Latvian girl exploring Brisbane!
“Welcome to Queensland, where Australia Shines”, said the flight attendant, approaching Brisbane International Airport.
Since i was a small kid, I have always been crazy about Australia and anything related to it. This unexplainable obsession developed this motivation in me to achieve my goals. With determination, I found my way to get there. Used my chance to find an internship abroad…and few years later I had my one way ticket in my hands, to my dream country! Australian wonderland is quite the furthest you can go from Europe, but almost 24 hours up in the sky were totally worth it!
Here we go: Copenhagen – London – Hong Kong – Brisbane
Quite funny and unusual that arriving to the sunshine state of Queensland in mid August, it’s still officially winter time in Oz. Well, now I know what Australian winter is like… like summer in Scandinavia or Baltic’s. Still, extremely hot during the day, but quite chili with the sunset.
But then in few weeks its September, and its spring time! The only thing that was quite hard to get used to, besides new time zone, is that days are relatively short and it gets dark in no time. Other than that, Brisbane had a very nice welcome to me. After i made my first step out of the plane, my lungs were filled with tropical warm air, skin was covered in soft sunshine and my face could express just one emotion – happiness, amusement, curiosity and endless 32 teeth smile!
Brisbane is beautiful! On my first day, i had no time for jetlag. So on my arrival, i left all my suitcases in my new home, and took my roomy for a walk to explore my new habitat. It is so convenient to love close to the city centre! I guess i am a city girl. Even though Brisbane has very good infrastructure, with their busses and trains. Well now I know why Australia is considered one of the most expensive countries to live in. Public transport is quite expensive. Buss trips start from few dollars, and it also depends how far you go within the zones. On my first city tour we walked by the Brisbane River and then I heard stories that you are not allowed to swim in this river due to the fact that there are sharks! Can you imagine…sharks in the river? It was so weird for me coming from Europe, where in most places we have swimming spots in our rivers and lakes or different water sport activities. The only water activity I have seen in Brisbane was jet ski and kayaking. Well, I guess you just have to be careful at all times.
Brisbane districts and things to do
Brisbane city has very nice and small business district, right in the heart of the city. Famous Queens mall street is a pedestrian street with lost of shops and also with bigger shopping malls like Meyer centre. Always full of people and tourists, as it has also some nice cafes, juice bars. Also every day there is something going on there, like it could be just some performers playing on the stage, or celebrations of any kinds, or just a day of memory about something. It could be also event about any kind of sport event happening on that day or promotions…Queens mall street is always active and full of people. I think there is always something for anyone.
Brisbane also has this very nice neighborhood or district called Southbank, one of the most favorite places in Brisbane to meet with friends, or have a date. Also there is a nice walking track by the river, where I used to do some jogging. Brisbane sightseeing wheel is also a must do in the city, as it gives a very nice view on skyline, especially on a sunny day. Another thing, besides some nice cafes and cinema, Southbank has a very big Culture and Exhibition centers, museum and art gallery. Exhibition centre has free admittance, which makes a very good start to get to know Brisbane and Australia in general. Another special thing about Southbank is that they have an artificial beach, right in the city centre. Very nice, newly built sandy beach, with swiming pool both for kids and adults, lifeguarded from early morning til late evening (during the summer). Great spot to get some tan and have a swim, especially during the weekend. Since there is no close beach to Brisbane, at least they made a fake one.
Nowadays, how can city not have a Chinatown? Of course there is one district in Brisbane called Fortitude Valley with its famous China town. Popular place for Asian souvenir shops, Chinese cuisine and supermarkets. Fortitude valley is also famous with their night life. Lots of clubs and pubs that are getting very busy during Friday and Saturday nights in particular.
Another interesting thing to do in Brisbane is to visit Lone Pine Park, which is just 20 minutes by buss from the city centre. Australia Zoo is not that far from Brisbane, but koala sanctuary in “Lone Pine” park has lots of koalas, kangaroos, Dingo’s and other different native Australian animals. You definitely would need to spend a day there. When I was there, maybe it is because it was a weekend; they have this big market outside of the park with different food kitchens. Else they have a very nice souvenir shop, cafes and it is a nice green park area, to go for a walk.
Brisbane has lots of things to offer for tourists, but all in all it is not as big as Sydney or Melbourne, therefore some people say it is quite boring. For me, after 6 months of living there, I found it very nice, small and comfortable for living. Even though it can get quite hot and humid in Brisbane, it is still very close to such nice places like Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast with its famous Surfers Paradise. Also Byron Bay is a special place on earth only few hours from Brisbane. There are lots of things for every tourist in the City or in its surroundings. I would definitely recommend staying there at least for a week or so, it is totally worth it!