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Australian folklore

Australian Folklore and Mythology – Our Animals

Australia’s Folklore Animals – Yowies, Bunyips & Drop Bears

Australian folklore is rich in a country of stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and rich indigenous culture. Its Australian folklore’s collection of mythical creatures capture the imaginations of locals and intrigued visitors from around the world. Among these creatures are the elusive Yowies, the enigmatic Bunyips, and menacing Drop Bears. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of these legendary beings that continue to stir curiosity and debate.

Yowies: Australia’s Other Bigfoot

Whilst Kangaroos are from the family Macropod (meaning big foot), there is another bigfoot in Australia. Yowies are Australia’s version of the legendary Bigfoot or Sasquatch, a large, ape-like creature that roam the remote wilderness areas of the continent. Aboriginal communities and non-Indigenous Australians report Yowie sightings and have done for generations. Descriptions of Yowies vary, but generally people describe them as covered in coarse hair, have a humanoid appearance, and stand between six to twelve feet tall. Witnesses claim that these creatures are shy and reclusive, making them difficult to spot.

While many skeptics dismiss Yowie sightings as mere Australian folklore or hoaxes, there are countless accounts of these encounters. Some individuals even share photographs and footprints as evidence. Yowie researchers continue to explore the Australian wilderness, hoping to uncover proof of these mysterious beings. Whether you believe in Yowies or not, they are a captivating part of Australian mythology and continue to intrigue cryptozoologists and the curious alike.

Bunyips: The Water’s Enigma

Bunyips are mythical creatures that live in bodies of water in Australia, such as rivers, swamps, and billabongs. Australian folklore surrounding Bunyips come from Aboriginal mythology, where these creatures are the water spirits or guardians of the Dreamtime. Over time, the stories of Bunyips change forms. Descriptions range from a creature resembling a giant seal or otter to a monstrous, scaly reptilian being.

What sets Bunyips apart from other mythical creatures is their diverse range of appearances and attributes, reflecting the wide variety of aquatic environments in Australia. Sightings of Bunyips are scarce, and are shrouded in mystery, making them a symbol of mystery in the Australian outback.

Drop Bears: A Prankster’s Nightmare

While Yowies and Bunyips have an air of mystery and mystique surrounding them, Drop Bears take a different approach. That is, of a playful, albeit fictional, Australian creature. The Drop Bear is a tall tale created to prank tourists and gullible visitors. According to the hoax, Drop Bears are large, carnivorous koalas that drop from trees onto unsuspecting passersby.

The legend of Drop Bears is a prime example of Australian humor and is often used to play tricks on those who aren’t familiar with the country’s wildlife. Signs warning of Drop Bears and recommending the use of Vegemite behind one’s ears to deter them can be found in various parts of Australia, adding to the fun.

Conclusion about Australian folklore

Australia’s Yowies, Bunyips, and Drop Bears exemplify the rich tapestry of Australian folklore, mythology, and humor that characterizes the country. While Yowies and Bunyips continue to mystify and intrigue, Drop Bears serve as a reminder that Aussies have a mischievous sense of humor. These legendary creatures, whether real or imaginary, add a layer of intrigue and wonder to the land down under. Furthermore, they remind us of the power of storytelling and the allure of the unknown in the vast and diverse Australian wilderness.

sydney enus

Sydney Emus: Fascinating Flightless Giant Birds


Sydney emus have long since been lost to our public. At one time, they filled the Sydney basin. There is a suburb at the foot of the Blue Mountains named after the large number of emus that roamed the area – Emu Plains. They are one of Australia’s most iconic and unique avian species. These large grey flightless birds continue to capture the imagination of people around the world with their distinctive appearance, quirky behaviour, and remarkable adaptability to the harsh Australian environment. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of emus, exploring their biology, habitat, behaviour, and their place in Australian culture.

Emu Biology

Emus are the second-largest living birds globally, surpassed only by the ostrich. An adult emu can reach an impressive height of up to 1.8 metres and weigh anywhere from 30 to 70 kilograms. One of their most striking features is their distinctive bluish-grey plumage. This provides excellent camouflage in their native habitats. Their long necks and legs, powerful beaks, and sharp claws help them in their environment. One interesting fact, is that unlike most birds (apart from ostriches and ducks), they have a penis. Most birds just use their cloaca for both digestive waste and reproduction.

Habitat and Range

Emus are native only to Australia and are primarily found in the vast, open landscapes of the continent. They are most commonly associated with the arid, semi-arid, and grassland regions of Australia. However, we find them in a variety of habitats, including forests and coastal areas. The adaptability of emus allows them to thrive in a wide range of conditions, from the scorching deserts of the interior to the coastal eucalyptus forests. Whilst we no longer find Sydney emus running wild in the Sydney basin, we search for them not far from our city.


We know the emu for its interesting behaviour, which set it apart from other birds. Some notable aspects of their behaviour include:

  1. Nomadic Lifestyle: Emus are nomadic birds, often moving in search of food and water. They can cover long distances in search of these resources, and their wanderings can span hundreds of kilometres.
  2. Diet: Emus are omnivores, with a diet that consists of a wide range of foods, including fruits, plants, insects, small mammals, and even small reptiles. Their diet varies based on the season and food availability.
  3. Breeding: Breeding season typically occurs during the Australian spring (September to December). Emus lay large, dark green eggs and the male takes on the primary responsibility of incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks after hatching.
  4. Remarkable Speed: Emus are incredibly fast runners, capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 km/h. This speed is an essential defense mechanism against predators.

Cultural Significance

Emus hold a special place in Australian culture, both historically and today. The emu has been featured on the Australian coat of arms since 1912, symbolising the nation’s progress (they cannot walk backwards) and the country’s unique wildlife. Aboriginal Australians regard emus as an important source of food and materials, using their feathers and eggs in various ways. Emus are a subject of Indigenous Dreamtime stories, highlighting their cultural significance.

Emus in Conservation

Although emus are not a threatened species, their populations face some challenges due to habitat destruction and hunting. Conservation efforts aim to protect their natural habitats and ensure the preservation of these remarkable birds. Understanding the importance of the emu in maintaining the balance of Australia’s ecosystems is crucial to their long-term survival.

The Battle of the Emus – The war that Australia declared and lost

The Great Emu War, a military operation to combat nuisance wildlife management military operation too place in 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus destroying crops in Western Australia. The government went to war with the emus with full armaments and lost. What is worse, they repeated the same thing again and lost a second time.


Emus are more than just quirky-looking flightless birds. They represent a unique part of Australia’s natural heritage, both in their biology and cultural significance. The adaptability of emus to diverse environments and their distinctive behaviors make them a symbol of Australia’s rugged landscape. As we continue to learn about and appreciate these remarkable creatures, we can also contribute to their conservation and the protection of their habitats, ensuring that emus continue to roam the Australian outback for generations to come. Travel Ideology can search for Sydney Emus on demand. Because we have less than a 100% chance of finding them, this is something that we need to discuss first – Please contact us.

layover at Sydney airport

Layover at Sydney airport (or cruise ship port)

Do you have a layover at the airport? or one of our ports? Why waste your time waiting at the airport when you can do some sightseeing with Travel Ideology? A long layover doesn’t mean you have to stay at the airport. Why become bored and frustrated, wandering around aimlessly while you wait for your next flight. A layover can be a big inconvenience or an amazing opportunity.

Waiting for the next stage on your trip can be extremely frustrating, boring, tedious, etc but it does not have to be with a little planning. Whether you have just arrived on a plane and are about to catch a cruise ship or vice versa, don’t waste an opportunity.

With an Airport Layover, timing is everything

Do you have 4hrs? 6hrs? 8hrs? layover at the airport? Travel Ideology can get you out and seeing something new or different. We specialise in private wildlife tours in the wild as well as showing off the beautiful scenery that abounds in our city. With 4 hours, maybe you would like to get up close and personal with some of the largest fruit bats in the world (on our Walking with Wild Flying Foxes Tour)? With 8 hours you may be able to see some wild kangaroos or wallabies depending on the hours you are at the airport (on one of our Walking With Wild Kangaroos Tours). If you have a spare 10 hours you may be able to see the Blue Mountains on one of our Blue Mountains Highlights Tours.

Depending when your layover is and for how long it is, we may be able to arrange a layover tour to see our large fruit bats in the wild or kangaroos in the wild. We may be able to get you out of the airport and to Bondi or Manly Beach. Why miss a quick trip over our world famous Harbour Bridge or a visit to one of the most well known icons of the world, our amazing and unique Opera House? Why not take the opportunity to take in a zoo or wildlife park and see some of Australia’s unique and bizarre animals?

Imagine the difference between waiting in the airport and taking a refreshing swim at Manly or Bondi! There is plenty of time for sleeping on that long flight back home. You have come all the way to our city with work perhaps, wouldn’t it be great to see something special? Our great city permeates special if you know where to go.

Early Arrival and Late Check In

If you have an early arrival and a late check in to a hotel or a late connecting flight, we can meet you at the airport, assist with your luggage and take you to somewhere more interesting.

Cruise Ship Stopover, Shore Excursion or pre-Embarkation

Should you be arriving or departing on a cruise ship there are so many possibilities with Travel Ideology. Should you have time, come and see some Australian animals in the wild. Many other possibilities also exist so please contact us to discuss.

Baggage – no problem

You can either check your bags in early, store them at the domestic or international airport or bring them with you (subject to the limitation of the vehicle). Ask us in advance and we can normally accommodate.


Before booking into one of our Sydney Layover Tours, please ensure that you have the correct visa in your passport and are able to exit from the airport or from your cruise ship terminal.

Contact us to find out what is possible

Ensure that you have the correct visa in your passport and contact us to let us know when you will be at the airport, whether it is domestic or international, how much time you have and preferences as to what you would like to do and we will come back with some ideas and options for you.

Other relevant links

We can pickup and drop off at the Airport, either of our Cruise Terminals or from your hotel.


Kinsford Smith Airport. Mascot

Ports (cruise terminals)

Circular Quay Overseas Passenger Terminal

White Bay Overseas Passenger Terminal

Sydney bandicoots

Our Sydney Bandicoots


Sydney bandicoots are interesting creatures in their hidden ecosystems. With its intriguing habits, diminutive size, and critical role in the ecosystem, Bandicoots capture the imagination of many. In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of these elusive marsupials. We explore their characteristics, behavior, conservation status, and the efforts being made to ensure their survival.

The Sydney Bandicoots: A Brief Overview

The Bandicoot, scientifically known as Perameles gunnii, is a small to medium-sized marsupial found along the eastern coast of Australia, predominantly in the city. They are part of the Peramelemorphia order. This includes other bandicoot species and bilbies, and belong to the Peramelidae family.


These intriguing creatures are small in size. Adults typically weigh between 600 and 1,200 grams and measure around 30 to 40 centimeters in length. They have pointed snouts, sharp claws, and long, rabbit-like ears, which help them forage efficiently in their underground habitat.

Bandicoot Behaviour and Habitat

One of the most distinctive features of Sydney Bandicoots is their preference for burrowing. They construct intricate burrows in sandy or well-drained soils. These are often located in heathland, forest edges, and even urban areas, demonstrating their adaptability. These burrows shelter them from predators and harsh weather conditions, providing a secure space for breeding and raising their young.

Bandicoots are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. They have an omnivorous diet, which includes insects, small invertebrates, seeds, and plant material. Their sharp snouts and strong forelimbs enable them to dig for food efficiently. During the day, bandicoots escape the sun by sleeping in rabbit burrows and shallow holes lined with leaf litter and concealed by dense vegetation. 

When they dig for food, they leave snout pokes, small distinctive conical holes where they poked their snouts.

Bandicoot Reproduction and Life Cycle

Breeding among Bandicoots typically occurs between July and November. After a gestation period of approximately 12 to 14 days, females give birth to tiny, undeveloped joeys, which then crawl into their mother’s pouch. There, they continue to develop and are eventually weaned at around 60 to 70 days of age. They can give birth to up to five babies.

Conservation Status

Despite their intriguing biology and ecological significance, they are listed as a vulnerable species. They face various threats to their survival. Habitat destruction due to urban development, predation by introduced species like foxes and cats, and competition for resources with other native animals have all contributed to their decline in numbers.

Conservation Efforts

Efforts to protect and conserve Bandicoots have been ongoing for several years. Some of the key strategies include:

  1. Habitat Restoration: Restoration projects aim to enhance and create suitable habitats for bandicoots, particularly in urban areas. These initiatives involve planting native vegetation and implementing weed control measures.
  2. Predator Control: Intensive predator control programs, such as trapping and baiting, have been put in place to reduce the impact of introduced predators on bandicoot populations.
  3. Monitoring and Research: Ongoing research helps scientists better understand the behavior, breeding habits, and specific needs of Bandicoots, aiding in more effective conservation strategies.
  4. Community Engagement: Educating and involving the local community in bandicoot conservation efforts is crucial for raising awareness and garnering support for these precious creatures.


The Bandicoot, with its unique characteristics and essential role in the Australian ecosystem, is a species worthy of our attention and protection. Through ongoing conservation efforts, we can ensure that these enigmatic burrowers continue to thrive in their native habitat, adding to the rich tapestry of Australian wildlife for generations to come. As we learn more about these remarkable marsupials, we gain a deeper appreciation for the intricate web of life that sustains our natural world.


Sydney Platypus

The Sydney platypus is almost impossible to find. They are a shy animal and close to extinction. Even if you find a place where you know they live, unless you remain absolutely quiet, it is unlikely to surface.


The common name “platypus” literally means ‘flat-foot’, deriving from the Greek platús (meaning flat) and poús (meaning feet). The plural is platypuses, platypus or even platypi. The scientific name means duck-like bird-snout, hence the term duck-billed platypus.

The platypus is a weird looking animal

Egg Laying Mammal

What a weird bizarre looking creature is the platypus. It, is a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, from Northern QLD to Tasmania. It is one of the few mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young, together with its cousin the echidna. The eggs are soft and hatch like snake and turtle eggs.

Uses Electrolocation

Like other monotremes, it senses prey through electrolocation. It is one of the few species of venomous mammals, as the male has a spur on its hind foot that delivers a painful venom. The venom increases during mating season.

A great swimmer and great on land

Its webbed feet are ideal for swimming in the water. When platypuses move on land they fold up the webbing under their toes and uses their claws for walking and burrowing. Their beaver like fur makes them water dynamic as they easily glide through the water.

A Hoax

The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when it was first discovered, and the first scientists to examine a preserved platypus body in 1799 judged it a fake, made of several animals sewn together. It was thought to be one of the biggest animal hoaxes in history.

An Icon of Australia

It is an iconic symbol of Australia and culturally significant to several Aboriginal peoples of Australia, who used to hunt it for food. It has appeared as a mascot at the 2000 Olympics and features on the reverse of the Australian twenty-cent coin.

The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales. Until the early 20th century, humans hunted it for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range. Although captive-breeding programs have had only limited success, and it is vulnerable to the effects of pollution, it is not under any immediate threat of extinction.

Platypus Tours

There are areas in and around our city where platypuses are supposed to be known to live. However, we have not been able to find a location where we have had success in finding them. Due to the difficulties of finding wild platypuses in or near our city, Travel Ideology do not run Platypus tours.

We are continuously trying to find places where we can take tourists on wild platypus tours.

Where can I find a wild platypus?

Unfortunately, wild platypuses are notoriously difficult to find and spot. This leaves a trip to a zoo.

This leaves

Taronga Zoo
Australian Reptile Park

Please note that the Australian Reptile Park is near Gosford and requires transport to get there.

Platypus FAQs

+ Can platypuses kill people?

The duck-billed platypus is one of only a few venom-producing mammals. Whilst it is unlikely to kill a human being, it will certainly give a great deal of pain.

+ How do platypuses eat without a stomach and teeth?

A platypus doesn’t have a stomach. Instead it has a separate pouch where food collects, its esophagus connects directly to its intestine. Scientists do not know why this is the case. It also has no teeth and uses a keratin plate in its bill to grind up its food.

+ How many platypuses are left?

They are listed as near threatened. There are between 30,000 and 300,000 platypuses are thought to have lived in Australia.

+ How does a platypus poop?

A platypus has a cloaca (similar to a bird) ie, it uses the same orifice to wee, poo, or have a baby. It lays eggs rather than giving birth to live young.

+ What kind of animal is a platypus?

Like its cousin the echidna, it is a monotreme or egg laying mammal.

+ What is a baby platypus called?

A puggle.

sydney koalas

Sydney Koalas

Our Sydney koalas are disappearing over time as habitat is becoming destroyed.

Meaning of Koala

The word koala comes from the Australian aboriginal languages and means no water. This is because they very rarely drink water. Instead, they live off the moisture from the green eucalyptus leaves that make up their diet. The scientific name for the animal, phascolarctos cinereus comes from the Greek phascolarctos meaning leather pouch and bear and cinereus ashen grey in colour.


However, the koala is not a bear at all. Instead it is a marsupial with a backward opening pouch and a butt consisting almost entirely of cartilage, similar to its closest cousin the wombat.

Though our koalas are painted to be cute and cuddly, wild ones are nothing of the sort. Their fuzzy looking hair is more like the coarse wool of a sheep. They have two opposing thumbs on their hands, and both their feet and hands have rough pads and serious claws to grab onto branches.
In addition, they have two toes, fused together, on their feet, which they use to comb their fur. They can also run at up to 30 km per hour. There are numerous stories of people who have tried to pick them up only to end up with severe lacerations.


The eucalyptus leaves are high in fibre and low in nutrition and are toxic to most creatures. Our koala has a long appendix filled with bacteria that allow the animal to digest the leaves.

They are not born with this bacteria in their system and need to acquire it from their mother when they are young. The mother passes on this bacteria by excreting a sticky runny faecal substance called ‘pap’, which the young ingests instinctively, providing it with the bacteria it needs to eat the leaves in adult life.


However, digesting the poor in nutrition toxic diet means that they need to sleep up to 22 hours per day. This arboreal mammal is able to sit in the trees for long periods because its backside is primarily cartilage just like its cousin the wombat.

Sydney Wild Koala Tours

Whilst Sydney koalas do exist in and around our city’s suburbs, the populations are very small and finding them is next to impossible. Furthermore, once and if found, they appear as a small well camouflaged ball high in the eucalyptus trees. This makes people’s fantasies about finding and getting close to a wild koala in or near Sydney very difficult.

There are, however, some excellent places in other parts of Australia where it is possible to see them. These include: Magnetic Island, Kangaroo Island and The Great Ocean Road.

That being said we are constantly looking at colonies that come onto our radar to see if we can organise spotting tours with at least a 90% chance of seeing a koala in the wild.

Please check out our other Sydney Wildlife tours.

Sydney Wild Kangaroo Tours
Urban Kangaroo Tours
Wild Wombat Tours
Sydney Parrots Tours

Sydney Koalas in Captivity

koala head

We understand seeing animals in captivity is not the same as seeing them in the wild. However, for those desperate to see a koala up close, below are some resources where it is possible to see koalas in captivity.
Taronga Zoo Sydney
Koala Park
Wildlife Sydney
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Symbio Zoo
Western Sydney Zoo

Koala FAQs

+ What is a group of koalas called?

As koalas are fairly solitary animals they don’t generally live in groups. However, a group of koalas (based on the location they live in) is normally called a colony or a population of koalas.

+ Where do koalas live?

They live in open eucalyptus forests in the Eastern part of Australia.

+ Are koalas endangered?

They are listed as endangered and it is thought that there are less than 80,000 in the wild. Unlike many other animals, koalas are not in many zoos outside of Australia due to their strict diet of eucalyptus leaves and the expense in creating a eucalyptus forest just to feed them. There are only a few zoos in Japan, Europe and USA where koalas can be found.

+ Is it true that koalas have chlamydia?

Yes. In some areas up to 90% of the koala population in Australia are infected with Chlamydia.

+ Are koalas friendly?

Just like other wild animals, prefer no contact with human beings.

+ What does a koala eat?

Koalas are strict herbivores. Not only that, they do not eat fruit. In fact they eat only from a few kinds of eucalyptus trees.

+ Are koalas aggressive?

Koalas are normally quite relaxed. However, threats to their territory, their safety or their young triggers an aggressive response. They can pact a punch for their small size. They have extremely strong claws built for climbing trees supplemented with extremely strong arms and strong teeth. Many reports of people trying to help one to safety have ended in bites and scratches because people thought they were cute and cuddly rather than wild animals.

+ How many hours does a koala sleep?

Because of the poor nutrition and toxins in their diet, they sleep up to 22 hours a day and generally eat the rest of the time.

+ Are koalas the dumbest animal?

They have the smallest brains of any known mammals and receive something similar to a ‘high’ on the oils from the eucalyptus leaves. These frisky furry friends spread sexual transmitted diseases including chlamydia. They also sleep up to 22 hours a day to process the toxins in their diet.

+ Why are koalas only in Australia?

Koalas are found only in Australia as they only eat about 15 species of eucalyptus leaves only found in Australia.

+ Do koalas have 2 thumbs?

Like humans, koalas have opposable thumbs. In fact, koalas have two of them on each hand! This makes it easier to grip the trees when climbing.

+ Does a koala have 5 fingers?

Yes. Koalas have three fingers and two thumbs on each paw. On the lower paws, the two thumbs are fused together and are also used for grooming.

+ What happens if koalas don’t eat eucalyptus?

They die. They require their specialist diet of eucalyptus leaves and have a specially designed stomach to process the toxins of the eucalyptus leaves. Only two other animals: the greater glider and the ringtail possum can eat eucalyptus leaves.

+ Do koalas eat poop?

Yes. A baby koala eats the runny substance that follows their mother’s poop called pap. This allows their intestine to grow the bacteria required to break down the toxins in the eucalyptus leaves that they eat.

+ Do koalas need to drink?

Generally the answer is no. In fact the word koala means “no water”. Koalas don’t normally need to drink as they get all the moisture they need from the gum leaves. However, they do drink when necessary, such as in times of drought when the leaves may not contain sufficient moisture.

+ Can I cuddle or pat a koala?

In NSW, it is illegal to hold a koala without a special license. Some other states do offer the opportunity to do so. There are a few places where you can pat a koala. These are namely,
Taronga Zoo
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Koala Park
Symbio Zoo
Western Sydney Zoo
Please note that pricing and experience varies considerably.

+ Can I go on a wild koala tour in Sydney?

At present we do not offer a koala tour. As it is extremely difficult to find them in the wild and when we do, they are a small well camouflaged spot high in the trees.