It’s true that magazine editors get invited to lots of events and amazing experiences. It’s also true that we don’t have time to take up most of them. Recently, though, I found myself off deadline and with an offer too good to refuse.
A local airline was launching direct flights from my home town to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and was inviting local media along on the first flight. When I told them that I would like to come but that I had no one to look after my 13yo son, they invited us both. And so we got to spend two days exploring the region, leaving behind wild storms, freezing temperatures and power blackouts for a fun-packed weekend.
Here’s an excerpt of our adventures.
Day One: Big Kart Track
Mr 13 had never been on a gokart before. He was a little nervous but the guys got him in his safety gear and showed him the ropes. It was a proud mum moment as I watched him navigate the track, though it was more Mr Magoo than Peter Brock. At 1.2 kilometres, the track is the largest commercial one in Australia and has plenty of turns to keep experienced riders happy. Children as young as 12 can have a go, as long as they are 152-centimetres tall. Mr 13 made it past the halfway point before managing to get himself stuck…
Day One: Australia Zoo
Just up the road is this popular attraction, famous for the Irwin family and their crocodiles. There’s more than 1200 animals in various zones, ranging from natives to African and Asian animals. Mr 13, who considers himself a young David Attenborough down to the point of narrating every animal experience he has, was in heaven. We started by exploring the original part of the zoo, which is home to lizards, pythons, crocodiles and native species like koalas, dingoes and Tasmanian devils. From there we headed to the Crocoseum for the daily Wildlife Warriors Show. Bindi and her team introduce us to a range of birds, snakes and the famous crocodiles. We had the pleasure of seeing 3.7-metre saltwater croc Graham in action and I’m not sure if it was Mr 13 or me who was more impressed.
Day Two: Bird World
Mr 13 and I are mad about parrots, so we instantly fell in love with Bird World – a massive walk-in aviary in the botanic gardens that’s home to more than 300 birds. Macaws, galahs, sulphur-crested, rare cockatoos, peacocks, lovebirds, rosellas… everyone who wants to gets a go at having a feathered friend perch on them. We could have stayed with these glorious birds all day, it was such a thrill to get up close…