After the fabulous break / mini holiday in Byron it’s on to something completely different. The big smoke and tall buildings lume as we drive up the freeway, and Ken comments to me, “it looks like Manhattan”, I look sideways at him, giving the look of, ‘would you like to reconsider that?’ he pauses and looks back with a smile knowing the comparison is not quite on the mark. When Brisbane looks like Manhattan, you know you’ve been in the bush too long.
The drive to Bris-Vagas is busy and a little hectic. Gone are the empty roads of the outback I suspect this type of driving with be the norm now on the populated east coast. We have decided to put the van into storage for a few days while we stay in the center of Brisbane and take in the delights and sights of the city.
Ken has booked us into a self contained apartment on the 73rd floor of one of the tallest building in Brisbane and the view is spectacular. Looking across the Brisbane River, South Bank and the sprawling city beyond. What stikes me is the balance in ratio between green and built space. This is a hot (pun intended) topic in many capital cities and suburbs such as ours at home. No doubt the level or rainfall and sub tropical climate help but also maybe Brisbane has better regulation over new developments? Sounds like a homeschooling project to me!
Most of the day was consumed with logistics of travel, dropping of the van, getting unloaded at the accommodation and getting the car dropped off for some work it was having done while here in Brisbane. This didn’t leave much time for anything else and once the girls got to the room they were chuffed with a big bed, big bathroom, floor space to finally do some lego they bought, doors seemed to be a big hit, the view and TV!
On about the second night in the van the hard disk with all the movies and shows on it fell out of the cupboard and into a sink full of water and never recovered. Secretly I did a little fist pump as I was keen to do the trip with no TV. However if I am being very honest I have to confess the few surviving shows on my iPad have made the travel days a little easier.
While the rest of the family was content in the room I was itching to get amougst it, so once Lulu had gone down for a late sleep I found the nearest supermarket and went for a few supplies and the chance to get my bearings and a feel for the place. Wow, as I strode down the bustling footpaths, with all the workers heading home or out for drinks after work I felt a buzz, a freedom, memories of days BK. Or was it just the excitement of being on my own for a bit? Either way it didn’t last long as Lulu awoke and back to the race was one to get what I needed and get back.
Day 2 – we headed to South Bank (the Arts, Library, Muesum, parks and restaurant hub) to explore. Hoping to find a boat cruise to do a tour on giving us a history and local knowledge of Brisbane and the Brisbane river which meanders through the city. This was a lovely and informative way to see the city and with an endless supply of delisious scones, jam and cream everyone was relaxed and content.
Following the cruise we explored SouthBank more, busy but delightful and enjoyed a delicious Italian lunch, with the girls discovering the joy of Gnocchi at it’s best. We spent the final few hours of daylight in the museum, where Ken left us to go and do his EOSphere meet up. But the day wasn’t over yet, without Ken to drag around and Lulu having another late sleep in the pram, us girls hit the shop for a bit of retail therapy. Both the girls needed a little zhuzhing up before a trip to the theater tomorrow night.
By the time we dragged ourselves home we had nearly been out and mostly on our feet for 12 hours. Shattered but a great day!
Day 3 – Brisbane is the only city in Australia to still have a functioning town Hall. It’s a beautiful building and they run free tours of the building and clock tower. With a spectacular Father Henry Willis Organ and a recent $215 million refurbishment of the Hall and organ, it was a wonderful tour. Attached to the Town Hall is another museum, this one all about Brisbane, which again we enjoyed very much. Expo ‘88 seems to have been the beginning a massive boost and change in the way Brisbane presented itself to visitors and the world. They really have excelled in promoting their city and seem very proud of her history. We’ve throughly enjoyed learning about and experiencing Brisbane.
The rest of the day we spent getting lost in the city food and shops mostly, before a brief rest and out to see Aladdin the Disney musical that night. Not thinking Lulu would get through an evening performance we just booked for Ken and the girls, but when it came to it I just couldn’t bear missing out. Upon enquiry there happened to be one perfect seat directly behind them on the isle to boot so I could make an easy escape should I need to.
The girls loved the show, as we all did. The genie was super and see and hearing Georgia laugh louder and longer than anyone else in the thearter was a delight. Lulu and I made it through 3/4 of the show and saw all the best bits even if some of it was in a sound proof viewing box with some of the cast. The staff were so amazing and keen for me not to miss out, they ushered Lulu and I into the box so we could catch the amazing magic carpet scene before calling it a night.
The city has sparked a love of buses for Lulu, (it’s her new word), and she never lets one go by without everyone and anyone knowing about it. Thank goodness for all the buses about the city late at night as I tried to get one over tired little girl home. Just as the next wave of exhausted meltdown was about to being a bus would go by and I’d breath a sigh of relief and walk a little faster still.
Day 4 – Dreamworld! We had driven right past the Gold Coast and couldn’t resist the chance to visit one of these theme parks. Fortunately none of us are adrenaline junkies so we skipped all the crazy rides but had a wonderful day taking in the various shows and themed section of the park. ABC kids World little kiddy rides, Dreamworld Corroboree all about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture, Tiger Island, Dreamworks experience (Ken even got to be on stage with Alex the Lion), Lego Store and WhiteWater world.
It was a cool day but it didn’t stop the girls getting in their bathers and making the most of it. When we hit the water park they just didn’t stop. Two solid hours of running, swimming, climbing the stairs to the water slides and dodging massive buckets of dumping water. Lulu slept through all this fun so I sat back put my feet up and performed my baby mattress duties with no complaints.
And that’s a wrap off Brisbane. What a city! The last thing to make note of is how friendly, tentative, warm and helpful we have found everyone. Even complete strangers in ladies toilets offering to help as Lulu screams the place down having awoken with an nasty nappy and realizing I have run out of nappies. Humanity is alive and well!