The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

The humble beginnings of Australia’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary dates back to 1947 when a beekeeper/ floriculturist by the name of Alex Griffiths found himself with a problem. The problem being an insatiably hungry horde of Rainbow Lorikeets that were decimating his flower plantation.

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/alexg4.jpgSomething needed to be done so Griffiths decided to feed the birds himself in an attempt to save his flowers. As fate would have it, the scheme worked and, as his feedings gained popularity with the local bird population, word spread among the fledgling tourism industry in the area with visitors ‘flocking’ to the area to watch Griffiths and his birds at feeding time.

As such, the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary was born and, by the mid1950s, (thanks in part to a National Geographic feature article write up in 1956) would become the calling card for south coast tourism with Griffiths himself becoming an iconic Steve Irwin of his time.

Griffiths would continue to work tirelessly to acquire and protect the land encompassing the sanctuary boundaries http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/IMG_11511.jpgand in 1976, in an effort to assure little would change after his passing, gifted the sanctuary to the National Trust of Queensland. Nineteen years later—with a wide assortment of indigenous animals already a part of the mix for some time–Griffiths’ bird sanctuary would be officially renamed the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Today, an average of 450,000 visitors a year pass through the Sanctuary’s front doors to roam the well-tended, 28 hectare (66 acres) area that is home to kangaroos, koala bears, salt and freshwater crocs, dingoes, Tasmanian Devils and more. Plenty more.

As in more than 70 species of birds, 30 species of mammals, 38 species of reptile and 4 frog species.
It’s an impressive collection, especially considering the area’s original raison d’etre.

And yet, for the first four years of my time here, such nhttp://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/IMG_10581.jpgumbers meant very little to me. Four years of commuting along the Gold Coast Hwy and–like a Parisian who steers clear of the Eiffel Tower or a Manhattanite that shuns the Empire State Building—without so much as a casual second glance.

At least, not until Kaia.

Only then would that inevitable first visit be thrust upon me. Suddenly, it seemed, the time had come. The time to put my own blasé indifference aside and dutifully put the interest of my child first and, in my mind, at least, to take one for the team and simply go.http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/IMG_15381.jpg

And for the past six months, armed with a family unlimited entry pass, go we have. Head first into the deep end and, looking back on our visits (now too frequent to count), without even the slightest of regrets.

Six months on frhttp://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/IMG_14921.jpgom our first family train ride together that lit up Kaia’s face and set the tone for so much to follow, the park’s become more than the mere sum of its parts. More than just birds, animals, playgrounds, Blinky Bill sightings, free flight bird shows, sheep shearing, animal feeding times and afternoon Aboriginal dance performances.

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, it seems, has become our Special Place.

And, it’s safe to say, I have a bee keeper to thank for it.

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