Brisbane - The Gold Coast

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March 8th 2014
Published: March 8th 2014
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4th March Brisbane, Australia

We arrived early into the Port of Brisbane, and berthed alongside the Graincorp silos. The Brisbane River is not navigable for ocean liners so we were back in the industrial dock area of the city. There is a huge amount of reclamation going on here in the dock area and it has been a conscious decision by the city planners to keep the industrial areas including the airport on the periphery of the centre.

The Brisbane River runs right through the heart of the city and it was what we have chosen as the best option to view the area without having to do the rat run of the shops and stores. Off one boat and then on to another!!! Waterways are the life blood of the city, and are built around the winding Brisbane River. Dedicated walking paths and cycle line both banks; the CityCats (Catamaran taxis) and other craft make it easy to view the city.

Brisbane is named after the river on which it is located, which in turn was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. The first European settlement in Queensland was a penal colony at Redcliffe, 17 miles north of the central business district, which was founded in 1824. That settlement was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825. Free settlers were permitted from 1842. Brisbane was chosen as the capital when Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales in 1859.

During World War II, Brisbane became central to the Allied campaign was used as the South West Pacific headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur, chief of the Allied Pacific forces, until his headquarters were moved to Hollandia in August 1944. Approximately one million US troops passed through Australia during the war, as the primary co-ordination point for the South West Pacific. In 1942 Brisbane was the site of a violent clash between visiting US military personnel and Australian servicemen and civilians which resulted in one death and several injuries. This incident became known colloquially as the Battle of Brisbane.

Brisbane has hosted many large cultural and sporting events, including the 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo ’88 and the final Goodwill Games in 2001. As of 2008, Brisbane is classified as a Global City.

The city is a contrast of modern meets colonial, our trip was aboard the ‘Kookaburra Queen 2’ one of two authentic paddle boats that gives us tourists a glimpse of the varied buildings that have sprung up in 20th Century Brisbane. The trip was through the riverside Central Business District and down towards the more residential areas of the cities, property in these areas comes at a cost, hopefully some of the pictures will convey the contrasts. They have the ‘South Bank Beach’, where sun, sand and water (even a lifeguard) brings the beach to the heart of the city.

It was then onto the coach for a tour round the city to familiarise ourselves with the city.

Following the 1974 floods which crippled the city for a short while enabled the city to modernise itself with many new and high rise buildings being established. However, the cities planners have tried to maintain the feel of colonialism with many of the heritage listed properties being restored. City Hall in the heart of King George Square has just reopened after a 3 year restoration and repair project. The old Customs House now owned by the University of Queensland has an art gallery and a restaurant. There are numerous museums and galleries including the ‘Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts’ and Maritime Museum. The latter having memorabilia including a WWII frigate (HMAS Diamanthia).

There are over 200 parks in this subtropical area, which includes the City Botanic Gardens which began its life as a vegetable garden for the first penal colony in Moreton Bay. A drive through Roma Park shows how the Brisbanites value their outdoor lifestyle.

Finally, Brisbane is the gateway to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts with all its beaches and infrastructure bringing a huge number of tourists and Australians to the area.

An interesting visit, but as with all of the one day stopovers not enough time to fully take in the areas. It was too far to go out to the coast so that will have to go on the ‘bucket’ list.

It seems to be getting longer!!

P.S. Look up the Kookaburra Queen on Trip Advisor – they were pretty special boats

Next stop Airlie Beach, Whitsundays

Additional photos below
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