Bye Bye Oz

Brisbane Travel Blog

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Mr. Wendell has come to warn us....


The Lonely planet mentions 2 Koala wildlife sanctuaries in the Brisbane area. One of these offers visitors the chance to ‘Cuddle a Koala’. The LP is rather sniffy about this, favoring instead the non-cuddle option, in the way that it almost always favors the subtle over the obvious.


Usually I’m a sucker for this type of snobbery, but not today! Today I’m holding out for a hug.


The best way to get from the city centre to ‘Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary’ is along the river. This journey offers splendid backward glance views of the city, and endless envy-making glimpses of wealthy riverside residences.


Once at Lone Pine my first stop was at the Birds Of Prey display where healthy young people dressed like Steve Erwin demonstrated the flying prowess of spectacular Eagles, Hawks & Owls.



The birds were powerfully magnificent. The reverential awe I felt was equaled only by my jealousy of their handlers; whereas most of us use mice to navigate our computer screens, these gallant guys use them (in chunks) to train swooping beaks & claws. What a life!


Next I headed off on a wombat hunt. I’d seen the back-end of a wombat as it slept at Sydney’s Wildlife World, this experience was enough to determine the Wombat to be a cuddly sort of creature • the type I like the most- but I was still curious as to what the front end might look like.


En-route to the Wombats I spied a pair of eyes gazing at me from between the trees, the eyes were shining from a kangaroo shaped silhouette and I nearly keeled over in excitement. Kanga senses my interest levels sky rocket and promptly bounced away with the sort of big lollopy hops that leave a line of imaginary arches* in it’s wake (*I tried to illustrate this with letters, but it seems we don’t have a letter in the shape of an upside down U in the alphabet: never noticed this oversight before)


I followed Kanga over the brow of a hill to where he was lounging in the dust with his pals.

I hurriedly took lots of photos, spending extra time trying to position myself so as not to fill the frame with giant, swinging Kanga balls which they don’t show you in usual Roo imagery, or on the Qantas logo.


My luck was in at the Wombat enclosure; one furry fellow was doing laps whilst another lay snoozing, legs akimbo in a hollow tree trunk.. I was elated to see such adorable creatures close up; they reminded me of  guinea pigs from childhood • only 10 times the size!


However, my happiness was short lived as I realized that the trotting wombat was getting increasingly anxious; he clearly wanted out of the enclosure and was going around & around with a single-minded expression on his face that said ESCAPE in tall sharp letters that sliced my heart like a blade to butter.


Feeling a bit emotionally bruised, I righted myself with a visit to the reptile cages where the shells of the turtles and the scales of the lizards provided some sort of metaphorical armory.


Lastly, the Koalas!: Cuddling Wendell was without a doubt one of the highlights of my travels so far.

Me 'n Wendall!
He was this big ball of soft squashy loveliness, with his long loose limbs; big leather nose; fur-ball ears and sleepy eyes. He emanated a fresh eucalyptus smell as if he’d just been chewing on Wrigley’s gum.. He was magic itself and I just wanted to hold him tight and run away into the Australian sunset forever.


Big-Up Brisbane


I felt this city had something special about it.


Maybe it was the atmospheric energy whipped up by soccer games at the local stadium which had families & friends out on the street bedecked in blue or orange, all cheering & singing?


Perhaps it was St Paddy’s day which had people out doing exactly the same thing, but this time in emerald green from head to toe, like jolly runner beans?


Or perhaps it was the stunning art gallery which is the best I’ve ever seen?


Maybe it was the vibe I felt on the street, of a place that’s productive but not manic; a city not out to prove anything, unlike its neighbors Melbourne & Sydney?


Or it could be just that this is the place I happened to watch the best film I’ve seen in ages; Pan’s Labyrinth?


Who knows? .

.. Maybe I liked Brisbane so much because it signified the end of my Australia trip & I knew that in a day or two I’d be stepping back onto the Path Of Discovery in Vietnam....?

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Me n Wendall!
Me 'n Wendall!
wandering wombat
wandering wombat
sleeping wombat
sleeping wombat
totally rock and roll!
totally rock and roll!
getting arty @ the art gallery
getting arty @ the art gallery
I woz ere
I woz 'ere
photo by: Mezmerized