Published: May 6th 2012May 6th 2012
I Arrived in Brisbane at around 11pm, stepping out of the bus into easily the coldest weather I've experienced in well over 2 months (probably about 15degrees). Luckily I quickly found the taxi rank to take me across the river to my Hostel; the Brisbane Backpackers Lodge. Straight to bed. The next morning too was cold and grey. I took the hostel's courtisy shuttle into town armed with my now customary map, bottle of water and ipod. I headed to the town square to begin the day of I was planning to use to get my bearings in the city (this never happened even after 4 days). My walking plans were cut short almost immediately by the weather. I therefore headed to the nearest subway for lunch and crossed the main bridge to the museum and art gallery complex where I spent the afternoon exploring everything and anything which was free for tourists. I thought I was doing well untill I ordered a muffin at the cafe and found myself handing over $9.
The bar at the hostel (which boasted the cheapest drinks in town... $9.50 a pint) was always full in the evenings and I found myself at a
table with two Canadians, an American, two French, two English and an Irish man; many of whom it turned out were in the dorm next to mine. The next morning I went with Alex, one of the English guys to the Koala sanctuary for lack of a better idea. It turned out to be much more than we expected; kangaroos, koalas, dingos, tazmanian devils and eveything in between, and all for a very reasonable $20 student fee.
Brisbaner's never appear to do anything except dress for work, then go to lunch. Even on weekdays the streets are rammed with locals doing... nothing, but it does mean everywhere is always busy which is nice in a way. It is quite European in a way, endless (overpriced) cafes line the streets and parks are full of picnicers. If it wasn't the most expensive place I've ever been I would say it was a very nice place to spend the days. On the Southbank is an artifical beach where there are a number of almost British pubs which made a nice place to spend the afternoons once the weather had improved slightly.
The shuttle bus to Byron bay took around 2
hours. It rained the entire way; not a good sign. However thankfully this dies away as we approached. Once checked in I went to meet Angus and Emily who had parked their camper by the main beach where we spent the evening with their fellow campers and a bowl of pasta. And an angry local who shouted that she was going to run us over for being in her town. The next day was the start of the Mardi Grass festival; what we had been told was a local music fest. I spent the morning on the beach and took the organised bus to Nimbin where the festival is held in the afternoon. It was on the bus that I began to realise what the festival was really about; I and some confused looking American's were the only ones without dreadlocks and tie die clothing. The Mardi Grass festival is a rally for the legalisation of marijuana. While most people were friendly and the whole town was certainly in a festival mood, the "political message" of the event wasn't particularly strong in my view. But it was a good day out with a convoy of VW campers through the town
centre, music etc. I took the bus back in the evening ready for a long day on the beach in the morning; the weather has finally turned around.
There are more photos below