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Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Friday, 20 July 2018

Brisbane & The Machine

Wintergarden Facade.

Location: Brisbane, Australia
Address:  Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Date: May 2012
Website:  www.brisbane.qld.gov.au

  We found ourselves walking around Brisbane in the evening while we were in Australia.  The first night we were looking for somewhere good to eat.  We headed south and ended up at the Queen Street Mall.  It is a pedestrian only road with many stores and restaurants.  It also has a pixel light display above one portion of the street.  We were looking for somewhere nice to sit and relax and enjoy a meal after a long day.

It's Hungry Jack's Mate.

  One restaurant caught our eye.  It had a familiar logo.  This is Hungry Jack's and is the Australian franchise of Burger King.  Another hamburger chain was already operating as Burger King when the American company decided to expand down under so a different name was chosen.  We didn't really feel like a Whopper so we continued our search.

Jo-Jo's Over The Rainbow.

  We turned around and there were people enjoying dinner on a balcony.  A little rainbow lead the way upstairs.  This is Jo-Jo's and we decided to check it out.

Number 60 At Jo-Jo's

  We were given a number card on a stand.  We were told to put it on our table and then we could go to the stations to choose what we wanted to eat.  You had to pay at the stations and then someone would bring your food to you back at your table.  This was the first time we encountered this service, but it was common in many places around Australia.  We enjoyed our dinner and then took a stroll around Brisbane.

Number 11 Balcony Seating At Jo-Jo's

  The next night we didn't try too hard to find a new place to eat.  It was back to Jo-Jo's.  This time we ended up on the balcony and held card number 11.  We now knew how the routine worked.  After dinner we went for a little walk again.

Queen Street Mall.

  We walked out of the restaurant and noticed a lot of people headed south along Albert Street. We decided to head south as well.  We were curious where everyone was going.  As we walked we noticed more and more people.  Soon we reached the gates of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.

In The Park After Dark.

We decided to follow the crowds into the park and see where they would lead us.  It was very dark in the gardens and we could barely see the strange trees around us.  Maybe they were doing fireworks in the river? 

Old Government House.

  We went deeper into the gardens.  Some people rushed past us.  On the edge of the garden was an old building.  This is Old Government House.  It was built in 1862 and was Queensland's first public building.  We went a little further and could hear music.  Then we were at the gates of the Riverstage.  This was the end of the line for us and we would wonder no more.  The tables selling merchandise told us that British act Florence & the Machine were playing a concert that night.  Mystery solved.  We do enjoy the band's music and would have loved to stay for a show, but we had another busy day planned tomorrow and no tickets.  Instead we fought our way back against the flow of Florence fans and past Jo-Jo's one last time

Map of Our World
Hungry Jack's (Brisbane) , Jo-Jo's
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Old Government House

Post # 221

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Flinders Street Station

Meet Me Under The Clocks.

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Address:  Flinders Street
Date: May 2012
Website:  whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au

  On Flinders Street in Melbourne, Australia stands a beautiful gold, orange and green building.  This is the oldest and busiest railway station in all of Australia.  The current building was completed in 1910 but a train station has exisited on this spot since 1854.  We admired the building as we drove by on one of Melbourne's trolleys and while we waited for a tour bus in Federation Square.

All Aboard At Flinders Station.

  The station boasts the fourth longest railway platform in the world.  The photo above was taken from across the street at Federation Square and only shows a portion of the width of the platforms.  The station portion is enclosed but where the trains arrive is mostly open to the air.

Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone?

  One end is the main entrance and it has clocks just above the entrance which show the different train departing times.  We loved the colour of the facade and the copper dome roof which has turned green with age.

Golden Clock Tower.

  The opposite end has a large clock tower showing the actual time.  We never did make it into the station, but we found this to be the most beautiful building in all of Melbourne.  We drove rental cars and flew as we travelled around Australia, but maybe next time we should take the train.

Map of Our World
Flinders Street Station

Post # 208

Monday, 30 January 2017

Wild Roosters

Red Junglefowl.

Location: Daintree, Australia
Address: Mount Alexandra Lookout
Date: May 2012
Website: www.npsr.qld.gov.au

  Jan 28, 2017 is the start of Chinese New Year.  This year is the year of the rooster.  On our travels we have seen many different types of chickens, but this blog is about feral chickens.  Feral chickens are chickens that have left domesticated life behind and taken to the wild.

Another curve on The Road To Hana.
 The Maui Coastline.

  In Hawaii, the road to Hana is a winding right of passage for many tourists.  The road has many twists and turns as you make your way along the beautiful Maui coastline.  We encountered some Red Junglefowl at one of the first parking lots we stopped (picture at top of post).  The  roosters had beautiful feather combinations of red, yellow, orange, green and white.

The mouth of the Daintree.
 No Farm in Sight.

  While in Australia we took a tour that brought us into the Daintree rainforest.  The Daintree is Australia's largest tropical rainforest.  At Mount Alexandra Lookout we encountered another group of feral chickens.  An Australorp is a special Australian chicken that is usually black with a red beak and a red comb.  The comb is the part on top of the rooster's head.  Again these chickens were just roaming the parking lot without a farm in sight.

Wild Australorp.

  Instead of calling these wild or feral chickens we think there should be a new classification called Parking Lot Roosters.  While in the Daintree we noticed a small little fruit stand at the corner of the parking lot.  It appeared to be operating on the honour system as no one was around.  We wondered if it was the result of entrepeneurial chickens or if they were secretly the security guards.  Happy New Year roosters!

Cock-A-Doodle Do you want a piece of fruit?

Map of Our World
Mount Alexandra Lookout , Hana Highway

Post # 159

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Hanson Bay Galahs.

Location: Karatta, Australia
Address:  Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, South Coast Road
Date: May 2012
Website:  www.hansonbay.com.au

  One place we just had to visit while on Kangaroo Island was the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.  The sanctuary is home to a koala colony and other Australian wildlife.  When we first entered the sanctuary we spotted a short beaked echidna digging in the grass.  Once we had paid our admission fee we headed off towards Koala Walk.

And Now The Galah Event.

  As we entered the rows of eucalyptus trees we were greeted by a group of galahs.  Galahs are also known as rose breasted cockatoos.  They are a beautiful grey and pink with a lighter coloured forehead.  They look a bit like someone has pulled a pink turtleneck up over their nose.  Galahs can be found all across Australia and have become as common as pigeons are to other parts of the world.

Who you calling Pigeon?

  Speaking of beautiful birds, we also spotted some crimson rosellas.  Crimson Rosellas are a type of parrot that is blue and red.  The ones found on Kangaroo Island are the largest in all of Australia.  Rosellas are usually found in mating pairs like the two we photographed below.

 A Pair Of Parrots.

  After admiring the birds we looked up into the trees.  Looking back at us was one of the resident koalas.

G'day Down There.

  The koalas at Hanson Bay are a wild group that is free to leave at any time.  Any one of them could have easily followed us to our car and out along the driveway to explore the rest of the island. 

Koala Tea Time.

  Koalas are a close relative of the wombat.  They are both marsupials and both have backwards facing pouches.  Wombat pouches face backwards to keep them from filling with dirt.  Koala pouches face that way since the babies eat a substance called pap from their mother's butt.  Anyway, wombats prefer digging in the ground while koalas spend most of their day sleeping high up in the eucalyptus trees.  Despite their pouches facing in opposite directions both koala babies and kangaroo babies are called joeys.

Like Kangarooz-z-z-z-z

    We had a great time spotting koalas up in the trees.  When our necks were sore it was time to look down again.  Much to our delight there was more to explore at ground level.

Maybe Tammar.

  Sitting underneath a branch is what we believe was a tammar wallaby.  These are the smallest of all the wallabies and are quite common on Kangaroo Island.

Hey little buddy do you think we will ever get off this island?  I don't know Skipper.

  Another macropod we spotted was the Kangaroo Island kangaroo.  It is similar to the western grey kangaroo but is more chocolate coloured and much stockier.  Macropod means large feet in Greek.  We also had to move our feet as the afternoon was almost over.  Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is on the western end of Kangaroo Island near Flinders Chase National Park and we had to drive all the way to Penneshaw at the eastern end.  Anybody need a ride?

Map of Our World
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Post # 119

Monday, 20 June 2016

Short Beaked Echidna

Who Can It Be Now?

Location: Karatta, Australia
Address:  Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, South Coast Road
Date: May 2012
Website:  www.hansonbay.com.au

  Most people are aware that Australia is home to some of the most unusual and unique animals on the planet.  When we visited Kangaroo Island we had a private encounter with a monotreme.  We had come to the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to see their resident koalas, but as we drove up their driveway we noticed a little brown creature shuffling across the field.  We parked the car and headed across the field for a closer look.

I Dig In The Ground Down Under.

 To our delight it was an echidna digging in the grass.  In Greek mythology, Echidna was half woman and half snake.  Echidnas are mammals yet they lay eggs like a reptile so this name is fitting.  The proper word for an egg laying mammal is montreme.  There are only 2 montremes, the echidna and the platypus.  There are four types of echidna, but our encounter was with a short beaked echidna.

Echidna At Work.

  The echidna continued to go about its business and paid us no mind.  The echidna is similar to an anteater because it digs in the ground and sticks its beak into the hole and then uses its tongue to slurp up ants and other insects.

It's A Mistake to mess with me.

  The echidna also has spines covering its back much like a porcupine.  If threatened it will curl up into a ball like a hedgehog to protect itself.  We don't believe these spines are designed to stick into an attacker like a porcupine's quills but we think it would still be a mistake to mess with them.

   We observed the echidna while it enjoyed its lunch.  It is yet another Australian creature that seems to be made up of several different animals.  While Australia is home to some of the deadliest animals on earth, it also has many, like our little spiny friend, that are some of the cutest.  Speaking of cute Australian animals, we had to get going as there were trees full of koalas waiting for us on the other side of the sanctuary.

Business As Usual for an Echidna.

Map of Our World
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (Short Beaked Echidna)

Post # 118

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Batman Avenue

Batman Ave.

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Address: Batman Avenue
Date: May 2012
Website: www.onlymelbourne.com.au

  We were headed towards Federation Square when we noticed the street sign in front of us.  We were about to cross Batman Avenue.  Maybe Melbourne would also have a Spiderman Street or Iron Man Crescent?  We wondered why the street was named after a fictional superhero.  It was only much later that we would discover the street was actually named after John Batman, who was one of the founders of Melbourne, Australia.  John Batman died in May 1839 and it would be almost exactly 100 years before the Batman character made his debut in Detective Comics #27.   Detective Comics is better known as DC comics.  Try as we might we could make no other connections between John Batman and the caped crusader.  We even looked through his family tree hoping to find a Bruce or an Alfred or a Wayne.  No luck.  John Batman had seven daughters and one son and married a woman named Elizabeth.  We were hoping that he had married a woman named Robin, because the name Robin Batman would have been awesome. 

Map of Our World
Batman Avenue

Post # 110

Friday, 10 October 2014

Wombat Encounter

5 cute wombats.

Location: Beerwah, Queensland, Australia
Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way
Date: May 2012
Website:  www.australiazoo.com.au/our-animals/animal-encounters

  Few things have brought us more joy than our wombat encounter at the Australia Zoo.  We still can't look at these pictures without a huge smile on our faces.  The Australia Zoo is located about an hour's drive outside of Brisbane and offers many special animal encounters.  We have always had a soft spot for wombats since seeing our first one at the Toronto Zoo.  For about 40 dollars each we had the chance to spend half an hour inside the wombat enclosure, up close and personal with our 5 newest friends.

How nice of you to join me for lunch.

  It is always surprising that more people are not familiar with wombats.  Everyone you meet knows about koalas, but not their close cousin the wombat.  Both animals are marsupials and only found in Australia.  Marsupials carry their young in pouches and both the koala and wombat have backwards facing pouches.  This is useful for the wombat which spends a great deal of time digging in the ground and would not want to fill its pouch up with dirt in the process.  Both animals also have hardened backsides of cartilage.  The koala uses it to sit comfortably high up in the trees, but the wombat uses it for protection.  If a predator, like a dingo, attacks a wombat, it will dive into its burrow filling the opening with it's behind.  The dingo will be unable to get a grip on anything to pull the wombat out. In fact, often the wombat will allow a small opening over its back and when the dingo reaches further inside it will use its hardened backside to crush the dingo's head against the roof of its burrow.  The final thing koalas and wombats have in common is that they are both adorable.

A couple of wom-butts.

  We were drawn to the wombats because they are so cute, but we had to be wary as they can also be aggressive and could easily charge and bowl one of us over.  They are almost like tough little bulldogs.  When we were at the Cairns Tropical Zoo one of the keepers told us that just the day before a female wombat had attacked another keeper and she required stitches from her wounds.  The Australia Zoo staff told us that we could only approach the wombats from behind and only while they were eating.  Once they had finished eating we would have to leave.

Pat a wombat.

  Five bowls were placed in a row in the middle of the wombat enclosure and each wombat took their position behind one of the bowls.  It was then that we were instructed that we could touch the wombats.  We hopped from wom-butt to wom-butt and back again stroking their fur.  All the while the wombats munched away.  We even had the opportunity to lay down on the grass with one arm around a wombat and have our pictures taken.  Then we went back to running from butt to butt, giddy with delight.

A Southern hairy-nosed wombat poses for a photo.

  There are three types of wombats: Common, Southern hairy-nosed and Northern hairy-nosed.  The Northern hairy-nosed wombat is the most endangered.  The Southern hairy-nosed and Common are, well, more common.  The Australia Zoo had 5 wombats that we are now on a first name basis with.   They are Laura and Meg the Southern hairy-nosed wombats and Minibus, Tonka, and Wendy the Common wombats.  In the photo above, one of the Southern hairy-nosed wombats is facing us.  In the picture below, a Common wombat is enjoying its meal.  The Southern hairy-nosed wombats have a thicker, softer fur, while the Common has a shorter, coarser fur.  Trust us we checked them all.

I might be Common, but I'm special.

   Once our wombat experience was over we still could not get enough, so we continued to watch the wombats from outside of their enclosure.  If you ever get the chance we highly recommend this experience.  If you are still not convinced, watch the video below and try not to fall in love.

Map of Our World
Australia Zoo (Wombat Encounter)

Post # 24