Warm, Sunny Brisbane! Warm, Sunny Australia! While autumn will soon turn into winter in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is coming into view here. Brisbane has about 300 days of sunshine a year. The city is full of life, bustling with shops, cafes, restaurants, museums, and many other attractions. Two women we met on board, sisters named Carol and Linda, took an excursion to Lamington National Park, 2.5 hours by bus! They said it was a lot of driving, but the park was other-worldly. And that’s how it is here – a healthy mix of nature and urban sights, a mix of early three-story 19th Century buildings and soaring skyscrapers. In fact, very unusually, the city has two Botanic Gardens, one right in the middle of downtown and the other at the edge of the downtown area, just four miles away. This is in addition to various gardens and parks. This greenery feature makes the city very walkable and very enjoyable.
Our choice for the day was a free walking tour with Brisbane Greeters. Our guide was a delightful man named Tom (shown in the third photo), who took us on a fun 3.5-hour tour, showing us some of the highlights of the city. We discovered the stunning lobby of the 1929 movie palace, The Regent, shown in the first two pictures. The front, before you get to this stunning mural work, is the City’s tourism office! We walked through the main shopping area, Queen Street Mall, a pedestrian-only street that used to be the busiest in Brisbane. The old Treasury Building is now the Treasury Casino. We didn’t have time to go all the way in, but from the entryway, we snapped a photo of the glorious chandelier.
There is a sense of whimsy here – from past visits, we have found that Australians don’t take life too seriously. It was a lot of fun to walk around, and the Starbucks had a treat that we hadn’t encountered before but came to love – you know how Banana Bread isn’t a bread, but more of a slice of dense cake? Well, Starbucks had Coconut Bread, and it was just splendid – jammed with coconut, dense, and chewy. Yum! Around the city, we also saw many statues of kangaroos, and two photos show the “creations” we encountered. At any rate, one day in Brisbane has whetted our appetites and senses, and we are looking forward to being in Australia until the end of January. It will be 90 days of fun and delight!
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