Alex's and Andrew's Awesome Aussie Adventures, Outback drive to Brisbane

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Driving through the Outback on major roadways is interesting (at least for the first couple hundred kilometers...).  Driving through sparsely populated Australian farmland?  I think the correct term is chinteresting (interesting in the sense of the "ancient Chinese" curse--May you live in interesting times).  While the roads are surprisingly well maintained, they also happen to be fairly narrow and more regularly used by sheep (and cows and emu and kangaroo and...) than cars.  It can be a bit jarring to realize just how fast you've been going when you round the corner and see a herd of sheep or similar milling along...  Definitely something to experience...once...

But, despite the best attempts of the fauna, we managed to arrive safely in Brisbane (I do somewhat wonder about the name...bris bane?  I haven't noticed anything especially anti-Semitic in town...).  For the first day, we mostly just wandered around town to get a feel for where we'd be the next few days.  Quite a beautiful town, with seemingly lots to see and do.  Especially nice to see all the flowers in bloom and the various animals coming out to play.  Also nice to find a nice Bavarian bier haus for dinner, right on the waterfront.

Today, following Brian's brilliant Brisbane advice, we drove out to the late Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo.  One thing that's really clear in this park is just how much the owners (the Irwins) and the staff care about the animals--the animals often seem better treated than the visitors (and the visitors are treated quite well).  And the keepers clearly love their charges and their jobs, to the point of putting their lives (and dignity) at risk to educate us.  While their focus does seem to somewhat limit the number of animals on exhibit, they make up for this by bringing the best out of what they have.  The exhibits are huge for a relatively small number of animals and they are constantly bringing the animals out for walks (often in the middle of visitors) and similar.  Quite fun.

Tomorrow, we will likely go and see what this whole "Gold Coast" is about.  Then a few more days in Brisbane before heading down to Sydney for the opera!  Hard to believe how much we've already done with so much still to look forward to.  Quite the trip!

P.S.  Anyone else ever wonder about Australian coinage?  Most of it happens to have some sort of animal on the back...and then the $2 coin has an Aboriginal person on the back...  I feel like there is a really bad joke hidden somewhere in there...

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