It was “all aboard” the Mirimar 11, a catamaran built in 2009, which took us up the Brisbane River to Lone Pine. She is 22m in length, 6m wide with a draught of 1.3m, and is powered by a couple of 330HP John Deere Motors. Our Captain Matt gave us a very pleasant cruise at 10 kph.
An interesting commentary told us of the history of the river, the various floods over the years which have done so much damage, the interesting bridges, all quite different, and the mansions worth a fortune which boast a glorious river view. Such as the Walter Taylor Bridge, a heritage-listed suspension bridge. The bridge is unique among Brisbane bridges in that the two towers of the bridge house residential accommodation, which were occupied until mid 2010 when the last members of the original toll master's family moved out
The Walter Taylor Bridge, with living quarters in the towers
Several references were made about the terrible floods which caused so much damage over the years. We were told that the water rose right up to the upper balcony of this lovely building, the Regatta Hotel. A customer tied his boat up to the balcony rail and ordered a beer – hard to imagine, by quite true!
After a very pleasant hour’s cruising we arrived at Lone Pine. There was just the matter of the 28 steps and a steep path to negotiate (we had been warned) and we were there. With our pre-paid tickets clutched in our hand, we bypassed the queue and walked straight in the door.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was established in 1927 with only 2 koalas; now with over 130 of these cuddly creatures as well as a variety of Aussie wildlife, it holds the Guinness World Record for the first and largest koala sanctuary in the World. But before we got to the koalas, we checked out the platypus – those cute little egg laying mammals which took the world by storm when they were first discovered by the early settlers. We saw them, but with flash photography not allowed, didn’t manage to photograph them at all. These little creatures are so quick, they zipped under the water, behind a log, up to the top for a quick breath, then back down again. There were snakes in this area too – Australia has many deadly snakes.
Glass painted sign at the platypus enclosure
Taipan and Diamond Python
Lone Pine Sanctuary started with just two koalas, and with a dedicated breeding programme now have about 130. They are sleepy little creatures and spend their days eating for a while, then sleeping soundly. The koalas make rather fierce grunting noises at each other, which seems rather loud coming from such a small animal. And can you see the baby cuddled up with Mum in the final picture?
The wallabies and kangaroos were in a large open enclosure and the public were allowed to get up quite close to them. The kangaroos in particular were very relaxed with all the visitors. People were walking right through the group, and young children were trying to put food in their mouths. I had always thought that large kangaroos could be quite dangerous with their strong legs and sharp claws, but these are obviously well used to being the centre of attention.
Wallabies and kangaroos
The Free Flight Raptor Show was a real hit with the visitors too.
Sea Eagle and Peregrine Falcon
Sign on the way back to the boat : Auckland and Wellington, where’s Levin?
Another leisurely hour’s cruising took us back to the big city. Even the yachts were out on the river. And there goes the Mirimar, after all the passengers had been dropped off. It was a great day, and we really enjoyed ourselves.
Yachts on the river, and the Mirimar