Location: Queensland (QLD), Australia
Dates: 04th – 09th April 2018
Reason for visit: Australia Zoo
Base: Nomads Hostel, Edward St.
I took the two hour flight from Cairns during the afternoon, enjoying the comforts of seat 1B (who doesn’t love free extra legroom on a flight?!) and deciding on what to do that evening. I ended up, as usual, having a very easy evening relaxing in my hostel, well that was until the bar downstairs turned into a club. Then it was time to whack out the headphones and ear plugs to drown the sound out.
After somewhat managing to get a pretty decent nights sleep, I headed across to the nearest tourist information centre to pick up a map of Brisbane and ask where to visit. To my surprise, Brisbane is more a city for “living in”. Instead of there being lots of sights to see it’s more about visiting the vast gardens that are within the city and relaxing within them. I headed across to Roma Street Parkland to begin with stopping off at the town hall as they had a small piece of art called One Million Stars on display that was to do with the Festival 2018 that was being held in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games. Sadly there was quite a few people around the piece so I was unable to ask about the artwork but I did touch the piece and it was made from what I can only describe as satin paper and the colours were amazing.
I then continued up to Roma Street and wandered around the park getting some different views of the city, drinking coffee off a local street vender and seeing some lizards just strolling around. After there I headed back into the CBD to pop back to my hostel to sort something out (I also ended up switching beds due to the fact I nearly fell off my bunk the night before due to the bed being completely broken) and once I was sorted I then strolled off in a different direction towards to the City Botanical Gardens where I discovered a group of bagpipers practicing. The park runs along side the Brisbane river so I followed the park round, enjoying the views, sounds and sun before arriving at a bridge that took me over to Southbank.
Southbank is an area of Brisbane that, similar to Cairns, has a man made lagoon where families and friends spend time together soaking up the sun and having some fun. Along here there’s also plenty of food caterers, some beautiful small gardens, amazing views of the city and the Brisbane wheel. Oh and how could I forget, the Brisbane letters! I strolled through the area before taking cover under a tree from a random rain shower and heading back into the city to do a little bit of shopping.
That evening there was myself and a Welsh lad in the room and we heard about a free trivia night at the Down Under Bar (the bar come club underneath the hostel) where it was free entry and a free drink! I quickly got changed from my PJs to some clothes and headed down. However, the trivia night was cancelled only 20 minutes later but we decided to stay for the evening and drink away before heading back to the room and complaining about how loud the club was once the music kicked in.
Friday was biggest and longest day in Brisbane (and probably the longest day of my trip). I’d managed to get $20 tickets to the England vs Wales Ladies hockey game that evening but in order to get in I needed to head down to Broadbeach to collect my tickets. Due to where Broadbeach was and the hockey venue in Labrador, I decided to take a full day trip down to the Gold Coast.
After an hour and 15 minute train journey to Narang, I then hopped on a shuttle bus (coach) to Broadbeach which took another 20 or so minutes. I popped over to the ticket office and collected my tickets and then headed over towards the beach and began the hour long walk from Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise. I’ve never been the biggest fan of beaches but this walk was absolutely lovely. The sun was shining, I was topping up my tan and watching people surfing as the sea occasionally washed up over my feet. I was pretty content.
And my contentment got even better when I wandered into Surfers as this is where the main village was for the Commonwealth so there was a stage showing the games along with live band performing to those on the beach. Definitely something that you’d never see in the UK! I also went to a burger joint I’d been told to visit called Grill’d and I’m so glad I was told about the place as the food there was incredible. I had a crispy bacon and cheese burger with a side of chips. Not only was the burger a decent size with fresh salad, the chips we’re covered in chunky salt pieces and rosemary. HEAVEN. I then had a little wander around the shops, accidentally buying an ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s before heading back towards the beach and beginning my walk to Southport (as this is where I needed to grab the light rail/tram to the hockey venue). Half way along my walk to Southport I decided it was far too hot to continue the walk (as it was a 1.5 hour walk) so hopped on the next light rail that came along up to Southport as with Commonwealth Games tickets it was free travel on public transport.
I had a short walk around Southport before deciding to hop on the light rail up to the university stop to catch the shuttle bus to the hockey venue. I somehow managed to get in early so sat and had my food I’d made that morning and enjoyed the last of the sun. When it came to the final afternoon game finishing and all the security sorting out who had tickets for what (as a couple of other people had managed to get in early like me) I was able to continue relaxing before the start of the evening games.
I’ve never watched a hockey game before (well, not in person anyway) so I was quite excited to see what it would be like and I was amazed. It was also more amazing to see Wales playing better than England and during the first quarter I honestly believe that Wales would win the game. However, the final result was 5 – 1 to England. The final 10 minutes of the game were certainly made interesting when the heavens decided to open making virtually impossible to see what was happening! Some of us crazy fans sat in the rain with our small rain macs on thinking the shower would pass…which it didn’t. After waiting 15 minutes for a coffee once the game had finished, I decided to find an umbrella to try and dry out under but by this point I was so cold and wet I realised it’d probably be a better idea to head on home and try and warm up even if it did mean missing Canada vs Scotland. I had the warmest shower possible that night before settling down in my empty dorm.
So I decided to take Saturday super easy due to how busy I’d been on Friday and because I was feeling a little rough after the downpour. I ended up spending much of the day in bed sorting some paper work and hostels out and napping. Once I finally woke up properly, at 4pm, I decided to get ready and head up to Eat Street Northshore – a massive street food market made out of old shipping containers around an hour or so out of Brisbane on the ferry. Entry was $2.50 or free for kids (damn being an adult) but it was worth every single cent. I had been told how good this place was but I didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was. You had every single sort of food you could ever want; German, Japanese, Vietnamese, Mexican etc. including one area that was dedicated to desserts (and my god did they look good). I decided to have a Chicken Pad Thai from a Thai stand followed by a German Bratwurst with fried onions and mustard. Both meals were amazing and I happily washed them down with a cider. Eat Street Northshore also has a range of different shops including a pet shop for buying all your doggy essentials and a range of handcrafted items including dresses at other stores. To finish off the market they also have live music acts who perform on the main stage keeping the crowd entertained. As a solo traveller it’s certainly somewhere where you can visit in an hour but if you’re in a group you could spend hours here with the bars, food and music!
For my final day in Brisbane I had planned on heading up to Australia Zoo for the day but due to still feeling rough I decided to stay in bed to sleep some more. Once I woke up a couple of hours later I decided to head up to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which is a 40 minute bus journey out of Brisbane. It was $37 entry (including a $1 charge for a map) and I got to see some pretty cool animals. I made friends with a goat, watched koalas cuddle one another, saw some pretty awesome gang-gang cockatoos and some more platypus!
There’s also the opportunity to hold a koala and hand feed some kangaroos in the open kangaroo area, all of which I would love to have done, but sadly by this time I was starting to feel rough again so I was ready to head back and relax. The perks of travelling eh?!
Once arriving back at my hostel I decided to sit up on the rooftop terrace and enjoy some sun before having another early night in preparation for my bus trip down to Byron. Well by early night I mean having a nap before getting up at 12.30am to watch the Bahrain GP.