Up Close and Personal with Kangaroos

  • SumoMe

Living in Australia means having the opportunity to meet its national symbol at one point or another. For us, that point of time was last week, where we had the chance to meet and touch the kangaroos in their natural habitat. Of all the places to see these marsupials, who would have thought that one would find them on the grounds of a mental hospital? It’s true, we saw with our very own eyes at least a hundred of these kangaroos roaming freely around the Morisset Psychiatric Hospital, about 100km north of Sydney. And we wouldn’t have known it if not for one of the fellow Malaysians we met during the pot luck session.


One of the many kangaroos


Morisset Park facing the beautiful Lake Macquarie

We reached there some time after 4pm and saw many kangaroos jumping around us, almost oblivious to the presence of humans. Well, oblivious at least, until they saw pieces of bread being offered. At the sight of food, these kangaroos came charging towards us, almost too quickly, but did not cause us any harm. In fact, they would stop right next to us waiting for food to be served, and jump away when there was none after a while. It was quite an amusing sight to watch.


Some of the kangaroos roaming around the grounds 


Feeding them bread


“Do you have food for me?”


“Don’t bite me”


Walking past the kangaroos

I was not one of the brave ones to feed them, even though it didn’t seem to be harmful. 😛 I preferred to be standing at a distance and observing their behavior while capturing some candid shots. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have caught the shot of a kangaroo getting really close to one of our friend’s butt. Or another shot of a kangaroo standing tall and looking as if it was asking for food from one of our friends. :)


Actively jumping




 Enjoying its bread


“More bread please?”

Even though this was not the first time I saw kangaroos, it was indeed the first time that I was so close to them. And we were lucky to spot one of the kangaroos with a joey in its pouch. Super cute! If you don’t mind the hour-plus journey up north, the Morisset Park is indeed a nice place to visit. Surrounding the Lake Macquarie, it is a perfect fishing and picnic location too!


Spot the joey!

NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that bread is harmful to kangaroos as they contain yeast that will ferment in their stomachs, causing digestive problems if fed in large quantities. Obviously we were not aware of this or we would not have knowingly fed something that would harm the kangaroos. To anyone else who visits them in the future, do refrain from feeding them at all.

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  1. says

    ‘super cute’ is what i’d have said too! 😀 i’ve hand-fed a kangaroo (or maybe it was a wallaby), and it was a pretty greedy kangaroo (or maybe just hungry). pretty ticklish as it ate from my hand 😀

  2. says

    Interesting, I used to think that Kangaroos may be harmful as it “tears down” villages and towns. Too much documentaries I suppose. 😛

    But it’s nice to see Kangaroos, tame ones. :)

      • romulus16 says

        Usually it is the male bucks you have to be worried about but the females will mostly just avoid you, the Morisset Hospital Kangaroo’s are just used to humans so a bit different from the normal wild ones 😛

  3. Sophie says

    Just wanted to have an input to all this… I am a local who lives on the Peninsular…and was very curious at all the people we have been seeing walking the streets making their way to the Hospital, both the front entrance to the hospital and the back entrance…me and many other locals are amazed at how you guys walk all that way from the Station and in the heat to see them. I must admit I never get sick of seeing them, and occasionally will take the back way home just to see what our fury locals are up to. ( but of course I am in my car )
    Please don’t be fooled into thinking these Roo’s are really tame… for most of the time they are, however when the big males are around… one should be very cautious… and avoid feeding them… especially in the breeding season…..anyway, I understand it is a novelty for Sydney siders… but as a local I can assure you, they are still just wild animals and used be treated as such. :-)

  4. Jacquie York says

    I am absolutely disgusted that you would be so irresponsible as to actually print that you fed the Kangaroos bread. Bread is made with yeast – yeast is NOT found in the wild. Yeast eaten by kangaroos can cause yeast infections causing blindness and in some cases death. To publicly admit that you visited my workplace and then happily poisoned the indigenous wildlife while taking photo’s of your criminal acts and then published those pictures, ignorantly encouraging others to do the same thing is horrifying. Every day I work with these poor animals, that are the victims of people like you, devastated that it is too late to help them. Next time you decide to feed some wildlife have the decency to find out the correct food for them. Further, if it was not your intent to deliberately poison these beautiful creatures, then use your site to apologize and tell people what they should feed them….NO BREAD!!!

    • romulus16 says


      If it’s your work then do something about it rather than winging online. Last time I checked you had security guards down there, or how about putting up signs so the couple other hundred people that go there weekly know better. I am absolutely disgusted that you would attack someone who did not know any better especially when your work does not educate the tourists any better on the issue or even attempt to regulate it.

      • Jacquie York says

        The security guards only work nights on the grounds. It is a locked site at that time. There are notices not to feed the kangaroos, in the public area of the national park next door. The private area of the hospital is invaded by over 300 backpackers a day during the summer and the hospital does not have the staff available to police the grounds during the day, we are busy looking after the clients. The Papers and local media have ALL advertised the problems with backpackers and other site-seeing visitors continuing to feed bread to the wildlife, but these visitors DON’T CARE. I have personally confronted hundreds over the years, they all say sorry and then drive to a different part of the hospital before doing it all over again.
        If you think that this is the only site that a comment has been left at, think again.
        If individuals that publish photo’s and commentary on feeding poison to our indigenous wildlife don’t get a backlash it will continue the cycle.
        They clearly don’t follow the stories in the media, or the VERY CLEAR directions on site not to feed the animals.
        These are wild animals and I have seen people take their toddlers up to them. Is it going to take the maiming or death of a child before people realize that it’s not only harmful to the animal it’s also DANGEROUS.

    • Kris says

      I am also a local. And am in disbelief as to the large groups of tourists who sit on Morisset Park Rd waiting for their lift while we are all trying to pick our kids up from school. One day someone will get run over.

      But that’s besides the point….

      If you must visit the Hospital (and yes it is still a functioning hospital) then please DO NOT FEED THE KANGAROOS. Bread makes them extremely ill.

    • says

      Hi Jacquie,
      First of all, thank you for dropping a comment on my blog and for enlightening me about the danger of feeding bread to the roos. As you can tell, I certainly had no idea that this was harmful to them. I have since updated the post above to ensure more people are aware of this and to protect the roos. Sorry if this post has upset you!

      • Jacquie York says

        Thank you for your words. While I don not support the feeding of wildlife I can offer some advice: Never allow children close, if you insist on taking the chance to feed wild animals always check first, either online or by calling a local zoo, as to what food is safe to feed them – as a rule of thumb, if its found in nature in their environment, it’s probably safe, and finally fresh fruit, like grapes, is a viable option.

        Jacquie York

  5. deb says

    Do you have any idea how bad it is to feed a kangaroo bread, the yeast etc contained in it is very bad for the health, why not google what is better to feed them

  6. Melissa says

    Do not feed the kangaroos bread. It leads to yeast infections, blindness and at worst case death due. To the yeast. Feel free to pick grass and feed them but just remember they are a wild animal and coming close can have its risks eg kicking, biting, scratching

  7. Ray says

    If you wish to feed the roos, there is a pet shop at the top end of Morisset. You may purchase rabbit food there, and this will not harm the roos. It is not open on Sunday’s, and I think it is open Saturday mornings. I have lived here for the last 40 years, and enjoy seeing people come and enjoy the roos. Just remember, they are wild life, take care, and be aware that the old man roos can be aggressive at times.

  8. Max Marcatili says

    I’m part of a volunteer group that go out to rescue these roos when they’re sick or injured. Aside from reinforcing the “don’t feed the kangaroos” comments above, I’d like to point out that doing so is dangerous. The roos there are NOT tame, they are wild. They can and will lash out if they feel threatened. The big males are especially dangerous during the mating season when they fight each other or anything else that looks like it might be a competitor. If they lash out they can cause really serious injuries and even death. The people I know who have been dealing with these roos for years are very wary when approaching them. Inexperienced tourists should really, really think twice.

    Go, take photos by all means. But please keep your distance and don’t feed them. If you’d like an up-close encounter with aussie wildlife in a safe, managed environment I can recommend either Featherdale Wildlife Park or Koala Park Sanctuary.

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