Australia Zoo…

This one’s a long one, so buckle your seat belt…

The good news is that I finally have something worth talking about – something different from the humdrum monotony of work, sleep, work, sleep and chores…  Today we were invited to join some friends to visit Australia Zoo!  In spite of living within an hour’s drive of the place, I’d never been before, so it was fun to finally get there.  So, off we went with our friends and their 2yo DS and 4 month old twin DD’s…

I should warn you at the outset, I took the wrong camera.  I took the compact, forgetting that you can hardly change any setting manually – you’re stuck with their automatic functions.  So, unfortunately most of the photos are pretty average, if not downright grainy, ill-lit and out of focus…  Next trip I promise to take a better camera (we’ve got two better ones)!  Oh, and many of them were taken at 100+km/hr too – really not the right camera for that…

So, bright and early Sunday morning, off we set (DH & I) at the (far too early) time of 8am (we were running half an hour late).  As you can see, the roads were incredibly congested:

Approaching merge with Gateway Mwy

Ok, not so much…  You should try getting through this stretch of road on a Friday afternoon – bumper to bumper traffic with everyone trying to make a weekend escape to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast!  That overpass you can see is another major roadway (the Gateway Motorway) which merges with the road we’re on just before crossing the Pine River.  Which brings us to the start of the Bruce Highway (sorry, took too long to take the shot and cut off part of the sign)…

We stopped on the way at our friends’ house to help them get the kids ready and then back on the road.  Once we were rolling again (almost 9.30am by now) I noticed some noise barriers along the way (call it professional interest) – here’s a type that has been quite popular in Brisbane of late:

And this type seems to have been used along the whole length of the recent upgrade of the Highway:

Getting close!  Apparently their phone number is ‘1300 CRIKEY”!!

This road used to be called Glass House Mountains Road.  They renamed it after Steve Irwin’s death.  Almost there…

On the way, we pass Mount Tibrogargan, one of the Glass House Mountains.  These mountains are ancient plugs of long-extinct volcanoes.

From the other direction, Mount Tibrogargan always reminds me of a hulking gorilla…

We also passed pineapple fields:  (sorry for the blur, DH wouldn’t stop to let me get a good shot…)

Yay!  Australia Zoo!!

First off, I don’t think you could really call it a visit to Australia Zoo without seeing a crocodile (or ten)!  This is Fang 1.  She was born in the 1960’s and was the only one I actually saw move while we were there, and she was pretty lethargic.

And just in case anyone was uncertain of whether crocodiles are dangerous, this sign was there to warn them on one of the enclosures:  (Sidenote: this photo was taken while I was juggling one of the babies – I’m surprised it’s in focus!)

After that we had a look at the tortoises.  We’d missed the feeding show, but this one was happily munching on the food that was left:

And in the corner of enclosure was one of his friends, who had some company – a water dragon.  There were water dragons running loose all over the zoo.  Most of them were so accustomed to the people that they would just sit in the middle of the walkways, waiting to trip unsuspecting and inattentive humans!  We get these fellas wandering around in our garden at home from time to time.

And this was supposed to be a closeup of the water dragon…  Let me reiterate – wrong camera…  D’oh!  But, gee, the leaves are nicely in focus!

Next on the agenda was the elephant feeding show!  Definitely the first time I’ve ever fed an elephant!  And just to prove that I did, here’s a picture of me with Sabu the elephant:

Of course, you’ll be wanting to see a koala.  And for the record, they’re not bears – just koalas…

We had lunch not long after that and this was the view from where I sat.  Note the whopping great crocodile in the corner of the enclosure!

Moving on next to the cassowaries…  These birds are big (sorry, the photos don’t really do them justice) – the only birds bigger are the ostrich and emu!  And, according to wikipedia, “The 2007 edition of the Guinness World Records lists the cassowary as the world’s most dangerous bird.

This little fella was such a cutie!!  A Tasmanian Devil, born at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania (a place I really want to go back to – just gorgeous!).

And last, but not least, we watched the otter feeding show!  Asian short-clawed otters, to be precise.  Well, most of our group watched the otter feeding show – I was juggling a baby and doing my best to see over the heads of people in front of me…  (For the record, DH snapped this photo.)

And then it was time to head for home…

D’oh!!  Sunday afternoon traffic – everyone coming back from their weekend at the Sunshine Coast…  End of the 110km/hr zone indeed!  I think we were going about 20km/hr at this point.  We were going so slow that DH (who was driving) was able to take this for me quite safely…  Just proves what an awesome city Brisbane is – everyone wants to go there!!  ;)

I even had a chance to catch a snap of this plane taking off from the Caboolture Airfield:

But we started moving again once we got to the section where they’ve finished upgrading to six lanes…

Almost home.  This is the first set of traffic lights we hit after the highway finishes.  For some reason this yellow asphalt pavement (it looks quite yellow in real life) has been cropping up in odd patches around Brisbane.  Not sure what the story is, but I’m guessing Main Roads is testing it out since it’s always laid as a short stretch on a state-controlled road…

We decided to stop for fish and chips on the way home…

And since I had the camera out (but, yes, still the wrong camera), here’s a snap of the azaleas near the front door!  Hello Spring!!  Not bad considering DH cut the bush back so far that he thought he’d killed it!  But it seems to be flourishing…

Okay, that’s all.  Time to hit the sack and face a new week at work in the morning…

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