When I first reached Australia, I landed in a very wet Brisbane. I understood that it was winter, but I’d been told that Australia was blue skies and sunshine most of the year ‘round. I very quickly learnt that this was not the case. As I unpacked my bikinis and shorts, I questioned whether I’d chosen the right time of year to visit this amazing country.
After that ominous day, there were no more clouds in the sky, and I could finally see the huge blue I’d been told about. I felt like it stretched on forever. In the suburbs of Capalaba, my cousin drove me to an estate that had been made especially for the homeowners and nature to exist as one. They were made to integrate with the forest around them, and didn’t have fences around their land. This meant that every evening wallabies and kangaroos would come out of the bushes and feed from the road side. We were able to drive around the area slowly and get up close to the true Aussie animals from the comfort of the car.
As for Brisbane city centre, I got a train into Roma St Parkland and took a walk around. I told myself to slow walk, something I never did in London. I changed my pace, for a more leisurely walk and stopped to take pictures when I felt the need. As I got into the rainforest area, a wild turkey jumped out at me from the bushes! Seeing a turkey just roaming wild was a new thing for me – I thought it must’ve gotten away from somewhere!
The parkland is great for a chilled afternoon with friends or family, or just for a good walk. It has many different paths you can choose from, and there are maps at the train station and info centre in the park. It was great walking from a lake with fountains, watching people playing Frisbee, to a beautifully tended garden in honour of Colin Campbell who was a gardening presenter on Aussie TV. It’s clearly somewhere you can go any time of the year for a relaxed day out.
Later I walked through the city centre and found Archives Fine Books. It was written in my Lonely Planet guide of the East Coast that this was the place to go if you’re a book lover. It has a big board outside boasting about how it contains over 1 million books, and when you walk in you’re surrounded. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall, bookshelves are filled with books from antiques to current chart-toppers. They’re organised into all sorts of different categories. I spent over an hour flicking through such categories as autobiographies, crime fiction, and local books. In the end I settled on a Western from the ‘70s.
This place has some incredible antique books dating from as early as the 16th century lining the top shelves, and people come in all the time to drop off any books they no longer want. Everything in the store is catalogued, so the staff will be able to find what you’re looking for if they have it in the store.
As the sun came down I walked across the river and along the side of the south bank to look back at a city skyline. As soon as the photos were taken, it had already gone dark! Aussie sunsets last about a second! I quickly walked through South Bank parklands and found my way to the train station for the long journey back to Capalaba.
On another trip into Brisbane I was a typical tourist. I went to see the GOMA (Gallery Of Modern Art), and Queensland Museum. Both came across as quite small to me, but I am used to the Natural History Museum of London which I’ve frequented many a time. The good news is they’re both free, so I took my time walking around and saw many stuffed Australian animals, and dinosaur bones.
Outside these museums are the South Bank Parklands which have a beautiful false beach and kid’s pool play area. Even on a Winter’s day people are lying out sun-baking, as the Aussies call it.
Before leaving Queensland, I also got to walk around Wellington Point and did a swamp walk around the mangroves. I was impressed by the massive trees with their thick exposed roots which are home to so much wildlife like skinks and crabs.
But for now, my time in Brisbane is over. I’ll be back with my boyfriend in December where we’ll be visiting Lone Pine Sanctuary, a place that’s been running for over 88 years!