After a wonderful night spent at the modern and luxurious Sails Lifestyle Resort at Peregian Beach we yet again packed up our bags and hit the road, today we were on a mission to cuddle koalas. Before heading off we had a quick walk on the beach, which was pretty, bought some coffees and wraps and headed off to the laguna lookout on Noosa hill. We had already enjoyed the impressive views from the lookout and thought it would be worth sharing with the Fajons and a good spot for a little lunch. The view was great and there were not too many tourists as we enjoyed the breathtaking views of Noosa and Laguna Bay below, wrapped in kilometres of white beaches, lush fauna and the Coral Sea.

Driving down towards Brisbane we skipped the wonderful Australia Zoo, which we had already seen a few months ago, choosing instead to try out the Lone Pine Sanctuary, one of the few places in the world where you can hold koalas. I would normally frown upon such a practice but hey, we all wanted to cuddle a koala and the place is not allowed to force a koala to cuddle more than 30 minutes a day. The other awesome thing is that the koalas can get their revenge when they are poorly cuddled. This wonderful news hit the headlines before we left the UK and filled me with pleasure at the time: “One Direction in Chlamydia Scare (after handling koalas down under)”. You can have a look for yourself but the gist of it is that when members of the hair-brained boyband One Direction mishandled a beautiful koala named Kat she took a piss on them :) In a typical tabloid twist there are no actual recorded cases of humans ever having caught chlamydia from koalas but hey, one can always dream.

Founded in 1927 in the suburbs of Brisbane the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the world’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary. It was made famous during the second world war when Americans from all over came to check out the local Australian wildlife. Since then a number of famous people have come and had their pictures taken with a furry friend, have a look and choose which celebrity you find looks the dumbest when holding a koala. We all decided to brave the disease-ridden creatures and hold them close to our bosoms (except JH, who though it was “sans interet”); I am proud to report that none of us was urinated on and that although you have to hold the koala by the bottom it is a fun experience. Of course there is much more to Lone Pine than just the koalas. We had a fun time introducing the Fajons to several other Australian icons: the wombat, the dingo, kookaburras and the cassowary. On top of that they even had a platypus that zoomed around its tank like there was no tomorrow. I tried to get a good shot for you Mum but what you see above is the best out of the 30 I tried to take with no flash in a dark room with a speeding platypus. By the way his name is Barack; yes we can!

The cherry on the cake was getting into the bit of the park where roos are allowed to roam free and you can feed them (if you buy the feed), or like us, just approach them and pose for funny pictures with them. Anne’s portrait in particular is a favourite. So far though it is pretty standard, a lot of zoos/sanctuaries here have areas where you can approach roos bouncing about in an open space. The cool thing about Lone Pine is they also have some emus, one of which I followed for a certain amount of time, trying to get a good pic. They’re great because of their evil eyes, which I guess is unfair to them as they are pretty docile. Anyway I ran after this feathered friend until the keepers forced me out as they closed the area. I didn’t quite get the killer shot but I’m pretty pleased with the three I’ve put above. We left the sanctuary and after some stops by the shop and a fishmonger we made it to our serviced apartment, a well appointed and designed flat in the heart of Brisbane, Oxygen apartments. I can tell you they were great as they even got the official JH seal of approval: “ce sont des appartements de qualit√©!”. The night was finished off over some delicious barramundi (and beef filet for me :) ), a fitting goodbye for Anne who was leaving the next morning.