Don't worry, I didn't injure any wildlife. I just figured this was the most realistic koala I'd see in Australia so I might as well take a picture.This is my third time in Australia. I have kept my eyes to the trees in search of koalas each time. I've gone to national parks that claim they are as plentiful as fanny packs on tourists. I have gone on day hikes, dawn hikes, night hikes, and called out what I can only imagine would be the irresistible koala call of, "Ko! Ko! Koala!"
And maybe not so surprisingly, that never worked. On this coastal excursion, I drove through "koala territory." Nevertheless, no koalas were spotted. I'm sure I've passed by hundreds of the suckers and never noticed them. Koalas do sleep about 20 hours a day. They are also the same freaking color as the trees and barely move, so spotting them is no easy task. I think the tourism bureau should spray-paint their koalas bright orange, solely for the purpose of making them more noticeable to tourists. However, realizing that probably wouldn't be the best for the koalas, I should probably keep that opinion to myself.
Around the small town of Lismore, I drove my rental car up a narrow and twisty country road and pulled off by a small sign for the Tucki Tucki Nature Reserve. The faded sign claimed Tucki Tucki to be the home of many a koala. I laughed at that, but figured it'd still be good to have a nice koala-
less walk. Well after walking downhill I turned the corner-and there was a fuzzy gray butt!!! I walked round the tree and sure enough, it was a real wild koala! I was so excited. Apparently the koala didn't share my excitement because the lazy thing just kept sleeping. After taking some fuzzy pictures, I let it sleep in peace.
So I was more fortunate than many travelers in seeing a koala. But if you do travel here, I'd keep my eyes out for some fuzzy orange balls moving
through the trees...
P.S. As a disclaimer, I would never spray-paint a koala and I don't recommend it. Koalas can bite your finger off so you don't want to get close
enough to paint one!