After having been cooped up for about a straight week with constant downpours, Alina and I were ready to get out a bit and see something new on the Tablelands. After checking out a bunch of options, we decided to go for a hike at Granite Gorge Nature Park, which is just outside Mareeba. As the name implies, a creek cuts through the terrain of the area, and the valley is completed choked with giant boulder. Fun for a scramble! Of course, the other reason we wanted to visit was to visit the colony of Rock Wallabies living there, who love to be fed out of hand.
The place definately had an outback vibe, rather drier seeming than the area we were staying, though only a bit further inland. It was exactly the different kind of terrain we were trying to experience. When we arrived we were given a map of the area and a little bag of wallaby food, which looked like fish pellets.
We wandered among the boulders, and immediately, little guys start hopping towards us, eager for a treat!
They were clearly used to this procedure, and nuzzled us quite persistently until we gave up the goods.
While licking pellets out of your hand, they would paw at you with their stubby arms; really adorable.
While doing this, it was easy to pet them. They have really soft fur, kind of like a rabbit.
It was like an entire herd of mini kangaroos, and some of them got quite aggressive, pushing each other out of the way in an effort to gorge themselves.
At one point we saw one with what looked like a furry umbilical cord. It took a moment to realize it was her baby’s tail sticking out of her pouch! We kept feeding her, hoping to see the baby, but it just wasn’t happening.
But aha!, we moved away a bit, and offered more food. As she bounded over, the baby fell out of the pouch! She ignored it and came over to us to eat. He had to hop over all on his own and crawl back inside, head first. Very cute little guy.
After so much fun feeding the wallabies, we continued on our hike in the gorge. Here’s a quick clip:
It was a great scramble over and around huge boulders. Our map had several formations picked out, and we made sure to look for them. There was turtle rock (no good picture, but a big sea turtle), and then a rock that looked like a woman carrying something on her back.
Erik: It’s a rocket, or a squid!
Alina: It’s a baby!
Lastly, Whale Rock! Oh, what a happy whale.
This area was really cool, actually. The path crossed this muddy, quintessentially Australian stream with all sorts of dry vegetation around, and we had to hop about looking for a crossing.
We eventually made our way back to the car park, and spent the next little while looking at all the vibrant tropical birds in cages.
Some of those big parrots have nasty beaks; I wouldn’t want my finger to get near!
It was fascinating to watch them climb up and down the sides of their cages using their talons and beaks as a three point system. One of them even said “hello!” to us, over and over. What a friendly fellow. Our great day was complete when we saw a full on Kangaroo hopping across the dusty road in front of us on the drive back home.