As we boarded a train from Melbourne to Brisbane, a journey of over 1000 miles, we wondered what on earth had possessed us to do such a thing. Perhaps, when we booked the tickets back in the UK, we hadn’t grasped quite how big Australia is. Perhaps we harboured romantic notions of travelling overland and watching the scenery roll by. Perhaps we didn’t realise that you can fly from Melbourne to Brisbane in just 2 hours, for less than the cost of a train ticket.
And so it was that we arrived in Brisbane at 5am on a Sunday morning, 2 days after leaving Melbourne, and after 2 nights of trying (and failing) to find an adequate sleeping position in a train seat. Luckily my friend Ben was kind enough to offer us his spare room, and so we spent the remainder of the morning revelling in the luxury of horizontal slumber.
We had several days to explore the city, and we decided that the best way to do this was on two wheels. On the first day we headed out on a tandem which Ben had borrowed for us, and travelled along the excellent riverside cycle tracks and boardwalks. Although novel, the tandem weighed a tonne, making it impossible to ascend anything more than a slight incline, and so the next day we switched to two regular bikes. This made life a lot easier, though it was still a hard grind up to the city viewpoint of Mt Coot-tha, particularly with one of us on a fixie! Our efforts were rewarded with a superb view (and ice cream).
Overall we had a really pleasant, relaxed time in Brisbane, after a fairly frantic couple of weeks. It was brilliant catching up with Ben, staying in a house rather than a hostel for once, and getting to know his lovely housemates. There are several good museums and art venues which we had the chance to visit, and we soaked in the city’s laid back atmosphere and plentiful sunshine. We also managed to catch up with some other old friends during our stay, which was really nice.
From Brisbane we are moving south to the Blue Mountains, a world famous climbing area near to Sydney. Unfortunately we won’t be travelling by train this time, so will have to make do with just one hour of passing scenery, 30,000ft below us.