Welcome to Australia!
Brisbane Travel Blog› entry 4 of 36 › view all entries
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 didnâï¿½ï¿½t 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!