Prince Charles meets the locals after he and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrived at Longreach in outback Queensland, Austrailia, on Nov. 5, 2012. / Getty
Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, got up close and personal with a baby kangaroo Monday during a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Australian outback.
The two-week royal trip, which began this weekend in Papua, New Guinea, will take the couple to Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney and several stops in New Zealand to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The highlight for the heir to the throne, a long-time J.R.R. Tolkein fan, will be a visit on his Nov. 14 birthday to the New Zealand studio where director Peter Jackson is working on his upcoming trilogy of "The Hobbit" films.
"The prince is a great fan of children's literature and Tolkien is one of the great icons of children's literature," a royal source told The Daily Telegraph.
"He and the Duchess have seen Peter Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' films and the Prince has said he is very much looking forward to seeing Bilbo Baggins' foot."
The royal couple were treated to a native cultural performance at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, before they jetted to the Australian outback. There, they toured the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, where the duchess was introduced to an oprhaned kangaroo named Ruby Blue.
They also were treated to a community barbecue where the prince, wearing a traditional bushman's hat, told the gathering he was "so jetlagged that I feel a few sausages short of a barbie."
The Prince, who turns 64 later this month, said he made his first trip to the outback while still a school boy and had many fond memories of the adventure.