Ch. 3 –Brisbane
Brisbane is a surprise! We knew there were sights and activities here, but we learned that there are so many things to see and do in the area, that we should have spent more time. Brisbane is a cosmopolitan city with old fashioned charm. http://www.brisbane-australia.com/ Our hosts, Peter and Morna, gave us lots of advice on how to get around and what to see in a short time. We learned that it would have been wise to take a taxi from the airport and back again, because public transportation is so convenient and affordable! The bus stop was directly across the street from Annerley B & B, where we stayed. For $11.60 A or about $9 USA, both of us were able to get a day pass for two zones, meaning that we could ride all over town, getting off and on as we wanted to see different sites. Our B & B is an old Victorian, with high ceilings, window seats, ceiling medallions, French Doors, and pretty oak bedroom doors. We really liked being there! The price per night for our room was $160 A or about $ 128 USA. A pay wine and beer fridge was convenient, and self serve laundry was $4 A. Both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections are available. Morna prepared lovely breakfasts: creamy oatmeal, toasts and crumpets, yogurt, stewed fruits, coffee or tea, and dry cereal assortment were the basics. One day we had a cheese and tomato platter, another, a bacon and cheese pastry. The third day, we left early, so a tray of fruits and toasts was a light start of the day, at our request.
We took the bus into Brisbane, and wandered along the Queen Street Mall. Window shopping, browsing, listening to street entertainers, and people watching was fun. We visited the Brisbane Museum, the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, saw Parliament House, some interesting churches, Anzac Square, The Queensland Museum, and The Commissariat Store, built in 1829 by convicts. (the first stone building in Brisbane) The total price for all of those was – free! We did leave a donation at the Anzac Memorial, but that depends on what you want to do. The Brisbane Museum is small, but offered an interesting exhibit of furniture fashioned from silky oak. The botanical gardens were large and tranquil, with views of Brisbane River, and have an outdoor café. It was very pleasant walking through the park and noticing different plants and birds. The beautiful Anzac Memorial is a reminder that freedom isn’t free, and how much some have sacrificed. Queensland Museum has exhibits on natural history, including one comparing sizes of many animals, which was of interest. Another exhibit was on the Victoria Cross, the highest military honor in Britain. An Aboriginal Display was one of the fascinating displays. It featured tools, music, clothing, art, and other artifacts. We listened to Aboriginal Rap! We liked the ceramic display. A delicious supper at Thai something ended our first day of sightseeing. Our bill for an appetizer of spring rolls, and two meals - was $32 A or about $26 USA. It was one of our least expensive meals.
HINT: Most restaurants in this area are BYO. So if you want beer or wine with your meal, bring your own bottles. Macguire’s Bottle Shop on Annerley Rd. is where we picked up our wine.
Back at Annerley B & B, we relaxed watching TV, which is mainly American TV shows, and enjoyed a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate in the Victorian lounge.
A visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary sounded like a great idea! Off we went on the 112 bus to town. A short stroll over Victoria Bridge brought us to the State Library and the “Miramar” which took us on a narrated cruise up the Brisbane River to the Koala Sanctuary. It was informative, entertaining, and pleasant. We learned more about Brisbane and its history. The “Miramar” has a snack shop and drinks, if you get the munchies or thirsty. There are photo ops for the kids, steering the boat.
The Lone Pine Koala sanctuary was great! We saw more koalas than we imagined they had! Mums, joeys, young ones, bachelors, and the oldies were all there, along with kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, crocs, snakes, birds, and farm animals. Greg and I fed some on the baby goats! There are many demonstrations, such as the Birds of Prey Show, and opportunities to cuddle koalas or snakes. The park is in a rainforest, so the plants are worth looking at, too. This is a definite must see, in our opinion, for a bonza time!
On the way back, we listened to Australian folk songs and enjoyed the river views. Our captain, Craig, slowed down to show us the “flying foxes” or fruit bats hanging in the trees, and they are huge! http://www.koala.net/index.php
A quick look at Chinatown, and we were on our way back to Annerley. Supper was at the Muddy Farmer Pub: Reef and Beef for MaryJo (prawns and steak) and Steak and Guinness Pie for Greg, with two tasty Australian beers for $42 A or about $34 USA. If you opt to not have the beers, it will be about $8 less. However, we think the beers complement the food very well. The staff was friendly and fun. http://www.mcguireshotels.com.au/contact
We have really savored our visit to Brisbane, and hope to return for a longer time so we can experience even more!