BRISBANE - GOLD COAST - beautiful one day - perfect the next!
May 18, 2002
The Bottom Line Technically Brisbane is the worlds largest city
Okay, so who or what is the mommy and daddy of a City? That's right, a country town and that ancestry continues into city-hood for quite some time until a miraculous change takes place.
Long after a place is big enough to be called a city, in some instances we are reluctant to use the Word City. Why I have no idea but it just doesn't seem to fit. This was the case in Brisbane, Capital of Queensland.
Now it is fair to say if Australia has a Texas this is it. Even though Texas is much smaller it is still big enough to make a decent Cattle Station (Ranch). As for the other U.S. states it must be the only place in the world where you cross three borders turning the family car around! Just to put things in perspective Queensland is almost three times the size of Texas and our second biggest State.
Technically Brisbane is the worlds largest city because the whole lot right out to the urban fringe is all one local government area. However the population is not so great at around one and a half million. Brisbane is however the centre of three population centres with the "Las Vegas of Downunder" the Gold Coast immediately to the south and a decent kick of a brick north for the sane the "Sunshine Coast". The entire mass has a resident population approaching three million plus darn near as many tourists!
The traffic travelling between the two coasts has become awesome, with those heading north looking for a rest and those heading south looking to have their nerves fried. All this traffic had to go through the city centre that rapidly became one of the world’s great car parks! So a whole new freeway was built, six to eight lanes in all, that directly connects the two coastal havens. The freeway has to cross a wide expanse of the Brisbane River, which really is a harbour and one of the worlds highest and longest concrete bridges "The Gateway Bridge" does the job. I can assure you no one falls asleep on the "Gateway", especially with my wife screaming at me to take a central lane. Looking down is not a good idea. It is the longest and widest balanced cantilever precast concrete bridge in the world and long may its balance remain!
I couldn't say which year Brisbane "citified" but the early 1980's would be around the mark. Huge improvements were made to traffic flow using freeways in the downtown area and everything was matched in with its surroundings making for a very pretty modern city with the river come harbour in the foreground.
Throughout the 1980's Brisbane had it's growing up "gee, look at me" period. It had become probably the country's most progressive city and a myriad of International Events flocked to Brisbane. These included the 1982 Commonwealth Games and Expo '88, and Brisbane proved itself more than equal to the task. The Commonwealth Games are second only to the Olympic Games. What was once the old British Colonies Group know has nothing to do with the British other than they attend along with the other seventy six nations most of which are now Republics or Independent Democracies like Australia.
Immediately south of "Brissy" is the famous Gold Coast with more waterways than Venice- in fact nine times more! With three hundred days of sunshine a year and a warm subtropical climate there is more than a grain of truth in the saying "Queensland, beautiful one day, perfect the next". Forty five miles of pristine beaches, very safe swimming areas, Australia's largest expanse of calm water and well over three hundred miles of canals and tidal rivers make this an idyllic place set around the central score of skyscaper beachfront apartments.
The whole place is lousy with Casino's, Theme Parks to rival Dysneyland including Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild, Water World and Dreamworld - hell, there are even wildlife parks.
If you want to get rid of the wife that’s easy too. Women have there own play area, known as the three and a half thousand shops, with some of them in two huge prisons known in some places as shopping centres.
One of the world's best Golf Courses is at Sanctuary Cove but one look at the surrounding Mansions made me know somehow a round of golf wasn't financially viable. However there are scores of top courses for the poverty struck like myself.
To give this entire razzle a balance you can always look over your shoulder at heaven, the "hinterland. Rainforests abound and nearly three hundred thousand acres of it is World Heritage Listed. So once all feeling has left your body an hour or two spent up there brings us back to life - and its only about twenty minutes away. Many of the trees are four thousand years old so they make most feel young again.
The only danger up here is being bowled flat by an Olympic Athlete. It seems half of them have made the Gold Coast their home with many from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Japan and even Australia.
There is just so much to see and, or do nothing, in SouthEast Queensland I can fill a book. Lately it has become a favourite Japanese honeymoon destination but of course that doesn't mean you will see many Japanese!
Even my wife and I honeymooned here - ah memories - and really the weather is the least of your worries because it is always perfect or so close it doesn't matter.
Chances are you know someone who has been to this part of the world but if you don't how about you be first in a real paradise!