I didn’t originally plan to visit Brisbane, Australia, but I’m really glad that I did. It was cooler and drier than Darwin and sunnier than Melbourne … and no crocodiles!
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and also the jumping-off point for a lot of people’s Gold Coast adventures. But I thought that Brisbane proper was worth a few days of exploring.
Divided by the Brisbane River, the city has ferries that zig and zag to various docks on both sides. The CityHopper ferry is free — that’s the red boat — and the CityCat ferries (not free) operate more frequently and serve a wider network of stops.
I took the CityCat to New Farm Park and the Brisbane Powerhouse, which is a former power station converted into a performance and art venue. It was also a good place to enjoy a refreshing riverside mocktail!
Next, I took the CityHopper to South Bank Parkland. This massive riverside development has shops, restaurants and a huge list of sightseeing goodies. Like: the Streets Beach man-made beach and lagoon, the Rainforest Green, the Nepal Peace Pagoda, and the giant Wheel of Brisbane (adding the word “ferris” is a no-no).
I also noticed a clown mosaic in the sidewalk that both compelled and frightened me.
During my South Bank visit, I also had my first nitrogen ice cream at Nitrogenie. Their “ice cream from magic!” is frozen before your eyes in mixers with liquid nitrogen. I would’ve been happy with just regular ol’ ice cream! But it was rich and tasty and came in a variety of flavors with interesting finishing touches. I noticed that one woman’s cup of ice cream was topped with whipped cream and — if I’m not mistaken — a syringe???
I later learned that the syringes are filled with sauces to “inject” as needed. Ahhhhh … okay.
I also visited South Bank’s compact but fantastic Gallery of Modern Art.
On the other side of the river, in Brisbane’s CBD, there’s a wealth of shopping and eating opportunities, including the popular Queen Street Mall pedestrian street.
For the best view of the city, there’s the Mount Coot-tha Lookout, with a neighboring planetarium and botanical garden.
About 40 minutes outside of Brisbane, there’s the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and the koalas that I’ve already mentioned. But the sanctuary also has dingoes and wombats and native birds … like the kookaburra!
And a beautiful cassowary. These birds are huge and can be aggressive if encountered in the wild.
And, of course, more than 100 koalas. Hello there!!!
And did I mention that you can also hold a koala???
Yup … for a brief moment, and an $18 AUD fee, visitors can hold a koala in a designated area.
Before this koala was placed in my (loving!!!) arms, I was instructed to position my hands like I was holding a sack of flour. Except this sack was filled with koala. And I had to give my sack back. 😦