With the temperature forecast to hit 37 Celsius, I was loathe to venture from the suburbs into the city, but most of my four days spent in downtown Brisbane were rainy and I wanted to explore more of this great city.
Brisbane is a smaller, more laid back city than Sydney at about half its size. But with a metropolitan population of over 2 million, there’s lots to see and do. I liked Sydney, but prefer Brisbane. I compare the two cities to Los Angeles and San Diego.
The city is midway up the east coast of Australia and is the country’s third largest city and capital of the state of Queensland. Lying 14 kilometers inland along the Brisbane River, the capital utilizes the riverfront to its full advantage with walking and biking trails along both sides.
On the way out the door, my host family told me about a man-made beach on the south bank of the river and advised I pack my ‘swimming costume’. Coming from a place where you are never more than 25 minutes from a great beach, I was highly skeptical of such a contrivance. I kept an open mind.
As I crossed over the Goodwill Bridge to the South Bank, I could see the beach in the distance. It looked larger than I expected and packed with bathers. The walk along the South Bank to the beach was spectacular. Arbors covered in purple bougainvillea and beautifully designed ponds and streams lined the pathway. And then, there is was. As if it was always there, not seeming too out of place, a magnificent oasis with a great view of the city across the river. There were several swimming areas, some with white sand, others with rocky ledges to ease yourself into the refreshing water, all surrounded by palm trees. The beach doesn’t connect with the river due to the topography of the area. Instead, the result is more reminiscent of an infinity pool where you can look out to the river and city skyline beyond.
I spent the afternoon sunning and swimming and chatting with the locals and tourists. I was glad I packed my swimming costume and I will return again next week.