So apparently the flooding that caused a great deal of damage to coastal Queensland and on in to New South Wales these last few days has been named “The Big Wet”. It began as Tropical Cyclone Oswald but fell apart in far north Queensland before joining up with a monsoon low and making its way down the coastline. Apparently, it did become a category 1 cyclone again but was never named as such and no one seems to know why, or care for that matter. I care! That was my first cyclone! It was simply called “ex cyclone Oswald” which sounds a bit inadequate to me in light of all the damage it did.
It began on Australia Day (Jan. 26) so all outdoor events were cancelled. We went to the zoo and got soaked, but it was fun! We love the zoo! Here we are by the croc enclosure. We’re actually on a walkway, it’s under all that rain somewhere. The kids were a little nervous about walking through the water as it was all muddy and they couldn’t see their feet. They weren’t completely sure I was telling the truth that there were no crocs in the puddle. As it turned out, I was right and we continued on down the path. (The zoo did close the following day due to the storm)
The next day we drove down into Brisbane…in more rain. My brother had come out for a week and we thought we’d spend a couple of days in Brisbane before he went back. It rained all day. The wind howled all night, although I think that’s because we were up 11 floors and it was whistling around the buildings.
We spent the first rainy day at the Queensland Museum which was amazing. The kids loved the dinosaur skeletons but not as much as I thought they would. Sky and Sparrow LOVE dinosaurs, like love them and want to be them kind of love. I was ready with the ipad on video as we walked towards the giant skeleton of Muttaburrasaurus, ready for their squeals of delight. Instead I got, “mommy, is that a cafe over there?” (you had to crane your head around the skeleton to see the cafe doors). So not the reaction I was looking for but what can you do. They did, of course, love the giant skulls and even let me take their picture in front of some of the displays (with coaxing). Their favourite thing by far was the Explore-a-saurus room with several animatronic dinosaurs moving around inside their displays. My favourite picture was when I had them stand with their backs to a T-Rex (which they were not keen to do) so I could get a nice picture. Just as I took the photo he roared. LOUD. They both spun around terrified! It was funny! Ok, not funny (but a little funny).
There were so many great, touchable things for the kids to do it was really amazing. There was a sand pit where they could dig for fossils like real paleontologists, orange reflector vests and everything! There was an assortment of pvc tubing and a lever that blew air through it. When the kids put the tubing together a certain way, they could hear what some dinosaurs sounded like. They could also experiment making their own dinosaur noises. They learned how much pressure it would take to open the jaws of a T-Rex (more than any of us can muster!) They learned how the temperature of the sand decides whether or not sea turtle eggs are male or female.
In the same building is the Science Center. I think I had just as much fun there as they did! There was a giant table and chairs that simulated for adults what the world looks like to a 3-year-old child. A bit scary actually!! There were spinning chairs to learn about force (gross!). There were pulleys and tornado machines, levitating magnetic plates and those crazy lightning globes that you touch and it draws the light to your hand. Plasma globes! That’s what they’re called, thank you Google. So it was a great day of playing and learning for all, woohoo!
The next day we went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It had been closed the previous day due to the high winds and when we arrived you could see all the downed trees that had been cleared off the road. There were tonnes of leaves and branches all around but the crew were all over the place with rakes and wheelbarrows cleaning up. We saw lots of koalas, kangaroos and all the usual suspects but one neat thing was the field you wandered around in, with the kangaroos, also had emus! So we were in the field petting kangaroos and minding our business and this huge emu comes over to check us out! Looking for food, I assume, since you can buy kangaroo food in the shops. It was really beautiful and so exciting to see one so close up. However, it is a bit intimidating as they pretty much are eye to eye with you!
The kids and I each got our picture taken holding a koala and it was amazing! They are the sweetest little things you could ever imagine. They really are as cuddly as they look. The kids sat on a chair so they wouldn’t have to hold the whole weight of the koala and it was adorable. I wish I could put up their pictures but I’m trying to be mindful of their privacy. I will say that Sparrow was so completely giggly while they tried to get the first koala to sit with her that about 50 Chinese tourists snapped her picture. She was just so cute!! Koalas like to be up high to feel safe and the first one was just feeling a little too close to the ground, I’m afraid. But no worries, a quick koala swap out and we were back in business! What a fantastic place! I highly recommend a visit! www.koala.net
The next day (yesterday) we took the cleanest train I’ve ever seen to the airport, dropped off my brother and headed home. Driving down my street it was obvious that the road had flooded. There was beach sand everywhere but other than that, everything looked the same, though with a few more leaves than before. It would have been nice to have stayed at home all bundled up with a cup of tea and some movies while the storm was blowing but we did have a great time in Brisbane. Still, it’s nice to be back in our little cottage doing our thing again. I like the quiet and I like my routine.
My brother’s just landed in Boston after 23 hours of travelling and yet it’s only 10 hours later there. And they say there’s no such thing as time travel! I beg to differ.