Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, June 6, 2009

We were finally headed to Brisbane, Australia for 5 nights. Our flight was a nice surprise.  We didn't think we would get anything to eat on the 4 hour flight but we were immediately served a huge hot lunch and unlimited drinks (the good kind).  Later they came around with ICE CREAM!   Ice cream on an airplane?  That just doesn't happen! 

We checked into our hotel but only for one night because we weren't all together.  That night we explored the downtown area and ate dinner in the ped mall.  Really great feeling for Brisbane so far.  The weather was perfect and we got to see wildlife right away - cat-size bats were flying around above our heads in the trees.

We heard lots of great things about the markets in Brisbane so we decided to do that Sunday morning.  We walked down to the river where there was one already up and going.  We saw some really great things and bought some stuff before jumping on a River Cat and going down to another one.  Brisbane has an unbelievable setup with these ferries.  The river here wiggles its way all through town so there is a lot to see and a lot of great places to get off and explore.  The tickets are really cheap and you get to use the buses and trains all day too.  

We got to another part of town and walked along this amazing waterfront they built up.  It was stacked with cafes, restaurants and pubs, not to mention the market.  There was everything you could imagine to buy here.  The best was the live band with classic Oz music.  We had lunch and watched this entertainer fit a small tennis racket over his body from his head to his toes.  To do it he had to dislocate and bunch of body parts but it was pretty interesting (maybe just not during lunch).  We shopped a bit and cooled off at a famous old pub called The Ploughman's Pub.  We are really making our mom's fill up on beer. Afterwords we took the River Cat up and down the river and watched the sunset.  We checked into our new hotel and went back down to the riverfront and had dinner at a place called Friday's - but much different from the one back in the US.  We sat outside under the stars and looked out over the water.  One of the best meals yet.  Glad to see that we are actually eating dinner in Australia so far. 

One thing you have to do when you're in Australia is to see some kangaroos and some koalas.  The next day we went to a Koala park where they protect these animals.  These koalas are so incredible and probably the cutest animal I have ever seen - really.  We heard a short talk on them and then got to pet them and even hold them.  We saw babies with their Mom's and all sorts of other kinds - seeing about 120 in all. 

We also were entertained with the kangaroos.  These guys are used to humans so nothing we did bothered them.  You walk into a huge fenced in field and are one on one with them.  You can feed and pet them.  They have gotten a little lazy I think because most of them just sit there and won't move unless you put your hand of food right up into their months.  Not all were lazy, ssome were hopping all over the place and it was fun to make them work for their food.  Brian had one chasing him.  There were 17 that had Joey's.  Gosh, we saw so many cool things that day.  For lunch we had ice cream, so when we got back to town we ate at a place called Jo Jo's and had a wonderful meal before calling it a day. 

To get out of Brisbane for a day we hopped on a ferry that took us out to Moreton Island - it has the world's largest sand dune.  It was a long trip, about 90 minutes but a gorgeous ride.  When we got out to the island we had lunch at a cafe and walked along the beach.  Brian and I decided to take our chances and go Sand Boarding.  We left the Mom's happily on the beach and got in this crazy 4-wheel drive school bus that took us out to the sand dunes.  I am still wondering how we got there on those roads - it was completely sand but in the forest.  Very strange.  Once there, the guide told us all very quickly how to do it.  We had to climb the sand dune to get to the top.  Brian was the first one up and everyone else, including me, was having a really hard time getting up the dune carrying a big heavy board with us.  So Brian went first and everyone oh'd and ah'd.  I went 3rd and half way down let my elbows hit the sand so my board went into it and I got a huge mouthful of sand.  I swallowed quite a bit of sand and even more got in my eyes.  Most people just starred at me and some laughed.  Little did they know how hard it was.  Brian was one of the few that didn't eat sand that day.  In fact, most people only went once, either because they didn't want to climb the dune again or because they had too much sand in their month the first time.  Regardless, it was fun to try. 

The ride back to Brisbane was excellent as we got to see the sunset over the water.  That night we went to a BBQ Steak place and had some Ozzy-Q.  Pretty good, but not as good as my brother's.  

The next day was our last full day with our Mom's.  So, we dedicated to do some shopping!  We all went downtown and wondered around, Brian went to a hotel and watched basketball.  Us girls had fun though.  We walked all around that day and went to the city clock tower (that was not open) and to a cathedral.  After freshening up, we decided to walk across the famous Story Bridge and over to the Kangaroo Point neighborhood.  There are a couple good old famous bars there we wanted to check out.  It was a really interesting walk over the bridge and the bar was pretty neat.  It was built directly under the bridge and the pilers went right through the main area.  We got a bottle of wine and afterwords gambled a little in their Pokies room.  We headed back across the bridge and ended up at a restaurant called Venice.  It was simply, one of the best meals we have ever had!  The chef was amazing and even took our order. 

That night we all packed and just talked about how much fun we had together.  The next morning they left about 9:30am.  Brian and I were sure sad to see them go.  We know they were missing our Dad's, but a few more days would have been nice.  We had such a wonderful time with them and appreciate the really long trip they took to get here.  Thank you for visiting Mom's!!!

That day, to keep our minds busy, Brian and I did all the things we didn't get to do around Brisbane with them.  First though, we set up our campervan rental for the next day.  We had to go from really, comfy, clean hotel back to the budget backpackers.  It wasn't so bad but we prefer to stay with Elaine and Susan.  So, after that, Brian and I headed to the Clock tower again and made it to the top - great views of downtown.  Then we headed to the Mt. Coo Tha for an incredible lookout over the city and then went to the planetarium. 

At the lookout I went to order a sandwich for Brian and I, and when I came back out onto the patio, the only way I could see Brian was because he was a good head and shoulders above all the other 200+ people that had suddenly arrived at the lookout.  A couple big tour buses had just pulled in.  Yes, they were from Asia and taking 1,000s of pictures.  Brian could hardly walk through them to get to me.  It was like a storm going through, within minutes they were no where to be seen.

That night we got back on the River Cat and headed down the river in the direction we had yet to see.  We stopped and wondered around the Bulimba neighborhood and had an awesome pizza.

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