Bye bye Brisbane

Today’s our last day in Oz and we’re starting to feel ready to come home.

Yesterday we asked a simple question about how long the South Bank had been developed, only to find that it had been completely devasted by the flooding, here, 18 months ago. In fact the river rose so high that it reached our hotel foyer and brought Brisbane to a standstill for several weeks. It’s difficult to imagine, our hotel is at least 500m from the river and 20m higher. The clean up and restoration was completed in only 8 months and the whole area looks fantastic.

Breakfast at Poppy’s, as usual, while we psych ourselves up for our public transport adventure to the airport. The new Airport tunnel opened yesterday but it’s the Airtrain for us! It sounds very futuristic and we have high hopes of gliding silently through the sky.

We hear rumblings of strikes and delays at Heathrow….perhaps we’ll stay here after all!!

Ice cream rules!!

Another warm sunny day in Brisbane so we decided to hire bikes and cycle along the river boardwalks. We had a 30 minute walk to the cycle hire, past pirates at the Maritime Museum and an unusual pelican sculpture in the river. When we got there, we were treated to some of the worst maintained hire bikes ever!

Nonetheless, we spent the morning negotiating determined cyclists, runners and pedestrians as we made our way along both sides of the Brisbane River . Kangaroo Point looked lovely and could win the vote for the place we’d most like to live in Oz.

Two weary Brays spent the afternoon snoozing by the hotel pool while the athlete made full use of gym and pool facilities.

Our final night deserved a good meal in a lovely Chinese restaurant on the South Bank, Obsession. Dessert was ice cream overload! We wandered to Movenpick, had two scoops of ice cream each before deciding that we needed to indulge in the deluxe tasting plate of 6 more scoops!

We waddled back to our hotel for our final night in Oz. Next stop, Singapore

Some other Pom…..

Last night was spent watching the sun go down from Fraser Island before an early night. We had to be up at 6.30 to make our transfer back to Brisbane!

We caught the ferry before 8am and had a great time chatting to the Island’s resident photographer. He kindly rang a mate to find the final results of the Tour for us. Apparently a couple of Poms came 1st and 2nd and some other Pom won the stage!!

We were met by a lovely cheery coach driver who made the 4 hour drive a real pleasure. He shared his local knowledge throughout the journey and was a joy to meet!

It’s good to be back in Brisbane, lots of cafes that stay open later than 8.30. we’ve missed the hustle and bustle although after 2 hours in a shopping mall the beach did seem appealing.

It may be the cafe life all day tomorrow or we may hire bikes. Only time will tell…

We all went to the zoo, zoo, zoo

We had a surprisingly good night in a hotel sandwiched between a main road and railway line and with bricks for pillows.

We started on our journey to Australia Zoo. The satnav got us lost and we had two unecessary trips through a toll tunnel. Is it a conspiracy with the fuel companies or city council? Finally we found ‘Bruce Highway’ and followed the road North to the Sunshine Coast.

We arrived at the zoo with no further mishap, past some stunning mountain scenes. A great day was had by all, including John ‘I don’t really do zoos’ Bray!

We saw the Wildlife Warriors Show. The crocs were impressive but the birds stole the show, particularly the Jabirus. On to feeding time with the Asian otters, before wandering off to get up close with koalas. The last show for us was with another croc, amazing creatures!

We’ve seen giant tortoises, a whole variety of lizards, snakes, wombats, cassowaries and, of course, the lovely Roo. John still needs convincing that we need one in the garden although he concedes that it would be preferable to a croc in the river!

Off to Fraser Island tomorrow and, despite coming back here afterwards, wish we’d allowed more time to explore this City. According to Dave and Ann who have lived here ‘there’s nothing much to see’ but it seems that we could have filled a few more days.

Dinner tonight was in a Chinese restaurant with a jazz trio playing, the sort of place with plenty of atmosphere that Pete would have made a bee line for. Al fresco eating with good food and great music!

We’re not sure if Fraser Island has wifi, John has just announced that we may not have flushable toilets…..

The Big Chill

We said goodbye to Palm Cove on the most glorious day, 28 degrees and 65% humidity. The beach and cove looked fantastic as reluctantly we departed for Brisbane. A visit to Cairns is definitely recommended if only to experience the wonderful airport which is small, clean and very efficient. Palm Cove was, pretty, very laid back and well worth the trip.

We were dressed for the tropics and touched down somewhere that felt like home, cold and wet! We picked up our upgraded hire car. All this way for british weather and a Ford Focus! We followed our Aussie voiced satnav to the Little Stanley area on South Bank and only got lost once! The hotel is very modern and we have a lovely spacious room complete with washing machine tumble dryer and kitchen diner, Kim was thrilled, she’s becoming rather obsessed with laundry facilities.

Of course we’re here specifically to visit our friend Dave. Oh no, we can’t!! He came back to the UK after we’d booked the trip, Whether this was a deliberate move may be the subject of our next poll.

Despite the rain, the South Bank looks very razzy with lots of shops and restaurants. They even have the equivalent of the French Autumn Gourmand and every other eating establishment is a chocolate restaurant, we shall enjoy exploring

Off to Australia Zoo tomorrow to fulfil one of Matthew’s dreams