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Australia has some pretty unusual animals. With their unique talents, odd names and tendency to want to kill you, it’s a whole new kind of Ark. Think I’m exaggerating? The ten most venomous snakes in the world? Australian. The most deadly spider in the country? Lives in the back yards of Sydney homes. Thinking of going for a swim? Don’t forget about the saltwater crocodiles and box jellyfish. 

Anyway, I keep a sketchbook when I travel, and the first time I headed for those sunburnt shores, I thought it would be fun to warm up to this new destination by documenting some of the most interesting fauna. Because on a journey that’s 22 hours from door to door, there’s time! On the plus side, Australia is home to koala bears, kookaburras, and some pretty sensational fruit bats with 3-foot wingspans who hang out in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

We flew up to Cairns for more wildlife encounters (bandicoots running over our toes at an outdoor restaurant, swarms of angry bees) and spent a day on the Great Barrier Reef. I was swimming too much to draw, so this last page has a lot of white space, as they say. The reef was sensational. What a great trip.