed up even the bar (it was 9:30pm!) so retired for an early night. The following day we visited the Black Duck Brewery to try out their selection of craft beers and ales. The place was located on a an industrial estate so a little different to the picturesque wineries we’d been used to. But it was very charming inside and the sampling paddles were great at just $5 for four.
Since the rain was still pouring, we decided to go to the 4pm show of the Lennon Bro’s Circus we’d noticed was in town. Because of my excitement for acrobatics and my naivety that these are the only acts in a circus I completely missed the main selling point to this great Australian Animal Circus…animals. The opening act was lions, which I’ve never seen at a circus, and this one claimed to be the only one of two in Australia still training them and with good reason. It wasn’t particularly entertaining to watch and when you’re older you can’t help but think of everything else that’s involved in producing that 5 minute performance.
There were plenty of acrobatics though and it was all enjoyable to see, sometimes even funny (one acrobat clearly didn’t like the height he was at during his performance and only let go for 1 second but still wanted a huge round of applause…he didn’t get one). But more animals followed including ponies, dogs and camels! It was a good thing to do on a rainy day and I finally got to go to a circus but I doubt I’ll rush to see another anytime soon.
That night we ate at a place called Hog’s Breath (sounds lovely hey!) and pigged out on a huge steak with calamari before stopping at somewhere called the Grape and Petal for a nightcap or two.