May 7th, 2016 - Day 35 - Docked at Brisbane

We woke up this morning on the Coral Sea.  We arrived in Brisbane at 10:00 AM.

We had breakfast in the Terrace Cafe.  Jim had oatmeal and Pat had half a grapefruit and a donut which she split with Jim.  This donut had chocolate frosting but we could not taste the chocolate flavor.

Our tour today is Highlights of Brisbane and Lone Pine.  We met our group in the Insignia Lounge at 11:45 AM.  We were on Bus 5.

Jenny is our guide and Michael is our driver. Jenny was a great guide and very knowledgeable. 

On our way out of the port there were lots of cars at the port where they are stored until they are moved to various places where they will be sold.  The job is mostly done by women as they can drive them between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM and then pick up kids from school.  The keys to the cars are kept on each seat.  They put big rocks around the edge of the car park so if someone cuts the fence it would be hard to get the car through.

Coal trains come in to the port each day and approximately 16-17 trains a day.  They have 30 carriages on each train so there is a lot of coal.

On weekends people either go to Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast to get away.  Both are a little over an hour away in opposite directions.  Brisbane is known for their great weather.

2.2 million people live in Brisbane and it is the 3rd largest city in Australia.

Our tour began with a ride around the city for about an hour pointing out different areas such as Fisherman Island and Morton Bay.  We saw the Court House and Suncorp Stadium.    Australia is big into sports.  Lovely area and everything looks so clean.  We saw the Customs House, Chinatown, Brunswick Street, Old Stephen's  Catholic Church, and St. John's Anglican Cathedral.  We saw where the Australian Beer XXXX is made.

Our first stop was at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  It is part zoo and part sanctuary.  Lone Pine has more than 130 cuddly Koalas, which is one of Australia's most iconic species.  Pat held Major, the Koala Bear, and got a picture taken with him.  Major was so soft and weighed about 10 pounds.  It was the cutest little bundle of fur.  The fees paid for the souvenir photo helps fund new enclosures, research projects and eucalyptus plantations so it went to a great cause and made Pat's day.

We saw some sheep shearing where the guy shaved off all the fur on the sheep by hanging over a harness so he does not hurt his back and holding the sheep between his legs.  We felt the wool of the sheep which has a natural lanolin in it.  It was very thick wool.

We walked into an enclosure where you can feed and pet the free-roaming kangaroos in the 5 acre kangaroo reserve.  We saw a few jumping, standing  or laying on the ground.  There were large, medium and babies.  We were able to go up to them and pet them and they were not afraid at all.

We were able to pet emus.  Their feathers felt like straw.  One of the emus was eating food out of a feeder and a bird, the Rainbow Lorikeet, came over to the dish and the emu walked away.  These rainbow Lorikeets fly to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for the specially prepared nectar meals at the sanctuary.  These animals and birds were so tame.  Pat was able to stand so close  to the lorikeet while he just kept eating.

Also walking the grounds were big lizards about 12 inches long and we ran into a couple of them.  Pat was able to get a close up picture of one.

We also saw dingos, Tasmania devil, crocodiles, birds and wombats.  It was a very nice sanctuary/zoo.

We passed the Toowong Cemetery where our guide said was a nice place to go for picnics and people jog through the cemetery.  She said it was a nice place with beautiful headstones and full of nice memories.

On our way back to the pier we stopped at Kangaroo Point.  It is situated on the southern banks of the Brisbane River.  Kangaroo Point provided a postcard perfect view of the Brisbane skyline and it was beautiful.

We also saw the Wheel of Brisbane, Story Bridge, Portside Wharf and West End.

We got back to the ship at 4:40 PM.

Since we had missed lunch we stopped at the coffee bar on the 5th Floor and had a cookie and some roasted peanuts with a Diet Coke.

We left Brisbane at 7:04 PM.

Tonight we had dinner at Toscana Restaurant at 8:00 PM.  Paulo was our waiter.

Jim had Carpaccio di Manzo:  Aged Parmigiano Reggiano and Arugula crowned with Thinly Sliced Prime Beef Tenderloin and drizzled with Lemon-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil for his appetizer.  For his salad he had Classic Caesar Salad prepared Table-side:  Tender Romaine Lettuce tossed in Homemade Caesar Dressing served with Toasted  Croutons and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano Shavings.  For his main course he had Ravioli con Farcia di Manzo Saltati al Sugo d'Arrosto:  Ravioli stuffed with Slowly Roasted Beef and tossed in a Veal Jus flavored with Rosemary and Tomato.

Pat had for her appetizer Mozzarella di Bufala Caprese:  Tower of Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and Vine-Ripened Tomatoes with Basil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion.  She had  Insalatine di Campo con Formaggio di Capra, Pomodori e Olive Nere:  Baby Spinach with Crumbled Sardinian Goat Cheese, Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives in a Delicate Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette for her salad.  For her main course she had Vulcano di Capellini D' Angelo alla Sorrentina:  Angel Hair Pasta with an Herb-Infused Fresh Tomato Sauce topped with Sorrento Bufala Mozzarella.

For dessert we shared Lemon Sorbet and 3 different types of biscotti: Chocolate, Vanilla and Orange.

Goodnight from the Coral Sea!