STANDING at more than two metres tall, Chris "Brolga" Barnes does not look up to many people, but the Kangaroo Dundee star was in awe of the work of one of his idols during a visit to Australia Zoo.
Mr Barnes yesterday received a personal tour of the Beerwah zoo and its Wildlife Hospital, which he hopes to emulate on his property in Alice Springs.
"I was a little bit blown away by the facilities they have here," Mr Barnes said.
"I was a former zookeeper myself and the habitats here are probably up there with the best in the world and the hospital they've got is really second to none.
"For me, someone who has always admired what the Irwin family has done and who wants to do something similar myself, it was a great opportunity to see how it's done."
Like Steve Irwin, Mr Barnes shot to international fame because of a television show about his exploits rescuing animals.
His show Kangaroo Dundee drew 1.7 million viewers when it first aired in the United Kingdom and a further million online replays, and later aired on ABC in Australia.
It followed his experiences rescuing kangaroos and rehabilitating them on his property outside Alice Springs and has led to numerous book offers and media opportunities.
Mr Barnes hopes to convert his property into Central Australia's first wildlife hospital and believes the trip to Australia Zoo will pay dividends.
"It won't be anywhere near as big as this, not in my wildest dreams," he said. "But if I can have anything like this out in Alice I'll be very happy."