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After a few rainy days in Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island, we flew down to Brisbane to meet up with our good friend Prue. We had a short stay in this town, but checked off a couple of the top things to do. First of all, Australia is obviously known for their Kangaroos and Koalas. We had already seen a few Koalas in Hamilton Island, but we still wanted more…they are so cute and cuddly that I doubt anyone would turn down the chance to hold one. With this in mind, Prue wanted to take us to Lone Pines in Brisbane. This would not only give us the chance to hold a Koala, but it is best known for its Kangaroo sanctuary.

The three of us made the short drive out to Lone Pines. The weather was a little overcast but at least it was not raining as usual. We arrived mid-morning and midweek so the park was nearly empty, a very welcomed surprise as I was used to the long lines back in NYC for just about everything.

As we made our way into the park we were immediately drawn to the Koala houses. The koalas were resting on manmade trees in these small huts and truly enjoying eating their eucalyptus leaves. As we watched, they continued to eat until they were gradually drifting to sleep. We later got the opportunity to hold one to get a few pictures…it turned out to be almost a family photo of Whitney and I with our little one.

Next we made our way into the large kangaroo pasture. We were able to get some small bags of food and entered an area where the kangaroos were wandering freely. They appeared so relaxed, many just resting in the sunshine as it peeked through the clouds. Whitney and I slowly handed out the animal treats and got a variety of pictures to share.

Once we had our fill of Kangaroos and got all the pictures we could handle, we went over to the sheep pen. We watched as a well-trained sheep dog herded the sheep around the farm in an impressive display. Next, the farmer performed an “old school” sheep shearing to show how this has been done for so many years.

On our way toward the exit we passed through a native bird sanctuary just as the food was being put out. I couldn’t help but pick up the feeders to try my part as Ace Ventura as the animals landed on the feeders, my arms and eventually the top of my head. Thankfully they never left a mark on me or my clothes…eww. I must say Lone Pine Animal Sanctuary is the number one thing to do if you are ever travelling through Brisbane.

We rested well that night and left early to drive out to the Sunshine Coast for a weekend escape. I was nearing my 30th birthday and the plan was to celebrate in Noosa Heads. Prue’s family has a condo in Noosa and they were kind enough to let us stay here for the weekend. We met a few of Prue’s other friends at the house and settled in as if we owned the place. The first night we had a dinner reservation at Bistro C in Noosa Heads. We enjoyed our excellent dinner overlooking the beach before a quick stop at a local bar with live music. It was a fun evening that ran late into the night and a very memorable way to spend my 30th.

The next morning we went out to enjoy the beaches of the Sunshine Coast again. We initially started at Coolum Beach and took a long hike along the pathway running southward on the coastline. We eventually stopped for a short swim when I couldn’t take just watching anymore and had to partake. We certainly loved the hike and on our return to Coolum beach, we decided to have a late lunch at the Coolum Surf Club. We were lucky enough to be seated for a relaxing lunch on the deck overlooking one of the most popular beaches on the Sunshine Coast. It was well worth the added cost of a beach resort to relax in the atmosphere they created with the sun shining and the sea breeze flowing in.

On our way home from the beach we stocked up for a night of grilling out. I picked out the steak and lamb while the ladies found the ingredients to make a homemade Sangria as well as a few other side dishes. I cranked up the grill while the sun was setting and together we created an incredible meal…topped off with a surprise birthday cake. Thanks again everyone.

The final day in Noosa Heads was a little calmer. We still made a trip to the Coolum beach to get some much needed sun. As usual, I couldn’t sit still very long on the sand and finally got my hands on a surf board. For about $20 for the afternoon I did my best to catch a few waves and found some success even after having not surfed since I was a teenager. That night we took it easy at the house, put together another great meal and simply enjoyed the company of our friends.

Morning seemed to come quickly and it was time to make the drive to Sydney for the last couple days of our Australian trip. On the road again…

-Jeremy

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