4 Words! (But only one of them is important): Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. This was my absolute favorite thing that happened in Brisbane. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the first and largest koala sanctuary in the world with over 130 koalas. At the sanctuary there is the opportunity to snuggle a koala, and how could you not want to! That said, handling the koalas can be very stressful for them and koalas are well on their way to becoming endangered. In some areas numbers have dropped by 80% in the last few years as a result of disease and interaction with humans – mainly car accidents and habitat loss, not petting, to be clear. That said, make a conscientious decision about holding koalas and if you’re going to do so, please do it somewhere reputable like the sanctuary which imposes restrictions to ensure that the koalas are not being exploited. ❤
At Lone Pine Sanctuary there’s also the opportunity to roam up close and personal with emus and kangaroos, like this little Joey here! These guys are much less delicate when it comes to stress, so we went all out with petting, feeding, and taking selfies!
For my Australia trip I was traveling with a group called G Adventures, whom I cannot recommend highly enough. My CEO (Cheif Experience Officer), Flic, was fantastic! She’s knowledgeable, caring, genuine, silly, and an excellent photographer! I also happened to have had the best group in the history of all groups. (If any of you are reading this, I love you all!). G Adventures partners with local projects through Planeterra and when you travel with them, you have the opportunity to visit and support these projects. It’s amazing to speak with the locals about their culture and challenges and to contribute to someone’s dream.
We had the opportunity to visit Café Chloe in the town of Tully. Café Chloe, founded by Chloe’s granddaughter and our hostess, Sonya. seeks to address the challenges facing young aboriginal people in this community by employing aboriginal young adults, and encouraging them to stay connected to their heritage while simultaneously equipping them with skills to help them find employment or build college resumes. Sonya discussed the importance of the rainforest to her people, their oral tradition, and their connection to the land and their ancestors. She also discussed some of the more widespread challenges facing Australian aboriginal people and tribes today.
At Café Chloe, we were invited to paint our very own “wanal” which is the local aboriginal term for “boomerang.”