Tag Archives: Queensland

Walking the Bridge to Brisbane

12 Sep

Me and my team after the Bridge to Brisbane race.

The Bridge to Brisbane race was a simple way to enjoy a sunny day and contributed to a good cause. Every entry helped to raise funds for Legacy Queensland which is an organisation that cares for the spouses and dependants of Australian veterans through pension advocacy, safety and security, financial security and social and medical care.

There are a number of other fitness and fundraising events held across Australia throughout the year, including the long running Cancer Council Relay for Life at several locations, the extreme Simpson Desert Multimarathon and, one of my favourite ideas, the Pub2Pub Charity Fun Run and Walk which is an annual Sydney event that starts at Dee Why Surf Club and ends at The Newport Arms Hotel.

By Marissa Toohey

For the love of diving

6 Sep

Despite popular belief, scuba diving is not generally about getting a rush of adrenalin. It’s about the feeling of weightlessness, the soothing rhythm of blowing bubbles, the stunning topography and fascinating interactions with underwater creatures. If you don’t believe me, just see for yourself …

This is the Great Barrier Reef which has over 1,500 species of fish.

I never get tired of diving with green sea turtles.

During a certain time of the year, you can dive with manta rays at North Stradbroke Island in Queensland.

If you study underwater landscapes closely, you find creatures that blend in with their surroundings, like this spotted porcupine fish.

Most people are afraid of grey nurse sharks but the species is not life-threatening to humans. They move slow and steady and often swim up nice and close.

You can now keep up to date with my diving expeditions around Australia and overseas through my partner’s website. Shea goes diving almost every single week so the website will be updated regularly. In addition, he recently bought an impressive new underwater photography kit so it’s about to get even better!

By Marissa Toohey

Moreton Island wild dolphin feeding experience

16 Jul

MORETON ISLAND WILD DOLPHIN FEEDING EXPERIENCE  Dolphins are one of the most adored creatures on Earth and people travel from far and wide just to get close to them. Moreton Island near Brisbane is one of those special locations in Australia where people can pay to hand feed dolphins in the wild. For me, a truly devout admirer of the species, it was a bitter sweet experience.

The family of dolphins have been visiting Tangalooma Island Resort for decades. Three generations frequent the resort nightly, familiar with the routine of feeding at 6pm. Resort staff have watched them grow up and have names for every one of them.

But disappointment consumed me when a noisy flock of over 150 people raced towards the water to take part in the feeding experience during the weekend. The noise, pushing and shoving, and sneaky people jumping the fence to join the queue was too much for me, which made me feel for the seemingly dependent pod in the shallows of the water.

Only a handful of people were actually allowed into the water at a time and fish were rationed to one per person. The rules were firmly announced: no touching the dolphins. But it still felt like the dolphins were controlled for a show, rather than wild creatures as they should be.

Dolphins arrived early and people swum out to meet them.

Another disappointing aspect was the lack of management before and after the show. A number of dolphins arrived at the resort over an hour and a half before the feed was due to begin, swimming into shallow water in anticipation for food. People continued fishing off the pier despite the presence of dolphins below, and others swum right out to meet the wild pod, which is illegal in Australian waters (you are supposed to keep a distance away). Staff were nowhere in sight to manage the behaviours of their guests.

But the experience was still magical and I believe it must be effective in educating tourists from around the world. Getting up close to a dolphin, where you can see their playful eyes and powerful dorsal fins, is really inspiring – even if it was only for one minute. I only wish it was managed by researchers (not for profit) and restricted to fewer people.

Crikey – Irwin’s perform live croc show

13 Jul

CRIKEY – IRWIN’S PERFORM LIVE CROC SHOW Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin are keeping Steve’s dream alive by educating Australia Zoo visitors through a ripper of a croc show.

I recently went to Australia Zoo and watched the Irwin family perform a croc show with Steve’s best mate, Wes. It was obvious that Steve’s passion and humour have been passed to his children, as Bindi bravely fed a large crocodile from just metres away and Robert joked about Channel 7 reporting them for allowing her to do so.

The family educates its audiences by demonstrating crocodile behaviours. Wes jumps into the water to make the croc territorial, they wave food above the water to temp it to jump, and Terri lures the large croc out of the water with food, showing the audience how slow it becomes once out of the water. The crystal clear water gives people a rare opportunity to see how the animals actually behave under water, revealing the power and pace with which their tales drive them forward.

The croc show is the greatest highlight of Australia Zoo, but it has many other merits as well. Zoo keepers play with tigers, feed elephants, walk wombats and cheetahs. Kangaroos roam freely in a large park and zoo guests are welcome to hand feed them.

The entire zoo is very leafy and sparse and the animals have impressive habitats. In fact, they are the happiest looking animals I have ever seen in a zoo.

Australia Zoo is located at Beerwah, around a one hour drive from Brisbane. The zoo offers a shuttle bus from Roma bus terminal in the CBD. Visit the Australia Zoo website for more information and to buy tickets online.

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