This is the last post on our road trip from Albury to Brissie for Merrick & Australia…sadly the weather was pretty wet & wild; we were washed out on the Central Coast which was such a shame…our spot beside Lake Munmorah would have been perfect for the kids had it not been bucketing down.
Fortunately, by the time we hit Coffs, there was a break in the rain; the sun broke through the clouds!
We had an activity lined up that has always been pretty high up on my bucket list, though to be honest this was not how I imagined it would go down. In my mind, it was to take place somewhere warm, tropical, somewhere free & easy…not in a giant swimming pool in Coffs Harbour. I was apprehensive, but willing to give it a go.
We were getting in the water with a beautiful young specimen called Jet.
JET IS A DOLPHIN!!!!
I have mixed feelings about aquariums and animals in captivity, and I realise that people have very strong feelings about it, and so I asked lots of questions… Jets mum had been rescued and released back into the wild, not once, but twice, and so when they brought her in a third time, with her tail fluke all but severed by a fishing net, they decided to start a breeding/conservation/rescue/education program. This species of dolphin are not endangered here in Australia, irrespective of this, the program has helped hundreds of injured marine animals since its inception, and on the day we visited, there were kids and families everywhere enjoying the up close contact with the animals at the park. The keepers are big into educating visitors on human impact on marine environments, and how we can ensure their survival in years to come. I think that perhaps if more people leave the park in love with the animals and are more aware, then the park has done some good?
We have been to aquariums overseas, in Singapore and in Japan, where the animals were listless, bored, and obviously not thriving, and walked away feeling angry, and if I’m honest, dirty! This is not the case here in Coffs…the animals are obviously happy & full of beans, and actively seek out human interaction.
And so it was time to get in the pool, which was freezing, because that’s the way the dolphins like it! Jet reminded me of a boisterous puppy, and he was very obviously in love with his keeper. We played, we learnt all about dolphin anatomy & behaviours, and then we swam! It was exhilarating!!!!! It is not a cheap family day out, but it was a very special day out. Sealed with a kiss. From a seal, with super fishy breath!
After the excitement of the porpoise pool, we headed to our caravan park, with the obligatory selfie at the Big Banana of course. We arrived at the Lorikeet Tourist Park just on 3 pm, which is when they feed the local lorikeets….hundreds of them! It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen; both kids covered in rainbow birds! Love!
We stayed at The Lorikeet Tourist Park, Arrawarra
Dolphin & Seal swimming encounters with thanks to Dolphin Marine Magic, Coffs Harbour