5. Brisbane

I didn't really know what to expect of Brisbane before arriving there. I had been there many years ago, but I had been too young to remember much of it. So it was a completely fresh experience for me.

The motorway into the city from the South is big. There were four lanes of tarmac for the cars to spread out across. The drivers there don't seem to have a good notion of keeping to the left lanes though, so you end doing a bit of weaving to get through. On the positive side, this motorway dumps you right in the city though, so access is good from that side.

Once in the city, it didn't really feel at all a remarkable to me. The river gives something of a focal point, but it doesn't really seem to be part of the city. It's almost isolated from the city with the river-front roadways. Apart from that, the buildings are typical of a mid-sized Australian city, and the sprawling suburbia felt much along the lines of the other capitals, although not a extensive as Sydney.

Mt Coot-tha

Out to the West of the city is Mt Coot-tha. It's only a small mountain, but it does give a good view over the city and on to the coast. It reminds me a little of the lookout at Kings Park in Perth, though of the two, Perth gives the better experience.

Brisbane from Mt Coot-tha
Also around Mt Coot-tha is some extensive bushland with a number of walking trails. This includes a few water-falls. Fortunately I was tipped off as to the scale of these falls from a sign-board. Don't go there expecting Niagra Falls, or you will be sorely disappointed. They are just little waterfalls, but the walks to get there aren't all that long or strenuous either.

J.C.Slaugher Falls

The City

I stayed at the YHA hostel in the city, and it was quite reasonable. It was somewhat quieter than Byron bay. The picture here was of the sunset from just out the hostel, with the sun dropping over Mt Coot-tha. Power-lines are just one of those features of the urban landscape...

Sunset, Brisbane

As with most cities, the night-time view offers a different picture. Here the vantage spots along the river afford some of the best views, with the reflections of the lights on the still waters of the river. The river is also a good way to see the city, by taking the river ferry service that runs the length of Brisbane.

Storey Bridge, Brisbane
Brisbane River

To me, a quite funny feature of Brisbane is that there is an artifical beach constructed in the southbank area. Southbank is a city park established after the expo-88 exhibition, and is mostly grassed and landscaped. However right in the middle of it, they have trucked in a whole little beach-full of sand and fitted it out with a cute little lifeguard tower and rescue board - even though it just roughly the size of an olympic pool. I guess Brisbane can now feel that it is keeping up with Sydney in that it has a beach! Still, it is an interesting curio.

Lifeguard on Duty, Southbank

St Lucia

Along the river to the west of the city is the University of Queensland in St Lucia. I found it to be a somewhat confused feeling campus, with variation and visually conflicting building styles. At the time of my visit, there was a lot of construction though, so things could be on the improve there.

They do certainly do well to prove it is a sandstone university, with huge expanses of sandstone on the building around the main courtyard. It felt overdone to me, with just a hint of it feeling like a replica, but it does give a sense of establishment.

University of Queensland

Rivers do make for a special atmosphere, and can take away the city feel. Here in the afternoon light, there was a sense of peacefulness in the riverside walk.

Brisbane River, St. Lucia