I just returned from three weeks in Australia and I used the information gleaned from this Forum for much of my trip. I wanted to report back some quick impressions:
1. Definitely visit the Lone Pine Sanctuary. For a little extra you can hold a koala (the highlight of my entire trip!). There is also a kangaroo enclosure, quite large, where you can pet a kangaroo, feed a kangaroo, take your picture with them, and just observe. I would highly recommend taking the Koala Cruise up the Brisbane River to the Sanctuary for a number of reasons (the cruise leaves at 10 am every day and the dock is on South Bank between the Victoria Bridge and the State Library). First, on a beautiful day it is very relaxing. Second, there is a pre-recorded narration that provides highlights of Brisbane history which is very informative and humorous. Lastly, the views of the homes are quite impressive. By taking the boat you only have a couple of hours to tour the facility, but my friend and I found that to be plenty of time. It is not a huge place. Lone Pine was the highlight of my trip.
2. Rent a bicycle to ride along the Brisbane River. You can ride for many kilometers.
3. Walk along the river and have a drink, lunch, or dinner (which can be a bit expensive) along the river. Great views of the water, the ferry and water taxis going by and, especially, people watching.
4. Moreton Island is a great get-a-way. I signed on with Seatours which offered a “tour” of the island. That is what I got—a tour. Moreton Island is the second largest sand island in the world which means when you transverse the island you do so in a four wheel drive which is extremely bumpy. Since it was a tour you didn’t stop very long at any one place. At one point, at the Blue Lagoon (more of a muddied lake), I went over to the ocean side. Absolutely beautiful. Sandy beaches for as far as the eye could see. Almost no one there except the occasional four wheel drive whizzing by (this was some distance from the ferry drop). I just wanted to spend the day right there. When I went back to our temporary resting place I asked one of the guides if we were going to spend time on the ocean side. His quick reply – “No. Not on the tour.” So, if you might be planning to go to Moreton Island I would recommend an operator that will take you over in order to hang out on the beach. The tour was not worth it.
5. A word of warning, which has been echoed before on some of the Australian city forums – Be aware that taxi drivers might not know where they are going. They rely so heavily on their GPS. When I was leaving Brisbane I had to take a taxi to the bus terminal because of my luggage. The driver started in the right direction, but then missed a turnoff because his GPS had not indicated it even though if his eyes were on the road it was very obvious where to turn. So, he had to make a huge u-turn (courtesy of his GPS) to get there which upped my fare by a few dollars.