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How to kiss a camel … By JOHN ROZENTALS

December 16, 2019 Destination Feature, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Come on. Hands up. Be honest now.

How many of you have been snogged by a camel on your birthday? I bet not many.

Oh well, I must admit that Taroom’s (or is it Tarum?) fleshy lips didn’t quite meet mine though it must have been a near-run thing. Who knows what the end result may have been without the chaperonely oversight of Kate Sheppard of Design It Tours (visit www.designittours.com.au).

Just don’t ask to ride one of the more-than-100 camels run by Lauren Brisbane of QCamel at Bells Creek. just outside of Caloundra and overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

It just doesn’t happen that way. The operation is a working dairy, with camel milk as the main product, though one also gets the impression that it’s very much a matter of passion for Lauren, and a labour of love.

Taroom cuddles up with the writer.

The QCamel story really goes back to 2006 , when Lauren did some research into camels, became a founding member of the Australian Camel Industry Association and fell in love with camels in particular and large clever animals in general.

“I just couldn’t own a small, yapping lapdog, for instance,” she confides.

“What would be the point?”

Kate Sheppard with sparkling wine and a wealth of Sunshine Coast goodies.

Instead she employs donkeys and maremmas, the largest of Italian sheep dogs, as well as a few trusted humans, to protect her precious charges, a few of which were previously savaged at night by wild dogs.

I’m there experiencing a combination of farmgate tours — ‘Camels and Canapes’ and ‘Camel Cuddles’ — and its certainly an eye-opening experience regarding the intelligence and affection shown by highly intelligent animals often misconceived as ill-tempered.

“It just depends on how you react with them and treat them,” says Lauren.

Kate couldn’t agree more as she knocks the top off a bottle of sparkling wine and serves it with a table loaded with camel products, locally grown fruit and other goodies.

Lauren Brisbane and some of her precious camels.

Which, of course, is how I came just so, so close to kissing a camel on my birthday. I know, I know, it’s sounding like another Max Walker book.

For the record, contact QCamels on (07) 5438 7890 (visit www.qcamel.com.au). Camel milk is rather expensive compared to dairy equivalents (which we should be paying much more for) but does come with claimed health benefits (see website).

For further information about the Sunshine Coast, go to www.visitsunshinecoast.com.

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