One doesn’t have to travel to the other side of the world for fun and interesting experiences. There’s plenty of that approximately three hours away across the ditch.
Recently a friend and I went to a friends wedding which was held and celebrated half an hour’s drive from the centre of Brisbane. I made a bit of a break of it and stayed four nights at a hotel on George Street in the CBD area of Brisbane. There are plenty of hotels in this area and the one I chose wasn’t expensive or flash but was value for the money and provided a good breakfast at an extra cost. Best of all it was situated near various interesting spots which I could explore.
First, where to eat? I discovered just around the corner from the hotel, in Charlotte Street – The Pancake Manor, a converted church turned eatery (and drinkery). The crepes, both sweet and savoury plus the dessert pancakes were to die for. Plus, there were salads and grilled food, and of course plenty of options with drinks. I ate here nearly every day. Eating problem solved.
Next, what about entertainment? Approximately 5 minutes’ walk away is The Treasury – casino, hotel (expensive) and restaurants. We spent a pleasant evening here.
What about a nature visit to feed the soul? Another 5 minutes’ walk away is the City Botanic Gardens. Here paths meander through groups of large trees including ancient fig trees with huge trunks and open to flat grassed areas and ponds. Young people were playing volleyball in the cool of the evenings and on Sunday morning there was a market with live music and stalls where I got colourful designs of flowers painted on my hands (covering all my brown, age spots). Raucous native birds squawked and flapped, so different from our own dainty fantails and melodious tui. There’s also a lovely walk alongside the Brisbane River and mini parks where one could sit and contemplate while gazing dreamlike at the flowing water.
How about politics and culture? Just opposite the Botanic Gardens is the Queensland Parliament. I went on a Parliamentary tour and learned how the political system there worked in comparison to ours. Very similar actually as both New Zealand and Australia being Commonwealth countries are based on the English House of Commons. I bought two bottles of wine with Parliamentary labels on them. Yummy.
Not far away is The Queen Street Mall, the buzzy shopping district with good old Target where I bought leggings and socks. Close by Victoria Bridge leads to the area known as South Brisbane. Here is the Wheel of Brisbane, the Old Performing Arts Centre, The State Library, and the Old Museum and Science Centre. I didn’t have the time to visit these, but it was nice that they were close by. They are something for next time.
Brisbane is usually the springboard for other places such as the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast or for Pacific cruises. Don’t underrate it though. It’s a good place to go for a short escape. Warning, it’s much colder in winter than I anticipated especially in the evenings. Make sure you take a jacket and your own leggings and socks.