18 April 2007

6-11 April 2007 - Brisbane, Australia

It could be a good couple of years before I see my little sister Penny again, so I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone…see my sister in Brisbane, and actually visit Australia for the first time (yup...flown over Australia many times but have never visited)!

The flight got me into Brisbane airport at 11pm on Easter Friday and Penny (or should I say Penelope) was there waiting for me (iPOD plugged into her ears of course). We had a quick catch up but by 12.30am both of us were ready for bed.

Saturday had a leisurely start to it, and after Penny showed me her lab and all the serious looking equipment and chemicals in it (no playing allowed), we headed into Brisbane city. There I met Mike (her boyfriend) and we had lunch, went to the art gallery, a museum and generally mooched around for the afternoon. Of course a good way to see a place is by boat, so we got the ferry – we spent the next 1.5hrs cruising the river and freezing our butts off as it was windy and the sun was setting. All I can say is there were lots and lots of apartments and office buildings along the waterfront.

After the cruise we headed to a Japanese restaurant to eat, and to warm up. Dinner was delicious and would have been a lovely evening if on the next table there wasn’t a small boy watching a DVD on his DVD player (I kid you not). Obviously his parents either have nothing to talk to him about, he doesn't talk, or he has Attention Deficit Syndrome!

We went back to Mike’s place where we stayed the night and caught a taxi back to my sister’s place so we could get a bus out to Lone Pine Sanctuary. It is the world's first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas. So yes, I got to hold a koala, feed kangaroos and have a very pleasant time viewing dingoes, kookaburras, wombats…all things Australian!

We spent the afternoon there and that night my sister kindly made dinner and we chatted and watched telly. A nice way to unwind and relax as we had to get up early for the Bushwacker's eco tour we were booked on for the next day.

We had to meet the van at 7.20am, and the first stop on the tour was a place called the ‘Natural Arch’. We were driving up to Springbrook Mountain, and this waterfall/arch was on the way. We were basically in the rainforest and you could notice the drop in temperature. Our guide was in a fleece and beanie even before we left on the tour!! After some more driving we got to a track through the rainforest that should have taken us 45mins, but because there was a couple with a 5 month old baby on the trip, and the woman was wearing a skirt and inappropriate footwear, it took us 1hr15mins, which happened to coincide with the rain. So yes, we got very wet and didn’t get lunch until 2pm!

It was great walking through the rainforest, hearing the birds, taking in the atmosphere, and getting a botany lesson or two! We didn’t see any wildlife (other than hearing birds) but near to the Natural Arch we did see a red-bellied black snake on the side of a bank…my first venomous snake!

After lunch we basically headed back to Brisbane, but did stop at a glowworm cave and fed Rosalie birds which was great fun. We also hit the local fudge shop (yum). Four people left the trip in the afternoon as they were spending the night in the forest…3 of them were Korean and didn’t speak a word of English to us, so I felt sorry for the Italian girl who was the only other person doing it.

By the time we got home, had something to eat, drank a wine or two, we were both ready to crash.

Tuesday was my last day so we had a late start to the day and headed into town to do some shopping and see a movie ("300" - very violent). Afterwards we met Mike and went out for dinner.

All in all I had a fab time and was really glad I made the effort to see my sister. I wouldn’t want to live in Brisbane but its climate while I was there was great…26/27 during the day and 17/18 at night. I also love not having to wear a coat or hoodie all the time and being able to sit in restaurants/bars that are opened up onto the footpath.

16 April 2007

6-11 April 2007: Photos from Brisbane, Australia

Me and my little sister!

Walking under a waterfall in the rainforests on Springbrook Mountain

Penny feeding the Rosalie birds

Brisbane city by ferry

Red-bellied black snake...can kill you in an hour


Feeding the local wildlife

Isn't he just adorable?

Looks pretty uncomfortable to me!

Wombats are just plain weird looking animals....