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FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Old Dec 11th 2006, 3:31 pm
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Smile FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

This is part 1 of my reccie to Brisbane and Melbourne. I hope you enjoy the report and photos. I’ll be happy to answer any questions anyone has about the areas to the best of my knowledge.

Caveat - Everything in here is my opinions and observations. I apologise if these don’t agree with the opinions of people living in the areas I visited.


DAY 1 - 16th November - Heathrow

Wahay – off we go! I was dreading Heathrow security but they were not the slightest bit interested in my carefully prepared see-through bag with my not-in-excess-of-100g toiletries in it. However they did make me take my shoes off, obviously in deference to the fact that Heathrow airport has now become a Mosque.

The flight to Singapore was good, I had a spare seat next to me. Qantas were OK but without many of the extras I have become accustomed to as a seasoned long haul traveller. It’s a plane, it gets you there.

DAY 2 - 17th November - Singapore

At Singapore airport I had a couple of hours to kill so I did a bit of shopping, bought some Raybans to replace some that the Buzzettes had pulled apart, however they were no cheaper than at Heathrow. I took the opportunity to have a shower in the Rainforest lounge, the shower was $8, and I was surprised to find the showers very dirty and with a weak water flow. Afterwards I had a massage for $23, it was really good, the kind of massage where you are beaten up and your limbs are pulled in directions they are not supposed to go.

The flight to Brisbane was good and shorter than I remember it from before.

DAY 3 - 18th November - Brisbane

I arrived in Brisbane which as usual was hot, sunny, gorgeous. I just love the feeling of subtropical warmth you get when you step off the plane. I picked up my hire car from Europcar at the airport, the car hire lady even looked after my bags while I went to the toilet – whats the chance of that happening in the UK? I set out onto the road and within 5 minutes was lost. This was due to a road sign being removed during road works. Once I had extricated myself from the domestic terminal I stopped at a petrol station to ask directions to the Gateway motorway. A very nice lady who for some reason had no teeth put me right. It was an easy drive from the airport to my friend’s house in Ipswich, but take it from me, get a car with cruise control! There were 3 road tolls between the airport and Ipswich totalling $6.

As soon as I arrived at my friend’s at 8am she presented me with a full Ozzie breakfast cooked on the BBQ – what a welcome! Several people have asked me what Ipswich is like. Suffice it to say I can’t see much difference between it and many other Brisbane suburbs. It has a mix of old and new houses, the usual shopping centres, good transport links. Here’s a picture of my friend’s house there, it’s a perfectly normal Ipswich house with 3 beds, 3 living rooms and a decent garden, all for about AU$300k!

My friend’s house in Ipswich – note the outside louvres to keep the heat out

After breakfast we went shopping in Ipswich shopping centre – I looked at the £11.95 bananas and made a careful note as I expected to see significant price reductions over the coming weeks. Other food was similar prices to UK. We had been invited to 232Bar and Annqldau’s house for a BBQ that evening so I bought Kangaroo steaks and sausages for quite reasonable prices as I felt that was the right thing to do!

I also went into a phone shop and got an Ozzie Sim card for my UK mobile. This was really easy to do, I picked the $30 Optus package which gave me $120 worth of calls – this lasted me 2.5 weeks even with several calls to the family in New Zealand.

We had shopping centre food court Kebabs for lunch (OKish), then drove back to my friend’s house and chilled out until it was time to leave for the BBQ.

Late afternoon we drove to 232Bar and Annqldau’s house.

232Bar and annqldau’s house

232Bar had obviously killed and butchered a cow going by the amount of steak he cooked! Made my offerings of Kangaroo meet seem rather paltry. Three of the mods were at the BBQ, me, Cresta57 and Pollyanna. Luckily we still have Gedge or you lot would have run riot! 232Bar and annqldau have a massive house on a 2.5 acre block with a pool. As night fell beautiful parrots cam to feed at their bird table,

Parrots in the garden

followed by not so beautiful rats. I was fading a bit from Jetlag by 8.30 so drove back to my friends and almost fell asleep in the car!

DAY 4 - 19th November - Brisbane

Today I was going diving with 232Bar, Cresta57, annqldau, so I was up at 5am. This is in fact the time that every good Queenslander gets up every day anyway. I put sunscreen on – you have to every morning here, and also you have to make sure you leave the curtains closed all day to keep heat out and to stop furniture from fading. This is one thing I don’t like about life in QLD – living in semi-twilight indoors all the time.

We drove to Scarborough, met up with everyone and took a fast boat out to Moreton island, bouncing along on the waves, wearing my sunnies and wetsuit thinking “this is the life”. We had 2 great dives on Curtin reef – the water was 23 degrees, the viz was good, the fish were suitable numerous. We returned to dock and 232Bar was kind enough to let me have a drive of his Nissan Pathfinder, which is the car I want to get in Oz.
We drove to Scarborough beach and had fish and chips which were bit average.

Scarborough Beach

It was a nice beach area with lots of families enjoying themselves, one of the better beaches in Brisbane..

My friend and I drove down the coast, and had a look round the suburbs of Redcliffe, Margate, and Woody Bay. There are a couple of tiny beaches here and lots of mud flats. We drove round some new housing estates. Now I know there are those who like this lifestyle but living on a new estate is really not for me. I like the houses but the garden size and situation is not what I want. Basically, developers have dug a hole in the ground, filled it full of water, put some houses round it and marketed it as “Pelican Waters” or “Platypus gardens” or something.

Housing estate – Brookwater

We stopped at my friend’s sister’s house who lives on one new estate, they have a lovely house round a central pool but as their house is on a corner plot they have a tiny garden, the plot size was 880m2 but the garden was about 10m2!!!

My friend showed me where the biggest shopping centre in Australia is being opened on the way back to Ipswich – looked about the size of Bluewater! When we returned to her house we watched some TV including the advert for the cricket which went something like “The poms are coming, we’ve warmed up the beer in the microwave, hidden the soap etc”.



DAY 5 - 20th November – Brisbane, Northern Suburbs

For the next 2 days Pollyanna and Esmerelda Chipmunk were going to accompany me as I drove round looking at various areas.

Today we were going to explore the area North of Brisbane as far up as Bribie Island which I had identified as being about the furthest sensible commute.

I drove into the city via the Ipswich, Logan and Gateway motorways. Traffic was heavy both days due to accidents. I Picked up Pollyanna from Toombul station and drove to Bribie Island. One thing I found quite sensible – the motorways merge into the fast lane unlike in the UK where they always merge into the inside lane. The radio was tuned to 97.3FM – a great radio station. Bribie has a gorgeous beach on the Ocean side, being close to the beach the houses are of course on small plots.

Bribie Island surf beach

Although there were Category 4 water restrictions in force everywhere (hosepipe ban) we saw elderly people watering with hosepipes in the heat of the day. Apparently they can get a medical certificate which allows them to hose for 1 hour per day as they would find carrying buckets too hard.
We stopped at a coffee shop overlooking the channel between Bribie and the mainland, the coffee shop owner came from Aylesbury…..

Inner side of Bribie Island

In the UK you get pigeons congregating round coffee shops, in Bribie you get pelicans!

Pelicans at Bribie Island

Coming off Bribie, we drove down to Beachmere. On getting out of the car we were knocked back by the smell of the mud flats. Upon looking at the beach we found it to be mud flats with bright purple polluted water. Needless to say we didn’t stay long. Passed through Ningi, which has nice big rural plots.

We then drove down to North Lakes and had a Subway in Westfield Shopping Centre.

Westfield Shopping Mall

I was impressed to see parking specially reserved for the elderly.

Senior parking

Subway wouldn’t let me have ice in my soft drink due to Health and Safety reasons!!! Then they wouldn’t let Pollyanna have horseradish with her beef subway as “They had stopped serving horseradish as they were giving people too much choice”!!! Hmmm on both counts…

We had a good look round Aldi which had some reasonable prices, and Crazy Clarks which was like a pound shop – lots of cheap stuff.
The veggie shop outside Coles had a good range – bananas at $7.90, Coles was selling them for $11.95 next door – why would anyone shop at Coles???

Price of Bananas

We looked round Coles, who wanted to search my backpack before I left. They refused to answer me when I asked them why they were doing it.

We passed a branch of The Warehouse. This is a New Zealand company which in NZ trumpets it is “proudly NZ owned and operated”. It doesn’t dare do this in Oz – if it did nobody would buy there. Australians only buy Australian, and every Australian product has some slogan on the front of it pronouncing how wonderfully Australian it is. I even saw Kiwi fruit from New Zealand, stickered as NZ produce, under a sign that said "Australian grown"!!!

Driving round I got caught out by the left lane disappearing all the time – sometimes after only a few yards of it starting. Take a tip – never go into a left lane ever, just use the right lane.

We drove round North Lakes estate, as before these estates are not my bag so we left quickly

North Lakes Estate

We drove round Deception Bay – more mud flats. Brighton and Sandgate were a bit better, saw loads of Jellyfish in the water around the pier

Brighton Beach

I was impressed on the way home by the traffic radio announcer telling everyone where the mobile speed traps were at that precise time.

Saw the start of a small bushfire at Goodna –police in attendance. The grass at edge of the forest was burning.

I arrived back at my friend’s house. She needed a bit of shopping, so I went out grocery shopping in my bare feet, because I could. My friend, an Australian, said she hated people shopping in their bare feet.

In the evening my friend took me to a kids swimming club where she does some volunteer work. It was really great was to see so many kids participating in and enjoying competitive sport that evening.

DAY 6 - 21st November – Brisbane, Southern Suburbs

I was up at 5am again like a good Queenslander. I started to hang out some washing I had done, and my friend told me not to hang washing in the sun as it fades! Bit different from the UK then.

I picked up Pollyanna at Wynnum North station.

Wynnum North Station

Today we were going to look at the suburbs to the South.

We started at Mount Cotton. This is a very rural area, with nice big blocks.

House at Mount Cotton

Nearby was Redland Bay – more mangrove swamps, but nice views of the Moreton Bay islands. Redland Bay is an older suburb, with the usual smaller blocks that you get nearer the sea.

From there we went on to Victoria Point which I rather liked. Good sized blocks, with older houses. There’s a lovely kids beach (Thomsons beach). It was very quiet and peaceful.

Thomson’s Beach, Victoria Point

We drove through the following areas –
- Thornlands, consisting of new estates.
- Cleveland – Nice older houses on bigger blocks.
- Raby Bay – Marina style homes with boats at end of private jettys. Flash homes on small blocks. Some small beaches on the sea side.

Raby Bay House and Boat

- Ormiston – Big blocks but no beach just mangroves.
- Wellington Point – Older but nice homes on good blocks. Great Kids beach and King Island and causeway. Nice shopping centre.

Wellington Point Beach

- Birkdale – same as Raby Bay.
- Thornside – Older Houses, Weston-super-mud sea.
- Lota – Very old houses on tiny blocks. Some replacement homes. Mangroves and Mudflats.
- Manly – Mudflats, Big Marina, Steep Hills. Modern Expensive homes.
- Wynnum – Older but similar to Manly. Bit of a beach and a pier but mudflats too.

Wynnum Beach

I dropped Pollyanna back at the station.

One observation I made - being a parent, I was very surprised that none of the child play areas had the swings for very small children.

I was taking my friend for dinner that evening, which was booked for 6.30 – everything happens earlier in QLD! We had a lovely Thai dinner in Ipswich – really good tasty food. It was a popular restaurant, all the tables were full, good for a Tuesday night. I was given the option of having my Thai soup mild, medium or hot and the waitress was surprised when I asked for Hot. It came about the same spiciness as I have it in the UK. Corkage was $1.70 per person, no matter how many bottles.

DAY 7 - 22nd November – Brisbane, Car Showrooms and Western Suburbs

I was on my own today, and wanted to have a look at some cars. I set off for Indooroopilly as that suburb has several car showrooms all in a row. I went to Kia, Nissan, and Hyundai and had a look at 7 seaters. It was a very similar experience to looking at cars in the UK. The Nissan salesman was from Walton on Thames, Surrey.

I decided that the Nissan Pathfinder was indeed the car for me. Unfortunately the dealership didn’t have the model I was interested in, so I hoped I would find one in Melbourne.

I then drove round some suburbs to the West of Brisbane. I drove through Toowong, Bardon, Ashgrove – these are all older suburbs with wooden houses in the main.

At the suburb called The Gap I found nice older brick 1970-80s houses on medium sized plots in a very rural location with views over countryside.

Typical house in The Gap

Upper Kedron – new estates.
Ferny Grove – Big Flash houses on big steeply sloping blocks, great views.
Ferny Hills – 1980’s houses, medium blocks, roads hilly like San Francisco.

I then went for a brief walk in Brisbane Forest Park. I didn’t see any spiders or snakes but did see lots of bird life.

Brisbane Forest Park

I then continued through the suburb Arana Hills, which was like Ferny Hills, and arrived in Bunya, which I really liked! Big houses, big plots, tennis courts, animals and only 10-15 mins drive to Ferny Grove station for trains to the CBD.

Typical Bunya house

While driving around I heard an amusing radio ad for an impotency treatment that was nasally taken – “Stick it up your nose and up it goes”!

I then drove across Brisbane Forest Park, just 11 k’s from the CBD and I was on gravel road. Beautiful countryside and lovely views.

Brisbane Forest Park

Leaving the Park I drove into Kenmore Hills which was very rural with 10 acre blocks and the odd cow and horse.

I then arrived in Brookfield which was like Bunya but better, acreage, big houses, with horses. Upper Brookfield was even better – very very rural, massive houses, 10 acres blocks. If I was ever going to live in Brisbane I would want to live in Upper Brookfield.

Typical Upper Brookfield House

On my way back to Ipswich I drove through Kenmore and Fig Tree Pocket. These have older houses on very good size suburban plots.

Drove home via a shopping mall where I was very impressed to see shade cloth over the parking areas.

Shade cloth for mall parking

In the evening my friend and her family took me to the Brothers Rugby Club for a meal of school dinners and a few beers. It had a big bar, full of pokies and very fat people. Had a good chat with my friend’s family and sank a few VBs before staggering back.

DAY 8 - 23rd November – Leaving Brisbane and going to Melbourne

I drove to BNE airport very early. I had opted for the pay before you drive fuel option so was returning the car empty – bad move – as a result I was worried the whole way there I was going to run out of fuel, be stuck on the gateway motorway and miss my plane.

There was very little security at the airport – I did not have to show photo ID at any point and did not have to show anything at all to pass through to departures (domestic) although all my hand baggage was searched. So a terrorist could buy a ticket in someone else’s name!

And so I left Queensland, and flew on to Melbourne, where you can read all about my adventures in Part 2 of my Reccie report, which I hope to get finished this week!




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Old Dec 11th 2006, 3:45 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Great post really informative, thanks Buzzy
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 4:11 pm
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Smile Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Excellent Post Buzzy, cant wait to hear where you've decided on.

Jay

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Old Dec 11th 2006, 4:38 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Oh my god your so wasted in your job lolllllll

I love it souded like you had an excellent time in Brisbane

FYI I test drove a Pathfinder in the UK on my birthday (August time) as we decided having 3 kids we'd need a motor that would enable us to collect friends family etc from the airport and mean kids could have friends round etc
What a dream to drive so that had me sold, It's excellent isnt it.

In the UK you donn't put the key in the ignition but have to have it on you and then turn a switch at the same time as putting your foot on the brake pedal, the top of the range one we drove had SatNav inbuilt and was really good.
Very roomy so plenty of space for my lot. I've never driven an automatic though and apparently all Pthfinders over there are automatics???
Though i'm sure you'll correct me if i'm wrong.

If you're still in Melbourne there's Werribee Nissan and one on the East side at Fern Gully - I think???

Hubby wants a Commodore or a Falcon I think.

Jen
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 4:41 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

WOW Buzzy, have you thought of becoming a travel writer
I'm eagerly awaiting part 2

Mandy
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 6:39 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

A really good read - the pictures of typical houses by suburb were really useful - we're after a larger plot than you get on the newer estates so it was great.

thanks,

Rebecca
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 6:39 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Fab post! very infomative.
Hubby wants the pathfinder too, any more info on that? price, number of seats etc, we need 6 seats min.
Can't wait to hear next installment
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Smashin' post that Buzz, its good to here an independent view of "Bayside", its a pity you didn't go to Alexandra Hill's I wouldn't mind knowing why the houses seem less over that way

Still wondering why you have gone for Melbourne.

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Old Dec 11th 2006, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

That was great Buzzy so imformative and fantastic piccies - You really ought to set up a resettlement agency when you get wherever - very informed, to the point and no c**p!

Cant wait to read more!

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Old Dec 11th 2006, 7:17 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Originally Posted by Ian & Sharon
Smashin' post that Buzz, its good to here an independent view of "Bayside", its a pity you didn't go to Alexandra Hill's I wouldn't mind knowing why the houses seem less over that way

Still wondering why you have gone for Melbourne.

Ian
Alex Hills is a mixed bag. Some good areas and some not so.

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Old Dec 11th 2006, 7:42 pm
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great report buzzy..must have took ages to write !!
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 8:52 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Excellent Buzzy - glad you got round to it at last! Though Esmeralda would like to ask why you didn't mention that its the first time you'd been on a nudist beach with a chipmunk.....
And for any migrating chipmunks out there - the seating in the car was very comfortable
Attached Thumbnails FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...-bribie-nude-nov-06.jpg   FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...-buzzys-car.jpg  
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 9:05 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Originally Posted by Buzzy--Bee
And so I left Queensland, and flew on to Melbourne, where you can read all about my adventures in Part 2 of my Reccie report, which I hope to get finished this week!
Wow, what an amazing report .. can't wait to read the Melbourne story

Lynne
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Excellent post as we are moving to Brisbane you gave us plenty of info top notch

Last edited by Buzzy--Bee; Dec 12th 2006 at 7:02 am.
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Old Dec 11th 2006, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: FINALLY - BUZZY'S RECCIE REPORT! - Part 1 - Brisbane...

Best ever recce report - and no sign of dolphins. This is the quality we need!

That picture of North lakes legoland is the worst depiction of an estate I have ever seen. All the roofs are exactly the same and the block sizes are a joke.
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