If you spend any time in Melbourne in the winter you’ll get pretty chilly and rained on, so I would heartily recommend a weekend away to warm and sunny Brisbane.
Our weekend started on a high note when we found ourselves sitting in row A of the aeroplane! Amazing. (From this vantage point you actually get to see the cabin crew ‘arm all doors and cross-check’!) Then before we knew it we were in Brisbane – a good few degrees warmer than Melbourne even at 10pm. We were staying with our lovely Melbourne house-mate, SJ (temporarily in Brissie for some research), and her apartment block was awesome – part hotel, part flats, very art deco – and slap bang in the heart of the city.
The weekend was a hoot from start to finish, especially our hilarious dinner at the United Service Club on Friday. We were SJ’s guests and attempted to dress snappily for the occasion, but upon entering the dining room it turned out Alex was not quite smart enough! The waiter/maître d’ almost let him off because we were the only people in the dining room, but then some other people turned up so Alex was sent off to find a jacket and tie from behind reception. It was just like Pretty Woman.
Alex returned some time later wearing a black blazer jacket thing and a grey striped tie, and then we tucked into a delicious meal incorporating a crisp white wine and some tasty lobster. It was only when we came to leave and Alex was doffing his borrowed clothes in order to return them that we realised he’d actually picked a ladies’ jacket!
On Saturday we headed upriver to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and it was fab! Apart from a plethora of koalas, including adorable little ones, we also saw kangaroos, emus, Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, goannas, wombats, kookaburras, platypus, snakes, frogs and dingoes! As far as I understand it, the only Aussie animals we didn’t see there were echidnas and sharks.
That evening it did in fact rain – as in a truly torrential downpour – but luckily we were in a restaurant at the time and it had stopped by the time we finished our meal, so we didn’t get in the least bit chilly or damp. In your face Melbourne!
The next day was beautifully sunny as we hopped on the city’s free bikes for a cycle along the impressive Brisbane River. Our first stop was brunch in James Street (with some spectacular views of Story Bridge on the way), then we scooted along under the Kangaroo Point cliffs, before finishing up at QAGOMA (the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art).
After checking out Richard Godfrey Rivers’s iconic Under the Jacaranda painting and seeing some beautiful Aboriginal art, we returned to SJ’s for a sit down and some cheese, and then hopped on the plane back to Melbourne. We managed to pack quite a bit into our 72 hours in Brisbane and left feeling enriched, inspired and most of all, warm!