Brisbane! This vibrant city on the coast is the third largest in Australia, with 2.4 million people in the metropolitan area. And they all seemed to be downtown when we visited! Seriously, we had visited Brisbane in 2009 (for the 29th Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation), and we already knew this was a big city. We also knew what we wanted to do... go cycling!
We were dropped off by bus in the city center next to Central Station, and about 3 blocks away we found a bike shop, Bike Obsession. Caroline and I hired 2 nice Fuji bikes, and we were off, first to the City Botanic Garden (shared paths) and then up and down the Brisbane River (mostly dedicated bike lanes). You have to get used to the bikes in Australia... the rear wheel brake is on the left handlebar, not the right as in the US.
The bikes lanes were in great shape. There was catastrophic flooding in Brisbane in 2011 or 2012, and some of the path’s condition might be attributed to relatively recent repairs. I love the green bike lanes... they are easy to follow, and their distinctiveness seems to keep pedestrians and strollers off.
We pedaled about 27 miles overall. We crossed 2 bridges, and once took a ferry (CityCat) from 1 side of the river to another. That ferry ride was short because the boats are fast and efficient. I mean, I could have held my breath from the time the boat left to when it arrived. It was so fast that the deck hand didn’t even bother collecting our fares... he just nodded to Caroline and pointed us in the right direction!
There is a lot to see along the river. We found the rock climbing and rappelling cliffs (we need another trip to check these out), the University of Queensland, many cafes and sculptures, the Queensland University of Technology (right on the botanic gardens), the city’s convention center, and more. No cats, and only 1 rat bait station was seen.
We didn’t see a single dockless bike, but there were docked bikes all over (1 model and company). In general, half or less of the docks had a bike in them, so I assume they are in use. Some of the bikes had a helmet in the basket, but most did not.
It was a hot day, and we got back to the City Botanic Gardens about 1 PM. We got back to the ship, showered, had a Guinness, and then ate a great dinner with new friends Deb and Stewart from NZ. We had to go to bed early, because we lost an hour (new time zone), and since Caroline has to get up at 4 to get to work, it would feel like getting up at 3! I, on the other hand, get up at 5 so I can deliver a cup of coffee to Caroline at about 5:30. And big disappointment this morning... I brought Caroline her coffee (I walk the stairs from Deck 7 to Deck 14, then down to Deck 2), Caroline takes a sip, and about gags... the coffee is lukewarm. So I go back up (Deck 2 to 14 and back to 2... we see a lot of stairs) to tell Caroline that the coffee straight out of the pot , with the “Brew completed” light on, is still lukewarm. Oh well... at 7 she can order from room service!