Canberra’s Space Station, koalas and kangaroos…all on a summer’s day

Canberra is a city surrounded by bush, so it is possible to visit or work at Parliament House, and then drive out of the city into the bush within a very short time.

Last summer we had family and friends visiting our city, so we decided to take them into the bush, rather than the usual tourist places.

We live very close to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, a great place to see native wildlife in their own environment …….

However, not far away, from this Reserve, on 50 hectares (120 acres) is the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. It shares the Tidbinbilla valley with several sheep and cattle properties… incongruous as this sounds!

Exploring our solar system and beyond

This space station is part of the NASA’s Deep Space Network that spans the globe.

As the earth rotates, three sites, Goldstone, California, Madrid, Spain and Canberra, Australia provide 24 hour coverage of the solar system.

When we arrived on this cloudy morning, two of the satellite dishes were facing the sky…

The Space station provides two-way radio contact with dozens of robotic spacecraft and space telescopes exploring our solar system and beyond..

There is a viewing platform where we sat and drank our coffee while we watched a second dish move slowly down…

and as the sun came out and the clouds disappeared, the dish turned slowly and gracefully towards us. Quite a sight…

While we watched, many birds flew backwards and forwards, completely undisturbed and in fact, some Starlings perched on the dish, and stayed there while it moved around. Birds have amazing ability to adapt to their environment don’t they?

The Space Station has an excellent Information Centre, and I realised it deserved a much more detailed post, which I hope I can do in the next year.

However, for a complete change of pace….

….we had also promised our guests a viewing of the some young koalas nearby in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve…

This handsome young koala is called Billa, and he is one of a few koalas born at Tidbinbilla during the last few years, in a new breeding program started after the appalling bushfires in and around Canberra in 2003.

The koala in the photo below looks as if he has a thick furry black hat on, but this is actually another koala sleeping peacefully behind him.

We were lucky enough to see Billa climb down and hitch a ride with his Mum. This didn’t last long before she gently shook him off……tough love!

On the way out of the koala enclosure, we saw this kangaroo, completely oblivious of us…

As we drove back to the centre of the city, the sky looked promisingly as if it might rain..

and sure enough, as we sat by the lake having a glass of wine, there was some light rain…

and then this magnificent rainbow appeared  just near the Australian Museum

Most people had packed up their picnic suppers and left when the rain came….but the few that stayed were stunned by the sight

This little girl was pointing the to height of the rainbow, little knowing the pot of gold was nearby..

After the rainbow came this glorious sunset…..a wonderful way to end a day of sight-seeing…

I hope you are getting a few rainbows in your life, and perhaps some magnificent sunsets as well!

For those interested in koalas, I have written a previous post about koalas at Tidbinbilla…..

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, fire, rain, water and new life


Copyright: Geraldine Mackey All Right Reserved.

20 Replies to “Canberra’s Space Station, koalas and kangaroos…all on a summer’s day”

  1. What a way to start the day! You sure got this Mainer’s attention. Many times, you have written about how exotic Maine seems to you. (To me, it’s just home.) Well, the reverse is true. Holy guacamole, I would be thrilled beyond belief to see koalas and kangaroos in their native habitats. I especially liked the picture of the koala scratching his or her belly. Many, many thanks for posting these pictures. Also, thanks for providing info about the space stations. I didn’t even know they existed.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the kangaroos & koalas… They are pretty cute. There are quite a few US NASA employees working on the Space station.. They would be driving by kangaroos every day!

  2. What a fascinating post and those pictures of the rainbow and the evening sky were the icing on the cake.

    1. So glad you are enjoying the Aussie animals and posts……the koalas are looking very healthy and happy at Tidbinbilla.

  3. Thank you for the link to your other post about koalas. I am so pleased the new breeding program is so successful after those dreadful fires fifteen years ago. I loved seeing the koalas, the kangaroos and the wallaby! The rainbow (a double one!) is a fabulous one – I am glad you were able to photograph it! The space station must be an interesting place to visit too. I look forward to a post about it.

    1. I’m glad you had a chance to read my earlier post on koalas because the bush fires were dreadful & it is wonderful now to see big healthy koalas like Billa surviving well near Canberra.

  4. Those koala bears sure are cute. Where we’re staying right now there are lots of black bears, who weigh over 200 lbs. and not so cuddly. Hikers are advised to make plenty of noise to make sure they don’t surprise any black bears in their path.

    1. My goodness! Your big black bears sound like a force to be reckoned with! I’ve heard they can be a problem in your National Parks. ( people & wild animals are never a good mix I think!)

  5. Lovely seeing the space station, looking forward to hearing more. We have one near us, fascinating places they are. Your mention of bush fires chilled me, we have a few raging away nearby, the damage to wildlife is awful/ Oh, just wonderful seeing the koalas, especially little Billa! I was always astonished seeing kangaroos while living in Oz, what a privilege!
    That certainly sounds like my kind of day, especially seeing such dazzling rainbows and sunsets while enjoying a glass of wine! Bet your visitors were

    1. I hope your bush fires don’t last…they are awful. Yes, the kangaroos & koalas are good to see so close to Canberra,

  6. I always enjoying seeing Aussie wildlife, lovely photos of the koalas. And fascinating shots of the space station. I hadn’t realised it was so close to Canberra. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Parkes in NSW. I’ll add this to our next Canberra trip. Thanks for sharing, Gerrie 🙂

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