Could you use a night off? Would you enjoy 24 hours off from the kids, the household chores and the lists of things you should be doing?
Me too and, thanks to a strange traveler, I just got the chance to spend a night in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland and Australia’s third biggest city after Sydney and Melbourne.
Not quite one night in Bangkok, where I once spent more like 100 nights, but still great excitement for a country mouse like me.
Even though my home’s a 90 minute drive from Brisbane, I’ve only been there a few times in the two years I’ve lived in Australia. Once to get my shipped goods cleared by customs, once to show my mum round and once for a tweet up with some hot Aussie bloggers. Sad isn’t it?
But due to a happy turn of circumstances, and the aforementioned strange traveler (who turned out to be an angel, read more here) I recently spent one whole night in Brisbane with the Mucho Man (my hubby, check him out here). We were lucky that our kids could stay at home in the care of someone we’d only met the week before, but who rapidly become an honorary and favorite family member.
After checking in to the Riverview Hotel (I’ll do a mini hotel review in a later post), then immediately checking out of one room, and into a better room with the promised Brisbane River view, we hopped straight back in the car to explore.
We wanted to visit Fortitude Valley or “The Valley” as locals call it. Fortitude Valley is one of those areas all cities have which used to be seedy and run down, but is now hip and happening.
We nosed around a little market, read a lot of menus in eager anticipation of eating out and observed people from all walks of life. I guess I’m sheltered living in Noosa, but it’s amazing how many different people in all shapes and favoring all fashion styles live in the city.
Brisbane really has that gritty city feel you just don’t get in a chi chi holiday resort like Noosa and that’s fun.
Next we zipped off to the Queen Street Mall in down town Brisbane where I did a bit of window shopping (or window licking as the French call it) while the Mucho Man had a beer and watched the world go by.
Then we nipped back to the hotel to get changed and catch the full moon rising over the Brisbane River and the big blue bridge.
We got lost a few times driving round.
Brisbane has one of those one way road systems which makes navigating tricky, but despite that we only went the wrong way down a one way street once. A bit hairy as it had four lanes, but luckily we did a quick u-turn and sped off before anyone was the wiser.
The Mucho Man claims we almost died when he realized we were about to get on the motorway then quickly swung over across two lanes, narrowly avoiding a concrete wall, before getting us back on course.
I missed that bit as I was too busy trying to work out where we were on his new smart phone. It’s still a mystery to me.
After all that excitement we thought it best to chill out at the cinema. There’s not much on at the moment but Jane Eyre worked a treat even though my brother scoffed:
“How many versions of that are they going to make?”
But the Mucho Man, revealing a rare gap in his education, didn’t know the Jane Eyre story and I loved this latest film version. So moody, romantic and moving, it’s a perfect date movie.
Finally it was supper time and we were starving as it was 8.30pm and normally we eat at 5.30 pm with the kids. Now that’s not just sad, it’s tragic.
But we zipped back to the Fortitude Valley for a Malaysian meal which deserves its own blog post (coming soon!)
We were so stuffed afterwards we had to go straight back to the hotel for a wee lie down.
Before we knew it morning had come so we missed out on all the partying opportunities on offer in the Fortitude Valley, but we’re probably a bit over all that anyway.
Now that would never have happened when we were in Bangkok.
The Morning After
After breakkie we zipped over the Brisbane River to the South Bank where we strolled along the river front walk, dipped into two art galleries, catching a short and very surreal surrealist film, then browsed the Sunday lifestyle market.
All morning we were marveling about what a great city Brisbane is and how we must visit more often.
Heck, maybe next time we’ll even bring the kids. They’re keen to come but we’re not so sure.
Those 24 hours kid free time were fabulous and one night in Brisbane would be quite different with the Candy kids in tow.
But still, who needs one night in Bangkok? I personally recommend one night in Brisbane. Preferably without any kids in tow.
Fabulous buildings in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
Fortitude Valley boasts a small, but perfectly formed, Chinatown
The view from our hotel balcony
The Savage Eye film is so weird and wacky it's compulsive viewing. See it at the surrealism exhibition at The Queensland Modern Art Gallery until 2 Oct, 2011
Shady, hibiscus-covered walkways at Brisbane Southbank