Leaving Cairns didn’t tug on the heart strings as much as Melbourne did. I had a great time, but heading to the airport was filled with a sense of homecoming rather than heading into the unknown.
Cairns is an awesome place, and the Great Barrier Reef was an incredible experience that I won’t forget in a hurry, but I feel like I’ll miss the reef and the boat more than the city.
Well and maybe the lagoon too…
I think Cairns reminds me too much of an English tourist hot spot in the Med or Greek Islands. There’s a lot of drunk English people (me included) and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Magaluf if you were dropped there with no idea where you were.
Granted, I didn’t see a huge amount of Cairns, and when I’m back (and I will be back), I think I’ll venture further north into the rainforest and check out a few more spots on the reef, but in terms of the nightlife…I think I’ve more than had my fill of what Cairns has to offer.
Cue Brisbane, a city for which I didn’t have any expectation. Unlike Melbourne, where I’d heard so much and (initially) was impressed by so little (oh how time makes fools of us all), I’d heard little about Brisbane, but what I found was an instant attraction from the moment I landed.
I had a feeling about it that can’t really be described or backed up with anything tangible, but there was something there that made me feel at ease. Maybe it was being so close to my Australian home.
I met up with Sarah, who I met in Melbourne and who offered me a spare room in Brisbane while I was in Victoria. Not one to pass up on a private room and not listening to people getting jiggy on the top bunk, I practically snapped her hand off.
We ventured into Brisbane and almost immediately my good feeling was justified. Brisbane isn’t a huge city when you compare it to Sydney or Melbourne, but that is part of the charm.
As you walk up to the river you are greeted with open plan bars and restaurants, lights that are complementary, but not overwhelming, and a man-made beach surrounded by botanics. Then you are struck by the neon purple bridge, which sounds tacky, but is weirdly suitable. The multitude of colour across the river shimmers across the water and turns it into a rainbow- something I could have sat and watched for hours.
They also have their London Eye called The Wheel of Brisbane, which just adds to the close-knit social vibe of the city by being so close by. Everything on South Bank seems tied together, but at no point does it feel claustrophobic- in fact I felt as if I had far more space here than in Melbourne or Sydney.
We sat outside a pub by the river, drunk some Lazy Yak and watched the live music and people-watched. The atmosphere here was simply joyous, nobody seemed to be having a bad time or getting smashed beyond consolation. It felt like a place where you could have some casual beers and not necessarily be roped into chucking up in an alley way.
The city has a sweetness to it, not too much different from Melbourne in fact, but maybe just a bit more homely and cosier than the sprawling urban centres further south- this feels more like a home, but maybe with this being the last leg of the trip, that’s just what I’m looking forward to getting back to.
Thanks for reading!
Goodbye, and remember there’s no place like home.
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