Brisbane was the first city stop along my journey. After 3 weeks of not seeing tall buildings, they felt like a shock to the system! I stopped off at Australia Zoo for the day where I met a friend who used to live next door to me. The zoo is home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, so there was a big emphasis on crocodiles. The main show displayed a variety of animals from birds to a crocodile. Around the zoo they had both native species like the Cassowary bird and other animals e.g tigers, giraffes and rhinos. That evening I headed over to stay with one of my oldest friends for a week.
For three of the days I explored Brisbane and met with another school friend and her travel buddy for the day who were also staying in the city. We went to South Bank and to the botanical gardens. South Bank had a covered walkway with a pergola of vegetation above and it was zoned into different areas. My favourite was a garden area maintained by volunteers, but it provided fresh herbs, fruit etc to the public to pick for themselves. Within the city I also went on a free walking tour provided by the Information Centre which gave information on the historic building within the area.
There are two art galleries within the City, the modern art gallery and contemporary art gallery, both of which are relatively small but show an array of artwork and sculptures. These are both located on South Bank. From the Gallery of Modern Art you can see a bridge which has been artfully designed to appear as masts of several boats, there were also fountains which looked like dandelions.
Whilst in the city I also visited city hall where you can ride on a lift to the top of the clock tower and the Museum of Brisbane was situated below explaining the penal colonial past of Brisbane. Between visiting museums and other sites, there were plenty of food markets showcasing food from around the world as I was there during the Brisbane festival.
One of my favourite things I did within the city was jumping on the free city cat from the top of Queen Street. This takes you up and back down the river and lasts around an hour. the sun decided to come out when I did the trip and you get beautiful views of the city from the water, and get to see the districts which are further out of town when skyscrapers turn into single or two story homes with jetties on the water!
Over the 3 of the other days my friend showed me around the local area. We visited a small town in the hills where every shop a tourist could dream of was locatee from gift shops to fudge shops. We also walked up Mount Ngungun which had magical views over the other Glass House Mountains and has been one of the highlights of my trip so far.
Whilst exploring we also visited Surfers Paradise where skyscrapers meet the beach. On this trip I was also introduced to an award winning pie shop in Yatala (as the Aussies love their meat pies!) off of the highway to Surfers Paradise.
I also had the opportunity to visit several of the lookout points over the city and surrounding areas and saw the city from Kangaroo Point, the Brisbane wheel and mount Coot-Tha.
Before reaching Brisbane, I discussed the city with other travellers and opinions over Brisbane were conficting . I really enjoyed it there and would recommend to set aside time to also explore the surrounding areas which really set the city and surrounding areas apart.