document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", function(event) { var country = location.href.split("/travel-writing/round-the-world-trip/country/")[1]; country = country.split("/")[0].split("-")[1]; document.body.classList.add(country); }); Ian and Manda's round the world trip diary - San Francisco, LA, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore

skip to navigation

10 Hours to Fill in Brizzie CBD

4th February, Brisbane, Australia

Manda writes:

Ian and I left Ethel at the campsite and took a bus into the centre today. The car parking fees were expensive yesterday but what could we expect? We were parked right in the middle of the city after all. We paid $AUD 18 (£7.20 approx) for a couple of hours parking - ok, I guess this isn't too bad for city rates but we are supposed to be on a shoe-string budget!

We decided to make use of the public transport which is extremely good value. For a few quid, we could make unlimited use of the bus and ferry services (except during peak times) . Good value but filling 10 hours is hard work, as we would find out later on!

First stop was the City Hall. I'd been here before a few years ago with my parents and a tour group. We did a whistle-stop visit of some of the big cities in Australia. I had a great time but this time round we were able to spend more time exploring the place.

Constructed in the 1920's, the City Hall is an attractive historic building that overlooks the sculptures and fountains of King George Square. The square is surrounded by office blocks and is very close to the Queens Street shopping area. On the opposite side of the square, there is a lovely ornate-looking church standing infront of an office block. The contrast is quite marked with the church's red bricks and pointed features against the white, straight-edged uniformity of the tower blocks behind.

Church by King George Square.

We noticed a group of nursery kids with their teachers in the square. They looked so cute - all wearing their hats, walking over to the grass area like ducklings. This is definitely a hat-wearing country, and they start training them young here; even the high school kids wear wide-brimmed hats (an idea that would send most UK schoolkids into a frenzy).

School outing in King George Square.

We took a ferry trip on the Brisbane River - a good way to see the city and get our bearings. We went upstream to the University of Queensland stop and all the way back down to South Bank, where we finally got off.

South Bank is a great place for taking pictures of the CBD (Central Business District) on the opposite side. As we disembarked the ferry, we could see the Queensland Cultural Centre straight ahead. A metal arbour, shaped like vines, line a pathway to the side of the centre. Beautiful pink flowers wrap themselves around these 'vines', making the outline of the path clearly visable from a distance. We chose to walk down the shady Riverside Walk, in between the pink flowers and the river.

Energex Arbour covered in pink flowers.

There are a lot of bridges on the river. Facing the CBD, we could see the Victoria Bridge on the left and on the right, the Goodwill (pedestrian) bridge and Captain Cook bridge.

Just off the Riverside Walk is the Nepalese Pagoda, imposing its presence in dark-red wood. This area is called the South Bank Parklands and in amongst the greenery is a short rainforest walk. We spotted a few lizards dotted around. They froze as soon as they saw us approaching. It's as if they were trying to camouflage themselves but with their olive skins against a dark brown bridge, this simply was not happening!

Apparently, the South Bank Parklands is as a result of Expo'88. Unlike most venues for international shows, they have not only not been dismantled but more works have been carried out to keep the place fresh and interesting. I could have sworn there wasn't an artificial tropical lagoon looking beach the last time I was here. Or maybe we didn't walk this far. I forget!

South Bank Beach made for a nice surprise. Ian took a dip in the water while I sat on the sandy bit, guarding all the stuff we seem to lug around! It seemed weird to see a beach here - those in the water could get a good view of the spectacular city skyline as a backdrop. What a lovely way to spend the afternoon!

We caught another ferry further downstream to Eagle Street pier. As we turned the corner around the Botanic Gardens, we could see a cluster of skyscrapers and Storey Bridge in the distance. I remember taking photos of these buildings from a cliff the last time I was here but where were they? We went over to Holman Street and while the photos looked good, this was not the same spot. Looking at the map and the geography further upstream, I managed to deduce that we must have stopped off at Kangaroo Point last time. One for tomorrow then.

We took the ferry back to the CBD, had some lunch, mooched around the shops and found a spot to make use of the free wireless connection in Queen Street Mall. It was only 5pm - darn, still had 2 hours to kill!

The tourist map came out again as we pondered our next destination. The 'Old Windmill' sounded good so we took a walk across the shopping district and up a hill. Built around 1828, this is Brisbane's oldest building. Was it worth walking up to? Not really but hey, we lost a few lbs in the process! The windmill lacked some important features - like erm, sails.

Once back at the caravan site, I crashed out almost immediately. Ten hours of sight-seeing finally took its toll!

Back to top