THE international pulling power of the Morisset kangaroos was particularly evident on Australia Day.
At weekends, young visitors to our shores regularly catch the train to Morisset, then walk to the Morisset Hospital grounds to see and interact with the kangaroos.
On Australia Day the number of visitors was boosted by dozens of day trippers in cars, and a coach full of happy tourists.
Among the visitors were sisters Alice and Sophia Choe, of South Korea. The pair is spending two weeks visiting Australia for the first time.
Alice said she was loving the experience, the natural attractions, and the people.
“So far I like the Blue Mountains and also I love the atmosphere here,” she said.
“We’ve found the people here are very free, relaxed, and kind.”
She said she had been surprised to see so many people sitting in parks enjoying time out.
In South Korea, she said, people were usually on their way somewhere when walking through a park. Stopping to sit on the grass was not as common in her homeland as it was in Australia, she said.
“You do see it in South Korea, but not every day,” she smiled.
The sisters had heard lots about the Morisset kangaroos, so they had made a point of adding it to their itinerary.
“But the kangaroos are smaller than I thought,” she said.
She was interested to learn that the grounds were indeed home to some kangaroos that stood as tall as her.
The Xre family of Sydney also made the trek to Morisset Hospital on Australia Day to see the kangaroos.
As her children Conan, 18, and Tia, 13, took selfies with, and fed, the kangaroos, mum Tansy said the family had driven to Morisset on the recommendation of friends from Sydney.
“It’s a very nice, quite and relaxed environment,” she said of the Morisset Hospital grounds.
“And poeple can have picnics and do things here.”
Originally from Thailand, Tarawit Phommaha and Sunan Bussabong, were also enjoying their first visit to Morisset on Australia Day.
“It’s not bad,” Mr Phommaha said, as he took photographs of Ms Bussabong with the kangaroos.
International travel websites have long spruiked the location, and travel bloggers have written often about the kangaroo experience in the hospital grounds.
But authorities at Hunter New England Health have previously expressed concern the kangaroos may injure someone, and has regularly stated the flood of tourists is not entirely compatible with the mental health patients who live on the site.
There has also been concern about the types of food that some visitors use to lure the kangaroos.