Queenslanders are nice, goddammit. Walking around Brisbane during the day with my son in his stroller, I couldn’t so much as approach a set of stairs without someone immediately stopping what they were doing and helping me out. People in cafes and shops were breezy and interested, in a way that only people with the twin luxuries of living in a lovely city and a lovely climate can be.
The most extreme politeness I saw, however, was the young man who was violently sick on the pavement in broad daylight then, instead of running away as quickly as he could, asked sheepishly at the nearest cafe for a bucket of water so he could clean it up. He did a great job.
Brisbane is hot, easy to get around and has beautiful buildings, old and new. It offered plenty to do for a two year old and his dad, including the museum, Southbank beach & fountains and hiring a bike with a child seat for a spin around the river paths. We enjoyed it a lot.
I’m often told our family beach stomping ground is turning into the Gold Coast. This is bullshit. The Gold Coast proper boasts miles and miles of shopping malls, theme parks, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and golf courses, every one of which packed with men in shorts, jandals and impressive moustaches talking real estate, before climbing onto their Harley and roaring off very fast. The rule seems to be that if your vehicle doesn’t produce at least 120 dB, then in all likelihood, you’re a homo. Mate.
We stayed in the amusingly-named Labrador, and had a great time. You couldn’t walk anywhere without hitting three or four awesome kids’ playgrounds. Seaworld was a real highlight, as were the cafes conducting a price war on the ‘cheapest bacon and eggs’ front. No-one loses in a war like that.
We took a car to Byron Bay, a fantastic little place that gave the impression of being a laid back sleepy beach hideaway, but was actually packed to the gunnels with impressive shops and cafes. It was populated mainly with Canadian backpackers lazing on the beach swapping notes on where to score pot.
The day we went to Byron Bay, the storm the size of Australia was due to hit – but didn’t show up, leaving us to enjoy our day. Turns out that if you live in the lucky country, storms like this don’t bother turning your life into a cold, rainy, depressing mess for weeks on end like they do back home – they just pass harmlessly out to sea. They are lucky over there.