Wallabies Gone Wild

Western Australia is full of incredible plants and animals and some of the best names I’ve ever heard. Where else in the world would you find jigal trees, wooly butts, or weevils? Or find ants that taste like lemonade and tiny gubinge fruits that contain approximately 50 times more vitamin C than the average orange? It all sounds like the overflow from Willy Wonka’s imagination.

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It also makes delicious yoghurt!

Creek names in the Kimberley are another goldmine. Some of my favourites include: Cheese Tin Creek, Disappointment Creek, Same Creek, Middle Creek, and Mistake Creek.
This prompted me and my esteemed companion (tour guide of the year, no less) to name a few of our own creeks, and I’ve listed the cream of the crop below:
– Polar Bear Creek (because why not?)
– Not Again Creek (following close after Mistake Creek)
– Upside Down Creek
– Deep and Meaningful Creek (inspired by Deep Creek) situated next to Shallow and Self-Centred Creek
– Anal Probe Creek (because it always pays to be aware)
– Shit Creek (with ‘Spare paddle below’ sign underneath and, of course, missing paddle) – arguably the best and one I can’t take credit for

And in addition to humorous names, there are humorous stories. There’s one little anecdote that comes to mind that my brother will absolutely love me publishing online. Let me set the scene…

It’s the early hours of the morning at Fitzroy Crossing. It’s dark, it’s cold, and everyone is asleep. My brother awakes with the realisation that nature is calling and he needs to answer. Extricating himself from dreams, sleeping bag and swag, he starts the slow, stumbling walk to the toilets. Completely oblivious to what’s around him in his half-asleep state, he does not notice the sinister black shape rocketing towards him from the darkness. Had he been half a step faster who knows what would have happened… but it does not do to dwell on such dark thoughts. Luckily, the hulking monster misses him by a hairs-breadth and only gives him the fright of his life, manifesting itself in what I can only imagine was an incredibly graceful stumble backwards. His life flashes before his eyes, he wails internally as he realises that he will never say goodbye to his wonderful sister, and he worries that this evil creature of the night will come back for another attempt. As he recovers from his near death experience, his eyes focus and adjust to the gloom. He scans the horizon for this monstrous Australian behemoth, and watches the wallaby hop off into the distance.

Now, while I’ve never had such a humorous experience with Australian wildlife… Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to stop myself right there. At the original time of writing, past-Amber was 100% correct. She was obviously tempting fate.

On my last tour, on morning two at Windjana Gorge, I was woken up at four in the morning by a persistent plastic rustling sound. With my swag rolled out on the opposite side of the truck to the breakfast table, I shone my torch under the vehicle and spotted the conniving culprit. A wallaby had knocked a loaf of bread off the table and was casually munching on it, completely oblivious to the fact that it was suddenly in the spotlight. I grudgingly left my warm swag and made my way round to the breakfast table, fully expecting the imposing effect of my presence to scare off the ingenious intruder. To no avail.
I tossed my flip flop near the wily wallaby. Nothing.
I then walked right next to it. Nada.
I had to resort to forcibly nudging the marauding marsupial until it was outside the acceptable circumference of the camp. Rescuing the bread, I returned to my swag, triumphant, and settled in for another snooze.

Ten minutes later… the munching resumed.
And the horrifying hopper had had the cheek to start on a fresh loaf of bread.
Adopting the Hansel and Gretel tactic this time, I tempted the tenacious thief away with a trail of breadcrumbs. When I quickly realised the slow and arduous nature of this process, I switched to a dangling carrot-style approach, and then proceeded to experience the most ridiculous few minutes of my life while I wandered towards the bush, bread in hand, and a wallaby keeping pace by my side.

Returning to my swag a second time, I only wanted to doze for a bit before my alarm went off, but the mighty macropod had other plans. Once more the rustling of plastic haunted my half-asleep dreams and this time it had started on the gluten-free supplies. The dastardly diprotodont had crossed the line. Gluten-free is a rare commodity in the Kimberley (try almost $20 for a loaf of gluten-free bread), and I wasn’t losing it to a glorified rabbit. Properly chasing now, and swinging my bag of corn thins as close to the dogged dough-muncher as I dared, I drove off my animal arch-nemesis for the third and final time. Hiding the bread under the washing up basin and realising that there was no point returning to bed, I patrolled my territory until breakfast time.

When everyone else began to emerge, they had no idea of the drama that had ensued that morning. I could barely believe it myself. And let’s just say, I haven’t left the bread out overnight since…

(Additional note: I had way too much fun coming up with alliterative names for my sly skippy)

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Not the wily wallaby in question, but it’s the best photo I have and rock wallabies are just really adorable

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