After spending three days in a tent, I was looking forward to staying in an apartment in Brisbane. My initial introduction got off to a bit of a rough start. Upon arriving at my Airbnb, I found the Air-conditioning not working, so I went to open the windows. Two window panes were busted out with only a curtain covering them. The door to the balcony didn’t fully close and that window was busted with a piece of plywood covering the opening. Oh, and the wifi was actually borrowed from the neighboring shop and spotty at best. So… I decided to go to a hotel in the city.
My host got back to me a couple days later and was very thorough in his explanation of each issue (all known), how it’s not a hotel, and no one else had problems with them. I kind of felt like an ass for a minute and then thought, no, advertise what you have and no matter the cost of the room all windows should be intact. So no refund, but as they say in Australia ‘no worries’!
I did meet a super nice American working the front desk at the hotel – Royal on the Park. We were both excited to chat with someone from home, and about something other than Donald Trump. Everything worked out for the best, as I realized how much I missed the amenities of an actual hotel (not motel, apartment or tent) – location, minibar, room cleaned everyday. Well worth the cost!
With museums, restaurants, gardens, and a man-made beach on the Southbank, I most excited to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Only 12km outside Brisbane in the suburb Fig Tree Pocket, it is the oldest and largest Koala sanctuary in the world.
In addition to the 130 koalas at the sanctuary, you can find kangaroos, tasmanian devils, dangos, wombats, reptiles, birds, and many more animal species. The animals are brought to the sanctuary to live and be protected for the rest of their lives. Not sold, bought, traded or used in animal testing, the goal is to allow the animals to behave as naturally as possible in a protective environment. From what I could see the animals are given plenty of space and the staff does seem genuinely invested in the animals’ best interests.
By far the highlight was not only seeing animals completely foreign to the States, but actually interacting with some of them. I was able to hold a koala – so soft and calm. It was like holding a furry baby.
The kangaroo feeding area allowed more extensive interaction. Walking among the kangaroos and birds, you were allowed to feed and sit and pet the them. I spent about a half-hour petting and walking among them. They seemed almost indifferent to the people, making it easy to forget these were kangaroos!
It’s funny, most of Australia doesn’t seem all that different from the States until you think about the animals native to Australia. Being at Lone Pine reminded me of the vast differences in animals throughout the world, and that I was on the other side of the planet!