Sunday, April 28, 2013

Brisbane Snapshots

Can you believe it's been over a year since Tony had leave? While I've been to Townsville and Cowra, Hubby has been home with the fur kids. So, at the end of March we headed up to Brisbane.

Why Brisbane? Tony wanted to return to Melbourne for the Comedy Festival but I was hankering for a change of city. When I realised that we'd never had a long-ish break in Brisbane as a couple (other than commuting from the Gold Coast for three days in 1988 for the World Expo), I had to tick Brisbane off the list.

In 2007 I had commuted to Brisbane for business but I didn't get a chance to explore the city so I was also looking forward to seeing more than the inside of offices, hotels and supermarkets.

Walks along the Brisbane River

Brisbane is a great city for walking. We spent a lot of our days wandering along the river banks, crossing bridges, seeing the city from all view points.

My memories of Chinatown in Fortitude Valley were of an archway a fair way from the city. However, Chinatown turned out to be about 15-20 minutes walk from the CBD. Compared to Sydney's and Melbourne's Chinatowns, it was small—only one street block in length. After walking through the Chinatown we walked back through the Brunswick Street mall. Brunswick Street runs parallel to Chinatown mall. What a contrast between the two streets, especially when we revisited the streets for the weekend market. Chinatown: quiet, structured although visually confusing with its clashing patterns, practically empty, almost sterile. Brunswick Street: crowded, bustling, alive.

As a river city, Brisbane has many bridges. There are four bridges spanning the river between South Bank and the CBD and, after mailing postcards of the bridges to rellies and stating that we had crossed them, I had to make sure we did cross them!

Kangaroo Point cliffs offered another great view of the CBD.

The Story Bridge is probably the iconic bridge of Brisbane. And like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, we crossed it and cruised under it - we just didn't find time to climb it.

Roma Street Parkland

There are some beautiful parklands around the CBD—South Bank Parklands, City Botanic Gardens, Roma Street Parkland—all within walking distance of the city. Roma Street Parkland was only 10 minutes down the road from the hotel where I used to stay on business, although I didn't realise it at the time.

The parkland is located on the site of old railway yards. The Lake Precinct has open lawns for recreation and events. Apartment buildings overlook the lawns and lake and many ibis congregate in the pandanus alongside the water.

Colin Campbell Place comprises gardens full of colourful flowers and foliage. Tony used a tilt-shift application to obtain this effect.

Colin Campbell Place was only recently renamed in memory of Colin Campbell OAM, a TV and radio presenter who specialised in Queensland-specific plants.

We first encountered an Eastern Water Dragon basking in the late afternoon sun on a path in the City Botanic Gardens. It was only at the Roma Street Parklands that we discovered that they are a common sight in Brisbane parklands.

South Bank Cultural Precinct

The Cultural Precinct is the location of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the State Library, museums and galleries.

We spent a day at the Queensland Museum and Science Centre and another at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

Rock 'n' Roll George was a Brisbane icon, a character from the Rock 'n' Roll era cruising the streets of Brisbane in his customised FX Holden.

His beloved car is displayed in the lobby of the Queensland Museum & Science Centre.

One of the current exhibitions is Collectomania, a exhibition showing what people like to collect. And the things they collect!

For example, salesmen's samples. Used in the days before Internet, these are miniature versions of products that salesmen showed their customers.

What about old televisions?

This one is for Brother—a Peanuts collection.

The Gallery of Modern Art was hosting the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, showcasing work from artists in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

Do you like these glass elephant figurines?

Then imagine 4,000 animal figurines—wild animals and domestic, big and small—all heading towards some unknown destination.

Roaming of the Dawn - Snow Drifts, Rain Falls, Desert Wind Blows was one of the most popular exhibits, fascinating both young and old. It must have been a headache for the gallery personnel who continually had to ask people not to touch.

How do you like your sushi? Delivered on trucks?

Paramodel is a Japanese artist collective. Their work is characterised by the use of everyday things to create complex, mini-worlds.

Lalava is a Pacific art of lashing, used to join and bind material together. These cylinders show different patterns that can be created with lalava.

Love this photo Tony took of the shadows cast by the lalava.

On the Brisbane River

Tip from a local: purchase a ticket, hop on a River Cat, stay on and see Brisbane from the river.

We were sitting outside at the back of the boat when we pulled into Bretts Wharf and it was announced that this was the nearest stop for P&O. We thought it was a bus stop to transfer passengers to and from the cruise terminal. Then the boat pulled away from the wharf and we saw the liner. We didn't realise how deep and wide the Brisbane River was.

We travelled as far as we could downstream and stayed on when the River Cat turned around and proceeded back upstream. We stopped off at New Farm Park to look around and grab some lunch before catching another River Cat back to Southbank.

As I mentioned previously we not only walked over the Story Bridge, we also went under it.

Around the city

We stayed in an apartment on the 36th floor of a building that was located a couple of blocks from the Queen Street mall. Every bit of space in that apartment was utilised. The only room available to lay down a yoga mat was between the coffee table, ‘dining’ table and computer desk so I spent a bit of time out on the balcony practising yoga, reading and dozing.

When I worked in Brisbane, I stumbled upon ANZAC Square on one of my food-seeking forays. I liked to use the subways and overpasses from ANZAC Square to move quickly from Central Station to the river. During the week I'm sure ANZAC Square would be quite busy but this photo was taken on Good Friday so there were few people around. It was quiet and serene.

Queen Street mall is the main shopping strip in the CBD. Look above the ground-floor shopfronts and it's a different world. The Myer Centre is located on the site of four historic buildings, two of which are the Hotel Carlton and Newspaper House. The facades of these buildings have been restored and retained as part of the centre.

On our first day in Brisbane we found a Nepalese restaurant in Fortitude Valley and returned there for dinner on our final night. This photo of the CBD was taken as we walked along the river to the valley.

Coming home

While we were in Brisbane, Sydney experienced its wettest start to April in 14 years. So it was a bit of the shock to return to 17°C and rain after 27°C and sun!

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