After New Year in Sydney and spending some time in Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, Townsville and Magnetic Island and Cairns, I’d started to travel southbound down Australia’s east coast on a flexi-tour with Loka stopping at Tully Gorge National Park, returning to the Whitsundays and visiting Emu Park, Fraser Island and Noosa.
It was currently Australia Day and, after spending the morning walking along the riverside in Noosa, I was now onboard a Loka minibus heading to my next stop of Brisbane.
I’d been to Brisbane once before but not spent a lot of time in the city itself. During the time I did spend there, it had mainly rained, not leaving me with the best impression of the city. But I felt that maybe I hadn’t given it a fair chance and this, coupled with my desire to visit the nearby Australia Zoo, had made me decide to include it as a stop on my trip.
My journey to Brisbane was similar to most of the others I’d experienced since joining the Flexi-tour because I once again found myself the only passenger heading southbound. Once in Brisbane, I checked in for 3 nights at Base hostel. I’d booked a private room with shared facilities and the tiny room had just about enough room for my bed and not much else!
The hostel had a rooftop barbecue planned for the afternoon to celebrate Australia Day but heavy rain meant it had to be called off so instead, I went for a walk refamiliarising myself with the city, doing a bit of window shopping and taking a walk along the river.
That evening, I walked back to the South Bank and lined up along the riverside along with hundreds of other visitors and locals for the Australia Day fireworks. There was a great atmosphere and the display was one of the most impressive I’d ever seen.
The following day, I was up early to make my way to Australia Zoo.
I’d spent quite a bit of time researching the best way to reach the zoo and eventually decided on using the Greyhound bus service. Picking up from the bus station in Brisbane, it dropped me at the entrance to the zoo at a reasonable time in the morning, picking me up late afternoon to return me to Brisbane.
I was worried how much fun I could actually have wandering around a zoo by myself but there was so much to see and do, I really enjoyed my day.
The next day, I’d planned to spend exploring the city. I was hoping to be able to do a bike or walking tour but was disappointed to find none of them were running on that day.
So instead, I decided to take a river boat along the Brisbane River. I got off the boat at New Farm Park and spent some time wandering through the park, enjoying the skyline views of Brisbane city in the distance.
The park is home to Brisbane Powerhouse, an old tram power station now used as an entertainment venue hosting plays, concerts and exhibitions.
With the weather turning drizzly and then to pouring rain, I jumped back on a boat to head back to the city.
Arriving back on the south bank, I took a stroll to Brisbane’s up and coming West End area, stopping for lunch in one of its many cafes. Then, with the weather still being dull and drizzly, I decided to visit some of the museums along the South Bank, starting with the Queensland Museum.
The museum had lots of natural history exhibits on the history of Queensland and was an interesting way to spend a few hours.
From there, I walked to the nearby Gallery of Modern Art and then across to the State Library of Queensland which had an art exhibition on.
I finished the day with another stroll along the South Bank down to Streets Beach -Brisbane’s lagoon – then walked back across the bridge to the city centre for a spot of shopping along Queen Street Mall.
The next day, I had an early afternoon pick-up scheduled but before leaving the city, I took a morning stroll to see Brisbane’s oldest building, The Old Windmill, a heritage listed building sat on top of a hill just a short walk from the hostel. Then, it was time to wait for the Loka minibus to arrive to take me to my next destination, and my penultimate stop in Australia, Byron Bay.