+countries++photographic galleries++cairns and cape york peninsula++cairns wildlife dome

NOT too many tourists make it to Lake Cargelligo, but it has something in the middle of it that most Outback towns only dream about: a big body of water. Early European explorers in Australia were obsessed with finding the Great Inland Sea, the mythical lake or ocean which would irrigate an agricultural Eden. Cairns Wildlife Dome calls itself "your zoo in the city", but I would prefer to think of it as a rainforest in the sky. Free roaming animals and birds, elevated boardwalks, Japanese tourists gawking at the reptiles and ... Other birds in the dome include: fruit doves, Wonga pigeons, red-tailed black cockatoos, the Papuan frogmouth showing what it can do with its beak, and some wandering whistling ducks. Somewhere in the undergrowth I saw an albino kookaburra. An American man pointed to a sign portraying all the different species to be found in the dome, and asked his daughter: "What's your favourite bird?" "The rainbow lorikeet," she replied, without any hesitation. For southerners like my father and I, rainbow lorikeets are dime a dozen and something of a pest, but you have to admit they are colourful, and I can understand why foreigners like them. "Yeah, they sure are pretty," the father agreed. Unfortunately, the lorikeets are not allowed to fly free in the dome anymore, because they used to pluck the koalas' fur. What did I say about lorikeets being pests!