After spending a week in Sydney it was time to get to Brisbane. Though we were not particularly keen on having another leg after the London-Oslo-Doha-Sydney travel, originally we planned a plane ride. At last we changed our minds and went for a car trip. According to our friends' suggestion, we chose a local company to borrow their car for the 1000km trip.
Since we did not tend to arrive wearied and sightseeing was thought to be a main benefit of driving, we halved the journey by spending one night on the way in both directions. Due to our extensive friend network these were the only nights spent in hotels during our two and a half journey.
Driving in Australia is a quite interesting experience. We already got used to driving on the other side* in the UK but down under the cars have flipped wiper/indicator steering column switches, causing panic or fun.
The moral is fantastic, everyone is calm and polite (even compared to the Western European attitude, not the Hungarian one). The speed limit is 110 kph on the well-developed, wide motorways which is a bit incomprehensible for the long journeys you may have to take. A German style speed restriction system would make more sense. But at least the speed limit applies to all type of vehicles, so the trucks do not hold back the others.
The only thing they do not know is the meaning of break distance: mighty trucks happened to tailgate us in the speedy lane while we were driving at the speed limit. After thought to be pushed and changing lane they maintained their position at our back corner. They did not intend to push you, it was simply the way they drove.
On our outbound leg we stopped at Aanuka Beach Resort in Coffs Harbour that did not disappoint us at all. The resort consists of bungalows spread across a grove, making the stay nicer than in a standard hotel. However, you may meet with water dragons on the footpaths more than wished for, making the fainthearted divert. But to be frank, if I could choose, I would pick these lizards to meet, rather than any other species in Australia.
There are two pool areas within the resort, tennis courts, playgrounds and the main building that accommodates the reception and the restaurant. The latter one is on the first floor and has a stunning view to the seaside. Though the resort is situated next to the shore, the beach did not seem to be used too much. We were also lying on the sun besides the pool, of course accompanied by some of these lizards.
The town itself was pretty calm during the day and almost dead silent in the evening. We barely found any restaurant open for dinner. When we just sat down on the porch of the place we found , we had an unexpected act from the parrots sitting on the trees. At sunset they started to tweet really loudly, making any conversation impossible for a good fifteen minutes. Later we were told it was normal and repeats at every sunset.
Next morning we witnessed a fiasco at the pool after having our breakfast finished. Happened that two water dragons found the flat rock feature above the pool too small for them and one just fell off the edge... right on the shoulder of a guy, standing in the pool. I have no idea which one of them was more frightened, but hats off to the guy who just screamed a bit. If it had happened to me, I would have sh** my pants.
We left behind the resort and continued our trip to Brisbane. On our way we stopped to have a swim at Byron Bay and visit the lighthouse. Walk a bit further down behind the lighthouse, and you find the easternmost point of the Australian continent. After a quick lookaround, we jumped into the car to finally get to our friends' address in Brisbane.
Where we arrived at twice, because during the planning phase the information about moving to a new flat somehow got lost. It only came to light when we discussed via phone that we were all standing in front of the house but still cannot see each other. So there was another hour of drive to reach the ultimate destination.
Our first adventure in Brisbane, the most expected part of the journey, has started early in the morning: prior to opening we arrived at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary with our pre-purchased online tickets. The online tickets were cheaper and came with a queue jumping feature. Though, the fact, that only one couple were waiting in front of us, greatly reduced the value of this feature. Damn, when people pay for this, they should guarantee a queue, we jcan jump. At least we had a tranquil time to take photos of the awakening animals. We quickly ticked the snake and spider section because this time we wanted something else.
What we wanted to see of the Australian fauna were the koalas and kangaroos. Koalas are hanging on the Eucalyptus trees like ripe fruit because of the constant sedation of eating the mildly poisonous leaves of the tree. Visitors can hold them for a bit and take some photos which is a great experience for the strangers. The locals are as excited as we were at the goat petting in Sydney. First the keeper holds them then they put them on your chest while you are holding them like a baby. When they want it too. My koala was willing to co-operate only in return for some extra leaves. The koalas are in shifts: after couple of tourists the keepers shift them and they can have a rest on the trees.
Wallabies and kangaroos are freely wandering in a large inhibit where tourists can visit them. We entered twice and spent altogether two hours there, I had to be ordered out by my other half. I truly think this was the ultimate experience of the whole journey. We petted a lot of them and we also saw a baby kangaroo.
After the visit at the sanctuary we drove to the Mount Coot-tha Summit at the east side of the city, from where a great panorama opens to the city.
*: we are from Hungary