ROAD TRIP FROM BRISBANE TO SYDNEY

DAY TWO

Our second day in Brisbane started with a leisurely breakfast at a cafe situated near the hotel. Erika had booked a walking tour with Brisbane Greeters Free Tours where enthusiastic local volunteers with bucket loads of historical information are excited about showing their city to both locals and visitors. The three of us joined three other tourists at 10:30 and with our guide set out on a very hot, humid morning. At each point of interest we stopped, often in full sun, while information was given. At one of these stops I asked a question and immediately knew that I must not do that again as I proved that the information did come in bucket loads – actually the bucket was overflowing! Very interesting, BUT … After 2 hours there were just three of the group left. Nadine had gone to the shops and an Asian couple departed leaving a gentleman from Holland and the two of us. We continued but indicated that we would have to leave soon and it still took another half hour before we felt it appropriate to make the break. Places of Interest –

Brisbane City Hall is truly one of the symbols of the city. The original building, designed in the Classical style, was built between 1920 and 1930. After closing for extensive renovation (worth $215 million) in 2010 Brisbane’s grand old dame re-opened for business in 2013 in all her restored glory. King George Square is Brisbane’s premier public square located in front of City Hall. The Clock Tower has been in operation since the opening of City Hall in 1930 and is 87.47 meters high.

Albert Street Uniting Church at the corner of Albert and Ann Streets is heritage listed. It was built from 1888 to 1889. In 1907 the church became known as the Central Methodist Mission in recognition of its wider responsibilities as the main Methodist church in the city. St. John’s Cathedral of Neo-Gothic ‘grand design’ is in the Anglican diocese of Brisbane. The Cathedral itself is a renowned Brisbane landmark where diverse people gather to worship, celebrate, seek solace, converse and learn. With Christmas only a few days away the church was dressed with an amazing Nativity scene which was totally constructed using cardboard.

Hoyts Regent Building – Regent Theatre was a heritage listed cinema at 167 Queen Street (on Queen Street Mall). The Regent Theatre was constructed as the first and only American-style picture palace to be built in Queensland. It reflects the opulence and grandeur of the great Hollywood era and was one of many operated by Hoyts in Australia. It has been restored and now houses the Visitor Information Centre. Brisbane Arcade is a heritage listed shopping Arcade at 160 Queen Street through to Adelaide Street. It was built in 1923 on the site of notorious confessed murderer Patrick Mayne’s butcher shop. It is a splendid Edwardian baroque alley of shops.

After making contact with Nadine and enjoying a late lunch we were on our way to Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha, Queensland’s premier subtropical botanic gardens. The 52 hectare gardens, located at Toowong are open every day of the year and entry is free. We decided that an Uber would be our transport to the gardens as we wanted to make the most of the time we had there. We both love to be in a garden and this was certainly a beautiful, tranquil place.

Another Uber ride and we were at Mt. Coot-tha Lookout and Kiosk which was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in l995. It was built from 1918-c.1950. It is also known as One-Tree-Hill. Panoramic views over the CBD stretch as far as Moreton Bay. We sat, relaxed and took in the view back over the city as we had our evening meal.Sunset saw us calling another Uber to take us back to our accommodation in central Brisbane.

A most informative, enjoyable day – DAY THREE will follow

 

A TOUR OF LONDON

SUNDAY 7TH MAY

This morning after an 8 o’clock Continental breakfast the three of us set out to Victoria Station to purchase Oyster Cards and then to the Underground in order to be at Covent Garden for a free Walking Tour. Erika, wearing her Tour Guide hat, had pre-booked for the English tour starting at 10 o’clock. Our Leader was David who had great historical knowledge and a dramatic bent which when combined gave an excellent presentation. He was very aware of all in the group and managed to keep us together in some very busy places, especially outside Buckingham Palace where we saw the bands leaving after the Changing of the Guard ceremony (unplanned).

At the completion of the Tour many showed their appreciation with a monetary donation and then the Slug and Lettuce was suggested for lunch. We enjoyed the break as we had been walking for 3 hours.

The morning was fine with a cloudy sky but by afternoon we had blue sky and sunshine for our visit to Kensington Palace (grounds only) in the beautiful sunken garden to which many white flowers have recently been added in memory of Diana – now referred to as The White Garden.

A Visit to Harrods was interesting but I will have to review that at another time.  Good use was made of the Oyster card as we travelled the underground and then chose double-decker bus transport for the journey back to the Hotel.  Many,many steps walked today. This was a day well-filled with London highlights and many great memories enjoyed in good company.