We arrive in Brisbane to find that we were staying in pretty much the tallest hotel I’ve ever been in. We were on the 68th floor! It was pretty crazy. Rita was too scared to look out the window, and of course Chris and Jeff wanted to throw stuff (mainly paper airplanes) out to see what would happen. Fortunately/unfortunately the windows only opened a tiny sliver.
The Brisbane Waterfront
Our first day we spent mostly wandering around downtown. The Brisbane waterfront is pretty cute, especially at night, with lots of lit up bridges, a big ferris wheel, and a fun “BRISBANE” signage spot. Annoyingly, because of the placement of the sign relative to some trees you can’t get far enough away to take a nice square Instagram photo. Poor city planning!
Anyways, while downtown we decided to take a night ride of the Wheel of Brisbane. As Ed would say, “Well, it’s not the London Eye” (more on that later). However it did have nice views of the river.
While wandering around Ed also discovered a newfound love – JB HiFi. Because it has all the electronics you would ever need and lots of CDs (yep, he still buys CDs), he just loved to wander around in there while the girls shopped. Chris thought Ed might be able to pick up a Kylie Minogue album but instead found out that Ed already owns her entire discography. He did however find one Kylie compilation album only available in Australia.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
In order to get to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary we took the ferry along the river that cuts through Brisbane. It is actually a great addition to the animals. There was an audio commentary that played as we travelled so we got to learn about the the two previous major floods of Brisbane, the butcher that confessed to murder on his deathbed, and see some of the super expensive houses that border the river.
At Lone Pine we hurried around all the exhibits because it was made very clear on the boat that if you aren’t back by the time they depart, you’re on your own. We looked at a platypus in an indoor enclosure, a ton of birds in the outdoor enclosures, and some of the group even saw some dingos being walked on a lead. Rita and Maddie also took the opportunity to have their picture taken holding a koala, as tourists do.
After watching a presentation on koalas, we all headed to the kangaroo/wallaby enclosure to feed and pat them.
Turns out there are clearly too many feeding tourists, because most of the inhabitants weren’t very motivated by food at all. You’d basically have to put it right under a kangaroo’s mouth for it to attempt to eat. Chris spent awhile trying to creep up on a wallaby until a noisy ibis ruined his plans. Some of the kangaroos were pretty large, so I think Maddie was a little anxious.
After that we went to a sheepdog presentation where the handler showed typical herding skillls. There are two dogs: one for work out in the paddock, being a bit faster and leaner, and one for pushing the sheep into the chutes for shearing, him being louder and larger. He could even jump up onto the sheep and then duck back down underneath them to pack them in tighter, and them climb on top of them again. The handler also made quick work shearing a sheep.
Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art
After returning from Lone Pine, we took a perusal through the two art galleries along the waterfront (QAGOMA). It was nice, however it had been awhile since lunch and everything was reminding me of food.
So since we (we being Maddie and I) were getting pretty hangry, we walked down to Southbank for dinner. We were a little early and the restaurants weren’t quite open yet, but there was a Doughnut Time. Chris and I had always noticed this place when we wandered around Melbourne because there was always about six people waiting in line to get a doughnut. So we decided to get one even though it was right before dinner (Fatal mistake! All the girls were full afterwards). Ed nearly had a heart attack when he realized that the doughnuts were $6 each. Even his plain glazed one.
Our last day in Brisbane was kind of a lazy day, so we took a wander around Chinatown before heading to the Sciencentre. The name of that place drove Chris nuts, but they had some pretty fun interactive stuff. Lots of puzzles, at which Ed excelled (except for the 4D tic-tac-toe, which Rita somehow won at without really understanding what she was doing).
There was also a pretty sweet optical illusion room and a crazy spinning room (that they also use to simulate being in space I think) which freaked everyone out even though it’s really the walls moving not you.
By the time we finished with all of the science games we were too tired to look at the other actual museum stuff. The only fact Chris remembers from the rest of the museum is that the term “go carts” came from goat carts that children raced apparently. Jeff and Maddie spent a lot of time using a microscope on their skin instead of the specimens like they were supposed to.
After all the learning we went and got Grill’d burgers for dinner. Rita was so impressed with hers she was talking about it for days afterwards. The next day, it was down to Melbourne!