Posts Tagged ‘Brisbane’

True story – Ryan and I can now say that we’ve pet kangaroos!

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane had way more than koalas.  There were kangaroos, wallabies, birds, and reptiles of all shapes and sizes.

Here is our proof of Ryan petting a red kangaroo.

Look at the way this emu twisted its neck.   They’re not the most attractive animals.  A ‘lil creepy if you ask me.

We also saw a kangaroo with a baby joey (sorry for the blurry pic)

This ‘roo was just chillin’…

Ok, check out this guy’s claws.  Ummm, that was as close as I got.

At the sanctuary we also saw a multitude of birds and reptiles, including: a family of turtles, an iguana, and even a cassowary.  Eat your heart out, Bill Bryson!  We also saw the world’s deadliest snake, the Taipan.  Even with a thick sheet of glass in between us, I can’t say I felt the safest.

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We wanted to showcase some of our favorite pictures we took at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  This posts features koalas relaxing and eating.  ENJOY!

A joey koala…adorable, even from afar.

Koalas eating…

This guy knows what he wants…

This cannot be comfortable…

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Here it is…the long-awaited post about your favorite and mine…KOALAS!

Before I get into it, let’s get one thing straight: Koalas are not bears.  When visiting Brisbane, we spent a half a day at the Lone Pine Koala (not bear) Sanctuary and it clearly said on several informational plaques throughout the sanctuary that koalas are not bears.  Turns out,  They’re actually a marsupial mammal and more closely related to the kangaroo than a grizzly.  I learned quite a lot about marsupials from these articles from Australian Wildlife and (although somewhat shamefully) Wikipedia.  I’ll let you dive in to some of those details while I get to the best part – the pictures!  And PS, I will probably still refer to them as koala bears.

This was not like the typical US zoo that we’ve been to where the animals are caged.  This sanctuary had hundreds of koalas in open “displays” throughout the sanctuary.  There were no cages or panes of glass between you and the koalas.  It was pretty incredible.

I was pretty enamored with them and could’ve watched them all day.  I think they felt the same about me.  This guy, in particular, couldn’t get enough of me.

There was the option pay a sum of money that could’ve fed the whole country of Tuvalu for a year in order to get your picture snapped holding a koala.  We were not takers that day but among those who previously couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cuddle a koala were Eric Clapton, Janet Jackson, and Hayden Panettiere.  The wall of photos made for some good entertainment.  Where else could you see a collection of related pictures that included Taylor Swift, Slipknot, The Queen Mother, and Pope John Paul II?

The next few posts are going to include our favorite photos –although it was quite hard to choose — that we took at Lone Pine.  This includes reptiles, birds, kangaroos, and, of course, koalas doing what they do best; eating and chilaxin’, playing, and sleeping.  We wish you could’ve been there with us!

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Brisbane evenings were just as they should be.  I’d anxiously await Ryan’s return from work as the not-so-patient wife and immediately have some ideas for our “relaxing” night together.

Two of my favorite little hangouts while on the South Bank were Little Stanley Street and Grey Street.  Full of cafes and restaurants of all ethnicities –including one called Beastie Burgers, which you KNOW we gorged on one night– and just a few minutes walk from our hotel, these two streets were the “it” place for me.

When Ryan returned from work each night we’d meander to this area and pick a restaurant for dinner.  One night we had dinner outside at a jazz café while listening to familiar tunes like, “Georgia on My Mind” and “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” and the following night we dined at a lovely Chinese restaurant, called Obsession.  I consider this serendipitous  as it’s quite the appropriate word to describe my feelings towards this type of food.

On the afternoon of a different day, I grabbed a cuppa, did some work, and watched people work diligently to set up the tents for the market later, which we were able to enjoy, later that evening.

Little Stanley Street also was home to Movenpick.  A Swiss Ice Cream shop that could rival (and please don’t come after me for this statement) even the best gelato. Ryan [cough cough] insisted that we get ice cream on our first night in town and we stumbled across this amazing little gem with to-die-for Mint Chocolate and Crème Brulee ice cream.  We, of course, had to return the following night.  I am either the CHAMPION of Lactose Intolerants everywhere or the dumbest of them.  I’ll let you decide.

And because dessert is such a staple to any meal of mine, one night we visited the gourmet chocolate cafe called Max Brenner, which invites you into the cafe by a bright lit-up sign outside that says, “Chocolate by the Bald Man.”  How could you resist?  Inside you’re met with quotes devoted to chocolate, including this one in the photograph below.  

I SO hear you, Max.  Ryan and I indulged ourselves with a dark chocolate truffle and a dark chocolate raspberry bite.  Every bit as gourmet (read: expensive) as I would’ve guessed.

I didn’t mind, however.  It was well worth it for the beautiful atmosphere and experience of Little Stanley and Grey Street.  Silly me, I guess that’s what they’re counting on.

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I’m one of those people who hates being a tourist.  I like to know what I’m doing in a city or at least look like I know what I’m doing.  But since we had such a short time in Brisbane, we decided to take one of those City Sights Tours that brought us around to all the hot tourist spots by bus or by boat.  We could get on and off at any stop and it was all at our own pace.

It was a rainy day but we made the best of it.  One of our favorite stops was the Mount Coot-Tha Lookout, which was very similar to the Melbourne look out except that you looked out at a different city…go figure.  It was called Mount Coot-Tha in respect to the Aboriginal people who used to come to the mountain to gather “ku-ta” (honey).

Once down from the mountain we hopped aboard a CityCat, which is a dream of public transportation consisting of several boats that float up and down the river all day at regular intervals.

We stopped at the Boardwalk Bar and Bistro located on the famous Eagle Street Pier for a cuppa…

We took in the sights of the city from the river…

And we found our future house and boat.

Cruising down the ocean we really got a taste for the city.  There were mansions like the one above that lined the banks of the river and very much reminded me of the views I’d seen many summers boating around Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota with my mom and dad.

There was “old” among the “new” which really gave the city a unique flair.

We stopped for lunch at The Jetty near the Bulimba dock and shared fresh chicken quesadillas and rosemary salted chips (fries) with garlic aioli and tomato relish.

We had one last stop on our tourist-trek that day.  We attended mass at Saint Stephen’s Cathedral.  It was a perfect way to end the day with so much to be thankful for.

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I could be falling in love with Brisbane.  Or it could be an infatuation.  It’s still too early to tell really.  To love a city is quite the commitment and in my life I can probably only claim to love two or three.  But here’s how Brisbane has begun to work its way into my heart.

Another one of Ryan’s work obligations took us up to Brissy so I tagged along so we could have a long weekend.  (Honeymoon leg #4?)  Brisbane, located in sunny Queensland, is located 1,700 km (1,000 miles) north of Melbourne.  Needless to say, we flew. 🙂

Even as early as the first morning, I felt that tingling excitement that I hadn’t felt since Sevilla, Spain.  It’s the sort of feeling that begins as sort of a crush but has the possibility to develop into something much deeper.

And really, what’s not to love?  It’s a beautiful, lively city on a river, with a warm climate, a bustling economy, museums, theater, cafes and mountains and ocean within driving distance.  Even better, it’s clean and safe.

Located in “Sunny Queensland”, according to Wikipedia, Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia (in terms of population) with over 2 million people.  In otherwords, not TOO big, not TOO small.  It’s easy to see why I’m lovin’ this city.

But you all know might know that I am not one to jump right into a commitment, I had to explore the city a little, before a profession of love could be stated.

Our hotel was located on the South Bank, which was, in a word, FABULOUS.  It’s a young and fresh part of city, near the Brisbane river.   After a gorgeous brekkie (of which gluttonous details are explained in a previous post) and while Ryan was hard at work, I meandered around South Bank exploring the great walkways.

I was alone on the streets for most of the morning which also enhanced the “sleepy-little-small-town” feel of the South Bank.  (I should note that this is temporary and that at night, the South Bank becomes one of the most lively and happening parts of the city.)

I stopped at Streets Beach — yes, a beach in the middle of the city — to take some pics.

On the river promenade I clicked some pics of the Wheel of Brisbane .

I also ventured to the famous Queen Street Mall and Brisbane’s multi-cultural West End .  Both uniquely added to the charm of Brisbane.

The city made an impression on me.  Enough so that I’d be willing to spend some more time getting to know it.  And I’m not playing hard to get.  I just liked to be woo-ed.

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Brekkie is one of my favorite meals.  There’s something about knowing that you’re fueling your body with the energy it needs for the day.  There’s also something about pancakes, croissants, and bacon, if I’m being honest here.

I love to indulge in nice brekkies, especially when on vacation.  I think it stems from my travelling in Europe (and no one hosts tourists like Europeans) where breakfast consisted of mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, ham, etcetera, etcetera.  My travel companions and I would eat large breakfasts because we knew we’d be walking all day and (presumably) walking of our large breakfasts.  I highly doubt this theory is correct and that not all calories are effectively burned off but it’s an age-old saying so who am I to reject fact?

In Australia we’ve found the same sort of breakfasts at our hotels.  We spent the past several days in the lovely city of Brisbane.  On our first morning in Brissy we feasted on a spread large enough for a king; complete with a pancake grill and custom toppings…

An assortment of sweet rolls, croissants, and FRESH honey…

Mini fruit smoothies and yogurt parfaits…

And of course, bacon, salmon, onions, cheeses, eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cereal for those would even dare.

The problem with these types of buffets is that they’re so expensive that you feel like you have to “eat your money’s worth”.  Therein lies the rub – as the expression goes.  As I bravely soldiered on (aka went back for my second helping) I could hear my mom saying, “Food is fuel” and shaking her head at me.  When in Oz, I thought.

In the end, I should’ve nearly been carried out in a wheelbarrow but  I somehow think that would’ve been frowned upon.  And anyway, it didn’t matter much since I knew I’d burn it off walking around all day, right?

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