Or: Let’s Get Busy in Brissy
Now, I will readily admit that to me, a cityscape is a cityscape is a cityscape (with the exception of Paris with its Eiffel Tower) but Brisbane really has gone overboard in trying to make its glass towers interesting. I wonder if there is a friendly competition between Brissy architects to see who can create the most inovative facade? For example, there is striped black and reflective blue, it’s actually pretty! Then there’s another with arcs down the front in shades of white and dark grey. One, I kid you not, looks as if someone has stuck giant, uncooked spaghetti noodles to the sides.
However, the winner has to be the spider’s lair. This one has white, leg-like girders coming out the top as if some enormous metal spider head is about to appear. If that isn’t enough, when you get over this shock, you realize the white girders continue on behind the glass, inside the building in long web-like wavy strands. And now here’s the kicker, at night these webs glow with eerie iridescence. Incredible!
One of the features that makes Brissy so interesting (and probably a pain for locals who have to drive from one side to the other on a regular basis) is that the Brisbane River winds its way right through the centre in big, lazy zigzags. There is a free City Hopper Ferry (with, appropriately, a kangaroo logo) that comes to various docks every half hour. Jim threw his back out at our last stop and long distance walking is temporarily off our agenda right now. As a result, we have taken full advantage of this ferry. It may be slower than busses or sometimes even walking, but what a scenic tour!
On our first trip we took the ferry to South Bank.
Here, I left Jim sitting on a convenient bench neath a beautiful bower of bougainvillaea while I scouted out menus up and down the river front. Memory on max, I then reported back to Jim. We made our decision based on venue, menu choices, prices, and, the all important distance from Jim’s bench. After all that, we ended up at my number one choice! To read more about this, go to http://www.difoodie.wordpress.com.
Another day, another ferry trip with a (slightly) more limber husband and we went to Queen Street Market. YES! A market! I’ll tell more about that again on difoodie.
After the market experience we then walked together along the big mall of Queen Street. We bought some Aussie tea towels (which have already been pressed into service). Had lunch at the Pig and Whistle. I know! I know! I can hear you now. “You go all the way to Australia to go to a British Pub?” My only answer is, “They had Morten Bay Bugs and Australian King Prawns.”
We continued to the trendy Eagle Street pier where I put Jim on a ferry headed back to the hotel. I backtracked a little along the river to the botanic gardens. Now that (for one of my botanical bent) was really interesting. One mystery was solved: All around Queensland we have seen huge pine trees that look like a cross between Norfolk Pines and Monkey Puzzle Trees. They are, in fact, Bunya Trees, also known as Queensland Pines and yes, they are in the same family as Monkey Puzzle, Norfolk and Cook Island Pines.
Another fascinating feature of the botanic gardens is the walk along the Mangrove Forest at river’s edge. Talk about a primordial ooze type of place!
At the end of the garden is a wide pedestrian-only bridge across the river leading back by our old friend, South Bank. There is a biking/walking path along the river which goes under the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. These red, brown and cream mottled sheer rock walls are a mecca for abseilers. I had a great time watching climbers of various abilities trying to scale the cliffs.
As the cliffs ease to manageable height there is a path leading under the bridge almost directly to our hotel. I could have continued taking the riverside path, but by then my feet were getting a wee bit annoyed at me. Besides, it was time to check on my hunchbacked husband (and get a Flat White coffee along the way.)
All in all, Brisbane is a clean and modern city with a very pretty, and well used, river running through it. We liked the feeling of South Bank and would love to go back to sit and eat beside the river any time.