I'm a copywriter and freelance writer living in Melbourne.
My novel, Another New York Murder, is available online.
Published November 14th 2013
Come and See the Famous Sobbing Cockatoo
There are many must-sees and must-dos when one goes to the Bellarine Peninsula: a ride on the ferry, a trip to Lorne, Fish and chips in Ocean Grove, a pie in Queenscliff, a coffee in Barwon Heads, maybe some discounted surf wear at Torquay where I can relive the glories and horrors of drunken youth, or a drive in the sporty family wagon along the Great Ocean road. None of you need me to tell you these things but there is one attraction that has become a must see for our small family and should be for yours, the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Jirrahlinga in Barwon Heads should sit atop your to-do list the next time you head to the Surf Coast. We make it a habit to go on every trip to the Surf Coast and every time we've been we've had the place to ourselves which is good for us but not so much for the good people that run this fine place. This is more than a mere zoo or animal sanctuary; it's a hospital and rescue shelter for neglected animals or birds that can no longer be cared for by their former owners.
A particular highlight is the cockatoo that mimics a crying baby. My three year old son is content to go no further as we enter, never ceasing to be amused by the sobbing cocky putting on a performance straight out of Home and Away.
There is also an interactive Koala experience where you can get up close and personal to these sleeping beauties. Not too close though as human contact is actually quite harmful to them: a common cold can kill them. But we did have the privilege of seeing one koala give us a full throated mating call which sounded like a large bath emptying. Glad I heard it here and not in the middle of the night on my next camping trip.
There's an impressive array of native wildlife, more than enough to impress the kids or an overseas visitor on their way to the Great Ocean Road. There are kangaroos and emus in a large enclosure and some menacing foxes and dingoes, even some snakes content to sit in a coil in their tanks, safely away from prying eyes. You can watch some wombats wander around their spacious enclosures and some wallabies try and kiss you through the wire. There are also birds aplenty, large and small, bright and grey, cranky and friendly.
So with your fine Barwon Heads coffee in hand and heavily discounted Rip Curl cap on your head, make your way to Jirrahlinga and get up close and personal to some of our amazing wildlife. Jirrahlinga receives no government funding and relies on the park and donations to keep running so do your bit and give it a visit.