Next up was another big town. Probably one of the last big towns we’ll stop off at in Australia. It went by the name of Brisbane.
Recently, Stef had been getting a bit annoyed with the state of the female showers so I decided to lighten her spirits and I booked us into Gateway Tourist Park. It was pretty much the same as the rest of the parks we had stayed at, however, this one had a little something extra (at a price). It had an en-suite bathroom just for us. Where we parked out van, just to the side of it was a little brick building and only we had the key. As I parked up and surprised her with the key, her little face lit up like it was Christmas. Simple things….
The first morning, we decided to venture into the main centre (CBD). We arrived at the train station to find no staff there, as it was a bank holiday. It took us a while to figure out where we were going but it didn’t help that none of the ticket machines accepted my card and we’d already spent our last bit of cash on McD coffees the day before! I asked a young lad sitting down how to work the machine. He tried but couldn’t get it to work so he offered us the following advice, “Just ride for free!”. He looked the type to have done this often, so we accepted his advice and jumped on the next train that seemed to take forever to come.
After about 30 minutes of watching a young girl in front of us picking bits from her boyfriends face like a scene from Gorillas In The Mist, the train pulled into Brisbane.
We explained our predicament to the man at the ticket barrier and he let us through to buy tickets from the counter. He didn’t watch us but we were good and bought our tickets. Stef told me after that a few weeks before we left for this trip, she did the same thing in the UK but didn’t buy a ticket! – Don’t worry though, I’ve reported her to the UK transport police and they should be waiting for us to get back to prosecute her.
Brisbane have an Oyster type card scheme where you tap on and off at stations. You could buy paper tickets (which came in a form of a receipt) but they were about $7 each for a single compared to the $6 return on the lovely Sydney trains. The weird thing was that you couldn’t buy a return unless you were going back within two hours! The ticket booth must get busy in rush hour.
Normally, the streets would be rammed as it would in central London, however, as it was bank holiday, they were empty. It was like a scene from The Walking Dead. The shops were shut; there were no cars about and only the odd zombie (tourist) roamed around.
Stef had ripped out a walking guide from her Lonely Planets book that lead you around the sights of Brisbane. We have tried to follow these maps in all the countries we’ve been in but have failed. Sometimes miserably. But we were determined to stick to it and with Stef in charge of the map; it was going to be a challenge (if anyone knows Stef’s map reading skills, they would understand).
First stop was through some Roman arena type thing. It was the ANZAC Monument (something to do with past and present Australian and New Zealand’s armed forces). The walk continued past a few more statues, The Cathedral of St Stephen and the river. We walked along the river for a bit and were just amazed how quiet it was. It was quite eerie. We made it to the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and walked around there for about an hour, looking at all the different plants, trees and other bits and bobs. They had these massive trees that branched out and to support their long branches, they grew supports from them. Very interesting. How can vegetarians eat greens when they are clearly alive and fighting for life? VEGGIE MURDERERS!!!!
We got to a small lake where Stef pointed out a huge bearded dragon on the other side of the water. She failed to see the one that was right next to her! These things just didn’t care and where everywhere. They were massive and were not afraid of humans, however, we did see one run away from a bird after having its tail pecked! But the birds were not kings of the lake. We saw a massive fish swimming after a bird that was trying to rest in the water. Was nothing safe?
Having had a pizza, pasta and a cider, we started the journey back, past the big wheel. It was nowhere near as impressive as the London one. It took 15 minutes for it to do a whole rotation and the capsules only held about 4-seated humans.
On the final stretch, we found a cinema. Everyone had been talking about Lego Movie so we just had to see it! We bought our tickets and had a Starbucks while we waited.
Verdict on the Lego Film? Awesome.
After the film, we finished the walking map. We finally did it. I was so proud of Stef, I nearly shed a tear.