I am a freelance writer for a range of lifestyle magazines, Executive Producer of the John Laws Show on Radio 2SM Sydney and a busy personal trainer.
Published May 2nd 2011
By day, Sydney's Hyde Park is an oasis of green, a place for quiet time amid the traffic and shopping and work. Lovers lay on the grass, children play, tourists wander. But by night, Hyde park is home to a different city dweller – a small, furry, four-legged one. Amongst the bright lights and revelry of the city after dark, lives a thriving colony of brush-tailed possums and if you are lucky, you can meet them, up close and very personal.
The possums nest in the palms, Moreton bay figs and eucalyptus trees in the park and have done so for decades. They thrive on the left-overs from the day's visitors, but have also grown accustomed to well-meaning residents who feed them regularly.
Wildlife experts try and discourage the hand feeding of the possums. It can lead to over-breeding in the park, encourage them to venture onto roads and endanger themselves, and possums do have sharp claws and teeth which of course can inflict injury.
But weigh that up against the opportunity to experience the wild right in the heart of the city That exchange is priceless. There are very few urban areas where you can interact with native animals in their own habitat. Sure we have fantastic zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, but to stare into the liquid eyes of a possum, without bars or wire or any constraints dividing you – that is a memorable experience.
There are photographs taken by tourists from around the world posted on various travel websites, which describe their possum encounter at Hyde Park as the highlight of their travels in Australia, for the same reason. It is such an unexpected delight amongst the glam and glitter of this beautiful city.
The Sheraton on the Park Hotel, David Jones and the bright lights of George and Elizabeth Streets make an unusual backdrop as the possums make their way down the tree trunks from dusk. And yet they seem so at home, so right, in this park.
They share it with other well-known inhabitants – the fruit bats which make their way across the city in their thousands, the owls and the ibis. But it is the adorable, big-eyed possum that will really intrigue any visitor to the park after dark. Take a friend, a banana and a camera and enjoy one of Sydney's most secret delights.
Amen to that - I agree with the what you say about the wonderful buzz you get from interaction with the animals. It really encourages a sense of peace and wellbeing by pasting a silly smile on your face as you mumble "oooh how cute" over and over.
By Dora Bona - senior reviewer Saturday, 7th of May @ 06:54 am
I know how lovely it is, we have a resident possum in our garden, and now we also have a beautiful owl, right in the middle of suburbia, it sure beats seeing them in a zoo anytime.
By ginar - reader Wednesday, 22nd of June @ 01:01 pm