We don’t think much of this caravan park, but at least it really is close to the zoo. We walked there this morning (about 1 km) along the ‘Tracker Riley Cycle path’, where we were regularly confronted with little commemorations of great deeds done by this tracker. When we are home we have to look him up on the Internet, I’m curious now!
At the Zoo we rented an electric cart, because we thought that walking would be too hard for the boys, especially Falco, since they already had walked quite a way to get there. But with hindsight walking would have been easier, since you had to get out of the car every 300 m and had to walk around the areas where they kept the animals. Than you had to get into the car again, put all the seatbelts on, and drive the next two or three hundred meters.
The park was really nice. Not great, no must-see, but it was nice to see animals in a more natural habitat and they had enough animals to keep us happy the whole day. Being Australian they had about five times the area to play with that a European zoo would have and they used it to house extensive groups of obscure (and not-so obscure, i.e. Buffalo) herd animals. Of course, they also had Lions and Tigers, heards of Rhinos etc. and all their animals had an extremely healthy glow, unlike the slightly threadbare ones you sometimes see at home.
Throughout the zoo were earnest posters assuring you that there were not merely a garden of rarities but also an essential partner for conservationists, repopulating the wild etc. The impact of these was somewhat tempered by other posters mentioning that you could also, for a considerable price, hand-feed the giraffe (good chance to get slobbered on apparently) and the Sumatran Tiger (small, beautiful and delicately stripy). Hmmm. We also had to laugh about the warning posters we encountered regularly; with all the dangerous animals in the zoo they mainly warned against the magpies who in their breeding season (August-October) can get quite aggressive when they think they have to defend their young.
There was a fine show in which the something-or-other monkeys got their lunch (yes, bananas) and did some truly impressive howling and leaping about. Our monkeys enjoyed it very much and stopped howling and leaping about for a while in order to watch. I made a little video and will post it when we are back; it really is quite amusing.
The weather had cleared too, which helped, though the wind still made it pretty cold. We have definitely left the warm North behind. Daniel gave us a little scare: when playing in the playground he landed very hard on his back and stayed down, complaining of bad pains in his lower back. After some comforting he proved able to walk and we concluded that he had just had the wind knocked out of him and bruised a hip-bone. We walked, very slowly, down the Tracker Riley path to the Dubbo Bowling Club and had beers and cokes until their Bistro opened.
Clubs like that seem to be an Australian phenomenon: they have good, rather conventional British-type food, extensive bars and rooms full of one-armed bandits. They are clean, bright, safe places where we can fill the kids with calorific goodness and all you need to do is fill in a “temporary membership” form. The monsters ate well, particularly Matthijs who devoured an adult portion of Spaghetti Bolognese, followed by a plate of corn on the cob, apple-pie with ice-cream and three cokes. We cannot decide who’s childhood he is most like: I have vivid memories of shocking adults with me appetite at about that age and Marjolein was able to eat like a space-time discontinuity until we started having the children.
With a couple of beers and a full meal, cooked by someone else, inside us and the monsters comfortably rounded all was well with the world. Daniel was now much, much better, but red-cheeked from a day in the cold wind and quite floopy. Everyone needed a good night’s sleep: we are off to the the Wellington caves tomorrow.