Vacation #3: Australia!

You know you live a privileged life when you're annoyed by the fact that you let your fourth summer vacation come and go before managing to blog about your third vacation. Ha! I am so thankful for the crazy opportunities I've had to travel the world this summer. When Alex told me he would be doing presentations at a conference in Australia , I was pretty insistent about tagging along. Luckily, thanks to self-employment and lots of saved-up Delta sky miles, it was possible! Hello, Brisbane!

This city was clean, safe, friendly, and full of things to explore. Our hotel was right across the street from the city botanic gardens, so I spent quite a bit of time examining all the gorgeous flora there.

Fauna, too! These birds, called Ibises, were everywhere.

I did a lot of walking along the Brisbane river. It was so picturesque and peaceful.

One thing that surprised me was the plethora of pay phones all over town. I was also amused by Hungry Jack's. Eventually I learned that it is indeed the same thing as Burger King, but the name Burger King was trademarked in Australia already, so they had to change it. Ha!

I did a lot of touristy things, like riding the Wheel of Brisbane (not nearly as cool as the London Eye) and taking the elevator to the top of the tower at City Hall (cooler than you might think, actually.)

My favorite place for wandering around was South Bank. 

It was colorful and beautiful--both the manmade stuff...

...and the fabulous plant life. I loved it!

I keep saying "I" and not "we" because I spent a lot of the time alone while Alex was working, but he did get to spend a few days touring with me before and after the conference. One day, we took a tour to a place called Tamborine Mountain, where we took a lovely "bush walk" through the rainforest...

...and admired this amazing view from the top!

We also took a day trip to Morton Island, just off the coast. The water was so clear!

We had a lot of fun on boats, Segways, and even a four-wheeler. So many sights to see!

The pinnacle of our trip, though, was our day at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. We got to see TONS of koalas, as well as all sorts of other native wildlife, like wild turkeys and kookaburras. 

And of course, kangaroos! I was shocked that we were allowed to just roam around among them without any sort of barrier to separate us.


And I even got to cuddle this adorable koala named Caxton. Isn't he cute?

It was fun, Australia! I hope I get to come back someday to explore other parts of this fascinating continent.