Enjoying a piece of the world famous Great Ocean Walk, I happen to find myself camping on night two in a little spot that wasn’t idyllic. As a former paddock, cows had trampled through not so long ago, as was evidenced by the dried out cow patties that consequently drenched the site drenched with flies.
But I didn’t care. I was sharing the campsite with much more than flies. From any given vantage point, you could see no less than three koalas in trees, and judging by the sounds of exorcism at night (we’ll get to that soon), I’d say there were a few dozen of them within 50 metres of where I (not so peacefully) slept.
But first, let me tell you how I got here.
I’ve recently made ties with an outdoor education company that leads students in an outdoor setting for anything from two to 30 days. With the outdoor experience I have plus a desire to see more of Australia, being a casual support staff member to go out on trips whenever I’m needed suits me very well.
My first trip was along Great Ocean Walk (which follows a similar route to Great Ocean Road) in the Cape Otway region just recently. I was with a group of 14 Grade 8 students, and we walked and camped together for three days.
The trip itself was terrific, including an education session with a Bass Strait historian who had us chew seaweed and search for penguins on the beach, three brilliant days of walking, and two gorgeous nights of camping.
And on the second night, we got a treat. Dozens and dozens of mating koalas.
Although we weren’t lucky enough to see any of them shag (the school group staying at this site the night before did – can you imagine the conversations the students had about it), we did get many very close and personal views of koalas.
Spotting a koala can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it you can’t help but see them just about everywhere. They live in eucalyptus trees, and the best koala-spotting technique I’ve developed so far is simply to look for blobs in trees. It may take a while at first, but if you are in a koala-heavy area, once you spot one, you’ll soon see more.
And a few more yet.
But what is truly charming (if you can call it that) about the cute fuzzy koala bear, is their love call. Their mating mantra. Their expressions of romance and tenderness. Their booty call.
If you don’t know what you’re listening to when koalas are feeling amorous, you might think calling a priest is in order; their low guttural growls and high pitched screams sound other-worldly and so far from anything a cute little koala could muster.
Nah. When koalas are looking to get it on, you know about it. I tried to capture some audio of their growls, but unfortunately I never got the timing right. It wasn’t for lack of opportunity though: every time I awoke in the night (which was frequently), I was greeted with these sounds of koala-joy/human-torture.
Ah well. I if I recorded it for you, you wouldn’t believe it was a koala anyway. So instead, please enjoy this video of my koala-findings at Cape Otway (it’s worth it: I really did get close, and they were very uncharacteristically active)!