What do you associate most with Australia? The choices are almost infinite. Is it the boomerang or the kangaroo or ice cold Victoria Bitter beer? Perhaps it’s Ayers Rock (Uluru) or the Great Barrier Reef? All are perfectly acceptable representations of “Down Under” but here is AlphaLuxe’s Top-3 selection.
We start in Brisbane on the east coast of Australia. From there, you can travel north through Queensland to check out a Giant Pineapple in Woombye or a Big Bull in Rockhampton! Australians have a lot of “big things” dotted all over the nation.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (12km from Brisbane)
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the world’s first (founded 1927) and largest koala sanctuary with over 130 koalas. Hold a koala anytime, hand feed kangaroos and meet a large variety of Australian wildlife like wombats and Tasmanian Devils in beautiful, natural settings.
The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native of Australia. It has a distinctive shape with a stout, tail-less body and large head with round, fluffy ears and large, spoon-shaped nose.
Koalas live in open eucalypt woodlands and the leaves make up most of their diet. The eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content so koalas are largely sedentary and sleep up to 20 hours a day.
Koalas have few natural predators and parasites, but are threatened by various pathogens, such as Chlamydia bacteria and the koala retrovirus, as well as by bushfires and droughts.
Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island
Tangalooma Island Resort is only a 75-minute catamaran cruise from Brisbane. The resort is on Moreton Island offering unique adventure, educational or nature based experiences.
It was also the location for the Scooby-Doo Movie (2002) representing Spooky Island.
Now a protected nature park, it is a littlke ironic that it was the largest shore-based whaling station in the Southern hemisphere. It is the base from which to see humpback whales and feed wild bottlenose dolphins.
The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a species of baleen whale. Adults are 12 – 16 m (39 – 52 ft) and weigh about 36,000 kg (79,000 lb). The humpback knobbly head is a distinctive feature.
It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers.
Their diet consists mostly of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including the bubble net technique when they blow a cylinder of bubbles whilst diving to “contain” a shoal of fish and then surface rapidly up the middle to feed.
Next up: Sydney
The Sydney Opera House is more than just an opera hall, with 7 halls for the performing arts. The largest venue is the Concert Hall with 2,679 seats. The smallest is the Utzon room with only 210 seats.
The Concert Hall’s Grand Organ is the largest mechanical instrument in the world with 10,154 pipes; it took ten years to build the organ alone.
Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who beat 232 contestants in an international design competition in 1957 and took 16 years to complete. Jorn Utzon was initially rejected by three judges in the competition but his entry was picked out by the fourth judge, renowned American architect Eero Saarinen.
He had never visited the site of the Sydney Opera House before but used his naval experience to study charts of the harbour. He resigned as chief architect in 1966 after a new Liberal government was elected and stopped payments to him.
Utzon left Australia and never returned. When H.M. Queen Elizabeth II opened the Sydney Opera House on 20th October 1973, Utzon was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Architects Australia but was absent from the ceremony.
More than eight million people visit the site each year and 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building.
1.2 million people attend the 1,500 performances annually. The Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
AlphaLuxe Giggle of the Week:
Arnold Schwarzenegger won his final Mr Olympia body building title in the Concert Hall in 1980; that must be the trivia fact of the year!
During the 1980s, a net was erected above the orchestra pit in the Concert Hall after a live chicken walked off the stage during a performance of Boris Godunov and landed on a cellist. 🙂
Thanks for joining us on a quick tour of three favourite tourists attractions in Australia.
Until next time, Bon Voyage!