We arrived in Brisbane at 8am on Christmas Day. The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze, and we had just survived the 14 hour flight from LA to Brisbane. We were all a bit drunk from poor sleep and excited about what the first day in Australia would reveal.
We had already secured a hotel for the first few nights at Royal on the Park. The transport bus took us to the hotel, which we discovered was directly across the street from the Botanical Gardens. Unlike St. Louis, they are free to enter and open to all. We quickly decided to add a walk in the gardens to our afternoon agenda, and then headed out to the pool to eat lunch and wait for our room to be ready.
Lunch was a club sandwich, cheeseburger, fish and chips, and a small pizza and cost us nearly $100...the first of many price shocks in Australia.
We waited by the pool for about an hour and then headed up to our room. Perhaps seasoned travellers would advise the opposite, but we all laid down for an hour nap. The hard part was getting up. But I had the enticement of the pool to drag the littles out of their slumber. Troy, however, slept on. He had gone the whole flight with no sleep and was dead to the world.
The sun and pool did the kids and I some good. After that we all walked over to the park, not knowing that our minds were about to be blown. We had never seen trees with trucks supporting each branch or large lizards sunning around every corner. Everything was new. We walked along the river and saw mangroves with their straw like roots poking out of the mud. We saw the striking black and white magpies and then the signs warning about magpie attacks. We laughed at the idea of these pretty birds attacking someone, but later learned that they are quite aggressive and repeatedly attack long after you have left their territory. There are some reports of them even taking people's eyes out!
The next day we walked across the foot bridge to South Bank and discovered the parklands along the river. Amazing. I could not believe how nice the river walk was a how long it meandered along the shore. There were shops, flower canopies, a ferris wheel, the Streets Beach lagoon, playgrounds, vegetable gardens, and more. The lagoon was filled with rocks and sand and was completely free.
By the end of the South Bank parkland walk, we were pooped. To our delight, a motorized cycle cart came at the moment we were beginning our trip back across the bridge. He took us all the way to our hotel and only asked for the payment that we felt the trip was worth. Unique business model, university student. Best of luck to you.
Brisbane is a beautiful city to explore. It is one of the cleanest and safest cities I have ever been to. Check it out if you ever have the chance.
I am a wife, mother, and exercise physiologist with one foot in the world of travel and one foot in the world of fitness.
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