After my bush camp I was planning on only staying in Noosa for a further two nights maximum. Just enough time to recover from the trip and move on. But I ended up staying for a week!
My hostel was lovely. I stayed at the YHA Halse lodge, right by the beach. A very sociable place where you get welcome drinks on the first night so that all the new guests get a chance to meet each other. The hostel was a listed building and was a very old lodge, meaning no plug sockets in the rooms. But the receptions staff were friendly and were happy to charge phones whenever you needed to.
We were just a five minute walk from Noosa national park. I went there with a friend and did a three hour walk around the park. I was told that if you look up into the trees you will see koala's sleeping in the branches. Either I need to go to specsavers, or my bad luck with seeing wildlife of this trip was continuing, as I didn't see a single koala! But the walk was lovely and we made it all the way up to "Hell's Gate" which is a cliff right on the edge of the park overlooking the sea. It was unbelievably windy up there.
After that I was lucky enough to have some incredibly hot weather from two days, so I did nothing but lay on the beautiful Noosa main beach sunbathing and reading my book. On the Saturday night it was the Lions final match, and so me and some friends that I had made in Byron Bay met up at a sports bar and watched the match. This was easily my favorite night out of my trip so far. The atmosphere was incredible and the night out that followed was fantastic, largely helped by the Lions winning of course.
On my final day in Noosa myself and two friends went to Australia Zoo; also known as Steve Irwin Zoo. Although very expensive ($59 a ticket) it was worth every penny. I paid an extra $5 return to get the Australia Zoo bus from right outside my hostel to the Zoo. I was told when I booked it I couldn't miss the bus, and when a big red bus with Steve Irwin's face plastered all over it turned up I realised what they meant. On the bus they show a DVD on the children's documentary that Steve made at Australia Zoo. His wife and little girl Mindy also star in it.
The zoo reminded me more of a Disney Style theme park then a zoo. There are shows on throughout the day which means that you actually spend very little time just wandering round and looking at the animals. Highlights of the day for me included patting a koala, feeding an elephant and feeding two different species of Kangaroos. The main show is on every day at 12 and is a real highlight. They bring out deadly snakes, see what ranger can get their arm closest to a crocodiles mouth and have lots of games for kids to get involved in. Often Steve's wife, Bindy and his son feature in this show at weekends, but as I was there on a Monday it was the Zoo staff who starred in the show.
Feeding an elephant was amazing, but I thought it was a bit cheeky that you weren't allowed to take pictures, meaning that you had to pay $10 to buy the photo that they take of you. And holding a Koala was a complete rip off, as you had to pay $25 to get your picture taken holding it. I got a picture of me with a koala (but not holding it) for free and decided to pay the $10 of me feeding the elephant. Feeding the Kangaroos is well worth it. It is only $2 for the food and you get far too much. Me and my two friends got a bag between us and still had some left to give to some children at the end of the day. The kangaroos are lovely and are all over the park. I thought it was a nice idea that the park had lots of grassy areas which were signposted as being "kangaroo only zones" meaning that no people were allowed in this area. I liked this as you get the impression that these kangaroos must get really fed up of people coming up and taking pictures with them all the time. And this theme continues across the zoo, as this came across as being a zoo that was heavily into wildlife conservation and protection of animals.
Another show that I went to was the tiger show. I thought that they would make these animals out to be scary and vicious, as they did in the crocodile show. But actually, the show was all about the beauty of these creatures and the danger of extinction that they currently face. The tigers were shown climbing trees, swimming and hunting for food.
One thing that really struck me throughout the day was how much this zoo was about the Irwin family. Steve's face is everywhere, and his family also seems like celebrities out here, with Bindy coming across as some kind of a teen sensation. But his passing is never mentioned. I suppose they feel like it would put a morbid feel on the day, but I did start to feel that his death was becoming like the elephant in the room (pardon the pun), everyone knew it had happened but nobody was mentioning it.
I think the name of this Zoo should be changed to the Steve Irwin Zoo. And I would recommend this zoo to all as it is far more than just a zoo. But I would warn that it is a pricey day with lots of hidden extras. And take a packed lunch - as the food is a rip off!