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Brisbane Travel Blog

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First views of Australia from the plane

I felt as though I had been asleep for a long time, yet it certainly didnt feel like morning, but as my eyes suspiciously opened I could see cracks of light from the edges of my window shutter.  Then there it was; I pushed up the window to suddenly see Australia 30,000ft below me.  We were currently skimming across the far northern tip of the continent and were approximately 3 hours away from our destination.  .  The last hour I spent religiously staring out of window.... I didnâ��t want to miss a thing; a single mountain, or one tiny portion of the unrelenting coast line I could see bordering the Pacific Ocean.  We flew steadily down the eastern coast, and I was able to spot Frazer Island, and then the Glass House Mountains near Beerwah before the pilot began to descend into Brisbane.

  It was such a beautiful morning, so perfect for my arrival that I was finally overwhelmed by emotion, perhaps only then deciding to let out a scratch of grief for  friends and family I had left behind.  Yet when my eyes welled up uncontrollably, it was due to pure joy.  I had made it, and it felt fucking fantastic I was incredibly proud of myself in that moment....not for surviving the journey but for finally sorting my act out and actually doing what so many people talk about but never do.  I knew that regardless of what happened in the following months, I could say that I had tried.  I had longed to travel for a decade, and when all those potential pathetic excuses filtered away one-by-one over the years I actually packed up my life, and then my backpack, and set off with a one-way ticket to the other side of the world.  My main specification being undefined.....anything could happen, I would see where the wind swept me and take any opportunities that fell at my feet.
Botanical Gardens

Now the Brisbane river curled its way through the city below, and before I had a chance to collect my thoughts we were taxing down the runway of Brisbane International .

I was so blood happy, grin from ear to ear.   My only worry was the impending doom of waiting nervously to see if my backpack had followed me south from Taiwan!  Luckily after half an hour I was reunited with the 17kilos of baggage I had packed for my year, never have I ever felt so unashamedly joyful to see a piece of luggage..... it was like Christmas had come early, in a back-braking blue bundle of crap. 

Job one now completed and successful I  simply had to make it through immigration alive, and find my way to the ticket office to catch the train into the city centre, and then subsequently to my hotel, both of which were relatively painless, arriving at Roma Street station an hour later.

My Hotel...
   On that particular Saturday morning, as im sure is most often the case, Brisbane was bustling with life; cars sped past along the streets, people adorned the side-walks.. some obvious tourists, like me with their backpacks slung over their backs, whilst others strolled threw the grids of skyscrapers with the calm only a local could muster.  I knew the direction I had to walk in to find Albert Street, so I set off, soaking up the atmosphere as I went with the sun glaring down on me.  And this glorious sunshine was supposed to be their winter, what the hell happens in summer?!!

As I hit Queen Street the city streets began to take on a new vibe, a further spice was added into my surroundings in way of numerous cafes, restaurants and bars, all packed with customers enjoying the sunshine, chatting away to their companions, mostly youngsters all with a distinct style, subtly different to those back in the UK.

View of Brisbane River from hotel room..
  Skirts, tiny shorts, sandals, sun hats and shades were clearly the main component in every ones wardrobe.  Colour was everywhere, in shop windows and the clothes displayed, in the architecture and even in the faces of those who wondered the streets beside me. 

I found it quite hard to keep walking, wanting to explore every nook and cranny that I passed, and even had to turn down the offer of a cup of coffee with a friendly Australian man from Sydney whom I randomly began chatting to whilst walking the crowds of Queen Street Mall.  I simply had to get this bloody thing off my back; it had taken me over an hour to locate my hotel, and by now my body was beginning to ache, perhaps partially due to impending jet-lag, but i was sure that once the weight was literally lifted from my shoulders I would find a hidden store of energy inside me to carry on the exploring I was so eager to continue.

Our 'balcony' area at the Oak's

The Oaks Hotel was an enormous building, right in the heart of the southern part of the CBD, less than 5 minutes to Queen Street in one direction, and the Brisbane Botanical Gardens in the other.  I was unable to actually check into my apartment at that point, but they were happy to accept my bag from me, storing it for the following 3 hours until I could access my room.  I remember being almost giddy with excitement as I walked back out onto Albert street, I had Brisbane to play with for the next 9 hours, then I would make my way back to the international airport to meet my old friend Kat, a friend who had bravely left our rural Essex town 3 years ago, and had been living it up in Queenstown ever since.

A bit too high for a pool dive!
  After hearing about my plans for a whirl-wind tour of the east coast, she had booked up a flight and was joining me for the fortnight, after which we would both fly out heading to New Zealand. 

Mostly, that sunny afternoon was spent walking, just walking, and then walking some more.  Across the foot bridge over the Brisbane River towards the Southbank, all around the Botanical Gardens , leaving another scoop of Queen Street till the end, grabbing some food and sitting upon a bench enjoying watching the world walk past, then jumping up again to join them in their procession. Before I knew it, I was checking into the nicest hotel ive ever had the pleasure to reside.  My crib for two nights consisted of a 23rd floor one bedroom apartment, complete with an enormous balcony overlooking the city and far-off mountains, a bed big enough for a small family and the most stylish of giant plasma TV screens.

  It felt ridiculous walking in their with a back-pack, looking like a tramp, my hair unwashed, my clothes dirty and probably smelling like something that gone off its sell by date.  With this in mind I jumped in the shower, struggled to make myself look like a human, and settled down for my last lonesome hour with a cold can of Diet Coke, singing like a crazed idiot to songs so bad it was embarrassing. 

Kat arrived bang on time, allowing me to be ready and waiting at arrivals.  After a few moments of catching up (which was of course accompanied by another well awaited cigarette), we set off on my third airport metro trip of the day, back towards the city.  Our first night we spent chatting over meatballs and Carlton Draught, until the Jet lag suddenly began to pulverise me like a sledge hammer; it was time for some shut eye!


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First views of Australia from the …
First views of Australia from the…
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
My Hotel...
My Hotel...
View of Brisbane River from hotel …
View of Brisbane River from hotel…
Our balcony area at the Oaks
Our 'balcony' area at the Oak's
A bit too high for a pool dive!
A bit too high for a pool dive!
Brisbane Hotels & Accommodations review
I loved this place; my apartment was spacious and modern and it felt like I was staying in someones home, not in a sterile hotel block. Although i… read entire review
photo by: Mezmerized