Monday 24th October 2011 saw Queen Elizabeth II And Prince Philip fly into Brisbane airport, Queensland, arriving at 11.11am. This visit comes 23 years after the Queen was last in Brisbane in 1988 to open Expo 88.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh then travelled, in her motorcade, from the airport to Bretts Wharf for their Brisbane River cruise.
The Royal couple were then led down pontoon at Bretts Wharf, with Premier Anna Bligh following behind with her husband, Greg Withers.
They then boarded the top level of the 27m-luxury catamaran, Pure Adrenalin to begin their cruise down the Brisbane River.
Many thousands of people crowded the shores of the Brisbane River in order to catch a glimpse of the Royal Couple as the Pure Adrenalin cat cruised by. Many of these were school students in their school uniforms. All eager to see the Queen!
Apparently some of the folk lining the river banks became quite vocal and included wolf whistles, yelps, cheers, claps and, inevitably, ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Oi, Oi, Oi’! A true blue Australian welcome to Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip.
The catamaran, Pure Adrenalin, then travelled to South Bank, where Police estimated the crowd ready to greet Her Majesty was approximately 45,000 people.
The Royal Couple disembarked the luxury catamaran and then attended a short, private reception for those affected by Queensland floods and cyclones, earlier in 2011.
Over 200 people were then, quite tightly, squeezed into the Rainforest Green to hear the Queen officially reopen the area, and to launch the water recycling system Rain Bank.
The official party were all seated undercover to protect them from the scorching sun. The Queen sat between Anna Bligh and Prince Philip. The crowd listened intently to the official speeches, even though the sun was quite intense, on this lovely, clear, sunny Queensland day.
Queen Elizabeth took the stand and applauded Queenslanders for persevering after the January floods and then cyclone Yasi and for bravely rebuilding!
As Her Majesty departed the Rain Bank, the crowd spontaneously broke into song, singing ‘God Save the Queen’.
The Royal Couple enjoyed a private luncheon, which then wound up their whirlwind visit to Brisbane, Queensland.
After arriving at 11.11am this morning, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh departed at 3.41pm in the Royal Australian Air Force jet. Hence, the Royal couple spent a total of four hours and 30 minutes, before flying back to Canberra.
In two days time, on Wednesday 26th October 2011, the Royal couple will travel to Melbourne.
From Melbourne Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip fly to Perth in Western Australia. While in Perth, the Queen will officially open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). CHOGM will be the largest event held in Perth in almost fifty years, with leaders from more than 50 Commonwealth nations in attendance.
It is expected that the Royal couple will also take part in other public appearances, while in WA. This will be Queen Elizabeth’s eighth visit to Western Australia.
On October 29th 2011, the Queen and Prince Philip will depart Australia from the Perth airport, after completing Queen Elizabeth’s 16th official visit to Australia.
It is uncertain if the Queen will return to Australia in the future. The Queen really is amazing to do all that she does for age 85, so only time will tell if she will be back for another visit in future years.
Both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are popular winter retreats for Canadians, Americans and visitors from all around the world. With the winter season quickly approaching people are already planning their vacation and looking at what Whistler ski packages are available to them. Some ski packages are open for purchase now at discounted prices for the early birds, so it is worth checking to see what options there are. Book early and you could save even up to 36% on your stay and ski packages.
With Whistler being so close to Vancouver, around only two hours away, and located in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia it is easy to see why so many visitors flock to the majestic alpine peaks year after year, enjoying the many diverse Whistler ski packages that are offered. In fact, the 2010 winter Olympic Games were held at this location, bringing even more attention to these breathtaking mountains and the epic alpine snowboarding and skiing that they offer to visitors of all experience levels.
Many of the local lodges and chateaus are currently offering ski packages that include accommodation, lift and ski passes. There are even some packages where you just need to pay for the accommodation at certain Chateaus and then you can ski for free. Family Whistler ski packages are also available where the kids get to stay for free, ski for free, and rent equipment for free. Some of these family options also allow the children to eat for free and to be shuttled for free. This will make the family holiday a lot less expensive with all of the great inclusions.
As well as having pre-existing Whistler ski packages there is also the option to have your own unique ski package created. Specialized vacation packages can be organized to meet each family’s, group’s, couple’s or individual’s specific needs and requirements. For instance, you could request to have a unique ski package created that includes your lodging, lift tickets, equipment hire and rentals, ski or snowboarding lessons and transfers to and from Vancouver. If you look around you will soon find that there are many fantastic options available to you for your upcoming vacation at Whistler.
Queen Elizabeth II has begun her 16th official Australian visit in Canberra and will spend most of this trip in our Nation’s Capital. On Wednesday, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip arrived in Canberra’s ACT, for their Official Royal Australian visit. They both began immediately into their 11-day Aussie trip, by waving to many children and adults gathered to welcome them to Australian soil.
Queen Elizabeth II first visited Australia back in February 1954. Since this time she has visited every state in Australia as well as the ACT and Northern Territory.
Many people think that this will be Queen Elizabeth II’s last visit to Australia since she is now 85 years old, but only the future will tell if that is true or not. Even in the first 2 days of this Aussie trip, she has shown that even at age 85, she has more energy than many others of us.
Shortly after arriving, the Queen received a bouquet of flowers from a lady who had also presented flowers to her back on Queen Elizabeth’s first Australian visit in 1954. This young lady was only six years old when she first met the Queen all those many years ago. Margaret Cunningham said to Queen Elizabeth, “It is lovely to see you again after all these years.”
The annual flower show, known as the Floriade, was held in Canberra from 17 September to 16 October 2011. Next year in 2012 the Floriade will celebrate its 25th year. Even though the show finished a few days before Queen Elizabeth II’s arrival in Australia, the event coordinators of the Floriade decided to provide a special invitation to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, to come and view the spectacular flowers on display. Needless to say that Queen Elizabeth seemed very impressed with the gorgeous, colourful flower displays as she walked through Floriade.
Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh also enjoyed a relaxing cruise on Lake Burley Griffin. The boat that was especially transported from Sydney Harbour to Canberra for this auspicious event was The Admiral’s Barge. It is a 12.8 metre Royal Navy boat that has decks made from teak and royal blue flanks. Perfect for a Royal visit.
The Royal Couple will be spending most of their 11 days in Australia around Canberra, but they are also going to visit Perth, Melbourne and Queensland.
We found this week how much fun adults and kids can have at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast. Our family had a lovely day watching the beautiful expressions on the faces of two young children as they experienced Aussie animals, reptiles and birds for the first time in their young lives! It was awesome to see!
Parking is available for $5 a day in the large car park opposite. If you arrive early, before 8am then you may be able to get in before the attendants set up. There are also a few parking spots on the street that are free.
Disabled parking is also available in a few specially marked spots outside the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
There are boardwalks and ramps throughout the sanctuary that give access to most locations within the park for wheelchairs, strollers and wheelie walkers. The minature train does not currently have the facility to allow passengers sitting in a wheelchair to ride, but if the person is able to take a seat on the train then their wheelchair can be lifted on to the storage section of the train and then removed at the desired stop.
When the lorikeets land on visitors’ arms their feet can leave small marks. I did not find that they hurt or anything, but it may be worthwhile to protect your arms. Especially for young children and the elderly, you may want to wear a jacket or a piece of clothing with long sleeves to protect your arms. You can always take the jacket off when you go to see the rest of the park.
Bird Feeding Times: 8am and 4pm Daily
Greg and I arrived just before 8am to make sure that we got to see all of the wild lorikeets coming in for breakfast. We were happily surprised to find out that the shop, cafe and the lorikeet feeding area are all open for free to the public. So anyone who wants can enter the first section of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary without having to buy any tickets. Then for a donation, visitors are given a metal plate and so specially formulated food for the lorikeets. Everyone can then stand with their plate of food and watch as the lorikeets fly in for some breakfast.
We noticed that there were two different types of lorikeets and so asked the volunteers about the different species. We found out the more prolific and colourful lorikeets are the Rainbow Lorikeets who are brightly coloured red, blue, green, orange and yellow. The smaller species, that usually travels in pairs, are known as the Scaly-Breasted Lorikeet, these are green in colour with yellow flecks on their chest. On the day that we visited, there were three pairs of the Scaly-Breasted Lorikeet flying around feeding. Apparently this number various each day, with some days only having one visiting pair of Scaly-Breasted Lorikeets. Since they are smaller in size and number they are easily intimidated and driven away by their larger Rainbow Lorikeet cousins.
We were greeted by Eastern Water Dragons spread around the park, beginning right next to the wild lorikeet feeding area. These native Aussie lizards delighted our two young nieces. They even bravely reached out and patted the one of the Eastern Water Dragon’s tail.
Holding A Baby Crocodile
After the lorikeet feeding we all had turns holding a baby crocodile. Our two and three year old nieces really enjoyed this and so did the adults, as we had our photo taken by the sanctuary’s professional photographer. We were later able to view the images that were displayed for purchase up on a wall next to the lorikeet feeding area. After handling the croc we were sent to sanitize our hands before continuing into the park. We found that throughout the sanctuary there are washing and sanitizing stations where soap or hand sanitizer is provided so that our hands are clean both before and after we touch any of the native animals, reptiles or birds. This way everyone keeps clean and healthy.
History of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
My first visit to the sanctuary was with my family back in 1974 when we all came on a trip from Melbourne up to the Gold Coast for a holiday. Back then it was called the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary as the main focus of the park was the lorikeets and feeding them. Since this time there have been lots of additions and changes, including to the name of the park.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization and so any funds that are raised from Donations, entry tickets, food, souvenir purchases, photographs, segway safari rides and the Green Challenge are all put back into helping the animals, whether towards their food or the animal hospital, which is on-site at the sanctuary. So you can rest assured that anything you spend at Currumbin will be well used to help our native wildlife.
We then all purchased our tickets at the Visitor Services counter right next to where we feed the lorikeets and went inside the entry to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Australia’s Green Cauldron
Our first stop once inside the sanctuary was Australia’s Green Cauldron. Here we saw a green tree snake and other pythons and venomous snakes. There were also two salt-water crocs and native turtles. There were also two small active Long-nosed Potoroos and two Tawny Frogmouth birds sitting in the trees.
Miniature Train & Animal Hospital
We then all got onto the Miniature Train to continue our tour of the sanctuary. Mum’s wheely walker and my sister’s pram were both placed into the storage section of the train by the driver. We travelled passed the water in flat Rock Creek and through a tunnel that took us under the Gold Coast Highway. We then all got off at the first stop at the Hospital Precinct. We were unable to see any of the Tassie devils, as they must have been sleeping, so we went for a walk behind the cafe to the animal hospital. There was a turtle on the operating table that we could see through the large glass-viewing window. The turtle had swallowed some fishing line and a hook and needed to have these removed.
As we were leaving a short time later a Cormorant seabird was brought in and placed on the table next to the turtle. The oxygen mask was placed over the bird’s beak as the surgeons prepared to operate to remove the hook and fishing line that this bird had also swallowed!
It was the first time any of us had seen wildlife being treated and operated on like this. We were really impressed with the set up at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary so that visitors get a birds eye view (literally!) of how the hospital staff and volunteers are helping our Australian wildlife on a daily basis! There were also donation stations around the hospital so that guests could contribute towards the high costs involved in looking after our native animals.
We caught the train to Koala junction, rather than walking with mum and her wheeley walker. We grabbed some lunch at the Koala Junction Kiosk and the kids played in the playground next door.
Wild Island Adventure Playground
After lunch we walked the short distance across the train tracks to Wild Island Adventure area. We had fun taking some photos sitting on top of the gigantic Crocodile and with the huge spider suspended above his web! The kids played in the adventure playground and had a great time!
Again we caught the miniature train from Koala junction to the next stop at the kangaroos, called Kangaroo Crossing. We spent a long time here patting the kangaroos, seeing the cute little joeys hiding inside their mum’s pouch and also feeding the roos. There were lots of joeys around. Some were even outside the pouch, but were still poking their head inside the pouch to have a drink of their mum’s milk. There were also several happy duck families walking around with their 5 or 6 little, fluffy ducklings. They were so cute!
There were also inquisitive emus that kept coming up and having a look at what we were doing. One emu thought my four-month-old little nephew, Joel, looked kind of interesting in his stroller and so the emu stuck his head in to say “Hi” to Joel. That was funny!
Our two-year-old niece was a little nervous in the beginning and did not want to pat the kangaroos, but after around 30 minutes she got used to them and had a wonderful time chatting with the roos and patting their backs. It was lovely to watch.
Tasmanian Devils, Dingoes and Koalas
We caught the train again around passed the main station and back to the Hospital precinct station. Here we disembarked and had a look at the Tasmanian devils enclosures again. We were not disappointed. They were all starting to wake up and run around their enclosure. In fact, two Tassie Devils climbed up onto the top of rock structures in their enclosure to get a better look at us and this also gave us a great, clear view of them!
We began to walk over the train tracks and towards the Koala enclosures when we were especially blessed by two park keepers walking past with two Aussie dingoes on leashes. It was so awesome! The dingoes walked right passed us, we could almost reach out and touch them!
We got to the koala enclosures and were really happy to see the koalas all awake and happily looking around. There was one baby koala sitting in the tree hanging onto his mum’s back! So cute! The girls loved seeing these sweet little Australian mammals.
Departing the Sanctuary
After our fun time seeing the koalas we walked back to the hospital train station and waited for the train. We were happy to learn that it was in fact the last train of the day, at around 4.35pm. So we got to travel right through the park again, passed the water birds and through the kangaroo enclosure and back to main station.
We had been at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary since just before 8am and so by now our feet were feeling weary. We sad down at the cafe near the entrance to the park and relaxed with a cold drink and snack. Joel had his bottle of milk heated up here, thanks to the lovely lady in the cafe, and so he was also quite content.
We got to see and enjoy many different animals, reptiles, birds and different experiences through out the day, but there were still many different birds, mammals and reptiles that we did not get to see, due to time and lack of energy with three young kids and mum with her walker.
I would say that you could easily spend two days at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to see and enjoy everything that this native park has to offer to visitors. We hope to return in the not to distant future!
Thanks Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for a fantastic, memorable, fun, family day out!
Until next time, Remember to Enjoy Life, Smile at a Stranger and Make a Difference in the World!
We had just enjoyed a lovely morning whale watching cruise and now waited on board, at around 11.30am, for the whale watching only passengers to disembark. Some new passengers then boarded for the fast cat ride up to McLarens Landing at the northern end of South Stradbroke Island. These new passengers had the choice to book lunch with their boat trip or no lunch, if they preferred.
Prices (as at October 2012)
Tall Ship Cruise to Island (Including Lunch)
Fast Catamaran Cruise to Island (Including Lunch)
Fast Catamaran Cruise to Island (No Lunch)
Child (4-14 Years Inclusive)
Child (Under 4 Years)
Senior / Student
Times of Operation:
Daily:Full Day Island Adventure with Lunch (Sailing Ship)
Departs: 9am. Returns: 4pm. Approx. 6 hours.
Fast Cat Island Adventure with or without lunch
Departs: 11.30am. Returns: 4.15pm. Approx. 4.5 hours.
Tall Ship Cruise Terminal
Shop 5, Mariners Cove Marina,
60 Seaworld Drive Main Beach
Queensland, 4217 Australia
Free parking available at Mariners Cove and Marina Mirage – some undercover parking available
You can choose from the Full Day Island Adventure with Lunch, which lasts around 6 hours and involves travelling on the relaxing square-rigger Tall Ship. The trip up to McLarens Landing on the tall ship takes around 90 minutes and the same at the end of the day for the return trip.
Or if you are looking for something a little faster, then why not catch the fast catamaran on the Fast Cat Island Adventure? You can book with or without lunch, with lunch costing an additional $30 per person. This faster trip lasts around 4.5 hours and departs later than the tall ship cruise.
At around 11.45am the catamaran departed Mariner’s Cove, Main Beach and we enjoyed a lovely 30-minute cruise through the Broadwater and up to McLarens Landing.
Lunch at McLarens Landing, South Stradbroke
Shortly after we arrived at McLarens Landing we were able to find a table and then queue up for our yummy BBQ Aussie lunch. Each of us had already pre-ordered which type of meat we preferred. Mum and I ordered steak, our son ordered chicken and Greg ordered fish, which was dory. We handed in our meal tickets and were each given a plate with our selected meat on as well as a bbq sausage and some potatoes. We then walked to the second table and grabbed some salads to add to our BBQ meat.
We each purchased a can of soft drink from the bar, right next door for $3 and sat down to enjoy our yummy lunch. There was also live entertainment with music and singing from a small stage in the centre of the courtyard. It was a lovely atmosphere, with the Broadwater on one side of us, native wallabies wandering around, lovely Island trees hanging overhead and relaxing singing that serenaded us as we enjoyed our delicious meal.
Feeding the Wallabies
After lunch we were able to join in the wallaby feeding, with some carrots and celery. It was fun watching the wallabies holding the vegetables in their small paws and chewing.
We took some photos of the local pirate statues and had a short walk around McLarens Landing, before boarding the Tall ship at around 2.30pm for our return voyage to Mariner’s Cove on the Spit.
Tall Ship Voyage Home & Feeding Sea Eagles
It was exciting sailing on the square-rigger tall ship. Shortly after setting sail we went up the front of the ship and each had a turn feeding the local native sea eagles and kites. It was fun watching these powerful birds swoop down as we threw raw meat up for them to skilfully catch in their talons.
Relaxing Scenic Cruise Along Broadwater
After we finished feeding the eagles and kites we sat back and relaxed over afternoon tea, with a hot cuppa and some yummy Arnott’s biscuits. It was really peaceful sailing along, watching the jet skis and speedboats zoom past us.
We arrived back at the Marina just after 4pm after having an absolutely wonderful day! Whales in the morning, a delicious Aussie BBQ lunch on Sth Stradbroke and a relaxing sailing trip home on a real sail boat.
We recommend this as a fun outing for locals and visitors to the Gold Coast alike. We took some great photos and created some wonderful memories for the future.
Next time we will share our trip to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary with you as they celebrate 100 Years since the birth of their Founder, Alex Griffiths.
Until then, Remember to Enjoy Life, Smile at a Stranger and Make a Difference in the World!