on May 28, 2006
One of the first things on the to-do list for any first-time visitor to Australia is seeing the country’s famous wildlife. My friends and I skipped a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney in favor of seeing sights that Sydney offered that other cities in Australia did not. Therefore, on arrival in Brisbane, we did our research, and after finding that Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was both closer and cheaper than the Australia Zoo, we were off.We made the trip to Lone Pine slightly more difficult than it had to be, actually going into town from our apartment before going back out again...and finding that we retraced the majority of our steps before taking a turnoff toward Fig Tree Pocket. Luckily, we only traveled one extra zone, and I got to see Brisbane’s CBD for the first time, so it wasn’t really a problem. To get to the Sanctuary, you can catch the 430 bus anywhere between Queen St Mall and Fig Tree Pocket (including Toowong and Indooroopilly), and it takes you straight to Lone Pine’s entrance.We found a special coupon in one of our guide books that, while it did not give us any discounts on our actual ticket price, gave us the interesting gift of a Lone Pine koala light-up keychain and a cute picture of a momma kangaroo kissing her joey. We each paid $19 to get into the park, although if we were YHA or any other association’s members, we could have gotten 20% off that price.The chirps of Australian birds greeted us as we walked through the gates. We saw rainbow lorikeets and every color of cockatoo imaginable—white, pink, and the angry-looking black. There was a cage of bats in the middle of the birds, but most of them were just hanging, rather than screeching, which was a blessing. The most interesting to us was the kookaburra, a bizarre looking bird with a huge beak and mottled markings. Unfortunately, we weren’t there at the right time to hear his whooping, so when we later heard this in the trees outside our apartment, we thought it was a good possibility there were monkeys living there. My friend came back to Lone Pine just before leaving Brizzy and got a brilliant video of the kookaburra whooping—if you want to see this, it's best to be near the cages later in the day, between 4 and closing.The bird cages took up a very small area compared to the main attraction, which we soon found—the koalas. Lone Pine houses over 130 koalas in various different enclosures depending on age and sex. The first enclosures we saw were large, co-ed areas filled with eucalyptus trees and fuzzy gray furballs. The koalas were absolutely adorable—most of them were splayed out and fast asleep. Every once in a while, one would sleepily open his eyes and stare at us.This review is continued in Lone Pine, pt. 2.
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