Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thinking of Travelling to Queensland?

During the terrible summer with floods and cyclone Yasi, tourism in Queensland was really rocked and some operators are still struggling, in part because there amy be a perception that Queensland is still a state under water or damaged such that our beautiful places are not worth visiting.

There are small patches of major flood damage (around Tully, some riverside suburbs of Brisbane, and Ipswich), but the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast were not touched, almost all of Brisbane City is back to normal, and up north, the majour tourist places are ready and waiting for the tourists to return.

Brisbane's South Bank is ready and waiting with the beach and pool open for business (though one small part is yet to be re opened - but you can swim now, and the weather is fine!)

This time of year is wonderful in Brisbane - usually bright blue skies and long hours of wonderful sunshine, which is great for tourists.

This week I have been to South Bank on three occasions, and it was wonderful.  (You can still see workers trying to resolve some minor issues, there, and the new ABC studios as well as extensions to the Convention centre continue, but only cause minor irritations.  Otherwise all is well.
Brisbane City from South Bank

Brisbane City from the bridge between the Art Gallery/Museum and QPAC

Great Views of the River, the city and suburbs from the Wheel

Monday, March 14, 2011

St Patrick's Day Celebrations.

There's a very strong history of the Irish in Australia - so it is no surprise that when St Patrick's Day comes along the Irish and their Aussie friends and families celebrate with gusto.  As St Patrick's Day is on March 17th, (a Thursday) the St Patrick's Day march was held last Saturday.  (You could hardly close down the streets of a city - and anyway many of the participants would be at work or school if they tried to march on a weekday!)

The march started after 10.30 am, from the corner of George and Elizabeth Sts, and made its way along Elizabeth Street, slowing for a special salute in front of the Irish Club, through the city.

The streets were packed, as were the pubs, especially the Irish themed ones, with revellers and supporters.

Check out further information on celebrations at the Irish Club's website.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brisbane - open for business after the floods.

True, there are still some places that are not back in business after the disastrous floods - but most things are, and as each day goes, another area is opened.  Some things will never return, and others will take some time to rebuild and/or repair.

There are quite a few restaurants and cafes that have decided not to reopen.  Insurance companies take a while to pay out, IF they pay out - there's quite a lot of controversy over the definition of flood. and meanwhile there is no income.  Builders are busy.  It will not be easy to rebuild and get back to business.  Flood emergency monies will not sustain people for more than a week or so.  It will be so difficult for many to return.

The good news is that boating is now permitted on the Brisbane River - the Kookaburra Queenswebsite for more details. are back in action, (the famous City Cats will not be back in action for a while), so if you want to see the River, you'll need to go on a Kookaburra Queen - they have been plying the River since before Expo in 1988.  Do check out the

South Bank is being restored - the beach was destroyed as were several of the riverfront restaurants - but you won't starve as there are many restaurants in the precinct that are open.  

The Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, and the State Library are not open yet - but the Queensland Performing Arts Centre is open and the show Wicked is in full swing.

Brisbane is back in business. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Recovery of Queensland

Today is Salvation Saturday - people are volunteering to help people who have suffered damage from the awesome flood this week that has caused so much damage.  Brisbane is not a good place to visit right now, but in a few weeks time we will be ready for tourists.  The tourist places will be ready to take on as many visitors as we can - we need them to help rejuvenate the economy.  

Wait a few weeks and make your way to an amazing state.  Queensland.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Where to go?

Street scene in Ipswich - looking toward church
Brisbane, Queensland is in the south east corner of the state, on the Brisbane River.  For travellers, it offer so many opportunities to find interesting places to travel.  If you have/rent a car, there are many choices, almost endless, but this post is for those who choose to use public transport.

One of the things that many of us find, when we are visiting a city is that we want to see as much as we can, in the short time provided.  How many people return from a holiday exhausted because they have tried not to waste their time, and see everything - making every day a visit to some place or another.  

Buses and trains often given you 'rest time' while journeying to or from your destination, and you can choose public transport just to look and see.  Let me explain.  From Brisbane, you can catch a train north, to the Sunshine Coast (and much further north, but a return day trip as far as Nambour is what I am suggesting), south to the Gold Coast, to the outer suburbs of Cleveland or Sandgate - (both seaside places with lots to see), and Ipswich to the west. 

Recently a friend and I caught the train to Ipswich.  The weather was lousy (lots of rain, and at the moment floods in many parts of the state), and we just wanted to see things.  The landscape from the train window changes dramatically - from city buildings, suburbs, parks, over the Brisbane River, parks, bushland, past a prison, past golf courses, rural areas, wonderful tradition Queensland houses, to the Ipswich station, which is close to the old Ipswich Town Hall and other heritage buildings, and adjacent to the Bremer River (which too was in flood the day we visited.) 

We took a leisurely walk around, a few photos, (nothing much was open as it was a public holiday), and we waited for the train in a nearby hotel and won a few dollars on the poker machines!!!

We agreed it was an interesting day - well worth the time and little effort.  My visitor was able to see a little more of the Queensland - and we didn't get wet!  It did not rain while we did our short walking tour of the city area.

You can plan you train travel through this website.
It was a leisurely day - no rushing, sitting and walking (plenty of rest time), and most enjoyable. 
I recommend sitting in one of the quiet carriages (the last carriage in a 3 car train, or the first and last in a 6 car train), and please observe the rules.  No noise. No food in carriages, and do not put your feet on the seats.  (Shame to have these rules, but we do have the occasional person who does not seem to think!)

Check the website for train times and destinations, and costs.

Don't forget your Go Card.  

Bremer River in flood

Ipswich Town Hall Tower

Old Post Office

Post Office

Get the Go-Card

Many cities have a plastic card that one can load funds to via a machine, online, or with a cashier, and it saves one from having to buy a ticket for each journey - especially on buses or trains.  In some cities (Shanghai is one) that you can use your credit for a taxi as well.  In some cities (Brisbane included) you can use this card on ferries and City Cats (river transport).

In Brisbane, Queensland, the Go Card is available at many outlets - including some newsagents, and railway stations or transit centres.  Each individual must has his/her own card, and the fee for the journey is automatically deducted when you pass the card over the card reader.   Children are charged children's rates, students are charged student's rates, and seniors are charged senior's rates. 

They are generally an efficient money and time saving card.  I have used one for several years and I would be 'lost' without it.  For visitors to Brisbane, a card can be purchased for $5, and you can easily load some funds, depending on your planned trips.  When your holiday or visit to Brisbane is over, you can easily claim a refund of the balance of your funds plus the $5 deposit.  Easy.

For more information click here.  

For some major events in Brisbane, you can get FREE public transport on buses, trains or river craft by showing your ticket to the event.  Recently I travelled to the cricket at Woolloongabba, and the tennis at the Pat Rafter Tennis Centre, for free just showing my ticket to these events.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens

When the big floods of 1974 swept through Brisbane, the City Botanical Gardens which is right on the Brisbane River was flooded. It was the eighth time they had been flooded since 1870 and the Brisbane City Council made a decision to create a second Botanical Gardens well above flood level, and so it was that a wonderful new area was created at the base of Mt Coot-tha.  

It is much bigger area, and a wonderful area now with the Planetarium, Art Gallery, Library, and Restaurant/Cafe amongst the many gardens and lakes.

 You can catch a bus to the Planetarium. From the city, take bus 471, or the Great City Circle bus (598 or 599) from various suburbs. For public transport information visit TransLink.