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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nov 17 – 19, 2010 – Exploring Brisbane, the Zoo and Rock-n-Roll!

We sailed down to Brisbane – great sail, and then a nice long 3-hour
cruise up the Brisbane River, past the major shipping port, meandering
along commercial and residential areas. We felt a certain excitement
and thrill at arriving here. Our destination was the Dockside Marina
just around the bend from CBD Brisbane. We were advised not to
attempt to dock until "nil tide", which on this day would be well
after dark. Fortunately the marina gave us a temporary berth at the
end of B-pier giving us the opportunity to slide right up and side-tie
for the night. We had been forewarned that this marina could be quite
uncomfortable because it is right out there on the river without a
breakwater of any kind, and is heavy with traffic. It is, however,
the absolute closest to downtown Brisbane, therefore we felt we could
tolerate the discomfort. We stayed for two weeks and YES it is
uncomfortable but quite tolerable.
There is something very important that happened to us at about this
time. Our young friend, Owen Topolnicki who is a second-grader in
Castle Rock, CO sent us a paper doll character that he made, named
Flat Stanley. We are to take Stanley around with us, show him some
important landmarks and then send this all back to Owen so he can
report it to his class. When we shared this information with the
Spencers they decided to help us show Stanley the sights of Brisbane.
We even set up a Facebook page for him. You are welcome to visit him
there. Just look for Flat Stanley.
Thursday morning, at 6:30 we moved into our berth, had breakfast and
then at 10:00, Scott and Muriel Spencer came to get us. It was a rainy
day, as most recent days have been but it did not deter us one bit.
They took us for a driving tour of the Brisbane area, which gave us a
good overview of what this lovely area has to offer. Our first stop
was the lookout at the top of Mount Coot-tha. Even on this dreary day
the panoramic view was spectacular. Next stop was a famous landmark
– The Breakfast Creek Hotel, affectionately known as Brekky Creek.
Built in the late 1800's, it is not only a beautiful landmark but also
a famous steakhouse and watering hole. We had a delicious steak
lunch, basked in the lively ambience for a bit while the boys enjoyed
some ice cold brews and then as the rains threatened to soak us to the
bone we ran for the car to continue our get-to-know Brisbane tour.
The next morning we packed our bags for a long weekend with the
Spencers. When they picked us up we set off directly for the
Australia Zoo, which was the pet project of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile
Hunter. This zoo is absolutely amazing! We had an opportunity to
actually interact (touch) koalas, kangaroos and wombats. Of course we
saw lots of crocs and snakes and lizards. The birds here in Australia
are amazing as well, and it is so shocking for us to see varieties of
cockatoos, parrots and macaws flying around wild. This is where I got
to hold a koala and get my picture taken. It was most assuredly the
highlight of my visit to OZ so far! Of course we took Stanley who
also got to touch the animals and watch the croc show, the bird show
and the elephant show.
Friday night we gussied up for a night at the theater. We went to see
"The Ultimate Rock 'n' Roll Jam Session", featuring music from Elvis,
Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis on a historic date:
December 4, 1956, when these four men met at Sun Record Studios in
Memphis for an impromptu jam session. It starred four famous Aussie
musicians. We had front row seats. It was incredible! What a great
end to a wonderful day.

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