New Gateway Bridge

Gateway Bridge Open Day

We joined an estimated 170,000 people to create the first traffic jam on the new Gateway Bridge on Sunday 16 May 2010.  We had intended to walk right across, but arrived just as the official opening ceremony started, which resulted in everyone stopping.  We decided to retreat and grab a coffee from one of the market stalls to wait for the foot traffic jam to clear.     

 Alas, after drinking our coffees, and then a plate of yummy Dutch pancakes, the crowd was still at a standstill.  We decided that in years to come, we could say we were amongst the first to walk on the bridge, even if it was only 200 metres of it.     

 But, if you weren’t there for the official opening, you’ll still be able to walk across the bridge, without the foot traffic jams, on the dedicated pedestrian and cycle path way.      

 Once they’ve joined all of the walking paths up on both sides of the river, I’ll write a walk description with distances, points of interest, public transport, parking and photos then post it all on this site. Eventually, it will be written up in Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay and City Walks when a new edition is printed, but you’ll see it here first.     

 A few facts about the bridge:      

Gateway Bridge construction

 The first Gateway Bridge, which is mirrored by the new bridge, was opened 24 years ago on 11 January 1986. The bridge had to been constructed to allow shipping traffic underneath, yet be under 80 metres above sea level because of air traffic requirements.   

The Gateway Bridges, both of them, have been officially re-named after Sir Leo Hielscher, a public servant, who noted that he would still have to pay the toll when he crosses the bridges.     

For a live view of the traffic on the bridge, take a look at the webcam images on OurBrisbane.   

The new bridge, which will carry six lanes of southbound traffic, is 27 metres wide and 64.5 metres above river level with its main span being 260 metres long. The pedestrian and cycle way, built on the eastern side, is 4.25 metres wide and has four rest areas.  I’m looking forward to seeing the views over Moreton Bay.  

157,000 tonnes of concrete and 11,600 tonnes of steel were used in its construction and it’s designed to last for 300 years.

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Brisbane Weather

Brisbane Lightning

Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate makes it a great place for walking all year round. Winter is the best time to visit the bush areas that are right on the city’s doorstep. In summer, Brisbane’s weather can change very quickly.  One moment it can be scorching hot and dry, then minutes later a tropical storm will hit with heavy downfalls, a welcome drop in temperature and the wonderful smell of rain.

If you’re planning a walk in Brisbane, particularly in bush areas or exposed coastal tracks, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before you go.  Storms can produce lightning, hail and strong winds. Be particularly careful in dry creek beds or beside waterways which can experience flash flooding. Here’s where to look for the latest on the weather in Brisbane:

Australian Bureau of Meteorology has Brisbane weather forecasts, radar images showing rainfall and wind, current conditions and severe weather warnings. There are also tips on what to do in a thunderstorm if you’re caught outdoors.

Our Brisbane has forecasts, warnings, sunrise and sunset times and tide times.

Weatherzone is a comprehensive site which also provides wind direction and speed, a UV light index and monthly weather stats.

If storms are expected, you can always take a walk in the CBD and explore the city’s historic buildings and quirky public artworks.  If a storm hits, pop into a riverside cafe and enjoy nature’s show from a safe vantage point.

Jacaranda Trees

At this time of year, Brisbane turns purple with Jacaranda flowers and you’ll find some walking paths carpeted with fallen blossoms.

Balloons Over Brisbane_Bridges between Chelmer & Indooroopilly

Bridges between Chelmer & Indooroopilly

 I recently did a ballon flight with Balloons Over Brisbane  and from above you really appreciate how many of these beautiful trees have been planted in Brisbane.

Jacarandas originated in Brazil, but they grow well in Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate. It’s believed that Australia’s first Jacaranda was planted in 1864 in Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens. It grew to a height of 34 metres and was 27 metres across, but was blown over in a storm 116 years later.

One of the Queensland Art Gallery’s most popular paintings is Under the Jacaranda which depicts this famous tree.

Brett Whiteley’s Wynne Prize-winning painting The Jacaranda Tree (On Sydney Harbour) sold for a record-breaking $1,982,000 in 1999.

rushtail Possum eating Jacaranda

Brushtail Possum eating Jacaranda

In the 1930s and 40s, new mothers in Brisbane were sent home from hospital, not only with their new baby, but also a young Jacaranda tree. This may explain the number of these trees in Brisbane.

University students in Brisbane know that when the Jacaranda blooms, it’s time to start studying for exams.  The story goes that if a Jacaranda flower drops on your head, you’ll do badly in your exam.  To reverse your fortune, you must catch a bloom, in your right hand, before it falls to the ground.

As you can see from this photo, possums also enjoy Jacaranda flowers. This possum made a meal of the Jacaranda blooms in my backyard.

Take a walk along the Brisbane River’s waterside paths and you’ll see purple splashes of colour during your stroll.

Newstead House

It looks like this weekend is going to be a great one for walking in Brisbane – fine and around 24 degrees. 

Newstead House

Newstead House

If you’re looking for a pleasant Sunday afternoon post-walking activity in Brisbane I can highly recommend Newstead House.  It’s Brisbane’s oldest surviving residence and from it’s wide verandas, there are views of the Brisbane River and Breakfast Creek. 

A tour through the house gives you an idea of what life might have been like for the wealthy when Queensland was a new colony.  The enthusiastic volunteer guides bring the history of the house to life with lots of interesting stories.

Newstead House Veranda

Newstead House Veranda

On Sundays from 2pm to 4:30pm, Devonshire Tea (with real China cups) is served on the veranda. 

The residence sits in Newstead Park which, with its Brisbane River views and shady trees, make it a great picnic spot.  You can also take a stroll along the riverside path, past more modern riverside homes.

Location: Corner Breakfast Creek Road & Newstead Avenue, Newstead
Entry to Newstead House:  $4 adult, $3 concession, $2 child, $10 (2 + school aged children), free admission first Friday every month
Opens: 10am – 4pm Mon – Fri, 2pm – 5pm Sun

Fashion in the City

"In Fashion"

"In Fashion"

Next time you’re having a stroll in the CBD, be sure pop into the Museum of Brisbane to see their latest exhibition:  In Fashion – Dressing Up Brisbane. 

The beautiful collection of fashion comes from the wardrobes of Brisbane women and local designers.  You’ll see a range from vintage ball gowns to new season fashion.  And, there’s a story behind each piece.

My favourite was the Bora evening dress worn by Jennifer Hawkins when she received the 2004 Miss Universe crown.

Where:  Museum of Brisbane, ground floor Brisbane City Hall
Contact: www.MuseumofBrisbane.com.au or 3403 8888
Admission:  Free
On until:  29 Nov 2009

Kurilpa Bridge – Brisbane’s New Pedestrian Bridge

Kurilpa Bridge Aug 09Brisbane’s newest pedestrian and cycle bridge should be completed in September 2009 and the official opening will be part of Queensland’s 150th anniversary celebrations. 

The bridge was originally known as the Tank Street Bridge and received its new name through a public naming competition. 

‘Kurilpa’ is an Aboriginal word meaning “place for water rats”.  This name was also used by the original Aboriginal inhabitants for the West End area.

The bridge will join the cultural precinct of South Bank (adjacent to the Gallery of Modern Art) to the city.  If you’re doing a walk along the river, this bridge will provide a short cut to Roma Street Parkland.

South Bank & Maritime Museum

Maritime MuseumWe had a walk though South Bank on Sunday after a CityCat ride.  It’s always a great place to visit because there’s always something happening.  The markets were on with live music playing and lots of delicious aromas coming from the cafes and restaurants on Grey Street.  The playgrounds were full of children and lots of people were having picnics and using the free BBQs.

We visited the Maritime Museum which is beside the Goodwill Bridge.  The highlight of the Museum for children (and adults) is being able to explore the HMAS Diamantina, a decommissioned naval vessel in dry dock. With 160 sailors crewing the ship during WWII, you wonder how they all fitted into the cramped quarters.  This is a good attraction to visit during winter because I can imagine it would be very hot inside the ship in the summer months.

HMAS DiamentinaThere are plenty of other things to look at in the Museum including: scale models of famous ships; a room displaying lighthouse equipment; and an area where you can pretend you’re the captain of a ship.  You may even see a diver discovering a chest full of treasure. Take a picnic lunch and eat outside right above the river and enjoy the views.

 

 

Admission:  $8 adults / $7 concession / $3.50 children (5 – 16) / $18 family (2 + 3)

Hours:  9:30 am- 4:30 pm (last admission 3:30 pm)

Web:  http://www.maritimemuseum.com.au/

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