Having spent all of Saturday at Australia Zoo (see previous post), Sunday morning was my only chance to properly explore Brisbane. Unfortunately it rained most of the morning so I don’t think I saw the city at it’s best! It has a very contemporary/modern feel to it — most of the areas I visited seemed to have had serious renovation work done on them in the last 20 years. On the whole, this makes it a very pleasant city, if somewhat lacking in the charm and character of Sydney but if it had been a nice day I think the South Bank area would have been a lovely place to spend the morning, just hanging out by the river, browsing the Sunday markets and drinking coffee in the various cafes.
Yesterday afternoon I took the bus to Byron Bay, a “must-stop” on the backpacker trail. After the tacky-commercialisation of the towns further up the coast, Byron is quite refreshing—there are a lot of backpackers here, but there’s enough of the surf- and hippie-culture left to make it a pleasant place to relax and spend the last 2 days of this leg of my travels. Unfortunately while the weather is much improved today, it’s still very overcast (i.e. too cold for swimming!) and there was not a lot of surf so I wasn’t able to get my surf lesson! 🙁 It was a perfect temperature for walking though, so I walked up the most-Eastern point of mainland Australia, which has very nice views of this area, and saw dolphins swimming in the surf!