A fairly nondescript day really. After saying good bye to Michaela I was up early and on the 11:45 bus to Noosa which arrived at 3:30. The bus ride was uneventful and the evening was basically spent organising my bags, paperwork and correspondence. The hostel was fairly pleasant but bloody expensive! I totally forgot how expensive things got down south and resented handing over $31 for an eight bed dorm but... the bed was nice and ensuite so... heyho.
A very early morning but I didn't care because I was off to 'Australia Zoo'!! I was actually going to hang out in the legend that is Steve Irwin's playground. I couldn't wait. Even sitting on his Courtesy Croc bus was exciting. It was bright yellow with crocodiles all over it and even the seats were upholstered in green velvet with yellow silhouettes of Steve and his animals. On the way the driver put on a Crocodile Hunter DVD which really got me in the mood; it was a collection of the Irwin's home movies and bloopers. Ideal!
I giggled all the way to the Zoo and then for the five hours I spent there. Just as I walked in I was confronted with three elephants, I was given a piece of melon and before I knew it there I was feeding 'Bimbo'. I walked around the corner and took a seat in the 'Crocoseum' to watch the 'Wildlife Warriors' play with snakes, birds and then feed the crocodiles. AMAZING! The crocs were HUGE. The birds were also an unexpected delight as 4 Macaws flew directly over head and perched right behind me. The comedy sections were a little painful but easily overlooked. I even got on the big screen! But unfortunately not because of my undeniable beauty but more because the guy sitting next to me did and impression of a monkey to win a copy of 'Crikey!': the zoo's own magazine.
The rest of the day was spent stroking and feeding kangaroos and joeys. I patted a koala and went to watch Bimbo have a shower. I saw a giant tortoise, a Cassowary (FINALLY!) and hundreds more animals. The zoo was not really a zoo at all. It is 75acres of pure, hands-on fun.
The only thing which was a little sad and unavoidable was the memorial to Steve. There were glass cabinets full of signed khaki shirts, which people had signed after his death in 2006. There was a display of all the letters and cards which people had sent to Terri and the kids. There was even a framed copy of Bindi's speech, which she had read out at the Crocoseum after his death. It was heartbreaking to say the least. Especially after having spent the day at 'Steve's Place', to then be confronted with the fact that he is not there anymore.
The other slightly disturbing thing was the focus on Bindi; Steve and Teri's daughter. Now there is no doubt that she is a beautiful little girl with a real affinity with animals but I think things have gone a little too far. On sale you can find:
- ·'Kidfit' - Bindi's work out DVD which she filmed at the age of 8
- ·Free Willy (6/7/8??) in which she featured
- ·A whole fashion range designed by her and with her name all over it
- ·A set of children's books charting Bindi's adventures saving wildlife and living in the Zoo
- ·Her own magazine!
- ·As well as bottles, post cards, bags, cups, magnets, key rings - all with her on them.
I am not too sure how I feel about it to be honest. She is only 13 now and already cashing in on her famous Dad and his legacy. Having said that, he started it all off for her and wanted her to be involved and even take charge of things herself.
To be honest, each to their own. The thing which worried me the most is her little brother Robert (Bob) - you would barely know he existed! That is not fair. He looks just as cute and even has the fact he talks like Steve and looks like him on his side!
ANYWAY... I loved the Zoo despite the aforementioned oddities. On the way home the driver put on another DVD. This one was called 'Crikey! What an adventure'. It was filmed after his death with interviews with Terri, his best friend and his Dad all about his final trip with this team and what made him who he was. I did get a little choked up and was glad to see I wasn't the only one. The whole bus pulled their sunnies down off their heads and were rubbing their eyes around the edges at regular intervals. What a hero.
Once back in Noosa, I decided to make the most of my last night there so I relaxed on the beach with my book for an hour before buying an enormous lemon sorbet ice cream and making the climb up to the lookout at the National Park.
The lemon sorbet managed to make my tongue swell to twice it's normal size but I wasn't planning on chatting to anyone so I revelled in the experience. The hill up to the lookout was something else, but I enjoyed the challenge and before I knew it I was in the middle of the National Park, watching the sun set over Noosa. Very romantic, made even more so by the couple popping champagne next me. But my fat tongue and I ignored their passionate embraces and watched the sky burn.
As I started my descent back to my hostel a tiny 4x4 pulled up next to me, being driven by a very kind (and young!) medical student who offered me a ride down the hill. Chivalry is not dead! I would have preferred a lift UP it but it was pretty dark and the sounds in the trees were starting to become a little less bird-like and a little more beetle-like so I accepted. I was back home in 3minutes all tuckered out.