Monday February 18, 2007 – Brisbane, Australia
Monday started out much the same way as the day before. Without a lot of fuss, we woke up, got ready and took the bus into Brisbane’s CBD. Perhaps the difference today was that we had a full itinerary and more of a clear cut plan of what we wanted to see. Before we could get started with the day’s activities, we picked up something to eat at a random food court. Full and happy, the three of us then made our way across the Brisbane River to the Queensland Museum.
The Queensland Museum had a hodgepodge of exhibits similar to almost any other regional museum we have seen. From the entrance we walked through an area detailing the Queensland Outback before exploring a section about transportation with displays of old cars, trains and airplanes. After that we headed upstairs for some animal exhibits before visiting the final display on Aboriginal culture. This museum didn’t have anything we have not seen before, so after thirty minutes we headed over to the state library.
The Queensland Museum, Art Gallery and State Library are all located in an area designated as the Cultural Center. This makes things very convenient since it is just a short walk between each of them. The main reason we were visiting the library was to do some internet research. At 1:30pm we got into the queue for a computer and with a steady backlog of people, we were handed a reservation ticket for 2:30pm. With an hour to kill we decided to explore more of the Cultural Center.
From the state library we headed over to the Modern Art Gallery, where a Jackson Pollock exhibit dominated most of the floor space. We weren’t looking to spend $20 each to get in, so we looked at the four rooms of free galleries upstairs before heading to the Queensland Art Gallery next door.
The Queensland Art Gallery features paintings mostly from Australian artists in a diversity of styles. In the building we went from contemporary works to classical and everything in between, including a collection of very interesting sculptures. By the time we finished with the Art Gallery it was time to head back to the library for our internet time.
Originally, we were supposed to pick our car up on Tuesday morning back in the city. I had the idea to change it to Monday night so we wouldn’t have to go back into the city with our backpacks. After logging on to Hertz’s website, I managed to change the reservation to 6pm Monday night, thus avoiding an extra days charge.
By the time we finished at the library it was only 3:30pm so we headed back across the river and over to the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. The botanical gardens are just a couple of blocks outside of the CBD along the banks of the Brisbane River. The gardens are open 24 hours and according to our guidebook can be very dangerous at night.
When we arrived at 4pm there was still plenty of light, so we had a nice go of it. As far as gardens go these we fairly ordinary, but we enjoyed our stroll through them. At one point we walked through a dark forest and emerged at swampland next to the river. Any time you can get a little lost in nature while surrounded by a sprawling city, you should do it in my opinion.
After our time at the Botanical Gardens we still had an hour to kill, so we just walked around the city for a few more minutes looking at some of the more interesting buildings. Finally at 5:30 we headed over to the Hertz rental car agency and picked up our car, the very small Hyundai Getz. Unfortunately the car had a manual transmission and maneuvering that while remembering to stay on the left side of the road caused quite a bit of stress on the way back to the hotel.
From Brisbane, we next head south to the Gold Coast region, where we plan to hit the beaches and visit some of the many theme parks the area is famous for. From the looks of it, the Gold Coast is my kind of place. While Brisbane doesn’t rank up with Sydney or Melbourne as a city for me, it is a nice place and we still have a couple of things that we would like to do if we have time before we fly to Darwin.
The Coomer Family