CELEBRITY chef Matt Moran had the chance to get up close and personal with native animals at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Tuesday.
What has cooking got to do with protected wildlife?
That question was answered when the man with a passion for food visited the sanctuary on the final leg of a tour promoting tourism.
He cuddled Moreton the koala as he spoke of his passion for cooking and travel.
Matt's visit was part of his nation-wide journey, which involves him travelling across Australia to experience and promote quality tourism operators that have earned the T-QUAL Tick.
Only operaters that have passed rigorous assessment receive the endorsement of Australia's new national symbol of tourism quality.
Experiencing Queensland T-QUAL Style, Matt's action-packed itinerary will take him to unique T-QUAL endorsed activities, tours and products in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
After finding his sea legs on a SeaWorld Whale Watch Tour, he headed straight to the sanctuary.
"I'm really quite sad that my tour is winding down," he told My Daily News.
"I feel blessed and privileged to have met so many passionate people in my travels.
"I share their passion and that's special.
"I've seen some of the best days of my life on this tour."
Mr Moran is well known as a celebrity chef on various TV cooking shows.
He was host of The Chopping Block and also joined the third season of MasterChef Australia as a judge and mentor.
The T-QUAL Tick Tour features on Matt's blog (t-qual.tumblr.com), and you can check out his journey so far on YouTube.
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