Walk from Regatta Hotel to City

I recently re-walked the Toowong (Regatta Hotel) to City route from my book, Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay and City Walks.  There have been a few changes along the path including two new bridges and improvements to the riverside pathway. 

Walk - Toowong to City

 The first change I noticed was about one kilometre from the Regatta Ferry Terminal.  Oxley’s Restaurant which sits on poles over the water, has added a floating pontoon with tables sheltering under umbrellas.  I sat at a table right near the edge and it felt a little like being on a boat.  On a warm autumn afternoon with cooling river breezes, it’s very pleasant. I had a coffee  ($4) and bread with dips ($4).  If you prefer to travel by water, you can tie your boat or jet ski to the pontoon while you dine. 

Be warned, the pontoon does move, especially after a CityCat river ferry zooms past. The waiter told me that for those who prefer a more stable table, you can sit upstairs in the restaurant where the floor doesn’t move at all. 

The pathway has been upgraded and along the way there are shady shelters and drinking fountains. On one section, separate tracks for pedestrians and cyclists have been marked and it would be much safer if there was enough space for all paths to be like this. 

The Go-Between bridge (named after a popular Brisbane band) will be finished later in 2010 and will carry road traffic as well as cyclist and pedestrians.  

Path under Kurilpa Bridge

 The Kurilpa Bridge has already received a number of nicknames including the chopsticks, knitting needle and spiderweb bridge. Personally, it reminds me of ships’ masts. More about the Kurilpa Bridge and its solar panels and LED light display in the next blog entry. 

The walk from Toowong to the city is still as beautiful as ever, especially in the late afternoon when golden sunlight reflects off the bridges and city buildings. 

There’s plenty of wildlife to look at and this Eastern Water Dragon (pictured) relaxing in a mangrove tree didn’t seem at all bothered by all of the humans passing by. 

Eastern Water Dragon beside Brisbane River

To do this walk, start at the Regatta Ferry Terminal and follow the riverside path right into the city. After walking under the Kurilpa Bridge and the Riverside Expressway, you’ll reach North Quay Ferry Terminal where you can take a CityCat back to your starting point, or climb up to street level to explore the city. It’s about 3.5 kilometres of easy, flat walking.

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Snakes in Brisbane

Brisbane Tree Snake

  I was reaching out to open the lid on my compost bin this morning and my hand stopped just 30 cm from this snake.  After leaping back about two metres I realised that with all the rain we’ve had, this snake was probably trying to warm up and a black plastic lid was the ideal place.  

I was able to grab my camera, with a long lens, so I could keep at a distance.  I know very little about snake behaviour, but this snake seemed to take a leisurely yawn, which I was able to photograph. Of course it could have been giving me a warning signal that it was about to attack so I moved well away.  

Brisbane Tree Snake Yawning

I’m pretty sure, after consulting the Queensland Museum’s excellent book Wildlife of Greater Brisbane, that this is a common tree snake which is not venomous, but as snakes can be very difficult to identify, it’s best to assume any snake you see is dangerous. Even if they are non-venomous, sharp teeth can give you a nasty bite.  

So if you’re taking a walk in Brisbane, remember there are snakes around, so stick to the track, make lots of noise (to give snakes a chance to move away before you get near them) and don’t let children run ahead. Most people who are bitten have tried to attack or touch the snake. The Queensland Museum has some good advice and reassurance and a link to first aid for bites. 

I think it’s wonderful that wildlife can survive in an urban environment, but I might put the scraps in my other compost bin, which is in a more open area, and open the lid with a long stick for a while.

Gallery of Modern Art

  

Eastern Water Dragon - Gallery of Modern Art

After a walk along the river at South Bank, we stopped for a rest at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). We found this Eastern Water Dragon just near the gallery’s River Cafe.  Males have a red belly and we thought he was as beautiful as the art inside. 

If you happen to be taking a walk along the south side of the Brisbane River, GoMA’s current exhibition, the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art is a great place for a break (and the air-conditioning is welcome on these hot days).  Admission is free and there’s something to interest everyone. Children are particularly well catered for with lots of hands-on activities. Don’t miss the ‘string room’ which is a unique, walk-through experience. Remember your email address because you can create artworks on touch screens and email them to yourself.

North Stradbroke Island – The Gorge Walk

One of my favourite places for walking is North Stradbroke Island.  Locals refer to the island as “Straddie”.

Gorge Walk - Stradbroke Island

Gorge Walk - Stradbroke Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While it’s not part of Brisbane (it’s in the Redland’s City Council area), Straddie is close to Brisbane and a favourite with locals for camping, swimming, surfing and fishing.

To get to Straddie, you take a car or passenger ferry from Cleveland across to the small township of Dunwich.  On the far side of the island is Point Lookout, another small township.  Here you’ll find surf beaches, spectacular coastal scenery, accommodation from camp grounds to resorts and places to eat. 

From June until late November, Humpback Whales pass close to Point Lookout.  One of our favourite activities at Point Lookout is to take a picnic lunch and watch for whales (opposite the shops at 19 Mooloomba Rd).  And if you need a post lunch treat, try Oceanic Gelati which has some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.  Apart from whales you might see pods of dolphins surfing the waves below, along with human surfers.

The Gorge Walk

North Gorge Lookout - Stradbroke Island

North Gorge Lookout - Stradbroke Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This walk starts on the opposite side of the road from the Gelati shop.  The path begins just beside the public toilet block.  There are quite a few steps on this path (but it’s worth it) and small children will have to be closely supervised.

Simply keep the coastline on your left and follow the well-defined track. There are plenty of places to stop and admire the view.  At North Gorge, you can walk out onto the rocks.  This is a great place to sit and look for Stradbroke Island’s Big Five – whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and manta rays.

Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

On the opposite side of the Gorge you may hear Whale Rock Blowhole.

The path follows the contour of North Gorge.  After rounding Point Lookout, you’ll see South Gorge and views beyond of Main Beach.

Look out for Brahminy Kites, hunting in the skies above.  These birds have a white head and chest with brown wings. Follow the path to the road, turn right and after a short time, you’ll be back at your starting point.

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