One of the absolute joys of visiting South Australia, are the little reminders that you are surrounded by the most iconic of Australian animals. Just a few minutes out of the city, you’ll start to see signs for Koala crossings, and my partner is always quick to point out the mesh that covers the freeway barriers to allow Koalas to clamber across the busy roads and back up the hillside.
Prior to visiting SA, the only time I’d ever seen Koalas were the same way most people see them: in the zoo or a national park. They do not, as many people overseas would like to believe, just hang around in our backyards waiting for a cuddle, or (in the case of Drop Bears*), to rip our faces open in a bloodied frenzy.
* I refuse to either confirm or deny the existence of Drop Bears, however I do hope Haigh’s chocolates jump on my idea to make raspberry filled chocolate ones.
Still, with all the signs around in the hills, I thought I’d be guaranteed to see at least one. But no, the little
bastards darlings are still quite elusive. With just a couple of hours left until we had to return to the airport to fly back to Perth, I was feeling a bit duped. Were all those Koala crossing signs just to drum up tourism, or what? After having no luck Koala spotting around Mount Barker rd (aka the Eagle on the hill area), we crossed over the Freeway/Princes Hwy over into Mount Osmond for a final look out over the city. By this time, I’d pretty much given up, and with no idea at the time if I’d be back to South Australia in the foreseeable future, I was feeling pretty down about my lack of ‘walas’*.
*Wala is my childhood name for Koalas. Ko-wala. Wala… oh shut up.
Bam! We finally found one! Sitting in a tree in someone’s front yard, the city spread out on the plain below us. This had me giddy with excitement. This just doesn’t happen in Perth!
I’m so happy.
Day made. If you’re ever in Adelaide and don’t want to spend ages scouring trees trying to find one in the wild, you should be able to see Koalas at the zoo or Cleland Wildlife Park.
For more of my adventures in South Australia, please visit these posts:
Ten minutes in Adelaide.
On the way to the airport.
Adelaide – January 2011. Lots of photos from Adelaide Zoo.