1700 kilometers done...hello Brizzy

Trip Start Jan 23, 2012
Trip End Jun 09, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, April 19, 2012

We woke up to the water in the bright sunshine at Brighton with a good night sleep in our free camping spot.  We started the day cleaning down the van ready for dropping off in Brisbane that day - unfortunately we didn't make the trip to Carnarvon gorge, as it is a further 700km west from Brisbane, so time and the high amount of petrol money finally caught us up meaning we couldn't visit this gorge.  We hope to do this on a future visit.

We had a short drive to Brisbane via Clayfield into the centre, where we had a look and booked a hostel for the night and then headed to the Woollongabba area to drop off the van.  The wicked depot was full of vans, and we were slightly envious of the other artworks - beatles, beastie boys, etc instead of our 'grateful dead' motifs!

From the depot we caught the local bus (all run on natural gas) to Queen Street.  Queen Street is a pedestrian area in the centre of Brisbane for shopping, so we took the opportunity to do a bit of souvenir shopping.  We were able to take in the city market too, which was mainly a food market that made both our stomachs grumble for something other than noodles.  

We then took a trip across the river to the South Bank, which reminded us of the London South Bank with its pedestrain walkways, a wheel like the London Eye, various bars and restaurants, GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) like the Tate Modern and theatre.  Where this differed was that it was a lot greener and there was a lagoon area with the only oz inner city beach for swimming.  It was so lovely sitting with our feet in the lagoon looking across the river at the Brisbane skyline. The place was also full of locals relaxing, eating, drinking and generally having a great time.

We finished the day at the hostel with a bit of TV, some pasta, a shower and laundry...after the 9 days in the van it was very much needed!

The next day we visited the GoMA gallery, which was so much better that the Tate Modern in terms of art work.  Our favourite sections were the Aboriginal gallery and a gallery allocated to local high school students whose artwork was so perceptive about the world we lived in. They even had some work by the relatively unknown artist Julian Opie, the designer for blur's iconic 'best of' album.

It's fair to say Brisbane is definitely a 'happening' and environmentally aware place. There's tons of cool bars, areas to sit about and relax, eat and while the time away, and some cracking architecture - with old buildings mixing in seamlessly with the new, modern skyscrapers springing up about town. They also have bike stations dotted about the city (much like the boris bikes back home - we nicknamed these 'bruce bikes') which means it's dead easy to get about town under your own steam.  Definitely a place we'll have to come back to!

In the afternoon we caught a short 40 minute train south of Brisbane to Beenleigh, where we met Neill's Aunt Diana and where we will be staying for the next few days with Diana and Tom, who have very kindly offered us to stay with them at their home in Jimbooma, and show us around the local sights.
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