It had been planned for months. Student day time TV had got me well into The Crocodile Hunter and I watched it every day while I was hanging out at my friend’s house in Bondi. I was so excited to potentially catch a glimpse of the big man in action. Then a week before the planned visit to Australia Zoo, Steve Irwin died. A stingray barb to the heart had finished him off.

I was in Cairns at the time, staying with my friend who was working at the Cairns Base Hospital when he was brought in. She said the place went insane with his imminent arrival – well he was one of the most famous Australians worldwide at the time. When I made it to the zoo in Brisbane a week later, tributes flanked the gates – posters, tshirts, letters, flags, crocodiles – as far as the eye could see. I realised how completely loved he was in Australia. At the end of my time inside the zoo gates I understood just how much he had done to help and promote Australia’s incredible wildlife. And how much he would be missed.

Australia Zoo Steve Irwin
Some of the tributes to The Crocodile Hunter
Me and koala at Australia Zoo
I had a cuddly koala bear as a child – time to meet the real deal!
Koalas at Australia Zoo
Awwww, koala friends just hanging out
Ampitheatre at Australia Zoo
The famous ampitheatre where Steve did his shows
Elephants at Australia Zoo
Shower time!
snake at Australia Zoo
Australia is home to the world’s deadliest creatures, not this little snake though
Otters at Australia Zoo
Otters at Australia Zoo
Dingos at Australia Zoo
Dingoes – not dogs though, as commonly thought
tortoise at Australia Zoo
Woahhh, massive tortoise
Tiger at Australia Zoo
Beautiful tiger – I felt so lucky to see one of these
Kangaroos at Australia Zoo
You can’t visit Australia and not see a kangaroo!
Me and the kangaroo at Australia Zoo
I touched one! I touched one!
Australia Zoo
Steve has left an incredible legacy in Australia Zoo – good on him

Get Me Off The Ghan! Getting Around Australia
Six Weeks to See Australia: Can it be Done?