Brisbane, Australia

The next morning I said goodbye to Katie and Emily, grabbed one last coffee from Cafe Jilarty and boarded the 5 hour greyhound bus to Brisbane. The journey went pretty quickly and before I knew it I was standing outside the Roma Street Station waiting for Carolyn and Simon to pick me up.

Carolyn was a paralegal at Stewarts back in London and Simon was in the firm’s general office team. We all worked together for about a year before these two moved across to Brisbane where Simon is originally from. I was so so so excited about seeing familiar faces!

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They soon picked me up and we drove off across to the  Mount Coot-tha lookout where we had amazing views across the city. We grabbed some ciders and had a massive catch up about their life in Australia and my travels so far. We stayed there until practically sunset – it was so nice to hear all about their life down under!

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We soon headed back to their flat in the Paddington neighbourhood of the city, stopping off on the way for dinner and drink supplies.

Carolyn made us a delicious Mexican meal which was so nice after living off backpacking food for the last 6 weeks. That evening it was the Australia v England rugby game so we decided with two of us being English and one of us being an Aussie it might be fun to make the match into a drinking game. With us having to down 7 shots of wine when the opposing team scored a try the night quickly escalated….!

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As a return favour I thought it was only fair to teach them a few of the drinking games I’d learnt on my travels. Safe to say we all slept pretty well that night.

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The next morning I was treated to a delicious breakfast of eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and kangaroo sausage. Yep. Kangaroo sausage. Well, when in Rome right!?

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We then all piled in the car and made our way to kangaroo point across Brisbane’s iconic Story bridge. Kangaroo point is a great coffee shop with brilliant views across the river and the city’s CBD. After sitting out for half an hour or so the city was hit by a torrential storm – it was crazy and showed no sign of stopping! You could barely see the skyscrapers across the river anymore!

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We ended up being a bit stranded because of the rain so just stayed at Kangaroo point for a couple more hours with plenty of coffee and chat to keep us going!

Miles was arriving into Brisbane that afternoon so it was soon time, regardless of the weather, for me to check into our hotel before I headed to the airport. Miles had booked us into a really cool hotel, the Limes Hotel, in the Fortitude Valley district of the city. I knew I wasn’t in a hostel anymore when I noticed the lobby’s literature was no longer coupon vouchers but copies of Monocle and Kinfolk.

The room was absolutely incredible. I honestly took a shower for almost an hour. Just because I could.

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Soon it was time for me to head to the airport to meet Miles, the rain was showing no sign of relenting – definitely a nice welcome to Australia for him! We reunited in the arrivals hall and hopped back in a cab back to the very flooded city!

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Miles was still fairly awake so we took full advantage and went for dinner at the cool restaurant next to the hotel; Alfred and Constance. 

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The next morning we woke up relatively early and headed back to Alfred and Constance for breakfast.  This was included as part of our room rate and was nothing like your bog standard hotel breakfast. I had sweetcorn fritters with field mushrooms and Miles went for the Eggs Royale. We had numerous cups of coffee and orange juice – it was amazing!

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Completely stuffed from breakfast we headed out and decided to wander round the city – even better the sun was out in full force!

We walked through the trendy area of James Street Market and enjoined a little wander through the shops (I went a little crazy with the testers in Aesop).

We found some cool little areas such as (Baker thing) and admired the old colonial buildings that are still apparent throughout the city. Miles and I both agreed that the city was felt like a mix between Austin and New Orleans.

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All walked out we headed towards the city’s South Bank area which, as it says on the tin, is a cool place to visit on the south of the river. It takes a good hour or so to walk up the length of this area but it’s so worthwhile. The first stop off we made was at the Epicurious garden which essentially was a free fruit and vegetable patch right in the centre of the city – you would never get a place like this in London. It would be destroyed within days. I couldn’t get over how amazing this place was – they had all sorts of herbs, exotic fruit, vegetables and salad items just growing in open beds. You could help yourself to the herbs growing in the pots but there was a ‘picking protocol’ for everything growing in the beds. You could come on certain days whilst volunteers were in the gardens and they would let you know what you could take. It was amazing.

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From there we walked along the bank (making sure we weren’t attacked by swooping birds which apparently can kill!) and made our way down towards the outdoor swimming pool, the rainforest walk and the Nepalese Pagoda. It was so lovely. We sat out for a little bit at the waters edge and enjoyed the view across into the CBD. Apparently at this time of year the rivers are full with bull sharks so I didn’t dare dip a toe in!

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We hopped across one of the city’s pedestrianised bridges and made our way into the CBD for a bit of a wander. I loved the way the old colony buildings and churches were still nestled alongside the modern skyscrapers. We wandered for quite a while before making our way back into the valley and grabbing a late bite to eat and a drink at the Wickham.

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We then made our way back to the hotel for a bit of a relax before getting ready for the night ahead.

We got the train over towards Caxton Street for a quick drink and dinner before walking up towards Paddington and meeting Carolyn and Simon for a few drinks – it was such a nice evening and the perfect end to our stay in Brisbane.

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Tomorrow we will be picking up our campervan which will be out home for the next three weeks and beginning our journey down south towards the town of Mudjimba and meeting up with Johnny, and old school friend of Miles’. Of course, one last breakfast was required at Alfred and Constance before the big trip began…

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