Sunday, September 22, 2013

Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park - entranceSunday is the first – and sometimes only – day of the week that Gustav and I get to spend together if our work schedules are out of sync, so we generally try to plan at least one special outing. After recent trips west and south, it was time time to turn north again.

When we visited Pierre and Scott in the Hunter Valley some months ago we passed the Australian Reptile Park, and I made a mental note to take Gustav there some day. When I was about 4 years old I lived in the nearby town of Gosford, and the “dinosaur park” – so named because of the giant statue out the front – was one of the bestest places I could be taken. The dinosaur is gone, and the museum has moved to a new site, but seems to have gone from strength to strength.Collecting funnel-web spider venom
One of the museum’s noted activities is collecting snake and funnel-web spider venom for anti-venom serums. Today’s spider milking was before 10am, so I made sure we were on the road at 8am to make it in time. Most of the travel time is taken in getting out of Sydney – if you’re near the “centre” then there’s just no quick way north. Munson would be staying home today – while he would love the day out, there wouldn’t be anywhere we could leave him during our hours at the museum.

Redback spiders in an outdoor dunny snake
tree frogs  chameleon
After surveying the museum’s collection of spiders, frogs and reptiles Gustav is now even more confirmed in his “keep well away from them all” stance – well, except the frogs of course. He loves frogs. I can sense how much he misses our froggy French pond.

Galapagos turtle phone home  P1130996
P1140004  P1130994
The park is not just home to cold-blooded creatures – there’s a colony of lazy kangaroos, some flying foxes and some quite interesting birds ranged around the outdoor areas of the park.
kangaroosflying foxes
After a couple of hours at the museum we drove on to Gosford to coffee. One day I’ll remember which street I lived in then and see if my old house is still there. I remember playing hide and seek under the house during my 4th birthday party and running face first into a spider web. *four year old screams*
I also distinctly remember large blue-tongue lizards around the yard. I wonder if they still venture into populated areas here.

From there it was on to Avoca Beach where Sunday markets were drawing a lot of traffic to the area. We wandered down to the water’s edge but it was too cold to do anything but enjoy the waves and surrounding scenery. There were plenty of dogs enjoying the water, so perhaps we will get Munson up here one day soon.

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