Monday, April 12, 2010


I told my tap class I was heading to Kennett River for a mini-break with the kids and one of my students mentioned there are lots of koalas in that area. I don't remember ever having seen a koala in the wild, and it has become one of my ambitions, along with seeing whales out to sea. Anyway, after farewelling Fixit (who had to stay home to fix up the new old motorbike) and setting off in the unaccustomed comfort and luxury of my Dad's car (kindly lent to us to smooth over Fixit's temporary loss of transport), and driving through Deans Marsh and Winchelsea (accompanied by a talking book of Coraline read by Dawn French, fantastic), and over the mountains (where Cherub was nearly carsick) to Lorne, followed by 30 minutes of driving torture along the steep, winding, spectacular Great Ocean Road (the worst part of the drive as far as I was concerned, I hate driving near cliff edges) we pulled up on the long steep gravelly driveway of the holiday house my step-mother had organised, and, as we stepped out of the car my uncle and father pointed to the tree above us and said See the koala?

first koala 2

He was the front-yard koala and he stayed there, visible from the family room window, all weekend.

Then as the boys ran around exploring and testing out the backyard play equipment...


...the call came up: Another koala, this one actually moving, climbing a tree. I have to tell you that there is something very cute about a koala's little round furry bum as it climbs up high.

Koala in the backyard

Look at it! Isn't it adorable?

The next day I came across this little bundle, so relaxed in his proximity to human lifeforms that he'd climbed up a little sapling tree for a feed and was therefore almost at eye level.

Koala in a small tree (Kennett River)

Climber came over to try and feed him but the Lala wasn't interested in the proffered gum leaves and puffed himself up and flattened his ears if we got too close.

Koala, so close! 34

The next morning, two of the koalas were still visible and I took this video footage of the backyard koala.

Then we were graced by a visit from a magnificent kookaburra...

Kookaburra on the balcony 114

... who let me get much closer than I thought he would, but declined our offering of food.

Kookaburra 124

And later that day, we heard excited shouting from the folk on the balcony: there were some whales passing by. Oh my goodness, all my wildlife ambitions realised in one weekend!

Well. When I say there were whales, what we actually saw were spouts of water being blown up every few minutes, and it really was a long way out to sea so capturing the action was a bit hit and miss. However if you look at a great big version of my picture here you can just see 2 spouts. If you can't be bothered doing that, just squint really hard near the arrow in the pic below and look for 2 white smudges. There! Whales!

We were also blessed with a very nice rainbow...

Rainbow over Bass Strait 20

..and of course a fun play on the beach, though owing to the fact that I don't own a wetsuit, the boys were limited to jumping waves from the shallows, playing with the sandbank area where the Kennett River met the ocean..


...and jumping round some rockpools.


I don't think they really minded!

We headed back home after lunch on Saturday, and the boys and I agreed that we would highly recommend talking books as terrific travelling companions for long drives. We finished Coraline not long after passing through Lorne, so then we put on Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception. I don't like long-distance driving but talking books kept my mind really clear as I drove, kept the kids interested (and, more importantly, quiet!) and made the journey shorter. We would also highly recommend a visit to Kennett River for anyone hoping to see Australian wildlife!

The Cherub, demonstrating an alternative method of descending a staircase. Both kids did their own packing from a list I gave them; somehow Cherub missed the line that said shorts/pants.


  1. Koalas, whales, kookaburras – sounds like the perfect holiday to me! I love the great ocean road area but, like you, am not keen on being close to the cliff edge, most unnerving.

  2. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. Wish I were there...

  3. oh, I love me a good whale photo...I trust you have a gazillion of them

    plus, homesick now

  4. I am so totally jealous! I have never seen a koala in the wild either, and it is also one of my ambitions (did you copy?) yet to be realised.

    Sigh. I am just too sick with jealousy to go on...

  5. We go to Wye River quite a lot and it's Koala Central around there. Son #2 climbed a tree once and patted a koala. In fact I think I blogged about it!

    Haven't seen whales though.

  6. Heck you family know how to holiday! Most particularly impressed with the sighting of the arrow-shaped whale (she says turning computer monitor upside down trying to make some excited sense of things). Ahhh, now I get it.

  7. That's a jam-packed weekend! That Koala is so cute... even his furry little bum.

    I did all our packing last trip and the only things I forgot were MINE! Makeup and an extra pair of shoes.

  8. Am I the only one who just broke out into "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree..."?
    Wow! I can't even fathom being somewhere where a Koala just plays nearby-- what a wonderful place for kids to grow up.

  9. What a fabulous time! We used to go to Wye River (quite close) which was also pretty good in the wildlife stakes. ;-)

  10. Awesome!!! What a lovely little section of Victoria. Just a pity it is called 'Kennett' River! lol

    BTW, word vert. is 'sucked' - what are the chances of that??

  11. How fantastic!

    Now how about a kangaroo?!

    Love the pics of the cucabura (Sp?)
    I can't hear the word gumtree without the song coursing through my head which of course I'll probably be singing now for the next 3 days.

    Looks like a fabulous vacation!

  12. The You Yangs is another great place for wildlife - lots of koalas and kangaroos. And if you're ever heading down Warrnambool/Port Fairy way, stop in at Tower Hill for an absolute Australiana wild life fix. Just watch out for those emus!

  13. What a lovely post; it cheered me up in a rather traumatic week. How can it still be warm and sunny in autumn??? You are such a sweet family.

  14. I love the expression on the kookas face!
    kinda cheeky, kinda smiley, kinda attitude!

  15. Awesome. I like that wiggly slide, as well.

  16. Fantastic. And such beautiful photos!


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