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When my wife and I were planning our trip to Australia, I heard about Tank the Wombat. He’s a wombat at the Billabong Sanctuary that loved to be cuddled. Instantly, I was hooked! We had to plan a diversion to Townsville in the northeast corner of the country. It may have been a crazy detour, but trust me, it was totally worth it.
The Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville
It is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. The only day they close all year is Christmas.
This is an Australian wildlife experience that you will never forget. As soon as you walk through the gates of the Billabong Sanctuary, you’ll realize that this is not an ordinary zoo. Literally, kangaroos and wallabies will walk right in front of you and you can pet or feed them.
Admission is $37 for adults or $24 for children ages 4 to 16 years. Included in your admission are:
- Pat a koala
- Tickle a wombat’s toes
- Thrill to the awesome croc feeding shows
- Wrap yourself in a friendly snake
- Hold a baby crocodile
- Feed the turtles
- Meet some Feathered Friends
- Feed a Cassowary
- and much, much more…
You can even hold a koala and take a picture with it for an additional fee.
And, if you are brave enough, you can hold a crocodile! Don’t worry, their mouths are taped so you won’t get bit.
Tank the Wombat
But the real reason we diverted from our Sydney, Australia vacation to visit Billabong Sanctuary was the opportunity to hug Tank the Wombat. Wombats are the world’s largest burrowing marsupials. They can’t sweat like humans, so they dig into the ground to cool down and be safe.
The handlers told us a story that the Billabong Sanctuary had closed down for a few weeks due to Cyclone Yasi in 2011 that had caused major damage. Tank the Wombat went from being hugged every day to no lovin’ overnight. When the park reopened, the zookeepers thought that Tank the Wombat was sick, so they selected another wombat to interact with visitors. When Tank saw that, he snapped out of his funk.
He wasn’t sick… he just missed all of the hugs from visitors!
Ever since he took his normal place as the center of attention, he has been happy as can be. You know you want to visit him and give him some hugs.
Here is a video of Tank the Wombat getting some love and grooming from one of his handlers.
The Bald Thoughts
When you travel, make sure that you visit places like the Billabong Sanctuary to support their mission of education and taking care of animals. We used 10,000 AA miles and $28 per person each way to fly from Sydney to Townsville to explore this little town, visit the Billabong Sanctuary, give Tank the Wombat some hugs, and see all of the other animals.
It’s ok to explore little towns that are off the beaten path. Sometimes they offer a far greater adventure than if you visited the same popular tourist attractions as everyone else. That’s the whole premise of my podcast, We Travel There. I interview local experts from cities around the world to find out the best things to see/eat/do/drink in their town from a local’s point of view. I’d appreciate it if you checked it out.
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