Answers to Your Questions About Kangaroos

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When you think of kangaroos, you most likely think Australia. It is no surprise as the kangaroo is an iconic symbol of Australia. This oddly proportioned animal with large powerful hind legs and feet for jumping paired with it’s small head and arms as well as a long tail for balance, can be found as a symbol on Australia’s coat of arms, currency, their major airline, and the Royal Airforce to name several of the places this creature pops up in Australian culture.  One of my favorites is the Christmas story of Santa and his six white boomers.  Boomers is another name for male kangaroos.  They can also be called bucks, jacks or old men. Whereas females can be referred to as does, flyers, or jills.  The infant kangaroo is referred to as a joey.

Kangaroos are fun and fascinating animals and can be spotted in the wild, found randomly within neighborhoods, on golf courses or on streets. You can also visit them in sanctuaries, zoos, and wildlife parks.  One of the fun things to do while visiting Australia is being able to feed them by hand. There are many opportunities to have a kangaroo encounter throughout Australia.  Several of my favorites have been Featherdale Wildlife Park, Cleland Wildlife Park, Kangaroo Island, and Kosciuszko National Park.


How many types of kangaroo are there?

There are four species of kangaroo. The red kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, the western grey kangaroo and the wallaroo.  Also related to kangaroos, but smaller are the wallabies.

How high can a kangaroo hop?

Kangaroo have been known to leap in the air up to 25 feet.

What do you call a group of kangaroo?

A group of kangaroo is referred to as a mob, troop, or court.

How large can a kangaroo get?

Red kangaroos are the largest of the species. They can be up to 6 feet tall and way nearly 200 pounds

Are kangaroo aggressive?

Kangaroo males act like any other male animal in the wild and will be aggressive when protecting their mob or territory.  They would only show aggression towards humans when threatened.  It is advisable not to approach to closely in the wild and save the close up encounters for the parks and  zoos.

How many females will a male kangaroo have?

Up to 20 females can belong to a single male’s mob.

Do kangaroo migrate?

Kangaroo will stay put for the most part as long as there is plenty of food. However, they will travel if they are in need of more food source.  They mostly graze on grass and vegetation.

How long does a joey stay in a mother’s pouch?

A joey will usually stay inside the pouch for up to 9 months.

Do they really eat kangaroo?

Yes, wild kangaroo are shot for meat, their hides, and to protect grazing land.  It is quite delicacy and a nice low fat protein alternative.  I eat it on almost every trip and it is not nearly as gamey as our venison can be.

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslAnswers to Your Questions About Kangaroos
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3 Ways to Have a Koala Experience

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Koala (koh-ah-luh).  The koala is probably one of the most loved and iconic animals of Australia.  With their leather button looking noses, small round eyes, and what appears to be soft fluffy bodies of fur,  they have captured the hearts of millions. In fact, they are my very favorite animal.

Often mistaken for a bear, they have no relation what so ever to bears and belong to the marsupial family.  Marsupials are distinguished by the fact the baby is carried and suckled in a pouch. Most marsupials are found and reside in Australia and New Guinea, but here in the states we do have the opossums.

The koala can be found in a variety of states and regions in Australia, but mainly in the forest areas where their source of food the eucalyptus tree grows.  There are over 700 species of eucalyptus, but our picky eater the koala only likes about 10 and depending on which region they live in depends on which of those they like.  The koalas not only smell like this eucalyptus when you encounter them, but the blended oils from eating it act as insect repellent for them.

I know for me the thing I wanted most when I went to Australia was to have a koala “cuddle”, but much to my disappointment that did not happen on my first encounter.  It is good to know that there are only limited areas where “cuddling” a koala is still allowed by law as excessive handling can be quite stressful for these very inactive animals who sleep nearly the whole day.  So how can you get up close and personal with koalas in Australia?


Spotting Koalas in the Wild
One way to see the koalas is right out in their own backyard.  You go out on trek to see if you can “spot” the koala just as it sounds. Koalas sleep high up in the gum trees and with the color of their fur can be hard to spot unless you have a good eye.  There are several operators that do this. One great place is to do this on Kangaroo Island.  It’s a full day of spotting broken up with tea at a billybong  and lunch cooked in the bush. Besides koalas you will also encounter a variety of Australia’s other native animals.  A second option, that I recommend is in Victoria, in the You Yangs outside of Melbourne.  There is a company that has been following a whole system and family of koalas for years. Go out in find them in person while learning all the fun facts such as how each koala has a unique nose pattern.

Koala Pat
The koala pat aka selfie opportunity is found in around most of the city areas and zoos, like Wildlife Sydney,  in the states that don’t allow cuddling.  There are specific times allotted each day to “meet” the koala or even “breakfast with the koalas”. The koalas will be placed on a branch in a viewing area. You will be allowed to go up, maybe place a hand gently on their bum or just get side by side for a nice photo op  or selfie.  Another great option is to include this with a day trip out to the Blue Mountains stopping in the morning enroute to see them for breakfast.

Koala Cuddle
The koala cuddle like the pat is found in zoos or sanctuary areas in the two states that still allow the “cuddle” which are Queensland and South Australia.  Like the pat there are specific designated times when the cuddles are allowed. It is a very short time each day because as mentioned earlier the touching can cause stress to the animals and each koala is limited to the amount of times it can be held. For the “cuddle” the handler will tell you how to hold your hands and stand and place the koala on you supported by your interlocked hands.  You will then have the opportunity to have a photo taken for a fee.  You will be surprised to find out the koala is not as soft as he appears and his fur is more akin to a sheep’s wool.

Any or all of the experiences can be incorporated throughout your Australian itinerary. The spotting in the wild would be a full-day tour that I would recommend booking in advance.  The pat and cuddle can be done more on the fly, but it is nice to have the advanced tickets to the zoo or exhibit you will be visiting and make sure to know ahead of time what time the koalas are available.  Nothing in my opinion quite beats the up close and personal experiences you can have in Australia with these very unique and beautiful creatures.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa Rossmeissl3 Ways to Have a Koala Experience
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Swim with Whale Sharks in Western Australia

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Just when I think my experiences can’t get any more amazing, Australia tops herself.! On my most recent visit back to Australia, I had the fantastic opportunity of making it to Western Australia.  Given Australia is roughly the size of the United States, Western Australia often gets short changed by American travelers as it is an extra approximate 5 hour flight time to reach. However, I am here to tell you, it is so worth the extra time to visit Western Australia and my day with the Whale Sharks is one of the reasons.
Your swimming whale shark experience actually takes place in Exmouth, Ningaloo Reef. Ningaloo Reef is a World Heritage listed site along the north west coast of Western Australia lying on the East Indian Ocean, about one and half hour flight north of Perth.  It is the world’s largest fringing reef and offers a plethora of water and coastal activities for the active adventure traveler to experience.

One of the coolest experiences for you to take part in is a swim with the whale sharks.  Spend the day out in the ocean, in snorkel gear, popping on and off of your boat into the water to swim along these beautiful magnificent creatures.  Between your spotter and your group guide, you will be sure to have an up close and personal encounter you won’t soon forget.


To give you an idea of how your day with the whale sharks will go, let me share my day with Exmouth Diving Centre with you. I highly recommend using this the company with their expert trained staff.  You will even find a marine biologist among them to end your day with all the fascinating facts about the incredible sea creature you just swam with.

First, you will be picked up from your Exmouth hotel accommodations bright and early in the morning and then taken to where the boat is moored.  They will then bring a small boat over to take you on board.  Swimming with the whale sharks is limited to ten persons in the water at the time, so our boat had two groups of ten on board.   Once on board you will head out to the open waters.  While making your way out, you will be fitted with your wet suit, flippers and snorkel gear, followed by a briefing as to how the day will work including the safety precautions and rules of swimming with the whale sharks.

The first stop you make is actually a test swim.  It’s run just like there might be a whale for the group to see.  It all begins with Group One Ready. When you hear that call you slide onto your bottom to the back of the boat and wait for the Go! Go! Go! When you hear the cry, you then quickly get your rear in the water and start swimming.  The test run is to ensure several things, including how to enter the water, is your gear fitting, and can you do it.  I won’t lie, the activity is a bit more strenuous then you realize with getting in and out of the back of the boat. I was happy I had been preparing with daily workouts to increase my strength and endurance. But, no worries on keeping yourself afloat as the wet suits act as floatation devices and you can request one of those pool noodles as well.

Once the testing is over you get back on board and wait for them to announce a whale shark siting. They use a spotter plane above that finds the whales and then gives the captain the location. Once a whale is sighted the boat is off as fast as it can to the spot. Once there the drill and swim commences with “Group 1 Ready!”, “Spotter in!”, “Group 1 Go! Go! Go!”  Let me tell you the thrill and excitement have the adrenaline pumping!  I do have a bit of a fear of deep waters, but once in the water and seeing this incredible creature face to face, literally, my fears subsided and all that remained was pure joy for the opportunity.

Once group one has had their swim, they drop back and tread water until the boat circles round to pick them up, while group two repeats the process.  The dive companies goal is to get everyone at least three good swims.  We were very lucky the day we went out in June to swim with five whale sharks.  In addition to the whale sharks we also swam with a manta ray, saw whales breaching, dolphins mating and a rare siting of a dugong with her calf swimming along side our boat. We had the “big five” as they say similar to if you are safari in Africa.

The best time of year to see the whale sharks in Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef is March to July. Despite that being fall and winter there,  you will find the temperatures in the north west of this region to be quite nice. Temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s meaning you will get plenty of sun exposure and quite possibly return with a tan.

For more information on booking your swimming with the whale sharks and other coastal experiences in the region, please contact me at 1-844-386-3600 or click here to schedule a planning session.

Photos are from my experience and courtesy of Exmouth Diving Centre.
#amazingaussieadventure #justanotherdayinwa #boomerangescapes

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslSwim with Whale Sharks in Western Australia
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Bora Bora Shark and Sting Ray Excursion

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Dunt Dunt Dunt Dunt Dunt Dunt Dunt Dunt….. Did your mind quickly conjure up the movie Jaws? Jaws was a thriller, blockbuster film released in 1975, by director Steven Spielberg, with an unforgettable theme music to portray the shark attack. Were you, like myself, afraid to enter water ever again?

Nevermind, thinking of swimming, especially thinking about swimming in deep ocean water. I wonder how many of us, since the film’s release and its later sequels, developed this fear of being eaten alive.

For me, I was fine with going in the ocean or other waters as long as I could see my feet and touch the bottom. Dark, deep waters were out for me, especially after I was subjected to swimming in lake water where I could not see, but only feel the things that rubbed up against me. I still shudder.


However, on my most recent trip to French Polynesia, and her island of Bora Bora, I participated in an excursion which turned out to be one of the best moments and activities of my entire visit. We did the Swim with the Sharks and Sting Rays excursion.

I was so excited! My mind was like “cool”, we will be in a contained area of shallow water with sharks and sting rays. Wrong!

The Shark and Sting Ray excursion in Bora Bora is roughly a 3 hour small group excursion.

They take you out by boat. And when I say out, I mean out to the wide, open, deep, blue sea. Clear as a bell, but don’t even think about touching here. When the boat dropped anchor and I realized we were getting out into the open waters, my heart started pounding. Snorkel gear was handed out, and we were told that if we didn’t want to get in we could stay in the confines of the boat, where I could just watch the feeding of the sharks while the others snorkeled with them. Well, as they say, “When in Rome..” So, I gathered up all my nerve, put on me gear, scooted my rear to the edge of the boat, and jumped in! Oh my gosh, it was so amazing to put my face in the water and see the tropical fish and shark swimming around me as the driver of the boat sprinkled food across the top of the water. These were blacktip sharks, not known for desiring humans, and certainly not nearly as frightening as the Great White portrayed in Jaws. We also saw a few nurse sharks a bit deeper in the water.

Once back on board the boat, I was so exhilarated. I was just beaming, for not only the experience, but the fact that I had conquered my fear. I was so excited to head to our next spot to see the sting ray. The sting rays were awesome! When the boat anchored here, all we needed was a pair of reef (water) shoes. The water was only about waist deep. Once we were all in the water, the guide got in with a bucket of food. The sting rays along with a few more blacktip sharks immediately surrounded us. They were like puppy dogs or cats, but much more slimy feeling, rubbing up against us. So playful! We had fun stealing kisses and petting them. I hated to leave and move onto our third stop.

The last stop of the excursion took us to the Coral Garden.

We once again donned our snorkel gear and hopped overboard for a swim amongst the rainbow colored coral and tropical fish. The fish loved to get really close whenever you stayed still, even bumping into your face mask. We all tried very hard to capture a picture of ourselves underwater with the “I Love Bora Bora” written in the depths below us. The morning couldn’t have been any better. It was truly an event I will never forget and certainly will repeat on future trips to Bora Bora.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslBora Bora Shark and Sting Ray Excursion
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