Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: roo

Looking For Adventure…Wombat!

I love road trips. In Australia, this usually means seeing kangaroo’s. I don my roo glasses (sun glasses) and start “roo hunting” immediately. Al being the good sport that he is, stops (when safe to do so) whenever I start my “ROO ROO ROO” rant. I don’t always take pictures of them anymore, but I never grow weary of watching them watch me.

I'm looking at you!

Last Thursday was no different. Al and I had started out on our road trip to Mudgee for an overnight stay, then on to our final destination of Lightening Ridge. It was a great day for a road trip. The sun was shining, the air was warm and the back roads were calling our name. We do take the highways when we are in a hurry, but this road trip was not hurried so we wound our way through rural New South Wales to enjoy the sights and smells of farmland and the quirkyness of the small towns that dot the roadside.

Imagine Al’s surprise when I started yelling “WOMBAT WOMBAT WOMBAT” (not easy to say) instead of “ROO ROO ROO”. Al dutifully pulled over, but said “it will be dead, because that’s the only wombat you will see during the day”.

“No, it’s alive and grazing on the side of the road”, was my reply.

He humoured me and backed up. Sure enough, there was this very rotund wombat grazing in the nice green grass, near a river. I am not sure why he was there, but I was happy and feeling very lucky to be seeing a live wombat during the day. He may have been out because of all the rain we’ve had lately making everything an unnatural green and lush!

Mmmm, good food!

I was stoked! We continued on our way seeing some kangaroo’s and believe it or not, camels! Out in the middle of nowhere was a guy and four camels. He seemed to be walking them. These would not be wild camels because camels are not found in New South Wales. It was interesting to see though!

We stopped at a little General Store on the side of the road. While Al went to the toilet (yes, this is what they would say in Australia). I was asking the lady what the population of this little town was, her reply…five! She did mention that about 30 other people lived in the surrounding area!

We had stopped there because they had a sign saying “best coffee in town”. It was the best coffee in town, even if it was the only coffee in town, it was good. I struggle with the term “town” when only five people live there, but who am I to argue!

It was then my turn to go to the toilet, which was situated out back! As I rounded the building I noticed a woman just closing the back gate after having driven through. She had five dogs with her who were obviously not counted as residents!

Me, being the animal person I am, immediately struck up a conversation with this woman. I had to pet the dogs and chat with her about the beautiful area she lived in. Of course, the conversation finally got around to me saying “I saw a wombat on the side of the road this morning”!

Her reply was expected, “Yes we get lots of dead wombats on the side of the road”.

“No, this one wasn’t roadkill, it was alive, well and grazing on the side of the road”.

She was surprised! Then to my surprise she leaned forward over the fence and whispered to me, ” I have one”.

“What”?

“I have a wombat”.

I was shocked. Did I just hear her right?  How could this woman HAVE a wombat?

She walked over to a big basket that was sitting on her back porch and started pulling blankets and cushions out of the basket. “That little rotter, she has gone in through the cat door again and will be curled up behind the stove. Go to the toilet, I will go find her and meet you out front to show you”.

I was back in a flash, but she had still beat me to the front. She was waiting in the coffee shop with a very excited Al gazing out the window watching for my return. When the lady had walked into the coffee shop with the wombat, Al had got all excited and said, “You have to wait until my Canadian girlfriend comes back, she will go nuts”.

“I know, I am waiting for her”, was her reply.

I got to meet and hold Mia. It was magical.

I am in heaven!

Too cute for words!

The story behind Mia… friends of the people who are raising her had come up from Sydney for a visit. On the way, they hit a wombat. Being animal lovers, they had stopped to make sure it was dead. When feeling for it to see if it was still breathing, they noticed a movement in the pouch. They put their hand in and pulled out Mia. She was about three weeks old. They took her back to Sydney and nursed her for a week, but then quickly realized that Sydney is no place for a wombat, so brought her back to their friends in the country.

Mia, in all her glory!

Mia is registered and will be released back into the wild when she is old enough. She is only eight weeks old right now. I am not going to say which town or which General Store, or I suspect these two very nice ladies would be swamped with visitors wanting to hold Mia. I do appreciate their kindness in allowing me to hold Mia. This is something that most Australians will never have the chance to do in their lifetime, I cherish the opportunity given to me. It was a moment I will remember forever.

Mia was beautiful, soft and cuddly. She is a typical baby and likes to be cuddled. She has huge buck teeth, really long claws that will one day be able to dig burrows for her to live in. She also has a little backwards pouch. Being backwards, this will allow her to dig without the pouch filling up with dirt. Most surprising is that most of her back is made of cartilage acting as a natural armour for protection. Isn’t nature amazing?

Mia will be raised in this home for about one year before being released back into the wild. Her carers are hoping that Mia will one day build her burrow on their large farm and remain nearby. Mia is one lucky wombat to have been saved and then have such incredible people take her in. I am one lucky person for having met Mia and her carers to whom I am thankful for helping to create a lifelong memory for me.

But, alas, we could stay no longer and it was back out on the highway, looking for adventure or whatever came our way!

Big Red

We have left Perth and are on our way to Margaret River. Driving down the highway when I start screaming…roo, roo, roo! I am excited because I have just seen a kangaroo. Not just any kangaroo, but a red kangaroo.

Playing peak a boo

Playing peak a boo

There are about 40-50 kanagaroo’s in this paddock (for all my North American friends, that’s just a field). We are pulled over (because Al listens to me so well when I am screaming roo, roo roo) on a major highway. Vehicles are wizzing by us. Are they crazy? I think everyone should stop to gaze and appreciate the beauty of these magnificent animals. They are huge!

In fact the red kangaroo is the worlds largest marsupial. The male red kangaroos can jump over 30 feet in one jump and clear a 6 ft fence without a problem. The male kangaroo can grow to about 6 ft tall and 200 pds. One would not want to get too close to the dominant male in the mob (that’s what you call a group of kangaroos).

I didn’t have to worry about that because we weren’t even close enough to get a decent picture. After letting me goo and gaw over these incredible animals for awhile, Al finally decided we had to move on. I reluctantly agreed, but was so happy to have seen them.

We have grey kangaroos where we live in New South Wales, but no red ones. The red kangaroo inhabits the more arid regions of Australia. I was happy. One of my missions while in Western Australia was to see a red kangaroo in the wild. Mission accomplished!

We continued on to our destination, Margaret River. This region is known to produce some of the best wines in Australia. This region must also be known for it’s lack of signage! Even with a GPS (that never worked and almost went out the window many times) we got lost, many times. That in itself is another story.

One scenic route (lost again) found us in a rural area with farms all around. I noticed a horse lying in a field then suddenly realized that it wasn’t at horse. “Roo ,roo, roo” I screamed. Al slammed on the brakes! What a good partner he is.

Look at the power in that tail!

Look at the power in that tail!

Sure enough, it was a paddock (field) full of red kangaroos. They were all around the farmhouse, in the backyard and in the neighbours yard. We found the back lane that went behind the houses, got out and walked a little closer so I could get a picture. They were everywhere. I got some great pictures of some bounding away.

On the run

On the run

Then the roo that had been lying in the field stood up. It was the head of the mob! The head honcho! The big kahuna! He was huge, well over 6 ft tall and no word of a lie, he had balls that hung down about 2 ft. When he stood up, the harem of roos around him dispersed. I got some great pictures, but you don’t have to tell me when to back up. I am respectful!

Momma with a joey in her pouch

Momma with a joey in her pouch

We got back to the car safely. I was ecstatic. Kangaroos are such a beautiful and different animal from anything else I have ever seen. I just love seeing them.

On our way home from Margaret River, we decided to take the scenic route (the real one) back towards Perth. We would drive until we got tired and then find a hotel room for the night, which is what we did. It wasn’t easy though because apparently hotels aren’t easy to find. We found towns (some quite large), but couldn’t find the main street or any hotels. It was the weirdest thing. If the GPS had of worked, we might have had some help, but it was taking another break (one of many).

We had just been through a town, but luck was not on our side, no hotels! Or, at least not any we could find. We decided to snake our way back towards the highway and try our luck in the next town. It was dusk.  Roo, roo, roo! Man I am good at spotting kanagroos. I just don’t miss a thing!!!

Seriously now. Too cute!

Seriously now. Too cute!

This was a narrow two lane road, but my main man stopped and reversed anyway. He couldn’t have me missing the opportunity to see another red kangaroo. There were two of them. They were close to the edge of the road doing what kangaroos do best, eating! I got some great pictures of them, but these kangaroos had no fear. They were not in the least bit interested in me. They were content to keep eating with one eye on the food and one eye on me. This meant they wouldn’t stand up! I still got some great pics!

Don't bother us, we are eating!

Don't bother us, we are eating!

I can tell you, I am home from Western Australia a happy person. I am such a lucky person to be able to experience the magnificence of the red kangaroo in the wild. I look forward to seeing them again…next time I am in Western Australia. Because I have to go back and ride the camels and travel through the Kimberly’s and, and, and…