It’s become a personal tradition the last few years, to do something ‘bucketlist-related’ on my birthday! Having my birthday 3 days out from Christmas, it always seems to get lost/forgotten/missed with all the leadup to Christmas, people too busy/away etc – but what I LOVE about my birthday is, while everyone else around me is all stressed as its just days out from the big day (Christmas)…I’m over here like “Yayyyy…its my birthday!” haha love it! Not to mention, being born with my disabilities, my birthday is always a very, very proud day for me personally, for what I have survived and lived through since my birth – my day is very much worth celebrating..and even if no one else celebrates it, I get to do something pretty special on my special day – by doing ‘something I’ve always wanted to do’!
On Thursday December 22nd, I headed excitedly (‘big kid excited’ haha, as always happens inside when I’m about to tick something off the bucketlist!) to Wildlife HQ near the Big Pineapple on the Sunshine Coast, with the vision of a smiling quokka in my mind – exactly the feeling I wanted to have on my special day!
After meeting staff at the entrance, I then wandered down to the reptile exhibit to wait for staff who were going to take me on my Quokka Encounter, only to have a laugh at this enclosure…
…given that it was motor racing legend Dick Johnson (and his son Steve) who inspired me on this whole bucketlist journey of mine back in 2011 – trust me to discover the “Crocodylus Johnsoni” crocodile today, of all days!
Jeremy from Wildlife HQ then strolled through the door, ready to take me to meet Tobias the Quokka…I was really ‘in the moment’ right then – and that’s what life is all about, living in the moment! We wandered through the pathways of part of the Zoo (with Jeremy talking to all the animals along the way, calling out their names…so cute that they all have names! haha), heading towards Tobias’s cute little home – the last time I saw one of their resident quokkas (Tommy) when he first made the zoo his home, it was a rainy Saturday, and Tommy was all cozy asleep in his little burrow, so I didn’t get to see much of him at all…
Before we knew it, we had arrived at Tobias’s little home…I heard him scurrying around at the fence before I saw him – he knew something was up! (don’t know who was more excited, me for meeting Tobias, or the other way around! haha). Wade who does the Encounter then went into Tobias’s enclosure and brought him out for me – Tobias was so, SO cute! We then wandered out over the grass over to a bench to sit on, so I could officially meet the little guy.
Wade stood there for a few minutes, telling me all about this cute little bundle – then placed him in my arms! Awwww haha what a cute moment…he was so, so soft and cuddly – his fur was softer than I thought it would be, he was so cuddly, I wanted to bundle him up and take him home! haha. What is said and shown about quokkas is so true – they have this adorable little smile permanently on their face, and are so innocent and playful – you can see why they are called the ‘happiest animal on the planet’!
*if you look closely you can you see his cute little smile that quokkas are famous for. I tried for a ‘selfie-style’ with a fullon quokka smile, like other photos I’ve seen..but this little man just didnt want to sit still towards the end of my encounter..so playful and cute!
What I really love about this humble little country zoo, is not only the passion and love that the staff obviously have towards their animals, for conservation and educating the public – but it speaks volumes that many of their animals were rescued from a zoo about an hour away, which was being closed down. With nowhere to go, it took the dedication, energy, time, and money involved, of the people who rescued them, for these animals to be saved and placed in an environment where they are now safe to live out their days with the love of those who care for them. The zoo itself is such a lovely, natural environment – and nothing near like the ‘zoos of old’ where the animals were just sat in cages, with no stimulation throughout their days.
Shoutout and a big thank you to Julie, Charmaine, Wade & Jeremy for making my birthday visit to this amazing little Zoo for my quokka encounter, such an enjoyable way to spend my morning! Wade you were awesome with my encounter with Tobias, introducing me to him…and Jeremy, thank you so much for the mini-tour around part of the Zoo, as an extra touch to add to my day, I really appreciated the extra effort you put in for me! Now that I have purchased my Annual Pass, I look forward to my next Animal Encounter…I have my eye on Maly the beautiful big Sunbear…or the cute Tassie Devil girls, they were so funny when we went past them on my way to meeting Tobias – trying to act all ferocious, but adorably cute at the same time! Even sitting there talking to and feeding the mini horses…so very relaxing – come 2017 I’ll be spending more time in this tranquil environment, surrounded by and talking to the various animals – and meeting a few more of them too – I cannot wait to go back to Wildlife HQ again!
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE…when you meet the ‘happiest animal on the planet’!