Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yellow Footed Rock Wallabies

Our stop at Telowie George wasn't to visit the southernmost colony of Yellow Footed Rock Wallabies in Australia, but because we needed to get out and stretch our legs.  It was on our first mini road-trip in Australia.  We were dreading the 4 hour drive to Melrose, and figured we would stop about half-way to break up the drive.  It is funny that we now drive almost twice that distance in a day without even thinking about it.
An 8 km dirt road brought us to a deserted parking lot in a National Conservation Park.  There were a couple of hiking options.  We decided on the short Nukunu Trail. It was mid-afternoon and we still had a couple hour drive in-front of us.
The Nukunu trail is a well marked trail that leads to a rock pool in the Gorge.  The signs indicated that early morning or evening visitors maybe lucky enough to spot an endangered Rock Wallaby.  It also noted that experienced bushwalkers could continue along the creek bed.  After a quick look around we decided to continue up the rocky bottom.  It was a fairly warm afternoon, and our only company were swarms of bush flies.  It was slow going along the creek bottom, and at one point a trail headed up the sloping side of the hill.  I decided to head up the trail, but Mark continued in the creek.  He was about 10 feet ahead of me and 15 feet below me, when all of a sudden in the bush across from me came a loud crash.  As I looked across the dry riverbed I couldn't believe my eyes.  Standing, perfectly still, on the other bank was a Rock Wallaby.  I somehow managed to control my excitement and not scream--so the Wallaby and I just stood there for over a minute staring at each other.  Fortunately, Mark had the camera and was able to catch a picture of the Wallaby.

Rock Wallaby Telowie Gorge

When we got back to the Car Park I anxiously approached the information board to learn more about the beautiful animal I had just seen.  It had looked a lot like a Kangaroo and I wanted to find out what made it different.  It turns out that Wallabies and Kangaroos are both from the macropod family.  As its name implies, this brightly colored animal lives in rocky outcrops.  They are identifiable by their yellow feet, striped tail, and white markings on their cheeks, and undersides.  They are a smaller marsupial (mothers carry their young around in built-in pouches) and stand up to 60 cm.

Rock Wallaby Flinders Ranges


  1. I really love this animal. They look so much cuter than a Kangaroo. I bet you were so excited to see them.

  2. Hi Marta,
    I also prefer Wallabies to 'roos. I couldn't believe when I saw the first one, it was so unexpected--very exciting.

  3. Hi Maya, I found this so interesting. How exciting to come across a Rock Wallaby face to face like that. Great photo capture! I like their yellow tail (which looks as long as they are) and their short yellow front feet. Makes me feel bad that they are an endangered animal there.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and for introducing us to these wonderful wallabies. Have a great day today!