Week 22 - August 13, 2018 - August 19, 2018

Although we had gone a bit southwest to get to my friend, Chris's house, we still had a few things we wanted to do and see up north.  We drove back through the country and we could not resist a stop at the Buderim Ginger Factory in Yandina.  This place was all things sweet ginger and we probably spent more time in the 'shop' than on the factory tour.  Discovering ways to incorporate ginger into cooking has got us excited to try some of our new found goodies.

   Thanks to Mr. Ham, the cooperative became the leading exporter of ginger             Factory operations

   Gerson having fun with the ginger mascot                So much deliciousness          This 'ginger' was happy with her ginger purchases

After our ginger immersion, we were off to our stop for the night, Coolum Beach, south of Noosa Heads.  We had initially intended to stay in Noosa; however, difficulty in finding a camping spot and that we wanted to be on, what is called here, absolute waterfront, we opted for Coolum Beach.  We are so happy we did as our quick run through Noosa Heads found it anything but quaint and very difficult to park and access the beach.  Whereas Coolum Beach was still a bit 'resorty', it was a tad more cozy and the beach just a few meters from Cinderoo.

    Noosa Head Main Beach views        Coolum Beach cliff walk was spectacular

A couple of days along the beach and we were heading south again.  And, seeing as we were in the neighborhood of an Australian icon, we had to visit Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo.  Although Steve Irwin was known for his education about and preservation of crocodiles, his legacy is the preservation of so much more. 

   I like snakes -  Eastern Brown, Taipan and Green Python                Cool Veiled Chameleon

This Water Dragon escaped an enclosure and enjoying his freedom                  Wombats, usually nocturnal
                                                                                                                             but this one wanted a daylight snack

We had intended to spend a few hours at the Zoo and it was not long before we realized we would spend all day enjoying the special place.  We were able to walk the entire reserve, watch a few shows and hang with a few of the residents. 

   Gerson having fun with a mock-up of a real crocodile               "Who you looking at" - stunning owl

   Just hanging with a mom and her Joey and Gerson made a friend         Echidna - no tyres are safe with them around

  Asian Otters - comical                            This green parrot likes to have a different perspective of things

Why we enjoyed this zoo so much was that it was laid out more like a reserve or park and animals were not in 'cages' per se.  Many of the animals are rescues of some sort and there even was a state-of-the-art animal hospital on site for care of the zoo's animals and for any injured animals brought in from the surrounding areas.  The Irwins practice what they preach.

   Tasmanian Devil looking rather cute sleeping               Rare Red Panda - endangered and beautiful
   Rescued tigers (second one was blind)           Cheetah out for a walkabout

   Lemurs - love the way they sit and those bloomers and that tail!             Binturong (bearcat) - listed as vulnerable

I even got to hold a Koala and although being rather cute, they are stinky buggars.  As they mature, so do their 'glands' and the smell is a combination of wet-dirty socks, wet dog and well, shit.  It's rather bad and a smell that lingers.  But they are cute though.

   Cuddly koala, if you could hold your nose                                      Koala family and adorable youngster
   Beautiful Dingo                Now, this is a python!                 White rhinoceros

    Quite the crocdile                  Jabirus are the only 'storks' in Australia                 Kite zipping past

   Never saw this bird before - Black Red-tailed Black Cockatoo - gorgeous bird

   Giraffes being nosy and finding their food               Meercats provided the comedy

After the zoo, it was off to settle near Brisbane for a couple of days.  Again, we intended to stay closer to Brisbane, however, with no place available, we stayed about an hour away in a little ocean enclave called Thorneside.  We decided to take the train into town and do a bit of an urban hike around the city. 

  Brisbane did not disappoint              Brisbane created its own 'beach' in the middle of the city

  Several different views of Brisbane taken from its river boardwalk and a river taxi

We probably walked about 10k for the day and opted to jump on a water taxi and a car taxi to get to some of the outer reaches that we wanted to visit.  Brisbane is a pleasant mix of hills, parks, river boardwalks, small old and new neighborhoods, modern architecture and is enhanced by its preservation of its historical buildings.  We wandered around the old and the new and found a couple of museums (as the museums are free in Brisbane) and just soaked up the beauty of this city.

  Lots of parks           Just a few of the grand old buildings around Brisbane

   Playing the Digeridoo                               Walked into a small festival celebrating Indonesia  
    Gerson being used for size comparison of this Killer Whale skull and Giant Squid            Found a brewery and a cold beer

Visiting Brisbane would not have been complete without meandering up to its highest mountain, Mount Coot-tha.  Fortunately, Cinderoo had no problem scaling the steep road up to the lookout and with her petite size, we fit right into a parking space amongst the less versatile vehicles.  The views from the lookout were breathtaking and let us appreciate Brisbane even more.

   Cinderoo nestled in her spot                         Views from Mount Coot-tha over Brisbane

Still having a bit of time left on the day, we decided to take a rambling drive back to our caravan park and found a wonderful little corner called Wellington Point.  Taking a walk around its point, we came across a number of people enjoying various water sports and were especially amazed by the kiteboarders taking advantage of the wind.

   Some amazing talent and some amazing view

Like the rest of the world, we mostly hear about Sydney or Melbourne when Australia is talked about, yet here is Brisbane, quietly stunning, easily livable and quite a jewel in Queensland's crown.


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