Gold Coast Day 4 (3 Jul 16) – Brisbane: Capital City of the Sunshine State of Queensland

We woke up early today to catch the sunrise over the ocean from the balcony of our apartment. Our plan today is to visit Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland on a Sunday for a few reasons. There are lesser traffic in the city and the parking is generally cheaper on weekends, as well as the presence of weekend markets. Brisbane is an hour drive away from Gold Coast on M1 motorway. For those without GPS, the signs are very well marked along the way.
Waiting for Sunrise over the ocean 
Sunrising over the horizon
Sunrising over the horizon
Sunrising over the horizon
Sunrise… all taken from the balcony of our apartment

Gold Coast Carrara Market

We stopped by one of the largest weekend market in Gold Coast, Carrara market prior to heading towards Brisbane. Carrara market is a mere 10 mins drive from our apartment in Surfers Paradise. The market has over 400 stores covering a 10 acre space. My first impression of Carrara Market is that it is a weekend market visited mostly by locals. There are hardly any tourists around (we might be the only ones). From the carpark, we headed to the outdoor section of the market. This area sells mostly clothings, fashion wears and souvenirs. The price of the good here are generally cheaper than what we have seen elsewhere. Walking amongst the maze of  stores in a somewhat disorganised manner (perhaps we have yet to get our orientations at the time we arrived at the market), we browsed from store to store to see what is sold in this market. Amongst these stores, there lies a huge wooden kangaroo which visitors can climb into its pouch for a photo. As we strolled in Carrara Market, we hit the indoor portion of the market. The indoor stores sells mostly fresh local farm produce, ranging from fruits to vegetables to meats. There are also some stores selling novelty items and more clothing stores in the indoor section. Emerging from the indoor section of the market, we crossed a bridge and found more outdoor stores selling clothing and a couple of food stores. There is also a small children playground here. We headed back from where we came from via another bridge, where we saw some sort of a reptile exhibits. My friend and I headed to one of the cafes for breakfast. The food here is tasty and service is excellent. After having breakfast, we decided that we had seen most of the stores, thus continuing our journey towards Brisbane.
Carrara Markets Signage
Taking a wefie at the carpark
This is the open area of the markets
We came across a large wooden kangaroo sculpture, one can climb into the pouch of the kangaroo via  the steps behind the kangaroo for photo
Carrara Markets opens on Sat and Sun
Some of the product offerings in Carrara Markets
More staffs on sale in Carrara Markets
There are around 10 cafes to have breakfast in Carrara Markets
The outdoor area of Carrara Markets
Taking a wefie at the outdoor area of Carrara Markets 
My friend buying strawberries. The things at Carrara Markets are generally cheaper
The indoor stores
Outdoor section of Carrara Markets
Carrara Markets

Mt Coot-Tha Lookout

Instead to heading directly to Queen Street Mall, we pass through Brisbane and headed to Mt Coot-Tha lookout. Prior to this trip, I read that Mt Coot-Tha offers a view of the entire Brisbane and Greater Brisbane. Following the signs along the way, we drove to the lookout. The Mt Coot-Tha lookout is a mere 2 mins walk from the nearby carpark. At the lookout, we passed by several cafes. As it is a weekend, there are a lot of locals coming here to enjoy a cup of coffee, catching up with their friends. From the lookout, we could see the whole of Brisbane city and the suburbs surrounding the city, as well as Brisbane River snaking through the city. Afar, the mountain ranges can be seen, forming the backdrop to the city. The view here is breathtaking, not only one can see the city itself, one can also see the nature from the lookout.
View of Brisbane City from Mt Coot-tha lookout 
Panoramic shot of the city
Panoramic shot of greater Brisbane
Taking a wefie at Mt Coot-tha lookout
Another wefie with the city as the backdrop
Close up view of Brisbane
Shot of greater Brisbane
As we were driving down towards Brisbane, we came across a sign that points to JC Slaughter Falls. I thought it might be interesting to see a waterfall here and decided to stop by the waterfall. We parked our car at one of the parking areas for the picnic area. As we were walking along the track, we came across a sign that points to the location of the waterfall. The sign indicated that JC Slaughter Falls is 550m from the carpark, we thought it would be a short walk from the carpark to the waterfall. Walking amongst the trees towards the waterfall is rather peaceful, as though we are walking in the forest of one of the national parks in Australia. Along the way we saw a stream that looked almost dried up. We ended up in a wooden platform area with a sign that indicates Aboriginal Art Gallery. From the platform, I initially did not see any aborigine art but a bunch of boulders and a stream with very little water flowing through. My friend pointed out to a snake painting underneath the boulder. This is when we went off track (it is very safe to walk on these rocks) and walked amongst the rocks towards the snake painting. Up close, we can see a rock with paintings of hand and another which had a human painted on it. The large white snake was painted on two rocks. The paintings looked amazing to have survived in here for a long period of time. After taking some pictures, we wanted to head towards JC Slaughter Falls, however when I saw the river that has hardly any water flowing through, I told my friend we might not see any waterfall. Hence we headed back to the carpark and drive towards Brisbane City.
On our way to JC Slaughter Falls 
Walking through this tranquil forest is a wonderful feeling
The air here is so fresh and I couldn’t believe we are only 20 mins drive from Brisbane
This makes a great Sunday morning walk
Taking a wefie along the way
At first we did not realise we are at the aborigine art gallery
Well take a wefie first
We took this path closer to see the aborigine art gallery
Aborigine art painted on the rocks
Aborigine art painted on the rocks
Last wefie at Mt Coot-tha before we head to Brisbane

Brisbane

Like most Australian Capital cities, Brisbane is very easy to navigate especially on foot. The city is organised in a grid pattern with Queen Street Mall being in the heart of the city. One very prominent building is the Myer Centre, which is huge departmental store that sells practically about everything. We parked our car at Myer Centre (A$10 per entry on weekends as of the writing of this blog) and made it around Brisbane on foot. On Queen Street Mall and around Myer Centre, there are no lack of shops that would satisfy the shopaholic in us. There is also a shop selling souvenir round the corner for those of us who wanted to bring a piece of Australia back to our home country. Head South from Myer Centre, across a road one would end up in front of Treasury Building. This classical 19th century Italian Renaissance styled sandstone building, formerly housed several government offices and currently is occupied by a Casino. If one has a chance to enter the casino, most of the interior of the building is still well preserved. Windows that stacked up to three storeys are still visible, it seem that the casino is planned without damaging the original architecture of the building.

Queen Street Mall is bustling with people on a Sunday 
Queen Street Mall is a pedestrian only mall located in the heart of Brisbane
We are at Queen Street Mall
Treasury Building just opposite Queen Street Mall
There is a flea market outside Treasury Building
Treasury Building, now the home of a casino
Taking a wefie in the square in front of Treasury Building
Treasury Building

South Bank is the heart of Brisbane’s cultural and lifestyle district and a great place to hangout especially during weekends. My friend and I walked across the Victoria Bridge to get to South Bank from Treasury Building. The landmark that is clearly visible once we are in South Bank is the Wheel of Brisbane, a  60m observation wheel that offers guests a panoramic view of Brisbane City. My friend and I skipped taking a ride in the Wheel of Brisbane and opted to stroll towards South Bank Pier 3 where we would catch the City Hopper cruising along Brisbane River. The stroll along South Bank seem like strolling in the park. The first part of the walkway is covered with trees and plants intertwining with the buildings creating perfect harmony between nature and buildings. We could see people strolling along the way, with some performing their arts along the way. At the end of the garden portion is a large piazza, which held a snow sledging activity during our time of visit. Passing the piazza, we ended up in Streets Beach, a man-made beach in the city. The Streets Beach is a paradise by itself. Ignoring the city landscape, if one were to look on the fine sands on this beach, one would not have known this is man-made. There are trees forming the landscape here and the beach is complete with a lifeguard on duty. Swimming in the man-made beach seem to be free as there did not seem to have any barriers around the beach.

View of South Bank from Victoria Bridge
Wefie on Victoria Street with South Bank at the background
Brisbane CBD from Victoria Bridge 
Brisbane River from Victoria Bridge
Brisbane CBD from South Bank
The Wheel of Brisbane
Wefie with the Wheel of Brisbane
The Wheel of Brisbane looked bigger from this angle
Walking in this part of South Bank, near the Wheel of Brisbane is like walking in a garden
There are some snow event in the piazza and it attracted a lot of people
Strolling along South Bank
Taking a wefie in South Bank
View of Brisbane River from South Bank 
Street Beach
Brisbane CBD from South Bank

South Bank Pier 3 is a little pass Streets Beach, where my friend and I boarded the City Hopper Ferry to cruise along Brisbane River. What other way to best see the city than cruising along Brisbane River that runs through the city. The free ferry service stopping at mostly residential areas along the river, comes at an interval of 30 mins apart and it took 1 hour to ply down the river. We waited 45 mins for our turn on the ferry. The upper deck, though chilly offers great view of the city along the river. Towards the final stop before the ferry turns around and ply upstream, we were treated to a view of Story Bridge, a steel cantilever bridge that stretch 1km connecting the northern to the southern suburbs of Brisbane. The ferry cruised underneath the Story Bridge, which presents a different but unique perspective of the bridge. From underneath the bridge, I was able to appreciate the grandeur and the massiveness of the bridge. We alighted the ferry at Eagle Street Pier and made our way on foot to Myer Centre on Queen Street Mall. Opposite the Eagle Street Pier, we saw the Cathedral of St Stephen. The cathedral looks historic and is best taken at dusk when the orange lights were switched on. We ended our day in Brisbane City in the Treasury Building before making our way back to our apartment in Gold Coast.

 

South Bank Pier 3 where we hopped onto the City Hopper Ferry service, which is complementary
The City Hopper Ferry that took us up and down Brisbane River
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
South Bank viewed from the City Hopper
We took the upper deck which offers better view of the city
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Eagle Street Pier
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Story Bridge seen from Brisbane River
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Cruising along Brisbane River on the City Hopper
Another perspective of Story Bridge on Brisbane River
We alighted at Eagle Street Pier and took a wefie with Story Bridge in the background
Eagle Street Pier 
Cathedral of St Stephen which is across from Eagle Street Pier
Cathedral of St Stephen
Walking in the streets of Brisbane
Entrance to Myer Centre
Walking in the heart of Brisbane City
Walking in the heart of Brisbane City
Queen Street Mall at night
Treasury Building is coated in red lighting at night 
Taking a wefie with Treasury Building at night
Wefie at Queen Street Mall at night
Driving on Story Bridge

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