When talking about Australian wildlife kangaroos are easily first animal that comes to mind. These marsupials are the most iconic representative of this great nation standing tall beside the Emu on our coat of arms. Wouldn’t it be an absolute treat to see these hoppers up close?
If you want to see mobs of kangaroos without going too far into the wild, you can visit them in the safe and secure Kangaroo Sanctuary. Located in Alice Springs, the Kangaroo Sanctuary is a home and care centre built by Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns for orphaned kangaroo joeys – young kangaroos whose mothers have been hit on the road.
Meet Chris Barns, The “Kangaroo Dundee”
Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns got his nickname for his height – being 6ft 7in tall, he has been affectionately referred to as Brolga, the aboriginal word for crane. While he was working as a Northern Territory tour guide, he has been noticing kangaroo joeys abandoned on the road, left in the pouch of their mothers who have been road casualties. Concerned about their wellbeing, Brolga decided to quit his job and become a full-time surrogate mom to these kangaroo joeys by building the kangaroo rescue centre.
‘I see myself as more of an educator, motivating other people to care for abandoned joeys,’ says Brolga, who has taken care of hundreds of kangaroo joeys in his growing sanctuary. ‘It is fun after all.’
Brolga is also starting to build the first wildlife hospital in Central Australia, situated on the grounds of the sanctuary, which is now a habitat not only for kangaroos but for camels and birds as well.
Explore the Kangaroo Sanctuary
Over the years, Brolga has expanded his small rescue centre to a gigantic kangaroo sanctuary — rested on a 90 acre wildlife reserve — thanks to the donations of kind-hearted people all over the planet who supported Brolga’s work to help animals in the Australian Outback.
During a sunset tour of the sanctuary, you can take a leisurely walk through the bush while waiting for the kangaroos wake up from their day-time sleep. Visiting the sanctuary house, you’ll observe how Brolga has been raising kangaroos with pillowcase practice – that is, placing kangaroo joeys in pouches to mimic the feeling of being with their mother.
Some of the most famous kangaroos are Smokey Dawson, Sammy and Lynda, who are adorable and shy joeys getting used to their new home. There’s also Keith, who’s more than ready to meet and greet visitors. Watching these joeys try and learn to hop while having fun in each other’s company is a sight to behold.
While looking at the fields of the sanctuary, you might see a stalwart kangaroo whose mighty stance frightens away intruders. This is Roger, one of the many adult kangaroos who are inhabiting the sanctuary. Acting as the ‘bouncer’ of the sanctuary, Brolga explains why Roger had to stay: ‘Roger is the most important dude in the whole place… who missed his chance to go back to the wild because his injuries took long to heal.’
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll also see the baby kangaroo rescue car, where Brolga heads out for his daily patrol of the highway, looking for orphaned kangaroos who are left alone the road.
Hopping to Kangaroo Sanctuary?
You can visit the world-famous Brolga and his beloved kangaroos with an educational sunset tour near Alice Springs, which lies on the Stuart Highway. The tour lasts for about 2.5 hours.
Situated right between Stuart and Lasseter Highways, Erldunda Roadhouse welcomes local and international visitors of the kangaroo sanctuary at any time of the year. Contact us to start booking your trip to meet the Outback ‘roos.
- Barns, Chris. “Kangaroo Dundee: Sharing my life.” BBC TV Blogs, 13 December 2013. Web. 9 September 2015.
- Parker, Olivia. “My Perfect Weekend: Chris Barns, Kangaroo Sanctuary Owner.” 4 January 2014. Web. 9 September 2015.
- “Australia’s Animals.” Australia.com, n.d. Web. 9 September 2015.