We opted to stick with Quantas Airlines when booking our flights within Australia and our first flight was to the beautiful city of Brisbane.
Brisbane is a mix of tall sleek modern waterfront architecture and beautiful, old historical buildings near the city center. We chose to stay at the Goodearth Hotel. The location was amazing since it was just a short stroll to downtown Brisbane and all the great shopping and restaurants. I couldn’t recommend the actual accommodations though because it was rather rundown and dowdy when we stayed there. I can only hope it has been remodeled because the staff was extremely helpful and friendly and the location was perfect.
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and the climate is subtropical so the gardens around the city are lush and full of mango trees and banana plants. The site the city now occupies was originally one of the most notorious penal colonies in Australia and life for the convicts was a living hell with no escape as the waters off the coast were full of sharks and the interior full of hostile Aboriginal communities.
Prisoners who were considered the worst of the worst were sent to this penal colony. In 1839, the penal colony was disbanded and the area was opened up to settlers and eventually cattlemen. While the capital grew, it retained its provincial flavor and continues to be a laid back city even today.
By far the best way to get to Lone Pine Sanctuary is to take the river cruise from Warf Road by Victoria Bridge in the center of town. It takes about 1 ½ hours each way, but the view from the river is beautiful. We even saw the creepy site of huge black bats hanging upside down from the eucalyptus trees lining the river.
You will be able to see all the incredible variety of native animals like koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils, wombats. Cockatoos and Parrots and various species of reptiles, as well as a platypus which arrived at the sanctuary during 2010 from Melbourne.
It was incredible to actually hold a koala. They are surprisingly heavy, like small dense balls of fur that cuddle against you as you hold them. The sanctuary is one of the very few sanctuaries in the world where visitors are allowed to hold koalas for a fee. Strict regulations ensure that each koala is not held for more than thirty minutes every day.
This was one of our favorite places in Australia. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Lone Pine Sanctuary when you visit Brisbane!