In Brisbane I couchsurfed again, this time with Ruthanne and her cool housemates. The place felt very much like student digs, when I arrived there were many bottles, caps and party poppers strewn across the floor from a recent birthday party! There were all super friendly and made me feel really welcome though. They were just putting up their Christmas decorations and had an insane amount of lights and other goodies in the garden for Santa's grotto. It was an epileptic's nightmare, but I loved it!

I was on the sofa in the living room, which was really comfortable, at least I thought so. And giving true meaning to the Couchsurfing title! Is it just me that actually really likes sleeping on the sofa? Anyway...

It was in Brisbane I had my first encounter with a koala bear! I'd not seen one in the wild yet, so I visited Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, a place housing over one hundred and thirty resident bears! I was pretty sure my odds of seeing one there were good. Sure enough, I spotted this fella:

His name's Barnacle, and he has the taxing job of hugging people all day long. Well, him and his furry friends at least. They work in shifts so they don't get all hugged out. Seriously... They also train them to rotate through different facial expressions throughout the day to mix things up a bit. I got the classic disinterest, but they can also do angry, surprised, happy, what's-that-strange-smell and duckface.

Not content with koalas, the sanctuary also houses all manner of other animals, from kangaroos to snakes. The kangaroos were flat out lazy, they're so over people touching them. I reckon if they could get away with mauling a kid without getting kicked out of the sanctuary they totally would. The thought of that alone is probably all that gets them through the day.

Besides the koalas, my favourite animals were the birds of prey though. How mean does this guy look while devouring this mouse?!

I definitely think I need to acquire one and walk around town with it, striking fear into the heart of grannies and ruffians alike.

The city of Brisbane itself is obviously pretty big and impressive, and I was drawn to the riverfront as are many others. It's very pleasant to walk along here day or night, enjoying the view of the city across the river. You can even go for a swim at the man made lagoon and beach!

They also have the poshest public buses ever. They've decided they're too good to travel on the normal road with the other traffic, and have created ther own private road to drive on. I'm sure London buses look upon their Brisbane brethren with deep envy.

It was nice walking around at night with the Christmas lights on everywhere, reminded me of home. I also happened upon a rather large Christmas tree in King George Square. You could get some seriously cool presents under that thing.

My Christmassy time in Brisbane drew to a close, and I boarded the bus to my next destination, Byron Bay. Christmas surfing! So surreal....