Day 2 Brisbane to Tamborine

Trying to write a travel log three months after I returned is an uphill task. While I have voice recorded our entire trip, it isn’t quite the same as penning it all down. I guess I am a word person after all. Let me try my bestest here to provide an adequate travel log without sounding too mechanical about it all… the emotions have been watered down.

This morning, our plan was to take the CityCat cruise down the Brisbane River, the prominent natural landmark that splits the city into two. In order to kill two birds with one stone, our destination would be New Farm where the Brisbane Powerhouse is. It is surrounded by a public park and on the third Saturday of the month, is also the venue for Jan’s Farmer Market which apparently offers more stalls than the ones in West End.

By the time we got to South Bank and located the pier to catch the ferry it was already 1100 and the market was set to close at 1200. The ferry ride cost a total of A$11 for the four of us. It was an enjoyable ride and Joel and I particularly liked the wind blowing at our faces as we admired the riverside houses and the Story Bridge as we passed under it. Elizabeth wasn’t so thrilled about it though.

Today is her 3rd birthday and I hope to get her something nice at the market, at least a cake to celebrate her turning to three.

By the time we arrived at the Powerhouse, it was 1140 and I was close to despairing that I would miss my first farmer market experience. While we do have wet markets in Singapore, I have always been fascinated by its western counterpart. It just feels so different and a tad more romantic.

There were quite a few families who have set up picnics outside the Powerhouse enjoying their spoils from the market. My first impression of the farmers’ market was that it resembled a carnival or a fare where there are rows and rows of colorfully tented stalls offering all kinds of goodies from pitas, cakes, bread, vegetables, meats, flowers and assortment of fruits.

Even though the goods were not really cheap, I was tempted to just spend and buy whatever pleasing to the eyes. Eventually I got us a pita loaf, a fruit loaf (which by the way is one of the most delicious bread I have ever eaten), cherry tomatoes (but not as fresh as those from Cameron Highlands), two mini teacakes which were so delicately decorated for Elizabeth and two Gerbera flowers for the children.

We had a mini celebration for Elizabeth outside in the park and then headed down to Fortitude Valley, aka Chinatown, to collect our vehicle, a Nissan Xtrail. As expected the children were delighted to try out the new vehicle and their semi-home for the next 12 days of our journey.

We had lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant, bought some groceries in a dusty old provision shop like how it was in Singapore a decade ago and then went back to our hotel to collect our luggage. We had checked out earlier this morning.

After that, we drove over to South Bank again as I had wanted to have a glimpse at the famous Street Beach, which apparently is a man made beach right smack in the middle of CBD. I thought that was quite an anomaly but apparently the hundreds of locals soaking in the waters didn’t think so.

The area was so crowded there was hardly space for swimming so I guess it was mainly for soaking and gathering of friends and family. What was really amusing about the place is that there were actually seagulls milling around looking to pick up morsels of food. These birds are totally at home with the humans.

Next stop thereafter was to visit our cousin’s home south of the city centre in Acacia Ridge. It was my first time inside an Australian home. It is a two-storey house with a huge compound and even its own tree house, garden and garage. However the living areas itself was cramped but relatively cozy. After giving them our best wishes for their wedding tomorrow, we buckled up and made our way up Mount Tamborine at 7pm.

The journey up was relatively uneventful but the roads were really dark litted only by the reflectors lining the roads. By the time we got to the Beacon, it was 8pm and the office was closed. I had my worst fears that the caretaker had gone home and we would have nowhere to put up tonight.

I got out of the car to check out the office bulletin and was immediately buffetted by the winds. It was so freaking cold up here on the mountain and it wasn’t even a tall one! I managed to spot a number to call and was glad to be received by a friendly lady. She came over to meet us and direct us to our little wooden cabin.

The Fletcher chalet was much bigger and more beautiful than I anticipated and we even have our own fireplace which they started up for us! It is a two-storey wooden house with two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, sofa and separate shower and toilet as well as  a nice porch overlooking the forest.

I got down to preparing a very late dinner of instant oats and noodles and then we all settled down for a well deserved rest amidst the freezing cold. It would be another long day tomorrow and many after that.


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