March 8 – Brisbane, Australia
We arrived an hour late to Brisbane. The late start because of the wind and the rough seas all the way here took their toll on the arrival time. Still we were in port until 7 p.m. so it wasn’t a big deal.
We had breakfast this morning with a couple from Hawaii in winter and Delaware In summer.
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and its most populous city. It is the 3d most populous city in Australia. Its population is 2.3 million while the greater metropolitan area is more than 3 million. It located 9 miles from the mouth of Brisbane River which empties into Moreton Bay which is where the cruise ship docked. A resident of Brisbane is called a Brisbanite.
The city and river are named after Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. The 1st European settlement in Queensland was a penal colony, founded in 1824, at Redcliffe which about 17 miles north of the city. Redcliffe was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825. Free settlers were permitted from 1842 onwards. In 1859 Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales, and Brisbane was chosen as the capital.
General Douglas MacArthur had his South West Pacific headquarters in Brisbane. The city has hosted several large cultural, international and sporting events such as the 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo ’88, the final Goodwill Games in 2001 and the 2014 G-20 summit.
The city maintains a cool and casual air while offering all the glitz and glamor of a big city. It is located on the banks of the Brisbane River and is surrounded by rolling hills. You can climb to the top of Story Bridge, take a sandboarding tour on North Stradbroke Island, try your hand at sheep shearing or visit with koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s 1st koala sanctuary. It is the 3d most popular destination for international tourists after Sydney and Melbourne. The City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Forest Park and Portside Wharf are popular destinations. The “Tsuki-yama-chisen” Japanese Garden is located in the Mount Coot-tha City Botanic Garden. Popular recreation activities include the Story Bridge adventure climb, rock climbing at the Kangaroo Point cliffs as well as bicycling some of the 17 miles of bicycle pathways. The nearby Australia Zoo, which was made famous by Steve Irwin, is located near the city. And, of course, there is shopping galore.
We were an hour late docking, but Patsy’s friends, Colin and Helen, were waiting for us at the pier. They drove us to Mount Coot-tha where we had a great view of Brisbane and its suburbs. We could see how the Brisbane River snaked its way to Moreton Bay. We could not see our ship since it was docked at Hamilton which about 9 miles or so east of Brisbane. Evidently, the bigger ships have to dock even further out.
We had something to drink at the restaurant and while we were sitting there a brush turkey made its way through the outdoor eating area looking for food either on the ground or for handouts. I got some good pictures of him. We also saw magpies and butcherbirds.
When we were through with our drinks, we drove partway down the mountain to the City Botanical Gardens. We visited the Japanese Garden which was quite lovely. It was small but had a sense of serenity about it. There we saw rock dragons. They are a kind of lizard. There were 3 altogether, and they were quite content to just pose for everyone who was taking pictures of them. We also saw sacred ibis. They were also quite tame and held their ground whenever anyone got near them.
We also visited the Fern House and the Succulent Gardens. I have never seen such big aloe versa. There were other kinds of cacti which looked a lot like barrel cactus. The staghorn fens were also bigger than any I’ve seen before.
After visiting the gardens, it was time for Colin and Helen to head home before the rush hour traffic began. They dropped us off at the CityCat station. The CityCat is a catamaran which runs up and down the river from the University (known locally as the Uni) to Hamilton. In a direct line, it probably about 15 miles or so, but the river snakes around so that the course if probably closer 20-25 miles.
We rode up-river to the Uni station and back down to the North Quay station. We got off there to visit King George Square which is located on the south side of the Treasury Building. From there, we got lost but finally found the ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Army Corp) memorial. It is dedicated to the ANZAC forces of various wars where ANZAC soldiers have fought. In the park located next to it, there are memorials for other wars including Vietnam.
We went back to the North Quay station where we boarded the CityCat again and took it to the station which is located near the ship. We arrived back on ship hungry and tired. We were in time to go up to Horizons on the top forward deck and have High Tea. We had a couple of small sandwiches, scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, a wonderful apricot tart and some almond crisps. That was to tide us over until dinner.
We came back to the room and laid down for a while. Patsy worked on identifying the birds we had seen (she will edit this and fill in the appropriate birds at each place) while I read. Because of the High Tea at 4:45, we didn’t go to supper until about 7. I again had a grilled lobster tail, grilled shrimp, escargot and, this time, a Caesar salad. Since I had already had dessert at High Tea, I passed on dessert.
We came back to the cabin and made an early night of it.