Other Brisbane sights
Botanic gardens, breweries and koalas
The Botanic Gardens in Alice Street were once the convicts’ vegetable patch. Most botanical gardens in temperate climates try with varying success to cultivate tropical plants of some sort. As this is the tropics, you might expect them to take up the challenge and try to cultivate a few beetroots and cabbages. But no, this is the real tropical thing, complete with a patch of rainforest, where the trees are outnumbered 20 to one by the toads.
Castlemaine Perkins Brewery (Milton Road, Milton; tel. +61 (07) 3361 7597; www.xxxx.com.au) is a must for all lovers of the famous XXXX. The production of this amber fluid is taken very seriously in these parts, and tours must be booked well in advance.
By far the best way to get to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (13 km South West of the city centre at Fig Tree Pocket; open 9 am to 5 pm; entry fee, www.koala.net) is to take the river cruise from Wharf Road, by Victoria Bridge in the centre of town. (It takes 1½ hours each way.) The most famous inhabitants of this wildlife sanctuary are the koalas, of which there are more than a hundred. They are usually sleeping and farting in the trees (a side-effect of their eucalyptus diet). Those who enjoy fondling flatulent furry animals can have their photo taken with a koala in their arms. Other less attractive (but less malodorous) occupants of the park include dingoes, lizards, wallabies and the notorious Tasmanian Devil. Many of these animals, but not the last mentioned, will allow you to stroke them instead.
Brisbane can get very hot in the summer, and it’s quite a distance to the beaches. The best place to cool off is one of the many swimming pools in town, which are open daily. The best is Spring Hill Baths on Torrington Street (www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/spring-hill-baths, entry fee), one of the oldest in Australia. Otherwise try Valley Pool (www.valleypoolbrisbane.com.au), which is in Wickham Street a couple of kilometres north-east of the city centre in Fortitude Valley. This is where the Aussie gold medalists train.