As I’m someone who is clearly obsessed with animals, it was inevitable that we’d stop at Australia Zoo on our way down Australia’s east coast. The timing of our stop was also perfect for meeting up with our friend from home, Chris.
Despite there only being 3 hours 10 minutes of road between Bundaberg and Mooloolaba, it took our Greyhound bus 8.5 hours to get there. Of course there were a few stops along the way and the driver also needed to take his breaks, but I really don’t know how that stretched to 5 extra hours.
We arrived at our Airbnb in the early evening, but didn’t stick around long before we were going back on ourselves to get to Maroochydore. Chris was waiting for us in a Mexican restaurant he’d recommended, which we later found out he’d worked at for a few years during his time in Australia. It was pretty surreal seeing him in another country, whilst feeling completely normal at the same time.
We know Chris through the Print Social, which meets up monthly in various bars in Liverpool. I guess because we’re so used to seeing him in this sort of setting, it just felt like any other time we’d hang out. It was great spending the evening catching up, even though Chris didn’t last that long due to some severe jet lag taking over his body.
The following day was zoo day, so you can imagine I was pretty excited to leave the house that day. We’d been offered a lift part of the way towards the zoo from our Airbnb host, but as we thought she was in bed we just left for the bus anyway. When we sent her a message to let her know she came out and flagged us down on our walk to the bus stop, which was surprisingly nice of her.
Australia Zoo is pretty epic, especially if you like reptiles as much as the Irwin family do. They have an Africa section and some other animals as well, but the main attraction has to be the crocodiles and the variety of Australian animals living there. When you visit Australia Zoo you can see that the Irwin family really care about the animals, giving them all loads of space to move around and not cramming them all in for our entertainment.
The highlight of the day is the show in the middle when they show off beautiful trained birds, which fly around the small arena on cue. They also bring out one of the crocs to demonstrate how powerful they really are, which made me love them more than I was expecting.
We spent the whole day wandering around the zoo, then were kicked out while we were trying to walk back from the Africa section. In fact we stayed so long we even missed the last bus out which would head in the direction we needed. In true budget backpacker style, our day ended with a long walk to the nearest town to catch a bus which would take us almost where we needed to go.