Before I begin the main content of this post, I should acknowledge the fact that I completely failed at uploading this post anywhere near my return to the UK. I have now been back for a week and having been distracted by a combination of jet lag, family, friends, proper beer, mild illness, and job hunting I haven't been very proactive with the bloggery. I did however, write this post whilst in Singapore and will leave the opening paragraphs as they were at that time. Here we go...
I’ll be honest, my time in Brisbane airport was not spent particularly productively, after making my way through security I bought myself some duty free treats, went to a bar, ordered myself a pizza and an ice cold beer and began mulling over a highly important numbers conundrum.
Sometimes my brain has strange thoughts, this one wondered whether, in the past 5 months worth of travelling, I have spent more time in the bathroom, or in airports. I won’t go into the gory details but my approximate (and highly unscientific) calculations put time spent in bathroom at 70 hours, and time spent in airports at 62.5 hours. A disturbingly close call!
Anyway, I am now enjoying the wonders of Changi Airport in Singapore, where I have a 3 hour layover before my flight to the UK. I thought I’d use the time to write up the 2nd part of this blog post chronicling my final days in Australia.
I believe we were up to Tuesday.
I awoke at a reasonably early time and proceeded to pack up the remaining few of my belongings, made a cup of tea, and put my bed linen in the washing machine. Exciting stuff. I then left the house I had been living in for the past three weeks and called an Uber to take me to my next hostel.
The Kookaburra Inn is a small hostel, and is a very pleasant place to stay. I had decided to treat myself a bit for the last two nights in Australia and had booked a room to myself, with a double bed. That was a good choice. But enough of the hostel, as nice as it was, I was formulating plans for the day.
Before leaving the houseshare earlier in the day, my roomie had suggested that if I had time before I left Oz, I should visit Stradbroke Island, to the east of Brisbane. The scenery is reportedly stunning and it’s the best place on land to watch whales during the migratory season, which we happened to be slap bang in the middle of. So that is what I decided to do to fill the rest of my Tuesday.
Getting to Straddie took longer than expected; an hour on the train, a half hour walk, a 20 minute wait for the ferry, a 25 minute ferry ride and a half hour bus ride up to Lookout Point. Nonetheless, nearly 3 hours later I found myself eating a very nice plate of fish and chips at a local eatery where I also hired some binoculars, before setting off to try out some of the best whale watching points.
My first stop was just across the road, where I sat and played around with the binoculars to figure out focussing and the like, I think there may have been something wrong with one of the lenses, I ended up only looking through one eye because the images were offset, resulting in a very confusing view.
I saw a couple of whales breaching, including one of those tail flick things that you see (not a hugely impressive one) but in general the water was very choppy so spotting the gigantic creatures was difficult. The whales in question are mostly humpback whales, migrating North to warmer waters for breeding.
Despite not seeing many whales, I did see a few large pods of dolphins. First time I’ve seen bottle nosed dolphins to be honest, so it was great to see them playing around in the waves, performing their signature arched dive through the air.
You know that recurring thing I say about my camera not having a zoom? Yep, no pictures of the whales or the dolphins as they were too far away, so only I get to enjoy them. But if you ever get the chance to visit Stradbroke Island, there are quite a lot of whales that go by so you’re likely to spot some for yourself.
After watching whales for a bit, I decided to take a walk along the coast for a bit and ended up down on Frenchman’s beach. I’m not sure why it’s called Frenchman’s Beach, but it has very nice sand.
As the sun was on it’s way down I decided to wander back to the bus stop, noticing a pair of wild kangaroos chilling by a bush. You should be able to spot them in this picture fairly easily.
After some more coastal wandering, and another half hour bus ride later I found myself waiting patiently for the ferry back to the mainland. This sign made me chuckle a bit, I made sure to heed the waring.
And for once, I was in a position to look West over a large body of water as the sun made it’s way past the horizon, setting the sky ablaze. Nice.
And continuing the photography rampage, I took some time to photograph one of Queensland Rail’s trains that was handily standing at Cleveland station when I arrived to catch the train back to the city.
So that was a very exhausting Tuesday. Wednesday was to be a bit more relaxed; I had planned to spend the day wandering the city in search of live music. Brisbane plays host to an excellent free live music program called The City Sounds. Wednesday is Pop-up gig day; there are numerous small areas where bands and musicians set up and perform two or three half hour sets.
There were three spots I was hoping to get to, but through some confusion I managed to get to 2 of them and saw Alt Country act Dana Gehrman, followed by an interesting musical duo called Tuxedo Kitten.
I didn’t really take many photographs on Wednesday, none that I feel should be shared here anyway. But I did try and photograph a car. It was being installed on the third floor of Brisbane’s Gallery Of Modern Art. You can just about see it in this image, look for a bright yellow Audi TT. I was mainly trying to capture the fact that there’s a car, inside a building, on the third floor, because I couldn’t figure out how they got it there, but it’s a nice looking building too.
I made Thursday my photography day. I had to check out of the hostel by 10 so was up in good time and the staff were kind enough to look after my bags while I was out. I returned at around half 3 after a steady wander around the city, taking in the sights one last time. Here’s some more of Brisbane for you; presented in a rather relentless, minimally described manner.
I think there must be a church somewhere that’s missing a dome!?
Here’s another strangely placed car.
And a gorgeous Corvette Stingray (If ever I own a classic sports car, I want it to be one of these).
It’s not only Melbourne that has great street art, Brisbane’s got some too.
Public transport in Brisbane includes the City Cat ferry that runs up and down the river at very reasonable prices.
Brisbane has a lot of bridges that cross its river, this is the largest, Story Bridge. And a boat.
I spent a lot of time trying to adequately photography the Children’s Hospital. not because I’m weird and creepy, but because it looks awesome. This big pink rabbit type sculpture is outside.
And this is the only only shot I got that I’m willing to post online that shows how awesome the architecture is. There are quite a lot of colourful buildings in Brisbane, and other Australian cities which made me wonder if the UK’s larger cities have coloured architecture. I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head though.
Epicurious is a community garden where visitors are allowed to walk around and experience all the seasonal produce in its natural glory; discovering what it looks like, what it smells like, and how it grows. Volunteers harvest the produce and it’s sold at a small cart on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Brisbane is not on the coast, but it does have a beach. A man-made beach no less. It’s a permanent feature and is one of the major points on Southbank. I dread to think how packed it gets during the summer though.
I nearly missed this guy, doing his acrobatic thing above the main thoroughfare at South Bank.
This Nepalese Peace Pagoda is another attraction at South Bank, it was originally constructed for World Expo ’88.
And to finish my photographic exploits on Thursday, here’s the church at King George Square. I’ve walked past this place a few times, and this was the first time the sun had been in a position to light the structure nicely, which made me smile.
This collection isn’t all the photographs I took, there are a number of other more abstract style shots that I’ve uploaded to Flickr, along with many other photographs I’ve taken in Australia but not shared on this blog. You should go and have a look!
But for now, that’s it. The remainder of Thursday was of course spent travelling. As will most of Friday; I left at 23:35 on Thursday, and after 25 and a half hours travelling I will arrive in the UK at 15:40 on Friday. This is likely to be the longest day I will ever experience, totalling around 32 hours!
So here ends my trip to the other side of the world. It didn’t result in sponsorship so I should probably update the side bar on the right hand side of this blog, and I made the decision to return to the UK earlier than expected but I’m really not fussed about that.
Sure, I’ll be sad to see Australia go, but I can return in the future. Coming home is the right choice for me to have made; I'll just be in a familiar setting to continue the adventure I’ve been on for a very long time now.