Saturday, July 7, 2018

Postcard from Brisbane, QLD Australia

This week, I spent a few days in Brisbane.  I stayed in a 4 star hotel in a deluxe suite and I ate at a couple of fancy restaurants.  While I don't live far from the capital city of Queensland, my visits there are rare, So I put on my tourist hat and had a much needed 'holiday'.
Check out my recommendations of things to do.  I did some of these things during my stay.

My hotel was right across the road from Roma Street Parklands.  It is a beautiful place and you can easily spend a few hours wandering the pathways. In December, the Parklands come alive with a light display and nightly events.  There are often FREE events on during the day.  Click here for a map and information on the Family Friendly Activities/ Areas you can visit.
Just one corner of the Roma Street Parklands

The Museum of Brisbane: Level 3 of the Brisbane City Hall- not to be confused with the Queensland Museum on the other side of the Brisbane River- has some interesting exhibitions about the history of Brisbane as a city and admission is FREE! Exhibitions change regularly.

The Cultural Centre includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), The Queensland State Library, The Queensland Museum and Science Centre.  
There are shows on at QPAC most days and nights, with some FREE events on the weekend or during the school holidays.  Be sure to check out the website for show times.  I took a chance and the day I visited was the only day that week that there was nothing on! All the new shows started the next day!

I took a turn around the art gallery - there were several FREE exhibitions and tours as well as two paid exhibitions.  There are some lovely volunteers at the gallery who are always happy to answer your questions about any of the art. I had a good chat with one of the volunteers who noticed how a particular piece had caught my eye and she gave me quite the history lesson.  While it's a great place to visit on any day of the week, check the website to find out about special events and activities or projects for some extra fun and learning.  The Art Gallery has a cinema and installations of art in all types of media.

It's FREE to enter the Museum and Science Centre with an additional charge to enter some of the special exhibitions. The Science Centre is especially worth a visit as many of the displays are interactive!

Even the State Library has exhibitions and Events that are worth a look.  Especially for the book lovers out there.  Author Talks, Tours, Displays, Workshops and Events for kids are all there.  Just check the website to see what's on.
Brisbane's Cultural Centre at Night

Next to QPAC you will find The Wheel of Brisbane!  For the low price of $20 you can ride this giant Ferris Wheel in a fully enclosed and air conditioned gondola. Open from 10am to 10pm, you can see the 360 degree views of the city by day or night with an audio guide of the main sights.  There are packages and picnics available as well as options for special events and groups.  I went all by myself and it was a great view.  You go around the wheel 3-4 times and it takes 10-15 minutes. Of course, there is the waiting in line and the photo opportunities so allow more time for this activity.
Wheel of Brisbane

Keep walking along the River and explore the South Bank Parklands.  There are lots of places to grab a meal including the high end restaurants and more casual family dining offering a range of cuisines.  You can also enjoy a cruise on the Brisbane River which is a nice and relaxing way to see the historic buildings and other locations on the banks of the river.

I have barely scratched the surface of this buzzing city.  There are special events for children (school holidays) and for the adults; markets, comedy clubs, festivals, theatre and more.

Travel and Getting Around the City: The Spring Hill Loop (FREE), check out the BUZ buses that link the city and suburbs, run at 15- 30 minute intervals and stop at major locations in the city using the Busway. While it's easy enough to walk through the south bank parklands and around the Cultural Centre precinct, the CBD is basically on a big hill.  Many of the streets are one way and while some locations seem close by they are up some quite impossible hills.  If you aren't up for a hike, it might be easier to hop on a bus.  The City Hopper is FREE ferry service that moves up and down the Brisbane River.  Loop Buses are FREE and worth the trouble.  If in doubt, get an Uber.
The Brisbane City Hopper 

I know I might sound like I'm getting some kind of kickback or compensation from the Brisbane City Council for my comments here, but I'm not. My opinions are my own.  It surprises me that I live so close to some really wonderful things and I spend so much time on the couch.  There are plenty of reasons for that, but we won't go there today.  I'm just saying, I don't need to hop on a plane to have a good weekend!