The moment I landed in Brisbane was the first time I felt grounded since I got to Australia. I had been surrounded by strangers for so long, I was really feeling disconnected, and even a little bit home sick. But now, in Brisbane, I was greeted by a beautiful familiar face – my best friend’s sister, Vanessa!
I still remember the feeling like it was yesterday – overwhelmed by joy, almost brought to tears. I saw her face and I felt like running into her arms (I probably did). She introduced me to her husband Matt, and that was probably the last word they got in for the next hour and a half, because I started talking like there was no tomorrow! Oh to talk to people! And not just small talk! I’m tearing up right now just recalling the happiness it brought me.
As excited I was about spending time in Brisbane, I was also looking forward to a little bit of down time. Vanessa had told me they had a pool – and air conditioning in the house! So I basically spent the entire first day relaxing, taking care to rest my body, giving myself the time to re-energize.
But then it was time to get down to business! I had a goal while visiting: I needed to go somewhere to hold a koala!! My first idea was obviously to visit the Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter! However, it was complicated (booking required) and expensive to hold a koala there. I did get a photo next to one though, and she was so soft!!
And koalas weren’t the only amazing animals I saw there! There were tigers and lions, monkeys of all kinds, crocodiles and alligators, rhinos and giraffes! Take a look for yourself:
But back to the story – I still needed to figure out where to touch a Koala!
I had read about Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in the Lonely Planet Australia book, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go out of my way to get all the way there – located in the suburbs about an hour away from the city centre of Brisbane and only accessible by public transportation, or even worse, by boat. However, after talking with Matt for about 2 minutes, I was convinced. AND I AM SO HAPPY I WENT!!
LOOK AT ME HOLDING A KOALA!!
Another bucket list experience checked off! And I would highly recommend going there if you’re interested in holding a koala and getting a GORGEOUS souvenir photo for only $18 (plus cost of entry to the park).
And of course, my trip to Brisbane wouldn’t have been complete without visiting the beaches! I was so fortunate to have Vanessa and Matt as my hosts during my stay – they invited me to go out on their sea-doo for a fun-filled day visiting Bribie Island!
My amazing hosts went above and beyond – they actually drove me out to see Gold Coast to see Surfer’s Paradise!!
It was the perfect way to end our time together before I flew off to Rockhampton. Big thank you to my hosts again, and hope to see you both soon!