Koalas are still found in the wild across Australia, but not often around metropolitan areas. There’s one patch of wilderness left about ten minutes from our house, so we took Benjy there to introduce him to some Australian icons.

After visiting New Zealand and never spotting a kiwi, Benjy maintains that it’s a marketing gimmick created by the NZers to attract tourists. (Come to think of it, we didn’t see any kiwis when visited New Zealand, either!)

When we arrived at the sanctuary, the display centre with the real-live-almost-touchable koalas was “closed for renovations”, and I had visions of Benjy leaving Australia without having seen our iconic wildlife and dismissing them as cousins of the Loch Ness monster.

But we wandered around for a while and soon spotted a snoozing treetopper.

Koala, Daisy Hill State Forest, July 2008
The middle of the day is hardly exciting for koala-spotters as they're usually fast asleep in the tops of the trees.

After our success with one animal, it wasn’t long before we saw some wallabies. They didn’t actively approach us, but they weren’t frightened by the girls (who didn’t know the meaning of “quiet” and “careful” walking). So it was exciting for them, and (I hope) a good experience for Benjy!

Aisha, 3yo, Benjy, + Brioni, 23 months, July 2008
Benjy took the girls to see the wallabies.

Brioni, 23 months, + Aisha, 3yo, July 2008
Although they could have touched it, the girls didn't want to pet the friendly wallaby.