Friday 20 July 2018
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Address: Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Date: May 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
Friday 10 October 2014
Location: Beerwah, Queensland, Australia
Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way
Date: May 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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