When I finally emerged from my death-like slumber nine hours later, I was ravenous. So we checked out of our hotel and wandered to a local pancake place, which was clearly a converted church judging by the pews as booths and the vaulted ceilings. The food wasn’t amazing, but got the job done. Then we jumped on a bus to head out to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, about 20 minutes outside town.
The website promised frolicking with kangaroos, hugging koalas, and the opportunity to see all other sorts of animals unique to this corner of the world. And it certainly did not disappoint. I saw more koalas than I could count, of all ages and varieties. Some sleeping in little grey balls in the crook of a tree branch, some slowly chomping on leaves and blinking sleepily at the people shoving cameras in their direction, some jumping from one limb to the other with surprising deftness considering the generally slow and sleepy aspect of the animals at rest. I went crazy, snapping picture after picture, video after video. I went to the General Store to buy my way into a koala’s arms and saw $2 bags of kangaroo food. I snapped up two and rushed out to find this magical place where one feeds kangas.
We wandered into a field and into one of the most magical moments of my life. First we came across an emu, whose sheer size and alien-esque demeanor had me staying a few feet away. They had zero fear, brazenly walking as close as I’d let them before I skittered away.
Then I saw them. Kangaroos by the dozens, some lounging, some hopping, some mingling with other visitors, not even put off by the erratic movements of young children. I could barely contain my excitement as I approached, apprehensive due to my lack of familiarity with the animal, but so eager to interact with it that in a matter of moments I was crouched on the ground with a velvety kangaroo nose puffing little hot breaths into my palm. As my apprehension decreased, my desire to pose with the animals increased, and we all had quite the photo shoot.
Oh, Hi There…
I also got a video of an adorable Tasmanian Devil yawning, pics of dingos (they look like dogs), a video of a platypus just cruising around his little enclosure, and (the piece de resistance), pictures of ME holding a koala!!
I was worn out when we left a few hours later, but since we had a few hours until our flight, we decided to head to Brisbane’s Chinatown to see the sights and dine at Thai Wi-Rat, a Thai-Laotian restaurant. The name may have put off some, but online reviews had us giving it a shot anyway – and wow, did it pay off. Delicious Som Tum Thai salad (spicy!), an amazing clear broth prawn noodle soup, spring rolls of perfection, and the most amazing pad Thai I’ve had in quite some time, washed down with a bottle of NZ Sauv Blanc. Absolutely. Perfect. Wouldn’t have been able to end the trip any better way.
Brisbane Art Installation