G’day Australia!

We arrived in Brisbane at about 1.30am local time, absolutely exhausted and utterly relieved at the sight of Dave, a long-time family friend who had very kindly offered to let us stay with him during our time in Brissy. The security at Brisbane airport was, as expected, much tighter than Asia… but we got through without any trouble.

We had been so looking forward to staying in a home again after nearly three months of hostels and we were made to feel so welcome that we could have cried! We were staying in Carindale, just outside of Brisbane with Dave, his partner Sallyanne, her lovely children, Lachlan, Brianna and Cara and the most chilled out, friendly dog in the world, Milo – a Cavoodle, which is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle.

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We woke up early the next morning to the sound of cockatoos and other wildlife outside the window, which was pretty strange at first but a lovely change from traffic and building work!

Here are a couple of creatures that we’ve seen in the garden during our stay…

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Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great on our first day in Oz but this didn’t stop us from having a great day, we played an epic 5-hour game of Monopoly with Cara and then finished the day with a BBQ, which we agreed was the best meal we’d had in our time away. It was a great introduction to Australia!

The next day, we all headed up in the car to Mount Mee, which provided breathtaking views of the countryside.

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We stopped at the Pitstop Café for lunch, which was a fantastic little place with great views and great chips, before going to the lookout point. The landscape was so English-looking! It made us feel right at home!

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On our way back, we popped in to Sallyanne’s brother David’s house for a cup of tea and a Lamington (A New Zealand creation consisting of light fluffy sponge cake covered in chocolate frosting, and sprinkled with coconut – lush!). His house had the most spectacular views with a huge garden and a creek running down at the bottom. It made such a difference being only able to hear nature!
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That evening, we had an incredible roast dinner! Our first in a long time! It was epic, the family must have thought we were insane, but we were just overwhelmed! Three months of mainly noodles and rice had clearly taken their toll…

The following day, Kim and I went to explore Brisbane city centre. We took the bus in and got off right outside GOMA – Gallery of Modern Art. It was free to enter so we spent a bit of time in there looking at the exhibits (and not really understanding most of them I’m afraid…) before heading outside to have a walk along the river.

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We walked along the river front up towards South Bank.

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This made us miss London!

While we were having lunch, we noticed three water dragons sitting quite happily nearby!

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We walked up to the South Bank and were amazed at the inner city beach that we found, complete with lifeguards!

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There was a sandy section and a lagoon, it was just what we needed after wandering around in the heat. We bought an ice lolly and sat with our feet in it for a while – lovely!

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The beach/lagoon aside, Brisbane’s South Bank had a very similar feel to the London one, except it was boiling hot and everyone was in a good mood!

The next day, we went to Australia Zoo, a.k.a. Steve Irwin’s Zoo. It was about an hour away from Brisbane and we bought a package which included transfers to and from the zoo. We even got free badges – win!

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Here are a few of our photos from the zoo…

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We both had our photos taken with a koala too, fortunately it was a  female koala because apparently they smell a lot nicer than the males, sorry boys but it’s a zoological fact!

It was just such an amazing zoo, you felt close to the animals and there were walk-through areas where you could feed the kangaroos and pat koalas! The staff were all really friendly and knowledgeable and it was just a lovely environment.

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Before we had to get back on the bus, we went to the animal hospital which is just outside the zoo. You have to pay for this separately but it’s only $2 and it all goes to such a worthwhile cause.
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When we went in, there were koalas being looked after and also, a sea turtle called Maisy had undergone an operation that morning to amputate one of her fins because it had got caught in some kind of lobster pot. But, she was moving about really well on three fins when we visited and the staff seemed really pleased with her progress.

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It was really interesting to see the hospital and to learn more about how they are looked after. But it was sad to think that humans essentially cause most of these injuries…

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We had a great day at Australia Zoo and highly recommend it to any visitors of Australia! It also made a nice change not to be one of the attractions, like when we were in Jakarta…

The next day, we went back to South Bank for a swim, it was so strange to head into the city and then go swimming at a beach but we had a great day.

The following day, we flew to Proserpine and then took the bus to Airlie Beach, near the Whitsundays!

L

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