Nov 19

I love Brisbane!

Whenever I travel I think about whether I would like living in a city that I’m visiting.  When I was in Brisbane, the answer was a resounding yes! While I liked Sydney and Melbourne, there was something special about Brisbane.

For those of you who don’t know much about Brisbane, it’s located between the Sunshine and Gold Coasts of Australia and from an outsider seems like the northern most “metropolitan” type of city in Australia.  Granted, I only went as far north as Cairns, but it’s my impression, wrong or right.
As my guide (who grew up in Brisbane) explained, Brisbane had pretty much been a small town until the 1982 Commonwealth Games and 1988 World Exposition, since then it has grown into a one of the bigger cities in Australia.

I spent 2 and a half days there, including a walking tour and some advance tips on things to do and places to go.

The feeling I got of the city was that it is was both a city and also a small town, it very much had a community atmosphere that is rare for a city.

Streets Beach, located along the Brisbane River, is on the surface just a manmade beach, but it felt like much more. It felt more like a community pool you would visit in the suburbs, but way cooler since it’s designed like a beach.

There are several shopping districts in Brisbane, and they seemed to cater to both the locals and tourists, perhaps because it’s a smaller a city, but it really seems to work.  It gives both types of shops a more authentic feel. Neither over run by busy locals or relaxed tourists.  I think the pace of this more low key city allows both types to blend together nicely.

Some of the logistics of the city make it a good location too.  Did I mention it’s between the gold and sunshine coasts? There is an international airport (it was actually my gateway to Australia), trains in all directions to a variety of destinations. I took the train from the Gold Coast up to Brisbane on a Sunday and it was an easy trip.

The weather seams ideal to a New Yorker who is sick of cold and snow! In reality the humidity would probably get to me, but the climate is pretty temperate.  I visited in late November, which is late Spring and although it could get hot there, it didn’t seem oppressively hot while I was there.  The winter temperatures also don’t get too cold and there doesn’t seem to be a threat of snow there either.  Checks all my boxes!

Last but not least, it does offer many of the things you want from a city – opportunities for theatrical performances, museums, businesses and industry.  But without the intense pace that sometimes overtakes a city.

So, if anyone wants to offer me a job in Brisbane, I’ll start packing my bags.

Nov 05

Taking a Walk on the Gold Coast

Picture it, you’re in Broad Beach on the Gold Coast of Australia and feel like taking a walk on the beach, you head north.  The next thing you know, Surfer’s Paradise is all of a sudden not far in the distance.  It’s only about 2 miles anyway.

Looking at Surfers Paradise

Of course that dismisses the idea of walking around Surfer’s Paradise or what happens when it rains…

All was well on the walk up to Surfer’s Paradise, and Surfer’s Paradise wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.  Maybe all the young people were still nursing hang overs or getting ready for a night out.

But then I noticed dark clouds to the south, where my hotel was. I did look a little harder in the gift shops so that I would have a plastic bag to put my phone in, incase of rain.  Then I hightailed it out of there!

The sky getting dark

Speed walking on the beach sounds great, until you’re doing it and chasing a dark cloud with lightening in it.  Eventually I got off the beach, figuring I didn’t want to be close to the water when I got closer to the lightening clouds and I might be able to walk faster on a sidewalk.

I’m happy to report I made it to the mall around the corner from my hotel just in time!  Then of course I was trapped in the mall and it was too early for dinner.  I did do some shopping to kill time, but apparently spring storms last longer on the Gold Coast than they do in Florida.

The lesson, find out how much a cab costs and suck up the cost! Or have an adventure, either works.  I do wish I had a bit more time in Surfers Paradise though.

May 21

Bondi and Manly Beaches

Even before I researched Australia I had heard of Bondi Beach, the famous one in Sydney.  It’s also the one where all the tourists go.  I guess compared to other Australian beaches it was “crowded” but compared to New York beaches, it was heaven.

Bondi Beach

While I was visiting with some local friends near Manly Beach they told me how they didn’t like Bondi Beach, it was mostly touristy and crowded. The husband admitted that he might know some men who hang out there for the female tourists, if you know what I mean.

I guess compared to some of the other beaches I saw in Australia, Bondi was kind of crowded.  However, I’ve been to Jones Beach in New York in the summer, and Australian’s don’t know crowded!

Bondi did have a touristy vibe and tons of touristy shops there. I guess I can’t argue the touristy element of the beach. But Bondi does have a lovely setting and pretty views.  It may not be a beach lover’s paradise, but I wouldn’t eliminate it as a choice either.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach

On the other hand I did visit Manly Beach, and quite honestly, I’m not sure it was much better.  There are a lot of touristy shops there as well.  The afternoon I was there the beach was quite busy, particularly with a lot of surfers.  I don’t know if that means it’s more or less touristy.  But Manly did seem to be a better choice if you want to learn to surf.

A pool overlooking Bondi Beach

One nice thing that Bondi does have is the cliff walk.  While I was there it was home of “Sculpture By The Sea,” which was cool in its own right.  But I even if there are no sculptures, the cliff walk is amazing!

If you’re going to visit the beach in Sydney (and you should), both beaches are lovely.  Depending on your style and interest, one might be better than the other. As for me, I’ll probably end up at the one that is more convenient to get to.