Aside

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Hi all,

I’m currently in Australia on a little holiday before I start my next placement at Labplus. Boy is summer hot here! I’m constantly sticky and sweaty and require air con just to survive in this country. Other than the heat, I’m loving it in Aus ! Theres so much to do and the surroundings remind me of home yet feel so new and fresh at the same time. We flew to Brisbane and drove up to Noosa, where we are staying for 5 days before going back to Auckland.

One of the things I really wanted to do was cuddle a koala so it was a given that I had to visit the lone pine koala sanctuary. We bought our tickets online beforehand as it’s cheaper if you prebuy rather than purchase at the door. Even though we went on Monday, there were still a LOT of people so get in early if you want to get a photo of you cuddling a koala. It does cost extra for any animal held photos you want to take (they offer snake photo’s as well), at $18 / animal. Which is quite reasonable as you’re allowed to take as many photos on your own device as well as have a professional photo to keep (printed and free to download digitally). They do ask at the ticket counter if you want to pay $1 for a guide-book but you don’t really need it as there are plenty of maps available around the sanctuary and you can snap a photo of the show times which is shown right after you come out the entrance building.

Below are the photos of me while I held the koala and snake (yes I paid for both and excuse my nasty tan lines).

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They also have a lot of australian icon animals such as the wombat, platypus, dingo, kookaburra, kangaroo, and Tasmanian devil. So you can’t get more Australian than that! I absolutely loved it here because I felt like I was up close and personal with them. You can also pay $2 for a kangaroo feed pouch at the same store where you purchase photo tickets. There’s an open section full of kangaroos for you to freely pet and feed. If you don’t want to fork out the extra $2 then no worries! They are so used to human interaction that you can walk right up and take photos without having to feed them πŸ™‚

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A mum and her joey!

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More photos of some other animals we encountered:

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Tasmanian Devil

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Snake

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Kookaburra

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White crested sea eagle – raptor show

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Sheep dogs at the show

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Lizard


-medlabgeek

Skyline, Kuirau Park and Agrodome Rotorua

On the weekend, my family drove down to visit me, and we took it as a chance to celebrate my mum’s birthday which was on a Tuesday. I decided to shout the family lunch at the Stratosfare Restaurant.

The skyline isn’t as high as the one in Queenstown, but once you get up there, the view is just wonderful. The weather was clear and sunny, so we could see across the lake and you can also get a great view on the whole of Rotorua. I opted for the package option which includes the gondola ride up as well as the buffet lunch for $55 per adult. If that is too pricey, you can always eat at the cafe which is right next door or bring your own lunch πŸ™‚ Everyone is able to see the same view so you would not be disadvantaged. It was such a lovely day that lots of people sat outdoors and ate packed lunches. If you haven’t been on a luge before then I highly suggest you spend money on that instead ! It’s great fun for kids and adults and you will not regret it. Because I live in NZ, I’ve been on them plenty of times so we didn’t do the luge this time, and focused on making the most of our buffet instead πŸ˜›

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After the buffet, we traveled back down and looked at some of the geothermal springs within the town. The one at Kuirau park is quite nice to stroll around (and it is free). There are also little foot pools within the park where the water comes from the springs for you to feel the temperature and have a nice foot soak so wear some sandals if you plan on giving it a try !

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We then went and attended the farm tour at Agrodome. It was veeeerrrryyy busy and packed full of tourists so if you plan on going, book early! We had booked online in advance but when we arrived, they had overbooked and we were about to be turned away (with a refund) until 7 people had cancelled because they were annoyed with the Agrodome. But because of that, my family and I had to sit all over the place throughout the tour 😦

The tour is a bit more expensive than the show and in my opinion, the show is a lot better, you get to see how sheep are sheared and farm dogs show you how they herd the sheep as well as get to feed lambs (but I went when I was very young).

The tour is an hour-long and a tractor carries the group around the farm, showing you the type of farm animals they have and what they are used for, the kiwifruit orchard, manuka plants, olive tree’s as well as let you taste some kiwifruit juice and NZ honey. The highlight is when they let you feed some of the animals with pellets provided. If you are traveling to NZ and your home country does not have many farm’s then this would be great for you as you can get up close to the farm animals and see the day-to-day activities of a farm in NZ.

 

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Red deer

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Llama’s are so cute in a dorky way!

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Baby llama

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-medlabgeek

Wingspan National Centre

Last weekend I went to Wingspan in Rotorua to look at national birds of prey within New Zealand. They are situated around 10mins away from Rotorua city itself. The museum and aviary are quite small and takes around 30mins to 1 hour to see everything depending on if you want to take your time and take some photos. The main highlight is the show at 2pm so be sure to arrive there a bit earlier so you can get good seats as most people arrive at 1.30pm to catch the show. I arrived there around 12 and there was only 6 of us walking around with heaps of car park spaces left but by the end of the show, the carpark was all filled up. The centre closes at 3pm so it’s a really good half day activity if you don’t have much time to do anything else or if you have some spare time and don’t know what to do then drop by for a visit!

The main entrance where you pay also gives you free drinks like tea and coffee and they also have blankets and umbrella’s for you to bring outside if it rains or you get cold (though it is summer here now).

It costs $20 for an adult and all proceeds go to them helping out the birds as it is not funded by the government. The work they do is amazing and the staff there are all very knowledgeable about the birds. Though the show starts at 2pm for NZ falcons, there was a Harrier talk at 1.30 pm during her feeding time so if you sit there a bit earlier you can see the harrier as well.

On the day I went, there were NZ Falcon chicks around 21 and 24 days old so at the end of the show they brought them out for us to look and take photos (though we couldn’t touch). That was very interesting and something I would probably never see again so I was really lucky to go at that time! I was also lucky enough to get chosen to hold one of the falcons on my arm while they fed! They can get through quite a number of people so if you are keen then don’t be shy and definitely put your hand up.

Below are some photos I took from the day, enjoy! πŸ™‚

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-medlabgeek

Queenstown Trip (4)

Date : 3rd July 2016

We woke up quite early today because we had booked an Elm Wildlife Tour in Dunedin at 1pm. The tour is around 5 hrs long during winter and they take you around the coast of Dunedin to see the natural wildlife. It costs $109 for an adult but if you have a student ID, you can get a $10 discount πŸ™‚

We arrived in Dunedin by 12pm and had a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant at the Octagon. The shuttle arrived a little late but it was probably due to a delay from picking up other’s from different locations. From what I saw, they do pick ups at certain hotels but we were picked up at the i-Site visitor centre in the town central.

There were two guides, one that did all the driving and the other which did some commentating whenever she saw certain landmark features or wildlife nearby. They were very informative and didn’t talk extensively, which I prefer. The scenery was amazing, one of the most beautiful scenic places I’ve been to. Especially the inlets that we drove past, as it was in the afternoon, and the skies were very calm, there were hardly any ripples at all so the reflection on the water from the mountains and hills were perfect.

We got to see some wading birds, but due to the lack of wind, we were unable to see any Royal albatross at the Royal Albatross Centre. The stay up at the Royal albatross centre is around 30 mins and that is the only place you can buy some food and make a toilet stop (that is more modernised). They then lead you to a private section where they have a longdrop for people to use and we stay for around 2 hours there to visit two different beaches. Here you can see sealions, yellow eyed penguins and fur seals. By the time we had arrived to see these animals, the sun was beginning to set and the sky was glowing red and purple. Just amazing.

Tomorrow morning we return our rental car and take a 9am flight back to Auckland, so this is the end of our trip 😦

Hope you enjoyed the blog posts as much as I enjoyed the trip!

-medlabgeek