City of “Freesbane”

Seda: The 5 mondays in December are free travel days on public transport in Brisbane. Yippie! So we planned to go to this place, that place and another place and come back and feed the dogs, and go back out to visit every other corner of Brisbane that’s left unvisited.

We started in the centre at Brisbane City Hall which had an enormous Christmas tree outside. We still can’t get used to seeing these christmasy scenes when it’s close to 40 degrees outside.

A rather nice lady greeted us and gave us information about the museum that we were visiting within this city hall. It wasn’t a massive museum but we then continued to look at the gallery section that was displaying an exhibition called “A Century of Women”. We were lucky to see this exibition for free but there was no more to see so we made our way to the North quay.

Brisbane offers a free river ride to its visitors which we of course wanted to try. After a bit of a wait, our boat arrived and 40 others descended upon it. Funny that we weren’t the only tourists interested in something for free!

Every corner of this small boat was already filled with people so we squeezed ourselves into a spot at the back. The captain was also the tying the boat guy, lowering the ramp guy and letting people on board guy. He must have angered someone a lot to be given all these jobs to do single handedly. The inevitable consequence was that we were moving very slowly. In the end we got off the boat much earlier than intended and started looking for something to eat.

By this point, fully aware of the free travel opportunity, we were thinking what else we could do. I suggested to go a bit further on the South Bank where there are art galleries and more museums. We, of course, had to stop en route to take some photos with the giant Brisbane sign.

Whilst the travel was free, walking around sites all day is still an effort on our poor legs. It was free admission to Queensland Art Gallery and we learned upon our arrival that there was a free guided tour just starting. Delighted, we made our way to meet the group. Turns out there was no group so we ended up enjoying a private tour with Victoria, themed as “flowers”. They do that to keep the tour focused on certain pieces and encourage people to come back and see more of it themselves.

Victoria is a delightful lady and we were privileged to share her knowledge and passion if only for an hour. She brings jacaranda blossoms from her garden and places them underneath the famous Under the jacaranda painting. Little touches with a wonderful effect.

We wanted to see the city centre botanical garden as well which was also free but we couldn’t forget about our little friends back where we stayed so we ended our free tour and headed back by train. Free of course!

The only thing that we weren’t very impressed with was food and drinks. I mean not just that we had to pay for our lunch, but even the ice creams we got afterwards weren’t free!

We planned to go out again after feeding the dogs and see the Christmas display in Roma Street Parkland and maybe have a drink in the local pub/bar on the way back. All plans changed when we got back and the younger dog started throwing up his food. He was sick 4 times that evening so we decided to stay in. The next day he wasn’t eating his food but all this time looked really healthy and wanted to play with a wagging tail. Following instructions from the owners, we monitored him and soon he recovered. This meant that we were able to do no more sightseeing but we didn’t mind. Animals are so easy to get attached to and we really wanted to see our troublemaker eating again.

So that was all for the next few days with the only excitement being a spontaneous visit to Andy’s friend who’s lived here with his family for 11 years now.

Andy: Iain and Elaine moved to Brisbane in 2010 and we all knew each other from our school days. It was fantastic to catch up with them both and see what their life is like in Brisbane, and indeed Australia. We were made to feel very welcome in their lovely home, shared a few quick drinks with them whilst chatting all things Warwick before heading home. What an unexpected delight.

Continuing with our impressions of Australia…

  • The streets are decorated with cool funky statues and they are now ready for Christmas as well.
  • We like the Australian sense of humour…

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