The Backpacker Diaries
Steve Irwin's zoo, plus Brisbane and Surfer's Paradise too
Backpacker Ciarán continues his world tour with more fun in the sun in Australia, where he gets to see Steve Irwin's legacy and finally reaches Brisbane.
Hope your well back home in Ireland. Last time I told you about the beautiful Fraser Island. Well we returned to Hervey Bay (more of a retirement town than a party one) and had one last night together, which ended as nights so often do when you’re travelling, in the small hours with a late night drink under the starry skies.
The next morning Charlie, my current travelling companion, and I headed south for a quick stop at Rainbow Beach, a curving bay around 5km long featuring sands of numerous colours from all the different eroded layers of rock in the cliff around the bay. Well worth the stop.
From there we took the next Greyhound bus to Noosa for the night. It’s a busy place and a place where local holiday makers and international tourists meet. Once we hit the beach you we could see that we had entered surfing territory. It was cool to watch and even participate in a little.
That evening we climbed the local high point to watch the sun drop behind the surrounding mountains that enveloped the town and its bay.
The next day I was up early with two new friends we met at the hostel as we had to catch the early bus to Beerwah, the home of Australia Zoo that was created and run by the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.
Steve’s image is everywhere and his creation has turned in to a massive family affair with his wife and kids still performing shows. His twelve-year-old daughter has become hugely famous here. She incorporates her burgeoning singing career into her shows and even has her own dolls for sale at the zoo (which I thought was a bit much) .
Australia Zoo itself is absolutely amazing and hosts a variety of animals ranging from dingos, parrots and wombats to giant turtles, lizards and the most poisonous snakes on earth.
What differentiates Steve’s zoo from others you can visit is the level of interaction you can have with many of the animals. There are big areas where you can stroll among the kangaroo and the koalas, and maybe get your photo taken with one of the zoo inhabitants.
In addition there are the huge shows, which take part in a grand stadium that’s around three quarters of the size of Thomond Park. The part of the show that included the crocodiles really brought out the inner child in me.
We got news that the floods around Brisbane had subsided, allowing the roads to open up again. Having been given the all-clear, Charlie and I headed towards the city.
The closer to Brisbane we got, the more apparent it became that the floods had been here.
Upon arriving in Brisbane it was clear to see how badly the city had been hit. What amazed me was the resolve and positive attitude of the local people who were determined not to let the floods beat.