My journey to Brisbane was, thankfully, an unusually short one. After starting off at 7.30am, we stopped by Surfer’s Paradise to drop off several people (the place seemed okay but no Byron Bay) and then my travel buddy and I were hopping off the bus again at about 11.
We were staying with one of my mother’s friends, Jackie, and found her house, surprisingly without getting lost. She was out until later that day so we spent the afternoon splayed out on the sofas and reading magazines. It was nice to just hang out even though we hadn’t really done anything since Surf Camp. She had left us a welcome note with instructions to let in Molly the dog. Apparently, we were to expect an attentive welcome but instead Molly refused to come near us- clearly wondering who had entered her house. Upon her arrival, Jackie treated us to champagne and a dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant. A lovely welcome to Brisvegas.
The next day, after being awoken by Molly climbing on the bed (apparently we had been accepted), we explored the town. After shopping and trips to McDonalds and Krispy Kreme, we headed back to the house where Jackie had a roast turkey dinner waiting for us. We were extremely happy- we’d missed our roasts. It was then back into town- to the Base hostel bar– to meet some girls we’d met in New Zealand before turning in for bed.
In the morning, Jackie took us to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Koalas have been my favourite animal since my mum bought me a koala teddy when I was little. Seeing one was pretty much the reason I had always wanted to go to Australia and Jackie knew just the place. I had already seen some at San Diego zoo and Sydney’s Wildlife World and it seemed that you could have your picture with one at the latter but I wanted a cuddle. It turned out that at Lone Pine you could get up close to lots of Australian wildlife. We stroked kangaroos, wandered with emus and saw dingoes, platypus and Tasmanian devils. There were also dozens of koalas- which I discovered made the weirdest noises- including many babies. So. Cute. After photos with koalas, snakes and crocodiles and a picnic of roast-leftovers we all ended up at a shopping centre in Newmarket for coffee and cake.
Arriving back at the house, we found a possum with its babies in a tree in the garden- this day had certainly been good for spotting wildlife. My travel buddy and I then headed off to the Wagamamas we’d spotted in town to meet a friend from home and then went to Fortitude Valley, which was buzzing with bars.
We awoke to find the first sunny day in Brisbane, which happened to fall on our day of departure. Jackie kindly drove us to our pick up point at Base hostel and we waved goodbye. I have much to thank her for.