The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
The humble beginnings of Australia’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary date back to 1947 when a beekeeper / florist named Alex Griffiths ran into trouble. The problem was an insatiably hungry horde of rainbow parrots that were decimating his flower plantation.
Something needed to be done, so Griffiths decided to feed the birds himself in an attempt to save their flowers. Depending on the destination, the plan worked, and as their feeding gained popularity with the local bird population, word spread among the fledgling tourism industry in the area and visitors ‘flocked’ to the area to observe Griffiths. and their birds at mealtime.
As such, the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary was born and by the mid-1950s, (thanks in part to a National Geographic article written in 1956) it would become the calling card for South Coast tourism with its own. Griffiths becoming an iconic Steve Irwin. weather.
Griffiths would continue to work tirelessly to acquire and protect the land that encompasses the sanctuary’s boundaries and in 1976, in an effort to ensure that little would change after his passing, he gifted the sanctuary to the National Trust of Queensland. Nineteen years later, with a wide variety of indigenous animals already part of the mix for some time, the Griffiths Bird Sanctuary would be officially renamed the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Today, an average of 450,000 visitors a year pass through the Sanctuary’s front doors to tour the well-tended 28-hectare (66-acre) area that is home to kangaroos, koala bears, salt and freshwater crocodiles, dingoes, Tasmanian devils. and more. Much more.
As in more than 70 species of birds, 30 species of mammals, 38 species of reptiles and 4 species of frogs.
It’s an impressive collection, especially considering the area’s original raison d’être.
And yet, for the first four years of my stay here, those numbers meant very little to me. Four years of commuting along the Gold Coast Hwy and, like a Parisian walking away from the Eiffel Tower or a Manhattan citizen avoiding the Empire State Building, without even a casual second glance.
At least not until Kaia.
Only then would that inevitable first visit be imposed on me. Suddenly, it seemed the time had come. The time to put aside my own nonchalant nonchalance and obediently put my son’s interest first and, in my mind, at least, grab one for the team and just walk away.
And for the last six months, armed with an unlimited family entry pass, we already have. Head deep inside first and, looking back at our visits (now too frequent to count), without the slightest regret.
Six months after our first family train trip that lit up Kaia’s face and set the tone for so much to go on, the park has become more than just the sum of its parts. More than just birds, animals, play areas, Blinky Bill sightings, free-flight bird shows, sheep shearing, animal feeding times, and Aboriginal dance performances in the afternoon.
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, it seems, has become our Special Place.
And, safe to say, I have a beekeeper to thank.