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Published: July 18th 2011
Not long left now in Oz, can't believe how fast it has gone - got so much to tell you....
On our way down the coast we had been hearing little snippets about an amazing beach town called Noosa. The surf at Noosa's beaches are meant to be brilliant ranging from beginner breaks to amazing high waves for the advanced. I found a great deal on the YHA website for their hostel if you bought tickets to the zoo it meant we had discounted accommadation. Which is good because YHA hostels are good they are expensive. We booked for 5 nights to have a bit of a chill out after all of our adventures. The YHA building was called Halse Lodge and is the oldest building in the area, 100 years old. While we were there they actually had elderly people tours come to the hostel to look around it and have a cup of tea. They were all fascinated by it.
They also provide free surf board hire too so we thought we'd get finally get to do some surfing. We were passed the Great Barrier Reef now and that normally stops the waves getting through. Unfortunately, the
five nights we were there we didn't get to enjoy the surf boards as for some mother nature reason there were no waves at all. The sea was as flat as a lake. Outside the YHA there was a surf shop with a board outisde that read "One foot - if that!" We were really dissappointed, but kept ourselves busy with the free table tennis and chilling on the beautiful beach. One day we took a picnic to Noosa National Park which had a lovely coastal walk, it was really nice. It is situated near Noosa Heads between the Pacific Ocean and the Sunshine Coasts's northern area of urban development and extends southwards, past Lake Weyba to Coolum. The 4,000 hectare park is divided into four sections; Headland Section, Peregian Section, Emu Mountain Section and the East Weyba Section. Noosa National Park is the most popular national park in the country, with more than 1 million visits each year. We stopped to eat lunch at Dolphin Point, but unfortunately didn't see any.
One of the trips we were really looking forward to in Australia was the infamous Australia Zoo - home of the late Steve Irwin. Australia Zoo is
a 76-acre zoo located in the Australian state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains. Despite his untimely death the Irwin family have carried on his conservation message and have massive 121 acre plans for the zoo in the next five years. They plan to open a whole resort so you can stay overnight, I think it will be brilliant! We took a special coach to the zoo, it had a crocodile going up one side and played episodes of the Crocodile Hunter Diaries on the television.
It was a brilliant day, we worked out a programme, an itinery so we would see every animal by the end of the day and not be running around like headless chickens like we were at Singapore Zoo! One thing I had to do in Australia was cuddle a koala! Andy said he wasn't too fussed but he was able to come in the picture at no extra cost so that was really good. We really love the picture, the professional one is even nicer than the one on our camera. I am so chuffed with it! I did feel bad though because my hands were really cold and
the koala was shivering in them :-(
Next we went to the 5,000 seater stadium called the Crocoseum which Steve Irwin named because it was for crocodile shows and there were crocodiles and you could see 'em! The show was great, the keepers warmed up the crowd with a birds of prey display, they were trained to all fly around the stadium and swoop down close to our heads, it was really impressive. I had no idea how big some birds are. They blew us away with their power! Then we were told that the crocodile was on its way and we were able to watch him on a big screen leaving his enclsure and swimming down the canal into the stadium pool. They then performed a number of stunts to encourage the croc to come out of the water and grab the meat. The croc leapt up high to a platform and shot across the grassy bank, they are incredible animals.
There were many animals to see at the zoo - Tasmanian Devils that were really cute, Komodo Dragons, and there was a snake cave which housed the worlds most venomous snakes from number 10 to 1.
Number one was the Inland Taipan - one bite from this snake has enough venom to take down 10 fully grown men! Unbelievable. There aren't many deaths from snakes in Oz, the snakes normally stay out of our way. We also went to Roo Heaven which is something you don't get at normal zoos. It's a huge fenced off grassland area with many kangaroos happily living life. They sunbathed, hopped around, napped and they looked really content. We bought some Kangaroo food and they spotted it a mile off. A few came hopping right at us, which freaked me out a bit. You then had to put your hands on the floor with a bit of food in and they bend down and it eat it. You can then stroke them, they were all really friendly. A few of them had joeys in their pouches which was really cute and I made sure I gave those Mum's extra nuts.
We couldn't believe how fast the day went - I purchased a baby pink hoody with Australia Zoo on it. It's going to keep me warm in New Zealand. We were treated to a documentary on Steve's life on our
way back to Noosa. Australia Zoo was really good fun, I do think that Singapore Zoo slightly beat it with its amazing enclosures but the staff at Australia Zoo clearly loved and believed in everything they did.
The last couple of days we relaxed in Noosa. Andy entered into a table tennis competition - thinking everyone would be amateurs like us. A couple of Germans were playing who actually played semi - professionally back home! You can imagine how that turned out!
We had mixed views about going to our first big city in Australia. We really like the small seaside towns. Brisbane is Australia's 3rd largest city and is slowly ermerging as one of most desirable places to live with an estimated 1000 people moving there every week. We booked in at Base Brisbane with our base jumping cards - 10 nights for 100 pounds. As we only had a short time in Brisbane we did a walking tour of the city from the guide book. We started off at Brisbane City Hall and walked through the war memorials on the lawns of King George Square. It then followed through into Anzac Sqaure where there were podiums
with handprints - once you touched them they told you a story of the area or of the war. It made us jump the first time we touched one! At the northwestern end of the park was the Shrine of Remembrance - a Greek revialist cenotaph where an eternal flame burns in remembrance of the Australian soldiers who died in World War One.
Next we went to St Stephen's Cathedral and the adjoining St Stephen's Chapel. Built in 1850 the chapel is Brisbane's oldest church and was designed by English architect Augustus Pugin, who deisnged London's Houses of Parliament. The cathedral was built in 1874. The walk then took us to the Queen Street Mall and all the shops. I bought a tiny didgeridoo! It then took us onto the Parliament Houses which were impressive and a stroll through the Botanical Gardens. We were shattered by now so we left the rest until the next day.
The following day we went to the Queensland Museum which was really interesting. Lots of aboriginal history and army stories to read. They had an impressive collection of stuffed animals which freaked me out a bit. After the museum we went to
the South Bank Parklands which had a lagoon stlye swimming pool and a man made beach. I fell asleep on the bench next to the lagoon we had been doing sooo much walking. In the evenings we had a couple of drinks in the bar and then played cards with two German guys in the room.
Thanks for reading everyone! Next blog on its way very soooon! Miss you all!
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