What’s it all about?

This week is my first instalment about Brisbane. Follow me as I make my way from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, again using Australia’s trusty public transport. I’ll be writing about my first impressions and you’ll find out if the botanical gardens here compare to my favourite botanical gardens in Melbourne.

Brisbane: Getting there

If you read last week’s blog you’ll know that I was in the Gold Coast. Getting from the Gold Coast to Brisbane was SUPER easy! We were also really lucky that our first part of the journey meant collecting the tram from right outside our apartment – perfect! This is particularly convenient when you have your life on your back and it weighs almost as much as you!

The first leg of the journey was also only a brief 40 minutes to get from Surfer’s Paradise to the Helensvale. From here we were able to catch the train straight to Brisbane city. This journey was so laid-back, we were able to settle in and just watch the world pass by. We didn’t even pre-book our tickets, we turned up on the day and paid at the machine.

After around just an hour we’d arrived at Brisbane city and we soon realised we didn’t need to get off at the last stop, as we’d first thought, but instead we headed to one that looked closer to our accommodation (according to Google Maps). We didn’t realise just how close. We arrived at Roma Street Station and had Google maps at the ready to find our accommodation. As soon as we stepped outside the station we were shocked to be told by Google that we were at our destination. We looked across the street and there it was – we couldn’t have got much closer – don’t you just love when things come together so beautifully!

Brisbane: Settling in

So, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know for me, the first thing that I think when I get into my shiny, new apartment is…food. Off to the famous Coles Supermarket and to get the cookies that I had missed so much back in my life! This cookie pit-stop made me appreciate just how easy technology makes our life. I didn’t have enough on my travel card so all I had to do was transfer some funds over and within seconds I was able to pay for my shop. It’s so clever the things we can do in today’s day and age!


I cannot say enough how important it is to have a good travel card. I ordered an up and coming travel cash card and was so pleased I did. It was free to order and made me feel safe and meant I could also easily track my spending without a huge paper trail. Want to know more? Send me a message and I‘ll tell you all about it.

The next thing I do, again I don’t know about the rest of you or if it’s a woman thing to do as my partner never seems bothered, is to go through every cupboard in the apartment and find all the bits and bobs we can use. I then find myself moving to the light switches to discover which switch turns on which light. I can’t help but want to make each place feel like home for the short time we spend there. For me, just doing these weird little things makes me instantly feel more comfortable and less like a guest. This was all then followed by putting a fruit bowl on the table – again, another touch that I find just makes things feel homelier to me. What do you guys finds makes you feel at home?

Brisbane: City

The city area is pretty big here but it doesn’t feel crowded and feels relaxed. Even when we popped into the city on a Saturday, it had that ‘Sunday’ feeling about it. One Saturday there was even a violinist busking and it created the most content and calm atmosphere.

Every Wednesday you can find Reddacliff market. This quaint little market is full of cute farmers market stalls as well as an array of foods ranging from different cheese, nuts to fruit. We ended up buying some jerky and a selection of fruit whilst perusing here.

Unfortunately, the bad weather had followed us here and we heard there were monsoons nearby. So, wanting to still get out and explore we’d been given a recommendation to visit the Brisbane Museum. Brisbane is famous for its grand city hall. Once you’re inside you realise this place is pretty awesome! If you’ve ever been to the Royal Albert Hall the viewing hall reminded me of that. Though the museum inside the city hall is fairly small there’s so much to learn here and some great interesting interactive displays where you can find out lots of really interesting facts – for instance, I was so surprised that this place was where the Brits used to send their prisoners – not such a bad punishment hey? Also, they’ve had many floods here which explains why there are so man-made water ways.

Brisbane: Botanical Gardens

The gardens are a short walk from the city, taking only around 15 minutes to get to. Having seen Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens and falling in love, then Sydney’s Botanical Gardens which, in my opinion, did not quite compare, I wondered if the gardens here would trump them all. These gardens were lovely …. but for me Melbourne is still my number 1.

We entered the Garden at one of the many gates. Our gate was near the mini Bamboo forest area. This mini forest area was pretty cool. As we walked through I heard through familiar creaking sounds of the bamboo and it almost felt like the bamboo arch could fall at any point. There were also lots of birds inside here so there were some awesome sound effects going on.

We used the map of the gardens to try and find the Mangrove area to do the walk. After trying but not having much luck we asked a member of the staff. Sadly, they informed us that they had lost the mangrove walk during the 2011 flood but none of the maps had been updated. Instead, we walked along the river edge and saw the bridge.

Before leaving the gardens, we took a load off our feet and laid on the green (and very springy) grass and just let the sun warm us up.

What’s it like to work here?

As much as I adored our apartment here, as it really was in a great location, close to the city and close to transport links, it didn’t have free WIFI. Well, unless I wanted to sit in the Lobby and teach, which I think they would have been sick of.

With no free WIFI in the room, my local sim became my reliable work friend. I did find myself getting through a fair amount of  sim cards, but thankfully there were loads of competitive sim only deals in the city so if you find yourself in the same position, take a look around the city as I found some cracking deals!

What’s up next?

Next week I’ll be continuing my stay in Brisbane and writing about my trip around the city, visiting the Anzac memorial. I take in as much of the city as I can by bike and I write about the beach, in the city. Yes, there’s a beach not by the sea but in the city!

So, come along next week to find out more about the city that is Brisbane. 

If there’s more you’d like to know please do not hesitate to contact me. travellingteacher@iqbar.net .