On Thursday 19th January 2017 Sam and I waited in the Brisbane domestic flight arrivals lounge with a welcome sign for my Mum and Dad. At around 2:30pm their plane landed and I was reunited with them for the first time in over 6 months. To some people that will seem like no time at all but I’ve always been very close to my family and had barely been away without them for most of my life!
After saying our hellos and collecting their luggage we went to the city to check in to Felix Oaks Apartments where we would be staying for the first couple of nights.
After getting settled mum and dad had a couple hours sleep to get over their long journey. While they slept we went to buy some bottles of prosecco and planned where we could take them on the day and a half we had in Brisbane.
After mum and dad woke up we got ready and decided to walk to South Bank through the Botanical Gardens for some drinks and dinner. They were impressed with the city beach lagoon so we opted to sit in the beer garden right next to it for a jug of beer.
We then walked along looking for a restaurant to eat in, choosing a busy burger bar nearby. That evening was pretty humid and we were all feeling the heat quite a lot. After our meals we walked back over the bridge and through the gardens hoping to find a bar nearer the hotel. While walking through the gardens we spotted a couple of possums and tried to get closer for a photo expecting them to get scared and run away. It turns out that possums in cities are quite friendly and one walked straight over to mum looking for food! After their first of many Australian animal encounters it was time to look for the next drinking opportunity. Unfortunately everywhere nearby was already shut so instead we finished a bottle of prosecco back at the hotel and decided how we would spend the following day.
The next morning we woke up relatively early and headed to a pancake place Sam and I had been to before for breakfast. Not only do the pancakes taste great but also it’s in a church, giving it a very different feel. We all enjoyed our pancakes and then headed back to the hotel ready for our next adventure. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was next on the list. This was something new for all of us and gave mum and dad the best chance to see Australia’s native animals up close. The first enclosures we came to were the bats and birds followed by the Platypus and venomous snakes. After that we got to the exciting stuff! The Tasmanian devils were sleeping and surprisingly looked pretty cute, the wombats (one of my favourites) were also asleep for the entire day! There were so many Koalas all over the sanctuary, some well hidden and sleeping, others more visible and moving around. We then headed in to the kangaroo section where mum was determined to get a selfie with one of them. After spending ages taking pictures of and with the Kangaroos we turned around and noticed that there were also emus freely walking around! So headed over there for more selfie opportunities.
After a bit more time with the animals we headed back into the city. On the way we took a detour up Mount Coot-Tha for the awesome view looking over the city with an ice cream from the cafe up there. From here we went to see one of Dad’s friends from work who moved to Brisbane around 20 years ago. After getting back to the hotel we needed to go to Woolworths to get some supplies ready to stock the campervan the following morning! After lugging everything back to the hotel we finally had a chance to chill by the pool. By this point I think mum and dad had realised this wasn’t going to be a relaxing holiday!
That evening we got ready and caught the free city hopper ferry back to South Bank. The city hopper was something me and Sam hadn’t got round to doing so it was a new experience for everyone. It was also sunset as we cruised down the river giving us incredible views of the cityscape. Once back in South Bank we walked along to the Brisbane wheel and sign which we hadn’t shown them the previous nights. After playing around on the sign and getting some pictures we caught the train to Fortitude Valley to show them a bit more of the night life in Brisbane.
Once in Fortitude Valley we stopped at the Pig and Whistle and had a meal sat outside with live music in the background. We all ate too much and then decided to head down to Taps; a bar that lets you chose from a wide variety of beers and pour your own pints. While we were here we played a few games of connect 4 and sweated a crazy amount! We later found out that it was the hottest night in Brisbane ever recorded! After being defeated by the heat we retreated to the comforts of our hotel room and air con.
On Saturday 21st it was time for us to repack and head to Britz campervan pick up and get our 6 berth home for the next two weeks! That morning me and dad quickly went for a final walk around the Botanical Gardens and had a coffee and then shortly after that we drove to pickup the camper! After sorting out the insurance, bond and getting a quick demonstration on how everything works we packed all of the food and bags and headed off. We had to quickly stop at our old host families house to drop off the car and pick up our surfboards and then we were on our way!