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Published: January 18th 2013
So we have arrived in our first major city in Australia, Brisbane and I've got to say from first glance it looks pretty good. It has all the promise of a major city, skyscraper upon skyscraper dotted all around the river, big universities, botanical gardens right in the centre and plenty of coffee shops! But in spite of all that, its about the size of Holmfirth. We had walked from one side of the city to the other in 5 minutes, then explored the botanical gardens in roughly the same time. Saying this though, the city itself is really nice, its clean and has everything a city needs.
We spent our day walking around the entirety of it, starting out with the main shopping street, picking up an AFL shirt and then moving on to the botanical gardens and crossing over the bridges for some amazing views looking back at the Brisbane. We walked a fair way and by the end of the day we were shattered, and with the temperature into the 30's it quickly tires you out. We had seen almost every part of city centre Brisbane in the day and planned on going to the cinema in the evening but that didn't happen!
Our main reason for going to Brisbane however was so thy we could go and visit Laura's family. We only spent the day in Brisbane and the next we were off to find them. Her Uncle and Aunty live out in the sticks, a place called Toogoolawa which is surrounded by fields and mountains. We got in on the train about and waited to be picked up by Paul, Laura's Uncle who she hadn't seen in 10 years. We dint know who to look out for. He'd told us on the phone that he had died his hair pink and had a beard and although we knew it wasn't true we were still looking out for those signs. A car rolled in and a big smile came across Laura's face so I guess this must be him, either that or she's not told me something! It was him.
Next news we find ourselves at their house having a few beers and then getting ready to go out for tea. We headed to a local pub in the town, where there are 3 pubs to choose from but only one decent one. It was refreshing not to be in a backpacker area and into the Crocodile Dundee, authentic Australian outback. We had our food and drink, lots of talking and then went back to the house for a few more drinks. Most if the evenings were spent this way, finding out what everyone is doing over here in Oz, hearing the stories of the Deadman family, we loved it.
We borrowed a car off Paul, lucky really that he was a Mechanic and had a few around, and set out to numerous places over the few days that we were there. Laura had been to them all before the last time that she came however she could barely remember them. So we'd spent a day relaxing by one of the big lakes, dipping into it only to cool off, and the rest sunbathing and relaxing. The next I spent working in the garage with Paul, stripping off stickers and giving a flatbed truck a good clean inside and out and the final day we went off towards the glasshouse mountains, via the Mary Cairncross national park and then out to a Karandilla falls where there is a huge swimming hole, naturally rigged out with multiple level diving boards, it was awesome. And they were our day times out in bush land. It was on the last day too that we had a snake spotting flurry. We hadn't seen one since Daintree, almost 3 weeks ago and this day we saw 3, 1 on the roof of Paul and Ali's house killing a frog, 1 on the pathway in front of us on a walk and the last basking in the sun on a rock in the valley bottom. All but the last were tree snakes, however the last was apparently a yellow bellied black snake, one that you wouldn't want to get bitten by!
One of the afternoons/evenings we noticed a mass of smoke heading towards the house and it carried on coming too. We were in the middle of the smoke cloud from a fire some 70km away on Briby Island and it continued coming for at least 3 hours. Down in New South Wales, the state below Queensland there were over 50 fires that were out of control as it hadn't rained in a long time properly. Once the sun had set we could see one of the bush fires rekindling its flames on the far side of the town, still at least 20km away.
All in all, we had an awesome time in Toogoolawa but it was time to move on and continue on down the east coast to Byron Bay.
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