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Home > Walkabout > SE Qld Coast > E - Brisbane River > 20
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Day 20 - Upstream to the city centre

Day 20 - Upstream to the city centre
 
   
   
   
   
 
 

This week in South East Queensland

AS SPRING draws into summer, the temperature continues to rise towards its summer peak and the jacurandas are in full bloom. People are looking forward to getting into holiday mode, and the retail sector is cashing in on this hanging out the decorations on the streets with the occasional man wearing a Santa suit completely out of place here in the southern hemisphere summer heat. The retail stores are already blaring Christmas carols drawing the crowds, which I avoid.

Today's hike takes me upstream passing the cruise terminals. Crossing Breakfast Creek I pass the luxurious inner city waterfront apartments and parks around New Farm before reaching the magnificent city centre, which I spend the afternoon and evening exploring, only taking a break to head back downstream a little to witness the spectacular sunset and the city lights coming on.

 
 

Today's Journey

Reduce to summary only...

Distance hiked today: 21.3km

Total distance hiked to date: 417.1km

 
 
 
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Looking downstream just before first light. The Gateway Bridge is brightly illuminated.

 

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Following the start of the long path upstream towards the city.

 

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The city shines brightly in the distance beyond the hills. In the foreground the first of the Citycats take commuters into the city from this most downstream jetty. I will be seeing these a lot today and tomorrow as I head upstream.

 

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An almost full moon sets behind a shopping precinct for the cruise ship tourists made from shipping containers.

 

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Nearby the sun brightens behind a new imformation centre for the cruise tourists.

 

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Walking along a path behind large warehouses serviced by freight ships.

 

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A new apartment area at the main cruise terminal. The terminal itself has been shut off due to a ship arriving soon.

 

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Large fig tree occupying the site of the 1897 birthplace home of Kingsford Smith who became famous for being the first pilot to fly trans-Pacific from USA to Australia in 1928, taking several days.

 

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The sun rises as I follow a path between a main road and Hamilton Hill. The road is too crowded, so a new road out on the river is under construction over the next few years.

 

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The inner city is becoming more visible from Hamilton.

 

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Reaching Breakfast Creek in time for an early breakfast. The unobscured sun already shines fierce and hot. The palm trees around Ascot House should provide some shade relief.

 

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The cruise ship arrives at the terminal, now in the distance.

 

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The calm waters of the Brisbane River as it turns southward. What was once commercial docks has evolved in recent decades to luxury apartments.

 

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A pylon takes electricity across the river towards the port and eastern suburbs on the other side of the river.

 

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Apartments tower over the remnants of one of the many wharfs once lining the river.

 

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The wool stores once servicing the local sheep industry. Some of the original port warehouses are still standing. This is the big storage facility for sugar once grown in this part of Australia.

 

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Another magnificent warehouse now converted to apartments.

 

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The old powerhouse, powered by locally extracted coal. This has been converted into a cultural centre.

 

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Old wharf servicing the powerhouse. The tide is coming in around the river mangroves. Looking across to a wealthy residental area which I'll be passing in five days.

 

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Flowering jacaranda trees at New Farm Park. Whilst these are technically regarded as noxious weeds, their brilliant purple colouring is iconic in the Brisbane suburban landscape.

 

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Following the river upstream along Merthyr Street Park.

 

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A floating walkway and cycleway extends out into the river to bypass the waterfront houses. This has recently replaced the old boadwalk washed away in the 2011 floods. The river had turned again revealing Kangaroo Point covered in its apartment buildings leading to Storey Bridge, and the city centre still towering behind.

 

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Aproaching the Storey Bridge with the high rises towering behind. A citycat heads upstream along the winding river towards the city. The bridge was built by volunteers during the great depression in the early 1930s.

 

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Approaching the end of the floating walkway, approaching cliffs of an extinct volcano from 220 million years ago. The river sharply winds its way right through this tough rock. There are cliffs here because the rock was quarried. Strategically located apartment blocks sit on top of the cliffs. Under the cliffs is a new construction site. What had once been a port and abandoned for decades is now being converted into a retail and cultural precinct.

 

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Heading under the Storey Bridge as the river swings around almost 18o degrees, revealing the city. High cloud is rolling past in the background, and is forecast to cover the city later today.

 

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The high rises tower over the river. They are built on the same tough volcanic rock as the cliffs behind me. The gap to the right of centre is Queen Street, now Brisbane's main street. This follows the first path cut through the forest when the city was first discovered.

 

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Apartment block tower overhead full of caged residents. I prefer a more free range approach living out in the suburbs, but the views from here would be amazing.

 

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The old customs house at the end of Queen Street. This was where passengers sailing from the other side of the world would arrive after months at sea. A jail with cells is in the basement of this building to hold stowaways and other criminals. Towering commercial high rises now dwarf this once majestic building.

 

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Heading away from the river into the city to have lunch. A small block under the towering high rises has three amazing fig trees planted in 1889. One of the streets passing this tiny reserve is Creek Street, named after a natural fresh water stream once flowing through here providing the water supply to the city's first settlers.

 

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Glass towers of the city centre as I head back out to the river. A sea breeze has fortunately kicked in now bringing small clouds and a cooling breeze. It gets hotter as you go inland, and the buildngs sucking out the coolness into their air conditioning systems increases the heat. Although these buildings are very tall, they are limited in height due to their relatively close proximity to the airport. They cannot be any more than 274.3 metres high.

 

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Looking across the river towards Kangaroo Point where one of several large yachts are moored.

 

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Shiny glass towers rise above the gardens as clouds start rolling in from the west.

 

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The path along the Gardens Point botanical gardens. The land is relatively low and prone to flooding, so this area has been set aside for botanical gardens. Just above this point is a large red cannon used in the battle waterloo. I will be passing another one in seven days.

 

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The path along the Gardens Point botanical gardens provides excellent views across to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. This is another quarry built in the tough volcanic rock, and many early buildings (including the customs house) were built from rock quarried by convicts here.

 

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Although I'm just a few metres away from the river, the botanical gardens of Gardens Point becomes rainforest, representing what the city would have looked like when the first settlers arrived to establish their convict colony.

 

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Heading around the point of Gardens Point as the river swings back another 150 degrees around the other side of the central business district.

 

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On the grounds of the Queensland University of Technology with the Queensland Government's "Tower of Power" rising in the background.

 

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The Goodwill Bridge crossing from the shaded mangroves over the river giving pedestrians and cyclists access to the Maritime Museum at the eastern end of Southbank.

 

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The track goes underneath the end of the Captain Cook Bridge, the main road leading to the main motorway heading out of the city down towards the Gold Coast, Sydney and beyond. The track winds its way underneath the motorway with numerous lanes feeding into the city like veins and arteries feeding the heart.

 

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Heading up from the path towards the city (I will be continuing to follow the path tomorrow morning, but I need to explore the city now. Victoria Bridge crosses the river to the picturesque Southbank. I can't see much from here, but will be going through it in a few days when I come back down the other side of the river. Cloud is quickly covering the western sky.

 

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At the end of Victoria Bridge lookign down Queen Street along the first route carved through the rainforest. The thick jungle has long since been replaced with the concrete jungle of Queen Street.

 

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Heading along the very busy Queen Street Mall, now closed to traffic.

 

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The Brisbane Post Office. Behind to the left is Brisbane's first high rise building, just eight storeys high now choked under 50 storey plus glass towers now reaching towards the thick cloud cover which has come over during my walk up Queen Street.

 

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Looking back along Queen Street from Customs House. Hard to believe the river is just 30 metres to the left.

 

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Heading through the knife-edge thin apartment blocks back towards the Storey Bridge.

 

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Crossing closely under the Storey Bridge around 20 metres above the river.

 

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Storey Bridge as the sun draws low. I'm not sure if I'm getting a sunset tonight though.

 

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I find a good spot at Wilson Point along the top of the cliffs. This is a very popular spot for photographers jostling for position at this time of the evening to capture the perfect sunset. The sun breaks out before setting.

 

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The lights of the bridge and city come out as darkness falls over the bright shining crown of Brisbane City illuminates.

 

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Darkness falls so I head back towards the city. Just before reaching the Storey Bridge, I look back along the riverwalk I had followed this morning, and the buildings on the other side of the river at Kangaroo Point.

 

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Heading back to the riverside walk, the bridge is brightly illuminated. The city is totally different by night as it is by day, so I'm doing this part of the walk again on my way back into the city for the night.

 

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The customs house now brilliantly lit.

 

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Water feature cascading from the Riverside Centre as the office blocks tower.

 

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Heading back into the city.

 

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Inside the alley passing through the main post office as late commuters head towards Central Station in the distance.

 

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Illuminated trees along Queen Street Mall. Although the shops are all very modern, the mall has done well to have retained all the original facades of the 1800s, giving this part of the city a colonial look despite it being a very modern city. It is early December, but the retail precinct has all its Christmas decorations up and blaring Christmas carols as it has done for some time already.

 

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City Hall - for many years Brisbane's tallest building back in the days when the city was considered a large town. This all changed in the late 1970s when the glass towers started appearing. It is quite diminuitive now, but makes up for its lack of height with being brightly lit up at this time of year.

 

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Statues of original settlers having a fire. This is hidden away in a quiet dark area of the city behind City Hall. This is quite fitting given Brisbane is such a young and vibrant city.

 

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The treasury at the end of Queen Street. Originally built by convicts as the Queensland Government treasury building when they became independent from the New South Wales colony, it has in recent decades been operating as a casino (Australian's are apparently the biggest gamblers in the world), but will shortly be turned into another shopping mall.

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Date:

 

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26 Nov - 2 Dec

 

Brisbane

Australia

 

27°28'S
153°03'E

0 - 24m ASL

 

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