Exploring Brisbane, Cairns, and Beyond

Written By Kai


On Tuesday we left the Buddhist retreat and and took the train back the Brisbane. The night before we discussed options for activities for our two days in the city before heading to the wallaby reserve so Natalie, Lillie, Jay, Caleb and Maddy decided to visit the Steve Irwin Zoo. So when we left the buddhist retreat, one group enjoyed the best zoo in Australia and the other group headed back to Brisbane for an afternoon of city exploration. The city group went to the Airbnb apartment that Noah booked and it was huge. We went grocery shopping to get food for the next two days while the zoo group made their way back.


Wednesday was a free day and also our O.E. Dan’s birthday. We all left the apartment before 10:00am and got a full day to explore the city. Most of us went straight to the library to email friends and family and catch up on whats happing in the world. At 1:00pm Dan, Natalie, Nika, Josh and Liz when to the theater to watch the musical Chicago which they all enjoyed. Then we all met back up at the apartment to cook dinner for the birthday celebration. We had cake and ice cream and watched Dan’s favorite show Fixer Upper. Is about people that fix up houses and then sell them, pretty self explanatory.


Not much happened on Thursday. We woke up, cleaned the place up and packed our bags. We took Maxi Taxis (big taxis) to the airport for our 1:30pm flight to Cairns. The flight was fine and when we landed we got rental cars, went grocery shopping and drove the the new air BnB that Noah booked and this place was super nice. It was right on the beach and had a big pool, a big TV, and a real nice kitchen.


Friday was a day to explore Cairns and a National park only 20 mins outside of town. We drove to the Bushman’s Gorge and did a short walk to a lookout and then a 30 min hike to this really pretty creek. Then we drove back into Cairns and got per diem for lunch and went to the library to email out families one last time before going home.


On Saturday morning we drove to Port Douglas and did a beach clean up with this lady Jules. She works for an organization called Tangaroa Blue, which organizes beach clean ups at least once a month with the community and collects scientific data of what trash is washing up on Australia’s shores and where its coming from. We cleaned up Four Mile Beach and collected 45 pounds of trash from the beach. Then after we ate lunch in Port Douglas we walked to the community center to listen to a presentation about the organization and what they do. Then we drove back to our air BnB and went swimming in the pool.


When Sunday came around we had to clean up and say good bye to the really nice air BnB. It was bitter sweet cause everyone was super excited to meet Clair and Marcus who are the owners of the Sheoak Reserve. We arrived to the reserve around noon and Clair greeted us with chicken, beef and veggie burgers for lunch it was so tasty. Then she gave a presentation about herself along with the place and told us about the wildlife/ rainforest that we’d be living in for the next ten days. Then we took all of our stuff down the where three massive tents were set up for us to stay in. They are set up in this big clearing with a bunch of hammocks and huge trees. That night we watched a documentary about one of the best ALF (Australian League Football) players in history and his struggle of being an aboriginal player in modern day and how racism is still very very alive in Australia.


Monday we had a guest speaker Duncan and his wife come in and talk to us about what it’s like being an aboriginal in Australia and he’s had a crazy life. He was taken from his family then adopted into a white family. He spent 26 years in the army flighting for a country that still to this day gives his people little to no rights. It was an extremely interesting and engaging talk and he’s a very funny guy. Then at 5:30pm we all went down to Clare and Marcuses house to watch Clare feed the wallabies which was really fun, some of them come right up to you and will eat sweet potato out of your hands.


On Tuesday morning, before we ate breakfast, Clare took us on a nature walk. She showed us a bunch of native plants and birds, we didn’t see any big animals but we still have plenty of time here for that. Then after breakfast we got to work with Marcus, we helped him clear and cut down trees that were too close to the road or that were dead to help prevent the spread of any fires that may accrue. After that we ate lunch then had some free time before starting to work again, this time we were digging a trench and clearing out rocks and big branches from this spot that Clare and Marcus are building an underground bunker to grow mushrooms. That evening again at 5:30pm half of us walked down to feed the wallabies witch will be a daily thing.


Wednesday Marcuse made us all pancakes for breakfast before heading out to the outskirts of the 165 acer property to help keep the rainforest away from the neighbors fence. A big tree had fallen on to the fence and the neighbor was not happy about that so we removed it. After an hour and a half of that Marcuse took us down to this small lake with a rope swing and we had a blast there until it was time to head back for lunch. In the afternoon we helped carry big metal rods for the bunker from the bottom of the drive way. After dinner we watched another movie based on a true story about these three aboriginal sisters who were taken from there family and put into a camp to learn how to become a servant. They ended up escaping and walking 1200 miles back home and it talks about their journey. Then years later when one of the sisters has a baby her and the child are taken back to the same camp ad some how escape a second time and walk all the way back home. Then are taken are taken back a third time and yet again escape and walk all the way home. After the movie we all went to bed the end.