Two sides of the river and a brewery
I was roaming along Southbank on my first day in Brisbane, gradually making my way to the brewery where I’d be meeting my friend.
Tummy needed feeding ASAP so I scooted through the gorgeous flowered walkway and found a cafe. Hoovering up a lunch of barramundi, I felt much better.
A lot of development has occurred here to optimise the riverfront. Close by was the unusual sight of a full-on landscaped beach and swimming lagoon, in the middle of the city, overlooking the river.
The skies turned darker and I figured it was time to return to the north side. Half way across the bridge it began to spit and it occurred to me ‘crap, I have to keep my cast dry’.
The Brisbane River I’d been admiring all afternoon is over 300km long and has been both a treasure and a curse. Its good side was plain to see during my visit. However, it does on occasion cause huge problems through flooding and over the weekend I’d see markers from the more significant of these events.
Back on the other side there were traces of mangroves and other natural habitat. Weighing up the time available, I turned left onto the bikeway with its colourful trail markings and safety signage.
It took me underneath the Pacific Expressway, past largely defunct looking piers and some I assumed to be (who knows, maybe falsely) homeless people drinking. There was hardly anyone else around and I fleetingly questioned my safety but I was ignored.
After another couple of k’s I left the bikeway to merge back into downtown, retracing my earlier steps almost back to where I started my day. I found my way to Fred’s work where she was due to call it quits for the week.
At that time she worked at the XXXX Brewery, an iconic landmark and facility in Brisbane, and I entered to be greeted by her beaming smile from behind the reception desk.
The Xs date back to the time when they were used to indicate beer strength and quality. Or, if you ask most Kiwis they’ll likely tell you XXXX is just how Australians spell beer.
I’d coped OK with my arm all day, but while I waited for Fred to finish up I opened a bottle of water and ended up with half of it in my lap. Classy.
She took me and my wet pants on a mini tour upstairs to the bar and merchandise areas. I had flicked through a photographic book of the 2011 floods and was fascinated by the marker part-way up the stairs in indicating where the water reached (the brewery is about 400m and 5 minutes walk from the river).
We walked back over to Southbank in search of dinner. My feet were bloody sore by now and I wondered if I’d be in trouble for the rest of the weekend with lots more walking to come. Still it was a lovely evening to be out beside the river and taking in the city lights.
We trekked back to her place. For the duration of my visit I was apprehensive about coming face to face with the most dreaded of Australian critters: massive spiders. Earlier I had noticed that Fred kept windows open for ventilation and so I asked if she’d had any eight-legged beasts come to visit. She said that there had been one (first one ever) recently, its footsteps audible on the kitchen floor. Fred had shooed it outside with a mop and assured me it wouldn’t return.
However, given I would be sleeping on an air bed not far from the kitchen floor, I wasn’t exactly calmed…