My First Encounter With Kangaroos

No trip to Australia would be complete without a real life, face-to-face encounter with Kangaroos and I finally had mine on the Sunshine Coast (north of Brisbane).

We’ve been staying with friends in the sleepy, seaside town of Coolum for five nights. They live up a hill that offers some spectacular sunset views of the mountain ranges to the west of the town.

They regaled us with tales of a family of three kangaroos who have become so accustomed to suburban living than you could very nearly (but not quite) walk up and pet them.

They just hop right up the drive, they promised, and stand there looking at you. But by the time three nights and two mornings had passed without any sign of a kangaroo, I’d almost forgotten the elusive marsupials existed.

I’d caught site of a couple of creatures crouching in the shadows one morning, but they turned out to be domestic cats—how very boring (sorry cat lovers).

Then, on Thursday morning, I was taking one of my dawn walks into town when I suddenly sensed something in the shadows, under the trees and away from the streetlights. I stared into the darkness, allowing my eyes to adjust, and as my pupils dilated I could feel my heart opening and the corners of my mouth turning upwards as I made out the shapes of one, two, three kangaroos.

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They stood still looking at me. I stood still looking at them. “They’re not going to hurt me,” I thought. “He’s not going to hurt us,” they seemed to say to each other. So they continued their grassy breakfasts, munching and looking. And I carried on enjoying my magic moment, smiling and staring.

It seemed as if time stood still as I savoured my first “wild” (though more accurately suburban) encounter with the iconic kangaroo. I didn’t want the moment to end, but humans need breakfast too so I said “thank you” and “goodbye” to my kangaroo friends and headed off in search of a good grazing opportunity.

I stayed in town all day. Jakkie met up with me later and I made her a little jealous by sharing my kangaroo experience. Then we made our way back “home” separately and as I walked up the hill at dusk, there in the same spot, were the same kangaroos.

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Better still, I met up with the same kangaroos at the same spot the next morning AND evening. Had another chat with them over breakfast for a FIFTH time today at around 5.30am—-and then when I returned to the Dreamtime (our van) just three hours later, they were still enjoying an extended, weekend breakfast on the same spot of grass at the bottom of our friends’ road.

By this time, Jakkie had also had some one-to-one time with the same kangaroos, so they had become our mutual, marsupial friends. And while each encounter opened my heart, I was beginning to get a little blasé. It’s always easier to cherish something new and extraordinary—like seeing a wild kangaroo for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth time.

It can be much harder to cherish and appreciate the beauty of the ordinary and the everyday, like the people you spend most time with, who are always there.

Part of this journey, for me, is an ongoing practice in celebrating the miracle of in every moment, every day, from the second I open my eyes until he minute that sleep forces them shut.

I hurried home up the hill to share my latest kangaroo encounter with Jakkie, knowing that every magic moment I experience is expanded by having a loving partner to share it with.

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Meeting the new neighbours

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