A visit to the land down under is not complete without a side trip visit to Brisbane along Queensland. My wife and I decided to make the most of our summer vacation in 2010 so when we visited my brother in the capital city of Canberra we took another trip to the most populous city in Australia. We made the most out of that memorable summer vacation, aside from seeing my brother who left America five years ago to have a work and bring his family there. Bonding with the family and seeing scenic and picturesque landscapes from the countryside was the most exciting part of our tour. It highlights as our top destinations to visit. The five day adventure was filled with so much fun as Brisbane was truly enchanting.
The South Bank Parklands is certainly one of the best attractions in Brisbane to amuse both tourists and locals. The former World Expo Site offers plenty of opportunities for recreation and leisure activities most of which are free. Inside there is a lagoon with a beach and water playground for children. The huge area is designed like a tropical garden complete with streams and bridges. Along the river there is a promenade from where we can see the tall skyscrapers of the city on the other side of the river providing a good contrast. The urge to satisfy the tourists yearning for a good look on the other side lead to the creation of the City Cat Ferry where we get to reach the southern riverbanks of the city. The riverbanks can also be reached from the available train station. Most crowded on weekends this parkland has barbecue grilling areas where families can enjoy a good Sunday brunch. We had the chance to see the Nepalese Temple inside it which is actually a remnant of the recent world fair. The latest attraction during our visit was the giant Ferris wheel from which we had a good overlooking of the whole city. There are so many small shops, cafes and snack bars across the site. We ended our day watching an old movie from their outdoor cinema. This attraction is a tropical oasis in the middle of the city and well worth a visit.
We had the best time of the day when we got to hug koalas and see the live Raptors at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. We spent a day here getting to know all the Australian animals especially the precious koalas where we get to stroke and feed them. We also saw lots of loose kangaroos, emus and other rare animals which I have only seen for the first time at this koala zoo that stands in the center of the city. There are lots of various animal shows to amuse the young and old alike. The sanctuary is so large and we get to see animals up close as they roam freely, we have the choice of where to go and what animals we need to spend time with. I guess the animals have grown accustomed to having their pictures taken on this paradise for animal lovers they simply not mind our presence. We have visited this park as a family and there is really something for everyone to discover and experience. It is an ideal park to see the rest of the Australian animal world which is fully represented here whether kangaroo, emu, wallaby, wombat and dingo. The birds of prey is also one of the highlights of our visit as we get to feed the colorful parrots which came flying from all directions at a certain time. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.
The following day I had better appreciation and understanding of the modern art at the Gallery of Modern Art. The visit to the exhibition was sure worth it as the artworks are properly laid out in this spacious gallery. Set on a nice, modern, and large building with plenty of natural light coming in from the windows it has an optimal number of exhibits showcased up to the second floor. One can easily view all in one go without being overloaded. Unfortunately, the entrance fee was super expensive and the café has a very limited time in opening. We spent the rest of the afternoon brisk walking inside the Roma Street Parkland. Very close to the downtown area this street is the botanical highlight of Brisbane. The park has great walking paths and fantastically designed plant beets. Entrance is free and special events and shows are held from time to time in its central park area. Afterwards we checked out the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha. This park is not very big and very crowded but it has beautiful scenic views of the river once we got inside. The view of the rocky section from the shore of the Brisbane River is the one I find most appealing and truly unique. There is not much to do except to walk and appreciate its rich flora and fauna. There is a good café inside with sweet Australian snacks on its pantry.
The next day we visited the largest museum in the whole of Australia the Queensland Art Gallery. The museum not only has the most collection contemporary artworks in the Australian region but as well as around the world. There are also many multimedia arts that are available to enjoy. What caught my fancy was their interesting works about photography where they have a very good and relatively large collection. There is something for everyone’s taste and standard. We ended the day by watching a good game of rugby by the Reds, the national team of Australia at the Suncorp Stadium. This is where the most fanatical rugby advocates gather. I enjoyed watching the game with an excellent view from its wide angled seats and the ideal sound acoustics plus an excellent beer in my hand. It is a great experience that must not be missed by avid fans of the sport. Coupled with a lively and joyous atmosphere generated by an intense game and cheering audience it was well worth a visit! After a heart pounding rugby match we found a spiritual oasis in the heart of the city by visiting an old gothic church named the Catholic Old St. Stephen’s Church. I went in and allowed myself to be inspired and spend a little time for contemplation together with my family. The inside is just as magnificent as the outside, complete with a quiet atmosphere and beautiful antique icons and decorations.
On a bright sunny day we had the most awesome scenic view of the city on top of the Mount Coot-tha Lookout viewing balcony. We got more excited each time we ascended the mountain by car because the views got more picturesque on every turn. Beautiful houses, and neighborhoods plus the great view on top it was totally breathtaking! There are parking spaces, food shops and cafes all around the lookout point. I enjoyed my sweet iced coffee as my eyes feast on the great panoramic views all the way to the hinterlands. Afterwards we checked out aboriginal exhibitions at the Museum of Brisbane. It is a fully loaded and free museum that is not to be missed. Before heading back to America the next day, we had a late night sumptuous Australian cuisine family dinner at the Eagle Street Pier.
Having quality time with my family as we enjoy the beauty of our surroundings was the best highlight of my life. I am looking forward to going back again and spending precious time with my family.