In retrospect, I wish we hadn't gone there. I was interested in visiting a didjeridoo store there and seeing what Surfer's Paradise was like, but the store was gone and Surfer's Paradise is awful. The whole city is like Bell Square. The buildings are so tall that nobody uses the beach after noon because it's all shaded over! It's loud and assails all the senses at once. All the light poles in town were also decorated with flags that said "Surfer's Paradise," with a stylized symbol of high-rise buildings looming over a beach, with the sun shining overall. I felt really bad for asking Bob and Dee to go there.
We made it up to Brisbane and returned to the Botanical Gardens. We had lunch in the same restaurant (I had the ever-present pumpkin soup) and we watched the birds. There were lots of Australian white ibis, butcher birds (which I recognized as meat-eating from the hooked bill), and little well-named Willie Wagtails.
This page shows the butcher birds, but also shows the magpies I was talking about and lets you hear their pretty songs. It also shows the Currawong, which is the Australian equivalent of the crow. Listen to the songs to get a better idea of what we heard every day.
We wandered the gardens together for a bit, and later caught up with Devon and Jeni and Tim and Tyler. We saw the planetarium show, which was a little disappointing, as I wanted less info on the origin of the universe and more on Southern Hemisphere stars. It was also a little overdramatic ("IN THE BEGINNING...THERE WAS NO TIME..."). I was still glad we saw it, though. We also got to confirm that, in fact, we were seeing Orion in the eastern sky, and that the best way to find the south marker (since there's no South Star) was to follow the Southern cross to this black void. There's no stars at due south.
We wandered the gardens some more after that. I ran through the section that was devoted just to conifers, then headed up over the hill to a far lake to see the totems, where I ran into Bob and Dee again. I got a neat picture of the totems, then we walked around the lake and through a cool tree fern forest.
We left just as the gardens were closing for the night. Dee and Bob and Tim and I headed straight home while the others went shopping in Brisbane. Dee and I made a nice dinner for everyone, but Tim and Bob went out to eat as soon as we got home, and due to a misunderstanding, Tyler and Jeni and Devon ate up in Brisbane, so Dee and I ended up eating the dinner by ourselves.