11/18/2011, Brisbane, Australia
We are both really impressed with Brisbane. Its a beautifully laid out city that is arranged around the bends in the Brisbane river. The downtown area is full of skyscrapers and the water front is covered with resaturants , bars, and dock space for the city's extensive fleet of ferries and several large dinner cruise river boats.
We really lucked out and have a mooring that is a 5 minute dingy ride from a dingy dock that gives us immediate access to the Central Business District and the Bonanical Gardens that occupy one bend in the river. The photo at the top of this blog entry shows Active Transport sitting on a mooring with downtown Brisbane in the background.
I have also uploaded, and will continue to upload, pictures of the sights of Brisbane. To access the Brisbane album use the "galleries" link to the right of this blog entry.
When we arrived yesterday we spent couple of hours wandering around the downtown area and found lots of restaurants, trendy stores, a Woolworth's grocery store and lots of other attractions.
Brisbane has a very nice system of rental bicycles called Citycycle. The entire system is managed electronically. We bought credit on line and for $2 a day we can pick up bicycles at any of many bike parking stations and drop them at a station near our destination. If no single trip runs more than half an hour all we pay is the $2 per day to use the system.
The bikes are very nice three speed bikes with disc brakes, LED head and tail ights, a bell, and a basket. They are all maintained beautifully. Even the bells worked on all the bikes we used today.
Ill get some photos of the details tomorrow showing how the bikes dock into electronic docking stations that automatically record the time you used the bike. YOu can also find out how many bikes and how may vacant docking stations there are any any of the stations. You can do that on line or at the electronic kiosk located at each station.
We took the bikes to the Cultural center of town and visited both the maritime museum and the art museum. The maritime museum was fascinating and very well done. They had a WWII vintage river class frigate that was built in Australia in the 40s. We got a lot of pictures at the maritime museum and will post them tomorrow.
The art museum was in a beautiful building and had a lot of very well presented paintings representing of various periods from the 17th century on. After a couple of years of living in Washington DC and taking several visitors to the National Art Gallery on the Mall, I find myself feeling like every other museum we visit falls short in terms of the breath of the collection. The museum here in Brisbane did a very good job with special commentary for kids.
There is also a museum of modern art that we have not seen yet. The Queensland museum, which is more of a natural history museum, is closed for renovations so we wont get to see that.
When we returned to town we walked across the Victoria pedestrian bridge which is very striking in its design. I got some photos of the bridge and will post them to our Brisbane gallery.
More tomorrow. We saw too much today to cover in a single blog entry. Besides tomorrow we are going to Kmart! The plan is to take the river cat up the river to a dock near the end of the line where there is a big kmart. Shawn was really impressed with the quality and prices at the Kmart in Bundaberg so we are hoping to replace some aging clothes and shoes.
11/16/2011, Bongaree, Bribie Island, Austsralia
We finally escaped the siren song of Mooloolaba and got on our way again today. We ended up hanging around an additional day so we could join our friend Brian and Claudia for one more visit to Dominos on cheap pizza night.
We got a late start but knew we only had 33 miles to go so it was a very stress free departure. Starting a bit later gave the wind a chance to build, too.
We stopped at the public float in Mooloolaba and filled our water tank which was very convenient. We also washed the accumulated salt off of things like the outboard engines and the solar panels.
After we got clear of the jetty at Mooloolaba we sailed the entire way to Morenton Bay. We had 10-15 kts on the beam most of the way and only started the engine for the last 1/4 mile into the anchorage here at Bongaree.
We sailed past the Glasshouse mountains and saw them as Captain Cook saw them from sea. I tried to take a photo but that was the point at which the camera batteries decided to die.
If we were any place other than Australia Im sure everyone would think Im making up the name of this place that was our destination today. Its called Bongaree which is probably an aboriginal name rather than the bong capital of Australlia.
Its a tiny village on the south end of Bribie Island. The Island is connected to the mainland by a bridge that prevents sailboats from getting any farther north than where we are anchored. The vast majority of Bribie Island appeared to the undeveloped as we sailed along the coast today. Its just miles of beach and all we saw was the occasional dune buggy on the beach.
The photo at the top of this entry is a of a canoe full of birdwatching ladies that paddled past us as we up pulling up our anchor to leave Bongaree.
11/12/2011, The Hinterlands
We were treated to an inland tour of the area around Mooloolaba and got to see the famous Glasshouse mountains.
The mountains were named by Captain Cook because he thought they reminded him of an area of glass factories back in England. You can imagine them looking like buildings with chimneys.
Cook saw them from the Ocean but is been hazy since we have been here and we did not notice them from the water when the approached Mooloolaba.
The area around the mountains is very much like the small towns in the smokey mountains in the eastern US. They are mostly little one road towns with lots of shops catering to tourists.
One good thing about living on a boat is that we have to think long and hard about buying souvenirs. If we add so something to the boat then something of similar volume has to go.