Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
Stood waiting for the shuttle bus, I appreciated how humid it was, and I didn't envisage wearing my jeans that much over the proceedings 2 weeks. Thankfully the bus dropped me off at my chosen hostel, Bunk Backpackers, which looked fairly posh judging from its website. Even so, I'd splashed out on a single room for the first 4 nights as these big city hostels are renowned for drunken revellers stumbling in in the early hours, and I could do without the noise. Plus it was too much of a come down to stay in a dingy dormitory after the luxury I'd enjoyed recently!
My room was nice, with the all important air conditioning and en suite bathroom
Top of my agenda for the next day was to buy some shorts and jandals as it was way too hot for socks and trainers. The sun was out as I walked into the city centre, and I had to stop halfway to put some suncream on as it felt like it was burning a hole in my neck! It must have been close to 30 degrees, plus the humidity factor on top of that. Whilst doing this I spotted a large bird with a 30cm arched beak, scratching for food...it was quite bizarre, but I later realised that they are common in these parts.
I bought some shorts and jandals without any problems, and spent the rest of the day wandering around aimlessly, getting to grips with the city's layout. My early impressions were positive as it was such a clean place, and like Melbourne, it had some lovely gardens for relaxing in. On top of this, nearly every single girl in the city was good looking...always a bonus!
It was also a day for planning, as I didn't want to spend my whole time in Brisbane, even though I liked it. Just below Brisbane lies the Gold Coast, home to numerous Theme Parks that definitely interested me. I'd decided to wait and go to Dream World, Australia's version of Alton Towers, with Donna when she arrives on 1st December. Going on rollercoasters is more fun if you are with someone! So instead, I booked to go to Sea World the next day as it looked interesting, with lots of animal shows and the like.
To my surprise, I emerged from an internet cafe at 5pm to torrential rain, and duely got soaked on the way back to the hostel. Luckily I'd had the foresight to put my pac-a-mac (thankyou Millets) into my bag, although it did little to stop my jeans from getting wet. Nevermind though, and after getting myself dried off I enjoyed a quiet night ahead of my trip the next day.
It was an hours' bus ride to Sea World, so I arrived at about 10.30am...and my first task was to eat breakfast without the surrounding seagulls getting a look in. I managed to eat my sausage roll and caramel slice thanks to a chatty park attendant, who sprayed the birds with water when they came too close! Later in the day I witnessed a seagull swoop down and take a chip right infront of a woman's nose...to her horror
Anyway, I made my way to the sea lions after eating, as the 'Quest for the Golden Seal' show was due to start at 11.30am. I took my seat in the stand, feeling like a big kid, and watched for half an hour as the sea lions performed all kinds of tricks. It was really impressive, and it made for a good start to the day.
I wandered around for the next couple of hours, watching the animals from various different lookouts. The polar bears were great, as they'd climb up the rocks then dive into the water, giving everyone in the underwater enclosure a great view. Likewise, the sharks looked fearsome as they swam towards you, with just a sheet of glass separating them from you. There were lots of penguins, pelicans and dolphins around too, as well as some bizarre looking, colourful fish from the Great Barrier Reef.
I couldn't resist going to the 4D Theatre in the afternoon to watch a 20 minute animation about global warming (although I don't know the difference between 3D and 4D!). The place was packed with young children, and it was amusing watching them reach up to try and touch the 3D animals (sorry, 4D animals). The glasses worked a treat though, and even I flinched when a snake appeared to be about an inch away from my face
Later in the afternoon, I watched the dolphin show which was the highlight of the day. They were amazing and did everything from synchronised somersaults, to 'waving' at the crowd, to giving the trainers a ride surfboard-style. Quite how the do it I don't know, but the children loved it (as did I).
I mooched around some more as the bus wasn't arriving until 5.15pm. I went to the touch tanks that allowed you to touch the various sea creatures, and I watched the polar bears some more before it was eventually time to go. It had been a nice, if slightly overpriced, day out.
As we drove back towards Brisbane, I listened to Oasis on my minidisc player to get me in the mood for the gig. I'd not seen them live since 1997, and even though Teenage Fanclub have now surpassed them as my favourite band, I was still hoping for a good performance...