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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Year Ago Today – A Day In Australia


Brisbane on another day.  Notice all the solar panels on the roofs in the foreground.

In trying to think of something to post on the blog today it occurred to me that it might be interesting to see what we were doing a year ago today.  A year ago today we were still in Australia visiting my brother and his family near Brisbane.  In some ways it’s hard to believe that was a whole year ago, and yet it seems much longer than a year because so much has happened since then!

At any rate, I got out the journal that I kept of the our time there and looked up September 30th.  That turned out to be the day we all went into Brisbane to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary!  :-)  We chose to go there, at my sister-in-law’s recommendation, because they had a large collection of Australian animals only.  We figured we could see a regular zoo any time, but seeing as many Aussie animals as possible at once seemed a better use of funds and time.  It turned out to be a very good investment for us.

We rented a wheel chair for our entire time in Australia so that my mom
wouldn’t be so limited in how much she would see.

I’ll give some excerpts followed by some comments in purple from my present perspective.


Mon., Sept. 30 – Got a slowish and somewhat hectic start to go to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. 

[That’s fairly normal for day outings when you have a group of 8 people getting ready in one medium-small house. :-)  We went in two cars as well, a rental and their family car.  The four of us “visitors” were all in the rental together with my husband driving.  Exciting times.]

We got “lost” in Brisbane in our car and had a rather distracting time finding our way back to where we needed to go.  It’s a very confusing city and the map was rather confusing to Daddy at times, as well.  We finally made it, but Dad and I both were rather anxious and I was fighting motion sickness.  Driving in Brisbane is much like riding the “Tilt-a-whirl”. :-P

[Brisbane is very hilly, with twisting roads - and one way streets thrown in to confuse tourists, I think.  We almost ended up in the downtown area, which probably would’ve been quite “interesting”.  Of course, driving on the “wrong side of the road” all the time only compounded our confusion at times.  I can chuckle about it now, but at the time it was rather more excitement that we wanted.  I’m glad my husband, Peter, was able to deal with driving there. :-)  ]

The Koala Sanctuary was quite interesting and almost all Aussie animals, which was nice.  Better than a zoo and less expensive, though not cheap.  Took lots of photos.  Saw quite a few things.

[Quite a few of the animal and bird photos I’ve been sharing over the last year in my “Australian Memories” posts were taken at the LPKS.]

Mom and Dad saw the “Birds of Prey” showing and some of us saw a less-than-satisfactory sheep herding demonstration.

[The sheep were so used to the routine it appeared they could’ve done the demonstration without the dog, who was doing a less than great job at his share of the program.]

The rest of us joined them looking at the birds of prey
after watching most of the sheep dog demonstration

[We took LOTS of water! :-)  The second photo was taken by my brother on his camera.]

We ate our picnic lunch in the “sanctuary”, then we split up.  Peter and I saw the “roos” and emus and wombats and a few reptiles.  Then I was so done in we rested on some benches in the shade while the others looked at those and headed back and got ice cream.

[This is a bit confusing.  I think I meant that the others looked at those same things that we’d looked at, or at least they mostly did.  We had looked at the monitor lizards and crocodiles, which were outside.  I think I was having a touch of heat sickness as it was a very warm day, so when we went into the snake room I couldn’t handle it and we had to come out.  It was dark in there and just plain creepy with all those live snakes – even if they were behind glass!  We rested because I was feeling overcome by the heat.]

We shopped in the gift shop and got some nice little things to take home for us and as gifts.  The others joined us there and Peter and I also got ice cream.

[Hooray for ice cream on a hot Australian afternoon! :-)  I really enjoyed it that day!  We did take plenty of water, but the sun in Australia is just plain stronger than it is in the U.S.  We don’t appreciate the ozone layer enough here.]

We finished up and headed home.  The return trip was…less trouble than the one in.  We got separated and they actually beat us home, though we’d been leading.

Dan and Clara went out and brought back “fish and chips” for dinner/tea.  Peter and I got some raw items with ours that we didn’t expect to be raw!  Otherwise it was tasty and another good Aussie tradition. :-)

[That was another surprise that day.  We picked out what we wanted from a menu before they went to get the food.  We none of us realized that when it said “fresh shrimp” that it wouldn’t be cooked!  The oysters were not surprising, but we didn’t expect the shrimp to be raw.  I’ve never heard of serving shrimp raw here in the U.S.  We didn’t eat the raw things, but my brother Dan cooked them up the next morning for some of them to eat with their breakfast.  My nephew asked for the shells from the oysters and was happy to be “gifted” those.  I don’t remember if my niece took some of them too or not.  The food was very good, though.]

[Sulphur-crested cockatoo.  Very noisy birds.]

I finished up with some more comments on the sanctuary:

The koalas were surprisingly smelly animals, but really cute too.  The birds and things in cages were hard to photograph, but some were so pretty.  We did get some very nice photos of other creatures.  The wombats were much larger than Peter expected.  We’d been warned that the platypus was quite small, which it was.  They were also very active, and in a dark room/tanks.  The emus and kangaroos were very tame, but I didn’t avail myself of the chance to pet one.  Neither did Peter.

[I’m glad I mentioned the smell of the koalas or I wouldn’t have remembered that.  They were really fun to look at.  We could’ve had our photos taken with one, but at $20 a pop and not being allowed to take our own photos but only to get the one provided by the park, we decided it wasn’t worth it.  I wasn’t sorry later after we saw one koala get angry with another one and “roar” at him/her.  They are not always as docile as they look and can be dangerous animals!

The wombats were surprisingly large, but also sleeping, so we didn’t get any good photos of them as we could only see them through glass in poor light and rather unflattering positions. 

The platypus was in a darkened room and it was posted not to use flashes in take photos, so it wasn’t possible to get much of anything.  I did get a photo of a skeleton display, though, and was surprised that the “beak” is not like a bird’s beak at all, but part of their skeletal system.

Platypus Skeleton

I’m a little sorry I didn’t pet a kangaroo.  They were all in an enclosure where people could walk around and “visit” with them and the emus.  Well, I guess just being there was adventure enough for me that day, and I didn’t want to have to go wash my hands at the exit sinks I suppose. :-)

Overall it was a very interesting experience and if you ever visit Australia and are going to Brisbane, we would recommend the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  It was worth it for us.  Be sure to wear hats and carry water!]

Wearing my husband’s hat and smiling after being refreshed by ice cream!

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