using my inside voice

A Tourist in My Own City

Lifestyle & Culture | May 5, 2010

Yes folks, the post you have all been waiting for, the first update on my escapades in the beautiful river city of Brisbane. As promised, I have been exploring Brisbane with reckless abandon. Venturing out to places previously unexplored (by me, kind of) to expand both my knowledge and appreciation of this at once familiar but foreign city on Australia's eastern coast.

The West End Markets

Perched on a bend of the chocolaty waters of the Brisbane River are the West End Markets. With stallholders offering everything from locally roasted coffee to fruit, veg and delicious gourmet breakfast options, this is a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning. I popped over for a bacon and egg roll, and excellent coffee, before taking a moment to wander through the plethora of local produce stalls to select my veg for the week. More than a week's worth of vegetables for two came to under $20, so it's also an economical option for the frugal amongst us.

The Brisbane Art Gallery

After collecting the veg and sending it home with my better half I headed for a girlie trip to the current exhibition at the Brisbane Art Gallery, which walks visitors through a history of the hat. Milliners, hat enthusiasts, and even common garden-variety, Volvo-driving hat-wearers will enjoy this exhibition. You can see the giant pom pom hat worn by Bjork, a tower of green and feathers worn by Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as bonnets from the 1600s, the Darth Vader mask and creations made from all kinds of materials.

Shopping in the City

This is something that used to be reserved for one special day every Christmas holidays. We'd get up early on a warm summer morning, dress in our Sunday best, pile into Nana's car, and head to the city; Mum, my sister, Nana and me. We'd park under the Myer Centre and first stop would be a snack in the food court where my Nana would invariably choose something decadent and sweet, like a macadamia nut caramel slice and coffee, not be able to finish it, and I'd shove it in along with whatever I'd chosen. Full of sugar and armed for a big day out we would then face the mall, and conquer the shops, usually armed with a list of things we'd been wanting to buy all year that weren't available at the Sunshine Coast, a mere outpost compared to Brisbane in those days.

Now I can go shopping in the city anytime I want, but of course I don't. So, on Sunday I headed in and found some new shoes and new exercise clothes - woo! Of course the excitement I used to feel as a teenager heading into the big smoke wasn't quite there, but it was still quite a nice way to spend the morning.

Riverside Markets

After the city shopping I headed down to the Riverside Markets which also used to require a special trip into the city. We would find all sorts of lovely things to buy there, mainly jewellery, but lovely jewellery none-the-less (at least in my 15-year-old eyes). Sadly, the Riverside Markets have lost a lot of their appeal. The stalls stock such items as ceramic garden figurines of dogs and Buddhas (probably made in China), cheap blankets and ugly jewellery that purports to be sterling silver, but is quite obviously not. So, this may not be a recommendation for future visitors to Brisbane City.

Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo

On the Monday holiday, upon recommendation from a colleague, we drove out to Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo. Apart from providing a chance for Pepe to show me what he's made of (that's my new car) it was also a lovely drive. We headed up through Samford which takes you along a wickedly winding road with motorbikes zipping past and a dramatic drop off the side to ensure you take each turn with caution.

At the top there are 3 or 4 cafes to choose from if that's your bent, but we decided to keep heading towards Mt Nebo for a picnic at Jolly's Lookout. There was a surprising number of people doing the same thing, but we managed to nab a table and lay out our picnic fare. The view is spectacular, and having a longer, more leisurely meal on another day, with a bottle of wine, is definitely on the cards.

We headed back down through The Gap along Waterworks Road, so on top of a lovely drive and picnic, I also learned some new routes through Brisbane.

There, what do you think? Does my adventuresome nature and innate sense of exploration knock your socks off? Are you sitting back, open-mouthed, wondering how I managed to pack so much action into one long weekend? Well, believe it or not, This weekend we have another round of events which includes The Gunshop Cafe, West End Markets (again) and a Tapas dinner. I am also contemplating a visit to the Boutique Markets in Hamilton - anyone keen?


1. Kim Griffiths on May 6, 2010

Well you have certainly insired me Bay! Having fairly recently moved to Brisbane I will be using your colourful vignette to guide me on where to explore next!

2. Carrol on October 12, 2012

What a wonderful post, thanks a lot for sharing this with us!

Any Comments?

About Bay Oliver

Bay's career has been many and varied due to a penchant for traveling the world. After completing a double degree in Business Management and Journalism at the University of Queensland in 2002 she was lucky enough to land herself a job at Brisbane's Quest Community Newspapers. A year of roving reporting brought the epiphany that journalism and Bay didn't jive.
Read more »

Hobbies & Interests

How to be creative...

Creating an economically viable entity where lack of original thought is handsomely rewarded creates a rich, fertile environment for parasites to breed. And thatʼs exactly whatʼs been happening. So now we have millions upon millions of human tapeworms thriving in the Western World, making love to their Powerpoint presentations, feasting on the creativity of others.

Blog Roll

Categories of Published Work

The final full-time workday blues

Published: May 10, 2009

Full-time work comes to and end, an unexpectedly melancholy day.

2 weeks to deconstruct my life

Published: May 15, 2009

2 weeks to go and things are falling into place. Selling furniture and visiting with friends are the order of the day!