Brisbane

Brisbane is the first big city we have visited since the single day we spent in Perth. We were both missing the benefits of city life, despite the van, so were looking forward to seeing the city. Once we had arrived and settled into the hostel, in a sort of space, we got a shower and looked into what to do in Brisbane. We knew we wanted to go to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, go to the cinema to see the Avengers, go to the Mount Coot-tha lookout, and visit South-Bank Parklands, so it was planning when to do things to make the most of our 3 nights.

After speaking to the girl at the front desk, we opted for the cinema first off. She informed us that the cinema at South-Bank Parklands had offers on tickets on our arrival day, so we set off to see Avengers: Age of Ultron in the hope that it would finish early enough to walk around the parklands afterwards. The film was really good, I’m really pleased we got to see it. Marvel at it’s best, not quite as good as Avengers Assemble, but pretty awesome. We finished at a really good time to walk round the park.

They were listed on TripAdvisor as the number 1 thing to do in Brisbane, and I could quickly see why. They were really interesing and attractive, and an unbelievable place just to walk around lit up at night. The lagoon was almost eerie in it’s calmness, and the big-wheel and lanterns lit the way through the archways covered walkways along the South side of the park. We walked along the river to the North of the park, through the rainforest walkways and on the riverbank, and just revelled in being in a city again. That night, after a car-park debacle, and a semi-conscious episode of the O.C, we crashed early, already loving Brisbane.

We both woke up early as workers left the car park at 6am, and while I slept a little longer, we were both up and ready to leave for the Koala Sanctuary not long after 8. Once Jade had looked at the opening times, I had discovered directions, and Jade had successfully removed us from the car-park, we headed to Lone Pine. We arrived as it opened, and headed straight for the Koala cuddling photo booth. Even though it was an expensive add-on, it was on both of our bucket lists, so we paid, and walked straight through the empty queue.

Jade went first and proved to be a little unpopular with the first koala Barnacle (who happened to be the same koala that Jade’s Dad held when he came in December.) After a couple of failed attempts, he was returned to his eucalyptus tree and Orinico, an 8yr old male koala was brought out. He took to Jade a bit more, so she got her photo first, and they let us have a photo together for our photo of the day.

After Jade was done, I stepped up to the footprints. Orinico was really having any of it anymore, so he was taken back. When she came back, she was clutching younger Caxton, a 4yr-old male koala, who settled straight away. They took a photo of me on my own, and then with Jade, and we were done and on our way. We immediately went to the shop to buy our souvenirs and collect our photos, including extra free print. Lots of famous people have had the same picture, their pictures lined the walls.

We returned to the car to deposit everything, before returning to the park and planning our day. Once we had decided on what to do, and had a snack, we set off looking at all the animals. We saw all the Aussie faves, possums, tasmanian devils, dingoes (which were being walked around the park) reptiles, flying squirrels, and the interactive kangaroo and wallaby enclosure. When we got to the cassowary exhibit we were determined to actually see one, and were finally rewarded.

We went to some of the talks, starting with the bird of prey one. It was quite impressive, the five birds produced did perform, eating their rats and mice with glee and doing lots of cool fly-bys. After that we watched a very impressive sheep dog show, where Dusty and Hunter (the sheepdogs) succesfully herded them through a course, into a pen, before walking across their backs. After the sheep dog show, we slipped away before the sheep shearing in time to catch the snake presentation. Rory, the keeper gave lots of information I didn’t know about snakes and those found in Australia, but the show was stolen by the 3m long Olive python Alinta, who was left to her own devices slithering along the floor and eyeing up the nearby koalas.

On our way back to the hostel, we saw the sign for Mount Coot-tha, so decided to do the lookout on the way home. The panoramic views of the city were really impressive from the top, and gave us a very different view of the city. When we returned, we settled ourselves into one of the giant sofas by some plugs and set about writing up our travels so far, and catching up with our journalling.

When we woke up the next morning, at about 5am, it was absolutely chucking it down. Of course it would be on the day we were walking around the city. We went upstairs to ask the reception desk what they would advise doing, and set off in the direction of the museum. Yes, today would be a day of tasks and culture.

Our first stop was the state library, where we ordered our theme park passes and looked at where we would be able to stay down the Gold Coast and onwards to Sydney. It was successful, was we discovered the rest stops continue, and we got our theme park pass at a reduced price. Next stop was GOMA, the Gallery of Modern Art. Yes, the modern art gallery was our second stop. It was strange, everything was bizarre. I’m not really sure what most of it was.

After our brief visit to GOMA, we made our way to the ‘normal’ art gallery, and after taking a selfie with a weird mask man, we wandered round into the old painting section. I can just appreciate that more than the lake that was in the entrance hall. We actually spent less time there than in GOMA. After a brollie fiasco, where the cloakroom attendant gave our brollie to a staff member, we made our way to the Queensland museum.

I do like a good museum, especially a science museum, or one that has dinosaurs in it. We looked round, saw some fossils, and some really cool aboringal exhibit about Aborigini hisotory. There was also a 100 year celebratory Anzac exhibit featuring those soldiers who received a Victoria Cross, and more information about their, and Anzac history.

After our cultural fill, we walked over the bridge to the shopping centre. We bought the stamps we needed and posted some things we needed to post. After getting lunch, we did the food shopping we needed for the van, and after looking through the souvenir shops we headed back. We wanted to make it back for the taco offer i the evening, so we slipped back out to use the library’s WiFi, but once we were back in we holed up making the most of the plugs before we hit the road the following morning.

It was a shame that we had to sit in the laundry room to get our plug time. It was a shame that we were woken up in the middle of the night as water dripped in through the seat belt holder. It was a shame that we had to leave Brisbane at all, because I really like it here, but… onwarss to the theme parks, surfer’s paradise, and Byron Bay. The Gold coast better had be more sunny than the rainy weather we have seen in Brisbane.

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