With the campervan gone, our travelling around Brisbane was a little restricted compared to what we had become accustomed to. We found the public transport to be fairly limited compared to other cities, with the river making it even more difficult to travel around, despite the ferry network. However, we did still manage to make a few journeys out of the more central suburbs during our week in the city.
We decided not to bother with public transport at all for our trip to Teneriffe, a suburb on the east of the city. Instead we again made use of the CityCycle bike hire scheme, cycling all the way along the north bank of the river from the CBD, making use of the great cycleways. However, as you travel further away from the centre, the bike stations become more sporadic, and we very nearly went over the 30 minute limit for each individual journey on several occasions.
The journey itself took us around the area of New Farm, including the large New Farm Park and the nearby Brisbane Powerhouse. The imposing former power station has been converted into a cultural hub, and now hosts a variety of plays, concerts, exhibitions and other events.
As for Teneriffe, the affluent suburb was probably one of the nicest places we visited in the city. The area played an important part in the Australian wool trade, and the vast historic wool stores have now been converted into luxury apartments. These are surrounded by plenty of high-end restaurants, as well as the very impressive Green Beacon Brewery, itself housed in a converted warehouse. Despite me trying and failing to convince Rachael to drink beer for years, the barman here was able to manage it in a matter of minutes. We both sampled some of the greats beers on offer, before continuing our walk along the river, passing plenty more waterfront apartments and private boats.
Given our love of street food, we were sure to find the time to visit the Eat Street Market, which is located in Hamilton, to the northeast of the city. The former container wharf has been converted into a vast entertainment complex, built from 180 shipping containers and containing countless food and drink stalls, two stages and an outdoor cinema!
The amount of choice was almost overwhelming, but we managed to sample a number of dishes before we were defeated, including Langos (a Hungarian fried bread), Japanese noodles, and some very enjoyable loaded potato skins.
After a great night of food and entertainment at the market, including some very impressive street dancing, we took the ferry back to our apartment in East Brisbane. Unfortunately this one of the very fast CityCat ferries, which meant my attempt to photograph Eat Street from the outside was less than successful, although it still made for a nice effect!
As always when visiting a city we were keen to to find a way to view Brisbane and its skyline from up high, so we made sure we visited the Brisbane Lookout at Mount Coot-tha. After a short but winding bus journey from the city to the summit, we were greeted by spectacular panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. Unfortunately there was heavy cloud in the sky, but visibility was still great.
We spent around an hour at the summit, taking in the views from the various platforms, as well as the Kuta cafe, where we enjoyed some coffee and cakes before returning to the city.
One common criticism of Brisbane when compared to the other major Australian cities, is its proximity to a good beach, a key aspect of the Australian lifestyle. While there is the man-made Streets Beach at South Bank, this doesn’t really count, so we decided to check out Redcliffe, once the most popular seaside destination for residents of Brisbane.
It is fair to say we were underwhelmed by the town itself, where the seemed to be very little going on, and it had some similarities with some of the UK’s more neglected seaside resorts. The beaches were even more disappointing, especially given the proximity of the Gold Coast to the south, and Sunshine Coast to the north.
Of more interest was Redcliffe’s role in launching the career of the Bee Gees, which we were unaware of prior to our visit. The Gibb family migrated to Redcliffe in 1958, and it was here that the brothers got their first break, singing during intervals at the Redcliffe Speedway, before being offered their first radio gig.
This is all commemorated by Bee Gees Way, which was opened in 2015 by Barry Gibb himself, and includes a life-sized statue, a gallery of more than 60 photos, and 13 album covers.
Despite our initial impressions of Redcliffe, we did still enjoy a short walk along the foreshore, and past the busy jetty, just in time for another great sunset. After taking a few more photos it was time to return to Brisbane.
We had a brilliant week exploring Brisbane, and it’s a great city with lots to offer. We especially enjoyed our daily walk or cycle along either side of the river, particularly the areas around South Bank and the CBD. There was a great choice of bars and restaurants in Fortitude Valley, while we also really enjoyed the alternative vibe in the West End. The weather was certainly more tropical, and while we got caught in several huge downpours during the week, the daily 21°c temperature was certainly better than the winter we are used to!
However, with Rachael having been offered a job as a clinical psychologist in Sydney, we decided to change our original plan to stay in Brisbane, and book flights back to New South Wales. There will be lots more updates to come as we settle down into our new life in Sydney!