Finding love (and Rainbows) in Brisbane

Weeping fig trees everywhere
Weeping fig trees everywhere

It was such a welcome and very happy return for me to find myself once more in Brisbane for the second time in 12 months.  This time I was determined to do something I had missed on my first visit to Australia – to go and meet some of the country’s wildlife.

Last time I found out about the city’s cultural opportunities but today I wanted to do something different.

Brisbane - such a beautiful city

Because the ship is a little on the large side, we were moored at the grain and coal dock way out of the city.  This dock provided the water depth we needed but meant a 45 minute ride into the city, and the tour which was intended to take 5 hours was stretched considerably further.

Amazing buildings
Amazing buildings

The warm, pleasant start to the day became hot and sticky and on occasions we were introduced to the liquid gold of Australia – rain showers.

“Woolly jumpers? My turn to do the jumping!”
“You’re next!”
Not Shaun the Sheep but 'Shorn' the Sheep
Not Shaun the Sheep but ‘Shorn’ the Sheep

Our first stop was to see sheep rounded up by dogs, separated into individual pens and then sheared.  Whilst I have seen such demonstrations before, I had never seen one where the ‘yard dog’ actually got into the pen with the sheep, jumped on their backs and eye-balled the one she wanted to separate.  There was nothing dumb about these animals!  There are millions of sheep in Australia and one dog can handle 500 at a time.  Merino fleeces were stripped, sorted and bundled in no time at all and the newly shorn sheep were pure white and incredibly soft to touch.

Next stop was a visit to the kangaroos out in the paddock.  You could buy special food for them and they were so tame that they were not averse to putting their noses into your hands just in case you had something for them.  All the while there were vivid flashes of colour in the trees, wild chatter from the parakeets and the amazing laughing sound of the kookaburras.  This was when I saw another rainbow, well lots of them, in the form of rainbow parakeets.  They weren’t for taking any nonsense from their all-green cousins and showed the flock who was boss!DSCN4658

Then it was time for the eagerly awaited cuddle with a koala.  These dear little creatures are docile for much of the day and apparently sleep for 18 hours out of every 24.  My slight nervousness came from the clear evidence all around that waking or sleeping they made a mess and much defecating went on.  Perhaps not the ideal day for a white top!


They sit on your hands for the photograph and, on being introduced, Orinoco immediately decided to get his paw under my t-shirt.  Cheeky boy!  Duly reprimanded by his handler, he sighed, returned his paw to an acceptable place and moved in for a cuddle.  It was love!  He was happy to stay and I was happy to hold him but our time together was over too soon as he was moved on to the next person in the queue.  But there was immediately a squeal and Orinoco had emptied himself!  He turned his head in the confusion which followed and I absolutely swear he winked at me!

There were fresh water crocodiles (allegedly frightened of humans but I wasn’t hanging around to find out), dingos, wombats, emus, Tasmanian devils, platypus, etc., etc., but we still had the tour of the city to do, a potential river cruise or shopping.  I wondered if they might have missed one little koala…..

Finally back at the ship, daylight was fast fading and once again we were preparing to set sail.  One more day’s sailing tomorrow before the magical sail into Sydney and, for me, some shore time both there and in Melbourne.