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Saturday, 7 May 2011

Oz round-up - Part 2

After a fantastic week discovering bits of Melbourne, we flew to Brisbane. I'm still quite stunned at how efficient and fast the flying process is there, quite unlike the U.K. Although I'm assuming I fit some sort of profile security was looking for, since I got tested for explosive residue on every flight from that one onwards.
I know some people get upset when they're targeted. Personally, I'd rather go through the process because I like knowing they take security seriously, and I'm about to climb into what it is, essentially, a flying tin can.Without a parachute.
Also, it was really quick, and quite interesting; a metal rod with either an electronic head (Melbourne airport) or a type of cotton swab (Brisbane) is waved over your hand-luggage and clothing. The read-out takes seconds and staff were cheerful and friendly the whole way through, which is pretty awesome considering their job can't be that much fun.

After collecting a hire-car (brother/sister road-trip - Yay!) we headed up the coast to Noosa, a nice little resort town about an hour away.

Since it was on the way, we took a detour and spent a couple of hours at the Australia zoo. It's pricey to get in at $100 dollars a pop - and as far as I'm concerned, worth every penny. It's pretty unique as there are a number of interactive areas; you can touch koala's, hand-feed kangaroos, walk through the bird enclosure - and there are opportunities to do things like feed the elephants and walk a tiger.

The place is huge, meaning a lot of walking - my marketing mind was recommending a hire shack for segways or mini-golf-carts - especially after a couple of hours, when my leg decided that between the flight and the walk it was started to feel grumpy. It also means large, natural enclosures and happy looking animals, which is the main thing. I could have happily spent a week there. The Irwin's have done a great job continuing Steve Irwin's legacy. I imagine he'd be proud of what they've achieved here.

We hopped back in the car at closing and headed on to Noosa - actually a little place called Noosaville, as it turned out. My brother had booked a house on a canal; which turned out to be 3 days of bliss. I ended up swimming in the sea when we finally found the beach. It's the first time I've been swimming any where since I broke my leg two years ago. It's really freaky realising just how much metal in one part of your body throws your equilibrium off in the water. Let's just say I didn't stay in long - but it was great.

After Noosa, we headed up to the Gold Coast (other side of Brisbane) and stayed with some friends for my last couple of days in Australia. It rained for most of the time; even so it was easy to see the beauty of the place, although I seem to be allergic to something around there and got a really weird rash. Irritating, but nothing serious - although I was glad it wasn't too hot; heat and skin issues are not a good combination.

Best time : Um, all of it, really time except...
Worst time : My brother deciding to jump off the boat we were on into the canal while on the Gold Coast. I googled the canals before I left the UK. I know what lives there. The fact that they have to have netted swimming areas in the canal (one of which was about 100 metres away from my brothers attempt to feed the bull sharks) tells you a lot. I. was. not. amused.

The plan is to head back there for Christmas - bringing the folks out from S.A. It will be the first family Christmas together in a number of years, so I can't wait. If you've been thinking about a trip to Australia, stop thinking and book your ticket. It's a bit pricey, but worth every penny.

There is something totally enviable about the ability to fall asleep in under 5 seconds..
 Fishing from the boat on the Gold Coast. Didn't catch anything, which is good, since I doubt I could bring myself to kill anything unless I was really starving. The netted swimming area is straight ahead past the bridge.
 The tree outside the holiday house in house attracted these little guys by the score, as well as crows, cranes and bats.
 Gorgeous boat on the Gold Coast. The home behind it is on a man-made residential island.