Today will go down as one of the most fun and memorable of my trip. I did so much! I was up bright and early to catch the shuttle bus to the the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, a service provided by my awesome hostel in Brisbane, Bunk Backpackers. We even stopped at another tourist attraction along the way, Mount Coot-tha, where we got to hop out and take scenic pics of the city below us and check out the view. Bonus!
The Koala Sanctuary was next up. I signed up for the “cuddle a koala” package which cost a little bit more but gave me the opportunity to take pics while holding a Koala! This being the sole reason I was in Australia in the first place, I didn’t mind the extra $16. Our group was dropped off and we headed inside the sanctuary to check out the animals and get our pics. I did the photo opp first before checking out the rest of the sanctuary, and got to hold a one year old girl named Tifffin, she stayed very calm and posed for a gorgeous picture with me! The encounter lasted all of five minutes but I was stoked! After that there was a show about the koalas at the enclosure next to the photo booth, and I sat down and learned about the sanctuary, which was created in 1927, and now has over 100 different koalas and a successful breeding program. These little guys are actually not bears, contrary to popular belief, but belong to the same group of mammal as the kangaroo. who knew?
After the show I walked around and checked out the rest of the koalas, who were hanging out in comfy eye level open air habitats, looking as cute and cuddly as can be! There were also Tasmanian devils, platypus’ (platypi??), emus, and kangaroos! In the kangaroo and emu enclosure, you could walk right up to them and even purchase kangaroo food and they would eat directly from your hand, much to the kids at the parks’ delight! Most of them were well fed and super lazy, lying around in the sun, so I plopped down next to one of them and started taking selfies with one. Aside from my koala photo I think I like these ones the best! The sanctuary trip was the highlight of my time in Australia so far, and the day was only half over. At the recommendation of the hostel staff, I took the river trip back to Brisbane on a slow boat, checking out the beautiful houses along the way.
After the meandering boat ride, we were dropped off on the South Bank of Brisbane, which is the cultural heart of the city. Since all the art galleries and museums are free, I decided to take a wander around and took in some great art at the gallery and learned about the Aboriginal history of the region at the Museum. They were both kind of small but hey, free is free and it was a nice change from the rest of my trip to Aus so far. Not that I’m complaining about endless beaches and great weather but hey, I’ve seen a lot of beaches on this trip!
My next trip brought me across the Victoria Bridge into downtown Brisbane, along the Queen Street Mall, which is a pedestrian street with not access for cars, lots of shops and overpriced restaurants, so I browsed and window-shopped my way along the street, getting sidetracked by a cute little art market in Kings Cross square and successfully walking most of the city while finding my way back to my hostel. My dorm room is now full after a blissful almost-empty evening last night, so I escaped to an overpriced coffee shop ($3 for a tea?? whats it made of, gold??) and am now typing to my little hearts content. Tomorrow morning I get on the bus for Noosa, to join some English friends who I met last night and hopefully spend my Saturday night partying on the beach! Farewell Brisbane, you are a cute artsy little city and I really enjoyed my time here 🙂