Brisbane from the Sydney Street boat station.
I arrived mid afternoon again making the mistake of having booked nothing. I was aiming for the YHA when I got tempted in to a hostel slightly nearer…but having checked in I took an instant dislike to it so set off on a big recce to find somewhere better. The walk took me 5 hours and two trips on the boat but at the end of it I felt I had a pretty good grasp of the geography of Brisbane. And I found what I think might be my favourite hostel so far – a place called ‘Somewhere to Stay’ a massive ‘Queenslander’ building (big, wooden structures with deep balconies to keep the place cool). I met some tremendous people in my dorm and it was the sort of place where you could be who you wanted to be with no problems. Bed at 9pm if you wanted or the nearby West End is full of bars. I went to a particularly nice one called Archive where I had the best pint of cider I think I’ve ever had in my life!
Brisbane's 'Southbank'. I wonder where it got its ideas from?
Anyway, there’s nothing outstanding about Brisbane but it is nice. The ‘Southbank’ is the spitting image of London’s Southbank with what the League of Gentlemen would call an eye wheel, as well as blocky concrete buildings housing cultural things! I went to the Gallery of Modern Art and completely felt I was in the Tate Modern as I looked out the window.
I was lucky to be shown round the local area a bit by a friend of a friend who's a teacher here. Anita grew up at Tamborine Mountain about a 45 minute drive out of the city and into beautiful countryside that flips between woodland, rolling hills and rainforest. As we gained altitude the views across to the other mountains became spectacular. We had a Devonshire tea to get our energy levels up and then embarked on a two hour rainforest walk. In the rainforest we found ourselves stopping every few footsteps to look at yet another weird and wonderful quirk of nature. But aside from the mysterious tree roots, numerous lizards and mad sounds, today I saw some very pretty flowers, including a tree absolutely covered in deep purple petals. And this was just on the roadside!