Shelby and I woke up early and started our journey to Beerwah. We took a bus across the Brisbane river into the city and hopped on our first train in the station underneath Queen Street mall. After a lot of hurrying and a few moments of confusion, we finally get our tickets and board the train. We’re off.
The journey was a few hours and it took multiple trains to get us to the final station. From there we (the two of us and some more zoo-goers) waited for a small van that would take us the rest of the way to the zoo.
I was surprised at the location of the zoo. Growing up watching Steve Irwin on television, I had created this false idea that his zoo would be in some glorified city surrounded by vendors and gift shops that capitalized on his fame. In reality, it was in Beerwah; a country town with a train station, some fast food joints, lots of kids playing soccer, and lots of land.
The views were stunning. The fields looked like one would expect Australia to look. The trees, the dirt, the wildlife. It was such a contrast to what we had seen so far in Brisbane. There was a quiet that fell over the whole town. The kind of quiet that is so dense that it rings in your ears.
We were some of the first to arrive at the Irwin’s zoo. The other people on the bus were Australians — a mother and her kids, a young couple, and a lone photographer. The low morning attendance surprised me, but I was glad we got to experience the zoo with such a small crowd for a few hours.
We walked around the whole zoo. It was filled with pictures and facts about Steve. The whole zoo was a tribute to him, really. Like he used to do on TV, his zoo made learning about Australia’s wildlife fun. We didn’t go on a day that Terri, Bendi and Robert were doing a show, but we did walk into the Crocoseum just to see where it all happens.
I really enjoyed walking from enclosure to enclosure, joining the animals in their habitats. No one should go to Australia without getting up close and personal with a kangaroo, and if you’re not lucky enough to see one in the wild, go see them in the zoo!
As we sat at the train station and the sun fell behind the horizon, a swarm of bats flew from tree to tree above us, carrying on loudly. A menagerie of other unseen creatures joined the beautiful yet slightly unsettling chorus as we sat alone on the train platform. At that moment, as the unfamiliar wildlife came out from their hiding in the cover of the night, it became clear — Australia is wild.