Friday, July 12, 2013

Dancing with Koalas

I am an active traveller. What I mean by this is that I don't like to just lie on the beach for a week and do nothing. For me traveling is all about new experiences. My last few vacations have however been very busy. Two years ago I was traveling by train through central and eastern Europe with my best friend. We explored ten countries in 30 days. It goes without saying, that we stayed at one location for a maximum of three nights. Last summer I traveled for three weeks in Sicily, Milan, Hungary and Stockholm. I stayed for a bit longer in Eger, Hungary, but basically I was on the move all the time. So now in Australia, I've really been enjoying having a home base. I am staying with my best friend, Evannette, who is spending six months as an exchange student here, and has a lovely town house in a suburb in Brisbane called Greenslopes. It is a very nice location, about 15-20 minutes with the bus to the centre and a supermarket just a 5-minute-walk away.

Now, I am loving the fact that I have a home base, and don't have to move around all the time. The bedroom looks as such though. All my things are spread around my half of the room... I am doing everything what vacation is about. Sleeping in, long breakfasts and not worrying about time. This doesn't mean that I'm staying put though. No sir! A lot of people back home and here have asked me whether I will travel around Australia. I thought about it for a while, but then I came to the conclusion, that I will just spend the entire month discovering Brisbane and its surroundings. That was a good decision! Brisbane is a lovely city with loads to do, if not directly in the city, but around it.

Brisbane Story Bridge.

I spent my first week discovering Brisbane itself. I went to a few museums and did some shopping. Naturally since my best friend is a dancer, I got to enjoy some great dance parties and lessons as well. Back in Finland I've attended a few west coast swing dance parties, but I've never taken any lessons. The dancing scene in Brisbane is just fantastic! On Tuesday and Thurday evenings we've been taking west coast swing lessons with Raw Connection right here in Greenslopes. The teachers are great and I've been learning heaps. There are two lessons every evening: first a beginner class and then you can choose from an intermediate class or a beginner's intensive class. In between the lessons there is some time to practise your new moves at social dancing. I love it! Now I just have to check up on where I can dance WCS back in Tampere... On Sundays there is a dance party at a bar called Casablanca, where they have salsa and other latin dances downstairs and zouk and kizomba upstairs. They also have karaoke in the next room... At my first Casas party I was happy just looking at people dancing, since latin dances really aren't my thing, zouk even less. Last Sunday however the evening turned out a bit different. Since I had met a few of Evannette's friend during my stay, they naturally knew me and asked me to dance. It didn't help that I claimed not knowing how, I was just told "it's easy, you'll learn". And so I spent a big part of the evening on the dance floor trying out my kizomba moves. And I liked it! I think I'll finally have to start going to the bachata and kizomba parties in
Tampere on Mondays...

The Brisbane Lions against the Gold Coast Suns, AFL.

I have been doing a lot more than just dancing. There is an amazing roller skating track around the Brisbane river and I've also checked out the city from another point of view while kayaking on the river. A few days ago we headed to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is the world's first and largest koala sanctuary. It was established already in 1927 and it houses around 130 koalas. In addition to koalas the animal park houses a variety of Australian wild life, including kangaroos, kookaburras, platypus, emus, wombats, tasmanian devils and much more. I got to cuddle a koala, and it was so soft and sweet as it clinged onto my shirt. We also fed kangaroos and they were so cute! Lone Pine is however not just a park with animals for people to see. It is taking in hurt animals and caring for them so they can be let back in the wild. Also it is an imporant sanctuary for the tasmanian devil. The devil is an endangered species because of something called devil facial tumor disease, which was first discovered in 1995, and it has taken down the devil population to 20 per cent. Lone Pina is housing a few devils in case the population keeps dropping, so that the animal won't turn out being exctinct. I liked Lone Pine because it is not a typical zoo. It only features Australian wild life and has a lot of information about the animals. Also the staff is very friendly and informed.

Kayaking on Brisbane River, divine!

Squeezed in between the branches.

Ready, set, go!

The other day we also drove down to Gold Coast. The weather was quite cloudy and a bit cold, but I still loved walking on the enormous beach with amazingly soft sand. I'm hoping to go back to Gold Coast or to Sunshine Coast on a sunny day before going back to Finland. Yesterday we drove down to Springbrook National Park to do some hiking. It is situated in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and it is absolutely beautiful. It was the third time for me hiking in a rainforest, but it was still as amazing as the first time. Surrounded by gigantic trees and lush bushes the mind rests. There were a lot of enormous, white eucalyptus trees, but unfortunately we didn't spot any koalas. We did see some cat-like creatures though, both in the forest as well as crossing the road into the bushes.

Surfer's Paradise at Gold Coast.

Behind a waterfall at Twin Falls Circuit in Springbrook National Park.

View above the rainforest.

Gigantic roots. The researches still don't know why the trees grow these kind of roots.

Lush and fresh rainforest.

Big roots, eh?

One of the many beautiful waterfalls in Springbrook National Park.

Intestine roots. At least it looks like it. Or worms.

I my last post, I was writing about how relieved I am not having to drive here. Well, now I have been driving. I was the one sitting behind the wheel both going down to Gold Coast and to Springbrook National Park. At first it was confusing, but I got over it relatively quickly, and now I am actually enjoying it. I'm not sure how it would go though, if I had to drive to the centre of Brisbane. Maybe I'll find out...

Enjoy the photos!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic blog and photos! Glad you are having a great time in QLD with us. see you soon :)
    - Micky