Since it was winter and coldish in Melbourne, so we had decided back in July that would need to visit a warm place in August – so we headed north to Brisbane and the Gold Coast – I can’t figure out if Queensland is the the “Florida” or “Texas” of Australia….very independent and a similar reputation as Texas….but it’s a bit bigger than Texas.
Brisbane is the 3rd largest city in Australia and will be hosting the 2032 Olympics. Although Brisbane isn’t far from the ocean, the city is centered around the Brisbane River which snakes its way through the city. Ocean life is centered in the Sunshine Coast to the north and the Gold Coast to the south. We got in late on a Friday night and I had a work call back to the US so we didn’t get started touring until Saturday morning. We did long walk along the river (about 15,000 steps) and then took a boat ride on the river. Pretty relaxing day – Then we met a co-worker who drove us north up the coast to Redcliff for a nice dinner and we visited “Bee Gees” alley – the Bee Gees had grown up here. Redcliff was very nice, mostly low rise buildings, low key restaurants and bars, with a lot of trees right on the beaches, apparently similar to Sunshine Coast. While at dinner, they encouraged us to check out Gold Coast – a commuter train ride the other direction and then a light rail ride to and along the beach. It would be like taking the MARC to Ocean City.
The Gold Coast was Florida – a lot of high rises condos and really great beaches that are ideal for surfing. So we hopped off the light rail and the plan was to walk about 3-4 miles down the beach, stop a couple of times for supplies and refreshment, and then get back on the light rail returning back to the commuter train. The plan worked, except there was no restaurants on the beach or boardwalk – just endless condos. We got off the beach and walked back into a neighborhood where we round a deli – and the World Lawn Bowling Championships. Then back to the beach to continue walking – we never saw a place to grab a drink or anyone with a cooler and very rarely saw any umbrellas. So we get on the light rail and go back through the heart of town (about 4 blocks parallel to the beach) and that is where all the places are – and apparently it is the clubbing capital of Australia. So bummed that we missed some midday EDM.
Continued on the light rail, then the commuter rail, grabbed our bags and Ubered to the airport. Right after we settled in, our flight was delayed 3 hours. From 8pm to 11pm and it was now leaving 2 hours after any other scheduled flight – the reason stated was “crew”. “Crew” is apparently code for Quantas staff spontaneous industrial action. So we found a place where we could camp out and eat for a while – I decided that I needed some Tums so I went to the pharmacy (yes – pharmacy’s are common in airports outside US) and it had just closed -but the lady said if I was paying with card she’d let me in. So she took me to the heartburn area to show me the selection of options – I thanked her and paid and she said “its been a good day, what’s another 5 minute to help someone who will have a very long night”. I was looking for the candid camera. We then found another place with wine and cheese – they offered to stay open until we left – two hours later than normal and we said that wouldn’t be necessary but they insisted – but came back and told us our flight had been cancelled. So I went to the desk and Quantas claimed they called us (they didn’t) but they booked us in a hotel back in Brisbane. So we went back to Brisbane and it was a much nicer hotel that the HI Express that we had stayed in and I remembered from the boat ride I saw a rooftop bar nearby and had taken a picture – so we walked to the “Emporium” and expected to be rejected as we were way underdressed – but they said come on top and we got some good views of Brisbane.