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Published: February 19th 2008
Rather like Brisbane. Easy city to wander round, plenty of life long into the night. Went for the cheap option of walking round seeing what I could get into for free. Lots of interesting museums and art galleries dotted about the city. Very pleasant walk way along the river. The thing they do seem to be best at though is parks.
Anzac Square in the heart of the city, a monument to Australian war heroes, is incredibly tasteful, refined, and actually quite moving if you take the time to let it in.
Botanical Gardens were stunning. Extra entertainment provided by a group of accountants doing daft exercises on the lawns. Looked like a team building exercise. Most of them seemed to stuggle when told to act as a human calculator, add up the total number of fingers they're showing in their pairs. All quite slow, though can blame that on the heat.
The South Bank was a real treat. A long park following the river for about a mile. Small clean stream with a shallow lagoon for kids and paddlers, with a larger pool plus proper beach for the bigger kids. All interspersed with cafe's shops, a little market, and some
Anzac Park, local residents
Bit prettier than the pigeons
sort of arena, at that point just showing the cricket on a big screen. (Sadly didn't stick around long enough to celebrate an Australian wicket going, though probably a good thing as got few scowls when laughed at Australia's misery on the boat back from Magnetic Island) Sunbathed on the grass by the 'street beach' and took in the relaxed atmosphere. Bliss.
I've noticed that the Aussies are very good (now) at looking after their old trees. Here and scattered round Cairns, massive tress, many hundreds of years old, are left to prosper, cared for if need be. This includes building around them. i.e. how do you fancy a tree in the middle of your restuarant. It got there first, so you have to walk round it to get to the kitchen. In Britain, historic tree of not, it would have been hacked down and use to make the tables, chairs and bar.
Spent the weekend on Moreton Island. Large sand island of the coast of Brisbane. Went sandboarding. Sliding down a sand bank on a small piece of plywood. Great fun, biggest danger is getting a face full of sand. Had to stop when started raining (again).
Half an hour swimming in the blue lagoon. As luxurious as it sounds. Cut off from the outside world, warm water. Still showery, but if you're under water anyway, who cares. Spent the afternoon getting a tour of the island in the 4x4, great fun.
Bouncing around in the back. The entire island is what I imagine the carribean to be like. hot, empty beaches. Being a 2 hour ferry from the mainland, there was rarely another soul in sight. perfect.
Headed to campsite for a BBQ, just 4 of us including the guide camping, Just me and 2 nice Irish blokes (approx 20 just on a day trip) so nice peaceful atmosphere round the campfire. Early start (6am, grrr) the next morning to go snorkeling. Tangalooma Wrecks. Large sand shifters sunk 30 years ago to provide a safe habour. looked really impressive. Hell of a current, so we were denied the chance to dive in, taken down to the smaller wrecks down the coast. Also sunk deliberatly, but longer ago, so rustier, and more plant life. Really good fun. Not much a current so could float amongst the shoals of cute tiny fish. Throw little bits of bread into the water and watch bigger fish fight over the food inches from the front of the mask. Paradise.
Slightly more energetic activity to finish the trip. A hike up Moogar Bippo, (or Mount Tempest - which sounds way more impressive) worlds largest sand mountain. Middle of the day, boiling sun, hiking up sand. With a ferry to catch there was no chance to colapse in a heap struggling for breath. Fabulous views from the top. Well worth it.
Final day in Brisbane spent wandering again. Breakfast at a funky little cafe with 2 of my roommates. Wonderful cafe, toast over an inch thick, proper tea (hostel's coffee machine struggled with the concept of tea. 10 variations on coffee and hot chocolate but no tea - not good) and lots of cool posters and albums on the wall. Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Ghostbusters... Plus Bat Out Of Hell. Kind of reminded me of my student bedroom, probably the idea.
Aimless wander round town with these 2 girls. Sweet girls, bit girly. They couldn't understand that I'd only brought 1 item of jewelery along, (St Christopher - xmas pressie, protection for travellers, and my little symbol of the family I'm missing) don't even have any bats with me. "how can you survive without makeup, earings and dresses?" very nicely thanks.
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