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All About Brisbane

agentlerain pointed out after my bookstore post that I don't actually post much about Brisbane, and that if I wanted to entice people to visit I needed more photos and stories to lure people in. This seems a bit cruel, now that I can no longer offer free accommodation to visiting friends, but what the hey.  I've gone trawling through my back catalogue of Brisbane-related pictures to rectify this gross injustice (and hopefully also prompt P-chan to make her Wai-Con post.)
There's a great lack of organisation or point to the post, but if you've ever been curious about Brisbane, here you go.
This is the obvious picture to start with:

This sign is more fun until you read the small text.
Melbourne isn't the only city to have nonsensical animal sculptures in various places!  Brisbane can do it too!  This store doesn't even have anything to do with horses.  It sells house paint and window tinting solutions.
Not to be outdone, this is the BMW/Mini car sales centre in luxury car lane.  Clearly, when thinking of the best way to advertise your car, the solution is 'I know, let's just stick one of the cars to the side of the building.'  There used to be a hazardous tower of them four high on the corner but the council probably killed that one, or maybe they got spooked by a spring hailstorm.  The cool part is, the headlights even light up at night!  It has surely confused more than a couple of drivers going down Brunswick St at midnight.

Everybody acted all surprised when Brisbane flooded, but considering this creek is right next to a major road is it any surprise that for the better part of a week Brisbane became an inland archipelago?
Actually, everything in Brisbane sort of revolves around the river, probably because while most rivers this close to the mouth have started making a nice straight run for the ocean, Brisbane river got drunk and made a series of loopy Ws
I think this sculpture was fairly inspired by it.  Or possibly the result of a car crash.

So when they needed a new expressway, rather than try and work around the river, the engineers figured it would be simpler to build the road on it.  Hence, the Riverside Expressway.

Like any city, there is lots of wildlife that have adapted to the change in habitat with relish. Bush turkeys are endemic to suburban backyards, building compost mounds for their eggs which are almost impossible to get rid of under their endless attention and seeming ability to procure dead leaves and mulch from the rift.

There are also opossums a-plenty walking the powerlines at dusk, and occasionally stealing food from unwary porch barbeques.  I'm also fairly certain there is one living in our roof currently, if the spitting opossum fights in the backyard at night and the skittering of claws and thumping in the ceiling are anything to go by.  This particular opossum crashed my brother's wedding reception and proceeded to feast.  He was tame enough that he would very delicately but very firmly reach out and take food straight from your hands and then methodically eat it right there in front of you, then reach out expectantly for more.  He's a regular visitor these days and is reaching such an ungainly size that the powerlines would be fairly sagging under his weight by now.
There are also ibis everywhere.  They're like giant pigeons.  It is fairly hilarious to watch them try to drink from puddles on the ground.  Hours of entertainment right there.

In the main street every Friday night and during the day on the weekends, there are free performances put on.  Normally it's a concert band or music group of some sort, though occasionally you'll also get a fashion show or some other kind of performance routine.  This was a local wind and brass group made up of people who grew too old for the Queensland Youth Orchestra but wanted to keep playing in their spare time.  They do a smashing instrumental version of 'The Rhythm of Life'.
That's the Treasury casino.  In this picture they'd lit it up for Christmas.  Normally they coordinate with the Ferris wheel and QPAC theatre so all the buildings match.

Case in point.  Until recently they've all been lit up green for Wicked.  Last week they moved onto blue for Dr Zhivago coming in July!  We get musicals later than everyone else, but when we DO get them it's a big deal.

That's Brisbane's Ferris wheel!  It's not very large, but it looks pretty next to the river.  It has not yet fallen under the curse, as no doubt P-chan and I need to combine our powers to shut it down for good.  Considering it's being sponsored by Channel 7 and thus has a big giant red 7 in the centre, it would be a mercy killing, surely.

If you're feeling depressed, there's no better place to go ruminate than the riverside in Southbank on a weeknight.

Interlude! Daredevil window washer!

The majority of cafes and restaurants in Brisbane are franchise or chain restaurants, but occasionally you'll find a neat little indie place. Kerbside is such a place - a sort of bar/cafe hidden away in Fortitude Valley between a pub and a construction site. Their sandwiches are decent for the price, but their beverages are amazing. Even their ordinary old juice is fantastic. You go here for espresso or milkshakes or mixed drinks, not the food.

The beverages, that is, and the atmosphere. Upon 'entering' through the garage door, you'll be greeted by strains of jazz piping through the speakers, walls covered in vibrant graffiti, and a mishmash furniture apparently collected from garage and fire sales. They have every type of chair you can think of to sit on, from 1950s wooden kitchen stools, to office chairs, to lawn furniture, to worn old vinyl couches, to wicker lounges, a garden swing, or even two rows of padded airport seating.

I'm very fond of it, not entirely because it's the closest place to eat within walking distance of work.

In the city centre, there's also The Tea Centre! It is exactly as advertised.  It's hidden in a new L-shaped sort of alleyway across from the Myer Centre.  It's fairly good value - $4 for a pot of whatever type of tea you can possibly dream of, plus honey and milk on hand to fix your drink to your content. You can get two to three cups out of a single pot, so the best thing to do is go with a bunch of friends, each order a different pot of tea and swap as you please, wiling away a pleasant hour. Their biscuits are also to die for, but once you start buying those the whole affair goes from deliciously cheap to high-tea-expensive.

Southbank is where you want to go for desserts. It's got Max Brenner, Movenpick, and more recently Gelare, a new ice-creamery! This is an honest-to-goodness banana split from there. Hadn't had one of these since the ice-creamery in my hometown closed back when I was just a kid. It did not disappoint. Their ice-cream has a very interesting texture, it's almost gelato but not quite.
Gelare's true speciality, however, is their waffles. Best waffles in town, hands down.

In a sudden change of topic, is this the devil emerging from beneath the concrete in front of this office building?  What are they trying to say here?

City hall! It's also the city council logo. The hall is sometimes used for concerts and performances, and normally the mayor's office and several associated services are in here too. You can even take a trip up to the bell tower for free! At the moment, however, it's closed for renovations to stop the whole building inexorably sinking into the ground.  During the renovations, they discovered a whole pre-1900s street!

No idea what the hell this is. It's like some sort of weird modern Stonehenge. Apparently it's called 'The Joule', which means my current guess is that it's some sort of super lightning attractor. Have not yet ruled out the possibility of either a giant laser or spaceship hidden underneath.

Brisbane often tries to bill itself as a 'new world city', but a closer description is probably more along the lines of 'a big country town'. Case in point. This train stop, complete with grass growing over the tracks, is a mere ten minutes from the city centre.

It isn't actually abandoned. A train rumbles through about once an hour, on the way to the racetrack at Doomben.  Which is, incidentally, the coolest name of a suburb ever.

Most of the train stations look like something circa 1940s, actually. Makes you want to dress up in victorian regalia and chase after the train clutching a beaten leather suitcase. This is one of major connecting train stations in Brisbane. The train is still signalled by a whistle here. *_*

In an effort to diversify transport, the council recently set up bike stations to rent bicycle everywhere! They sort of sprouted up almost overnight, like mushrooms no one saw coming. Everyone calls them the Lipton bikes. Proof Lipton's marketing dollars were well spent.

This is Southbank. There's always something going on at Southbank, be it free outdoor movie screenings, live music, markets, or some kind of weird exhibit up in a tent. It's more or less the cultural hub of Brisbane.

Hence it's the best place to find nonsensical yet vaguely pretty structures. Like this pair of fly wings in front of the Science Centre. It's also where all the art galleries and theatres and museums are located.

In the corridor between the Queensland Museum and the State Library, there's a family of to-scale humpback whales!  During the day, you can sit in here and listen to recordings of whale song echo through the corridor.  It's a great deal cheaper and more convenient than actual whale watching.
The coolest thing about the Queensland Museum is, of course, the kids' dinosaur playground.  Desperately need to come here one day dressed up in Tezuka cosplay.
Mighty though T-Rex is, his tiny little arms are poor protection from the pigeons pooping on his head.
Southbank also has a bunch of pavilions and structures ostensibly left over from World Expo 88.
Including the long winding arbour covered in bougainvillea.  It's a lovely walk, especially if you have half an hour to kill before the movies.

Another place of interest, if you're into parks (I'm certainly into parks), are the Roma Street Parklands a few blocks north of the city centre. They're half carved into side of a hill, so if you climb up to the higher levels you can experience the weird effect of being surrounded by nature and greenery and yet also being able to clearly see the city the minute you turn around.

Complete with waterfalls!
This is the feature garden, with enough different kind of flowers to give hayfever sufferers nightmares.
The Stairway to Knowledge~! 
Whoever imagined it would be so shallow?
This was at the top of the Stairway to Knowledge. I don't get it either.
One of the main entrances to the Parklands. It looks awesomely dodgy from this side. Less like an entrance to a family-friendly parkland, and more like an entrance to a nature prison. With raptors. Possibly a wild Predator.
Water dragon! Cute little guys. Marginally less stupid than the bearded dragons we get everywhere further up north - one of those tried to bite through my steel-toed boots once, never mind that the slightest of kicks would have sent him flying twenty metres through the air. Makes it difficult to coax them out of the path of a lawn mower.

Another really cool bookstore! It is, as the name implies, ENTIRELY concerned with genre fiction. None of the trash you get in the regular chain stores, either - it's like the entire stock has been hand-picked to cater to my tastes!  *_* There's a whole section of shelving dedicated entirely to Terry Pratchett.  Half the store alone is sci fi and fantasy! It has the best range hands-down of the 'classic' sci-fi authors like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ron Hubbard and Philip K. Dick. Modern authors, too - the whole Jim Butcher catalogue at your fingertips. Love this place to pieces.
This is the eternal flame in ANZAC Park. Supposedly. I've seen it go out a couple of times (when it rains, it POURS).
Central Station! Or rather, the entrance to Central Station that hardly anyone uses. Like most Central Stations, it has tunnels extending like long fingers under several city blocks, where you emerge into sunlight confused about where the hell you are and how on earth you got there.

This is the Gotham City Building! Well, that's the colloquial name. Someone shone a bat signal on it once to be funny. Ten years ago, it was a lot more impressive as it was one of the tallest buildings in town, but now you can't even see the top of it from any angle other than this one.
I have a lot of pictures of this building, apparently.
One of the several foot bridges crossing the river. Given the expense of building a bridge, it seems odd to then limit its use only to pedestrians and cyclists, but who knows how those nefarious minds in government work.
Chinatown!  The real Chinatown these days has technically migrated to Sunnybank - this Chinatown just has the trappings of the architecture and a bunch of related stores and restaurants. Sunnybank, on the other hand, is awesome. It has Breadtop, and Icey-Ice, and stacks of great restaurants with cuisine from all over Asia. It's even getting a Mos Burger, how awesome is that?
That said, old Chinatown still has its merits. We regularly get busloads of tourists from Hong Kong through there, and could never figure out why until we remembered that Jackie Chan filmed part of First Strike here. Doubtful that much of the architecture would be recognisable after all the renovations, though.
One touristy thing Brisbane likes to shill is Lone Pine Sanctuary, which is basically a massive free range petting zoo filled to the brim with Australiana.
It's an obligation for anyone remotely famous passing through Queensland to stop here and get their photo taken cuddling a koala. No exceptions. 
Bush turkey! Knew there had to be a picture of one in here somewhere. A friend of a friend caught and killed one to eat once, apparently they taste fairly disgusting, which might be why they seem to wander around with no fear of predators.  And can take twenty minutes to hopelessly try, and fail, to fly over a fence, over and over and over again. (Not that you're technically allowed to hunt them anyway - just about every native animal in Australia is protected bar the kangaroo.)
Lorakeets. They gather by the hundreds in certain spots throughout the city every day at sundown, and proceeded to screech their tiny heads off for an hour. I'm fairly certain these were the birds to inspire Chidori.
At Lone Pine you can also see a sheep herding demonstration! These are always fun to watch, especially when the dogs start jumping along the backs of the sheep. The dogs are disturbingly smart.  And sheep are really, really, dumb.
One thing I really like about Brisbane are the City Cats - 'Cat' being short for 'Catamaran'. These are essentially ferries that bus people up and down and across the river. They keep a fairly tight timetable too, presumably because there is not so much traffic to worry about in the river.
This is part of the Martyr Hill hospital complex - it sticks out rather strangely amidst all the massive modern glass and plastic buildings in the area. 
One nice thing about Brisbane is that we regularly have spectacular sunsets.
We also have Jacarandas blooming absolutely everywhere in September. Jacarandas are like Australia's cherry blossoms, only instead of going to have a party under them everybody complains about having to clean them off their cars.
This is the new exhaust stack that just went up down the road, for one of the many in-progress road tunnels burrowing under Brisbane. We must cherish it while it is new and shiny and the mother-of-pearl effect still looks intentional and less like a result of oil residue buildup.
You may be noticing a trend in Brisbane architecture. Also, this is an absolute failure of 'secret unnderground bunker entrance'. Wreath it in bright colours!  (Taken under the Riverside Expressway).  I desperately want to know what is behind this door.
That's the city library (among other things). The interior decor is just as full of skew rectangles as the exterior.
This bridge is known to the locals only as the 'Spiky Bridge'. Presumably it has some other, official name, but nobody will ever know or remember what it is. A bit of trivia - when developers surveyed the native Aboriginal tribes about the area, turned it out it was simply the local dialect's word for 'spiky'. Brisbane is quite hilly in parts, a side effect of being at the topmost edge of the Great Dividing Range and near the Glasshouse Mountains.
This looks strangely steampunk. I lingered by the shore for a good fifteen minutes, waiting to see if a diver in clockwork scuba suit would surface.

There this store at the base of Mount Gravatt that sells gourmet pies. It's called Piefection. And yes, that is the Pi symbol. MADE OF WIN. They even tell you what cut of meat is used in the pie (lamb rump, beef ribs, chicken breast etc), and almost all of them involve some sort of braising in alcohol, from Jack Daniels to Bundy Rum to Fosters Beer. It's actually kind of amazing this hasn't taken off as a national chain yet, given Australians' fondness of both meat pies and alcohol. :|
But the most important thing to remember about Brisbane is, we keep a sense of humour about things.
Really, putting this sign up in the Valley, also known as the nightclubbing and adult stores district, was just asking for this.

So that's a slice of Brisbane, summarised, for anyone who might have wondered what it's like!  \o/



( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2011 11:43 am (UTC)

No seriously, so much stuff I want to talk about! The LJ sign! (We have LJ. Hooker, do you?) YES TO THE FERRISWHEELING. >:DD

The Chinatown fish is strangely familiar. Have you shown it before? Have we spotted it somewhere in another city?

Museum area is like Jurassic Park! *__*

Makes you want to dress up in victorian regalia and chase after the train clutching a beaten leather suitcase. CLEARLY, WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FOR THE NEXT SUPANOVA. Oh bother, you have yours in warm weather.

Lipton bikes! *__* Free to ride or costly?

You seem to have a lot more fauna than here. We only have birds and the occasional kangaroo an hour drive out. :D AND SO THAT IS THE BUSH TURKEY. I can see why it's not so tasty, so skinny!


Jacarandas, so true! I love them though, but I'd be pretty tired if I had one in my garden I suppose, haha!

Apr. 15th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC)
XD Yes of coursewe have LJ Hooker too! Including the horrifyingly effect advertising jingle.

A Ferris Wheel right here, ripe for the slaughter!

Possibly I have posted the fish before, I cannot remember?

No idea how much the Lipton bikes cost to ride, I never learned to ride a bike so their presence is purely academic for me. :D

Really?! Never would have thought so. You probably have lots of fauna but you just don't notice it?

YES OF COURSE, when you come we will definitely visit Kerbside! \o/ Hahahaha, my evil plan is working!

Seriously didn't realise Gelare was a chain restaurant, SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT FRANCHISES?
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
What an informative guide! I didn't know that Brisbane was built around a river, which kinda makes the floodings less of a mystery.

The bookstore sounds interesting, and Gelare is a pretty big chain, I think I saw some outlets in Singapore too.

Glass buildings that reflect the sky are awesome~

I like the photo of spiky bridge, as well as those of the animals and sunset! The city library looks like part of Federation Square in Melb =D
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:37 pm (UTC)
I thought most cities were built around rivers! Not so?

Had no idea about Gelare until a couple of months ago, that's amazing!

Brisbane probably copied Fed Square in Melbourne. We do that a lot.
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)
PARTY IN BRISBANE, Y/Y? It's closer than Perth, ahaha *SHOT*

It is terrible that I looked through your photos and went "that would make such a good photoshoot location!" at half of them? *___* But everywhere looks so shiny and gorgeous - I especially like the random pagoda and the bougainvillea paths.
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
Woo! \o/

XD A true cosplayer at heart!
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
BRISBANE LOOKS AMAZING <3 <3 SOMETIME SOON. I THINK I'M GOING TO HAVE TO VISIT and drag as many unsuspecting victims as possible with me *__*

FOSDFJSOIFJ. I now officially want to visit every single place you posted a photo of. + everything else *___*

And lawwlllll. I am also guilty of Karen's photoshoot location thing =D;;;;; Saa. Cosplayers. Cannot stop thinking about things =3;

Apr. 15th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
XD If I knew this was all it took I would have made this post ages ago!
(no subject) - silver_lined - Apr. 15th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animesque - Apr. 15th, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Apr. 15th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Hey fellow Brisbanite! lol. I've lived near Brisbane all my life but I still saw things in this post I've never seen before. You did a wonderful job of showing off our little city and it all made me feel I need to get off my ass and visit the city more often.

May I put up a link to this post on my LJ page for my friends to check out please? You've done such a wonderful job and pictured such interesting things from Brisbane that I know I would never be able to do half as good a job of showing off our city. You've managed to find the pearls amongst the seaweed, definately.

Apr. 17th, 2011 11:01 am (UTC)
Hey! \o/ I forget that there actually ARE other Brisbanites on the flist sometimes, LOL.

This isn't even everything I wanted to include! But apparently I haven't taken any pictures at the Kangaroo Point cliffs or the Powerhouse or West End or Sunnybank or Mt Cootha/Mt Gravatt. And lately I've been checking out Hamilton/Eagle Farm area and there are some cool things hidden away there too. You gotta explore! It's easy to rag on Brisbane, but we've come a long way in the last ten years!

And you're welcome to link it, go right ahead!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2011 11:09 am (UTC)
XD It doesn't take much to sell you on visiting places. OK, I AM RELYING ON YOU TO DRAG EVERYONE UP HERE SOMETIME.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 16th, 2011 05:02 am (UTC)
The Joule looks like a giant trampoline enclosure, how creepy. *_*;

AHH, MOS BURGER? DD: JEALOUS. also, your ibis and opossum plague ahaha~ xD;; ♥ (just ...so long as they don't die in your roof/walls it's all good. ._. h-haha...)

your shallow! stairway to knowledge also cracked me up. xD xD ♥ aww, brisbane. *_*; i went, um. some ten years ago or something. with my uncle. but did not see any of this cool stuff at all. :0! TIME FOR A RE-VISIT, PERHAPS. 8DD
Apr. 17th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC)

ASDLFJSLAKJF YES, A MOS BURGER, ISN'T IT BRILLIANT? *_* Clearly you'll have to come visit and eat there! :D

Definitely, I moved here about ten years ago and it has changed a LOT since then. Or maybe it's just that we as people have changed, and different things appeal to us? Hmmm.
(no subject) - fire_ban - Apr. 19th, 2011 09:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 18th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
Please excuse me while I come out of the shadows and reveal WHAT A FUCKING STALKER AND FANGIRL I AM.

I was just dropping by your lj because I've only re read 5th act EIGHT MILLION TIMES... And realised you're from Brisbane! HNNNNNG. This makes me so happy.

I feel obliged to treat you to dinner during the next con I'm in Brisbane for... To pay you back for the many hours of wondrous reading you have given me!!!

There may be a lot of fangirling and worship tho.... <3
Apr. 18th, 2011 10:27 am (UTC)
Another Aussie?! Awesome! \o/ I think you've missed out for Brisbane cons for the year, though. There's only really mini-Animania left?

The funny part is, I was just in Sydney only yesterday. XD
(no subject) - cattypatra - Apr. 18th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Apr. 18th, 2011 10:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cattypatra - Apr. 18th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Apr. 18th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 28th, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)

Desperately need to come here one day dressed up in Tezuka cosplay.

I wholeheartedly approve.
May. 6th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
This is exactly just what I need. I'm going to Brisbane in a few hours! (I'm from the Philippines, btw) And we're planning to visit some relatives and chill at Gold Coast. I'm so exited to catch some waves! Admittedly I haven't checked your LJ in a while and just when I had nothing to do, I remembered that you're from Australia and that you might have some stuff about it. Lo and behold, I think I shall be looking for some of the places there in your pictures. And maybe stalk you some more (of course I'm kidding), I'm already happy cyber stalking your new fanfic posts or drabbles. ^____^
May. 7th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
Awesome! Hope you have a great time. Ha, I was actually going to make a Gold Coast post sometime soon too, but sounds like it will be too slow to help you out! :P

Re: BRISBAAAAAAAAAAAAANE - ichinonaru - May. 19th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: BRISBAAAAAAAAAAAAANE - sinnatious - May. 19th, 2011 01:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: BRISBAAAAAAAAAAAAANE - ichinonaru - May. 22nd, 2011 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Jacky Sutcliffe
May. 13th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that. I like your humour on each picture and it has made me decidedly homesick.brisbane needs to be promoted for the great place it is.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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