Arriving into Brisbane’s transit centre on the coach an hour later than we anticipated, we caught the metro and walked another ten minutes to our hostel, Bunk. We were initially confused as to why all the timings at the station were an hour out, but it turns out that Queensland is an hour behind New South Wales – we weren’t going crazy after all! The reception area of the hostel gave a great first impression, with lots of comfy sofas, armchairs and spots to sit with a laptop. When going to check in, there was a problem with our booking – even though we’d booked three beds through Hostelworld, their booking system had only registered two beds…uh-oh. Plus, it was a Friday so the hostel was pretty full. Thankfully the receptionist swiftly sorted us out, putting us in a private room as that was the only room available (winning) and charged us for a cheaper room than what we’d booked for the ‘inconvenience’! Not bad ey? It was a double bed with a single bunk on top, and there was an en-suite too which even had mini toiletries. Backpacking luxury! I had such a lush long shower, whilst the others went food shopping. I felt sparkling clean, it was incredible.
For some reason all three of us really fancied fajitas for dinner so we splashed out and got all the ingredients, including salsa and sour cream – yum! Before we made dinner we headed down to the hostel bar to use the drinks voucher we had been given by reception. Most hostels seemed to do this in Aus and they almost always have a specific time you can use them, e.g. between 7-8pm to get you down to the bar. By a huuge coincidence we bumped into friends from university Aiden and Rosie in the bar! They were doing a semester abroad in Sydney but happened to be in Brisbane for the weekend and happened to be staying in the same hostel – madness! So we caught up with them and decided to go out and explore the city’s nightlife after dinner. Aiden was super tired but Rosie came out with us and we ended up having a great night in a bar that played retro tunes.
Seeing as we’d been out late the night before, we had decided to have a nice lie-in and not set any alarms. We woke up embarrassingly late (or impressively depending how you look at it) and had a leisurely breakfast that was basically lunch, before heading out into the city to the Southbank. We wandered through the city’s main shopping street, with Rhianna popping into Apple to buy an SD adapter to replace the one she’d sadly lost, and me getting a pretty water bottle in Typo to replace the one I’d bought that continually leaked. We continued to walk down to the river, passing a suitcase sale in front of the library along the way. This was basically a small scale car boot sale, with everyone selling clothes and shoes out of a suitcase. I think it’s a really cool idea and we should definitely have suitcase sales in the UK. Katie found a bargain luggage tag for a $1 which was coincidentally from Typo. Result.
This is a glimpse of what Brisbane’s Southbank looks like. There are definitely similarities to London’s Southbank, there being lots of restaurants, an arts centre, theatre and museum all along the waterfront. However, London does not have an artificial beach in the middle of the city! I guess it’s because Brisbane is basically the only Aussie city that isn’t on the coast so they’ve tried to make up for it! We wandered along the river, walking through all these shady paths decorated with lanterns to keep out of the sun, before returning to the beach to chill out on the sand. As it was a weekend there were loads of kids playing and having fun in the lagoon, and families in restaurants or having barbecues nearby. That’s something I noticed about public spaces in Australia, there are lots of free to use barbecues with picnic benches which is pretty awesome. We stayed at the beach until the sun had set and then made our way back across town to the hostel via Eagle street pier which consisted of lots of nice restaurants on the riverfront. Unfortunately we couldn’t buy more food for fajitas again as the supermarket had shut, so instead we bought some pasta sauce from the convenience store near our hostel and had spaghetti followed by a relaxed evening.
The following morning we made sure we got up earlier than the day before, having brekkie then heading out to the shop to get some snacks. Katie and I also needed to get a charger as mine had broken and she had lost hers, so we unwillingly spent $20 on a replacement. Obviously not a fun purchase but a necessity nonetheless. Walking further into the city, we walked along the river into the pretty botanical gardens. It was so nice to have a big green space in the middle of the city. We explored the gardens, with a quick pit stop to go on the swings in the park…before continuing through the city back towards the Southbank. We found a Brisbane sign that we didn’t spot the previous day, and that was fun seeing all the kids (and Katie and Rhianna) try to climb on it! We were keen to go to the art gallery there, but unfortunately it was shut when we got there! Story of my life with museums and galleries, they always seem to be shut! We found out that there was the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre nearby that was open and was free to visit, so we made a beeline round the corner.
Inside there was a really interesting exhibition about the planets with loads of incredible photos of the solar system, as well as another exhibition about extinct creatures and the impact humans are having on the planet. There was also an extensive taxidermy exhibition displaying so many different animals which Katie in particular was not a fan of. So we went round quickly and decided it was time for some food.
As expensive as Australia is compared to Southeast Asia, we decided to treat ourselves to a restaurant meal for a late lunch. We had heard good things about a burger chain called Grill’d when we asked for recommendations in Sydney, and as there was one close by it was a sign. We were pretty ravenous at this point so I think we would have thought anything was decent food, but the verdict on the burgers was good, and the sweet potato fries we shared were lush too. There was certainly more salad in the burger than any I’ve had in the UK, so trying to fit it all in one bite was a bit of a challenge! But I’m happy to say we all hoovered our food up without any other problems.
That evening we had our much sought after fajitas again as the shops were open this time. We had to be up really early to catch a 7:30am bus so we had another chilled evening and a fairly early night. There was however, a slight hiccup in this plan when the fire alarm went off at 5am and the whole building had to filter out onto the street. After waiting outside for half an hour or so for the all clear to get back in the building, it wasn’t long before we had to get up and get going anyway *sighs*.
I think all three of us were sad to leave Brisbane and could have happily stayed there for a few more days exploring the city. But we continued onwards to Australia Zoo and then to Noosa, which I will tell you all about in my next post.
Thanks for reading folks xo