On our last day in Brisbane we wanted to get among those beautiful jacaranda trees. Rather than heading in our usual direction we walked up and over the ridge south of Franklin Street, admiring the houses – most were traditional Queenslander style, but where there were modern houses, many were thoughtfully designed, with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The City Cat wasn’t free, but covered a longer route than the City Hopper and took us all the way to New Farm Park. The jacaranda there was certainly pretty but the park layout was unimaginative, and views of the trees were always cluttered by parked cars, lamp posts and benches. They desperately needed some Japanese landscape gardeners. Next to the park an old power station had been turned into a centre for arts and performance, but the building was quite small and not of particular interest – but I suppose I’d been expecting something like Battersea or the Tate Modern.
Alighting from the return boat near South Brisbane railway station, we went to cash in our Go cards, Brisbane’s version of the Oyster card – it had given us about 30% off all our bus journeys, the City Cat, and the train to Cleveland, so had been well worth getting even for a short stay.
Then it was time to pick up some food for the plane back to Bali, pack, and phone Amex who had taken it upon themselves to cancel my direct debit. The $40 SIM we’d bought in Darwin primarily for data had, bizarrely, come with $750 of call credit, so we’d made several long calls to the UK.
An 09:00 flight meant an 05:50 pick up by the shuttle bus. No door-to-door service this time, but it wasn’t far to the guesthouse pick-up point. The airport was incredibly busy, with hundreds of Asian tour group passengers, but security was well managed, with a longer than usual conveyor belt (so you got time to dig out your laptop etc) and staff making sure people moved along efficiently and were prepared.
I hadn’t been looking forward to this flight of 6:15 hours in a standard seat. But at the last minute a single extra leg room seat had freed up and we took it even though it would mean sitting separately – at least we could time-share it. But once on board Mr V managed to swap seats, so we were at least only across an aisle – and the flight only actually took 5:30 hours. It was sobering though to look at the flight tracker after 3 hours and realise that we were still over Australia. It’s a big place. Really, really big.