Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wolgan's White Wallabies

Three weeks ago I was luxuriating at Australia's Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, a posh property surrounded by national parks just west of the Blue Mountains. It's about a three-hour drive from Sydney and is owned and operated by Emirates Airline (

Luxury can be defined in a lot of ways: cosmically comfortable bed, gourmet food, pampering spa and more. It can also be characterized by access to rare sights in the natural world. Wolgan, a 2-year-old property in a dramatic setting that reminds some travelers of the floor of America's Grand Canyon - except much lusher - has that, as well the the beds, the food, the spa, etc.

One of the coolest things that happened during my recent three-night stay at Wolgan ( happened when I strolled out on the big, wrap-around wooden verandah outside the main lodge, and had my attention called to a white wallaby by the guy who was showing me around. There, in the middle distance on a grassy hillside a little joey - snow-white, in contrast to the usual grey or brown - was hanging out out with Mum.

The animal was too far away for me to get a good photograph with my rather basic camera (and rather basic photography skills). But you can see images for yourself by doing a Google search under 'white wallaby.'

What's a wallaby? Glad you asked, mate. Wallabies, while not kangaroos, look to me a lot like small 'roos; they also have a touch of rabbit, with pink noses and more pink inside their long ears. Of course they have a powerful tail and hind legs, and, like kangaroos, they get around by hopping.

"There are three white wallabies on this property,'' I was told. "They're extremely rare, about one in 25,000 births.''

You can see them, usually at dawn or dusk, in Wolgan Valley's heavily wooded, sometimes rugged expanse.

Now, that's luxury.

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