A snapshot from a journey to Australia
In order to get to the Auckland International airport in time for our 6:35 am flight to Brisbane, we had to leave the apartment on Vernon Street at 3:30 am. The shuttle brought us there in plenty of time and the flight was relatively smooth and uneventful except for the fact that we were sitting next to an accompanied minor (a twelve year old boy on his way to his first Australian holiday) and that I almost left a bag behind in the overhead compartment. However, we faced a different story when we went through customs. Because I am honest and claimed that I had vegetables with me, we needed to go through the line for declaring goods. Then, ironically, I realized that I had left the veggies (red pepper slices and sugar peas) on the plane. This did not stop the security agents from sending their dog to sniff my bags for any possible plant products. When the dog stopped at my bag, all my bags were examined thoroughly only to find that I had packed a few eucalyptus leaves from our hike up the volcano in New Zealand. The leaves were thrown out, my seashells were given a proper washing and I was issued a warning. That all behind us, we were finally free to hail a cab to the Miramar Boat Cruise, which was leaving from the boardwalk behind the Brisbane State Library at 10 am. The next challenge was that the Indian cab driver really did not know where he was going. Ten minutes before the boat was scheduled to leave, we finally found the boat launch and were on board.
The view from the boat down the Brisbane River to the Lone Pine Koala Reserve was scenic and interesting, as we were educated about the various bridges and landmarks along the way. The banks were lush with greenery and some elegant homes looked out on to the river. We also passed the University of Brisbane where a few of Julian’s friends are currently studying. After an hour and a quarter of our enjoyable ride, we were finally at the Reserve. Although the Reserve could be described as a type of zoo, I had never experience anything like it in America. Julian and I first walked past the birds and the bats, although both were much larger than the American varieties. (The Australian bats are probably about five times the size as their American relatives). I was so happy to finally see a Kookaburra in person and learn that the gum tree (on which he sits in the famous song) is actually a species of Eucalyptus.
Then Julian and I visited the Platypus, a water habituating mammal indigenous to the “land down under”. We were both fascinated by the way he moved agilely around in the water. We saw a few kolas and Julian had the opportunity to have his picture taken while holding a koala named Gumpy while I was able to pet a Koala named Ralph during feeding time. However, the highlight for me was to be able to pet the emus and Kangaroos. If you have never had the opportunity to pet an emu before, you may be surprised to discover that their feathers feel brittle and stretchy like bark and not soft as you might think.
Margaret petting a kangaroo at the Lone Pine Reserve