Visiting Australia was a dream of mine for about 10 years before I made the trip. It first started when my best friend, who is part Australian, part Papua New Guinean, told me all about tea tree oil lakes, Ayres Rock and other aspects of both Australia and PNG, that I thought, I really need to go and visit! It took years for it to happen, but finally, it came to fruition last year when my friend got married.
It’s sad now to think that in total, I only spent five days in Queensland. I mean seriously, who, after dreaming for ages about visiting Australia, takes a 20-hour odd journey (both ways) and spends just five days?! And, considering there was a lot to do for the wedding party in that time, I really did not get as much time to explore Brisbane and the mountains, as I would have liked.
Having said that though, I did leap upon the opportunity to visit the Australia Zoo, owned by the Irwin family, a bitter sweet experience as I was a fan of Steve Irwin and like many, was shocked and saddened by his unexpected death back in 2006. For the first time in my life, I saw real life wombats, kangaroos, and many other animals native to Australia that you just don’t see every day. Australia Zoo is pretty big, and they have a train that takes you around the parts if you don’t feel like walking. We took in the crocodile and bird shows, which was very interesting, checked out the koalas, and were caught in a drizzle during our time in the section labelled ‘Africa’.
Because we visited in August, the weather was hardly sublime. That period of time is generally Australia’s ‘winter’ although, so I’ve been told, on the cusp of spring, so there were more rain and cold blustery days than ones filled with sunshine. But there were two glorious days during my stay, so I really can’t complain.
My first day or so was spent in Brisbane, and then we travelled up to Montville, a small mountainous village near where my friend’s aunt and uncle live. It’s about two hours away from Brisbane. It was stunningly beautiful, with quaint little shops and restaurants. 10 of us, many of whom had flown in from Ghana, the UK, South Africa, or in my case, Dubai, stayed in a five bedroom house that looked as though it was spread over 30 acres of land, with a glittering view of the lake far below. The second storey had a huge wrap-around balcony that the bedrooms all opened out onto. The house is leased out for short lets and features a massive kitchen, separate living room, games room and about five bathrooms. The furniture is rustic, giving it that home-away-from-home feel and it’s downright cosy The only down side was that the Internet did not work during our stay, but our days were so busy, that we really did not have that much time to spend surfing the net in all honesty.
The wedding party was an intimate affair, held on my friend’s aunt and uncle’s ranch. A gorgeous one storey home nestled on about five acres of land. The menu was a typical Aussie ‘barbie’, heart-warming grub that we devoured under the marquis as the rain drizzled down. The affair was so laid back, I think I was a little overdressed in my Miss Selfridge skater dress that I wore as I followed my friend down the aisle. The actual marriage had taken place a month ago in Ghana; so this was a party for my friend’s family and loved ones who were unable to make the trip to Ghana.
I sincerely hope that I do get the opportunity to return to Australia, and spend more time exploring not just Brisbane, but a few other cities as well. And before I sign off, a big shout out has to go my friend’s brother Scott, who was the perfect tour guide and host, taking care of all us during our stay!