Brisbane, My home
Brisbane or "Bris-vegas" as locals like to call it, may be at the very end of the Earth for some people, but for the last 14 years, it's been home for me. Its reputation in recent times has increased from the original stamp as a "country town" to a claimed national state as "The most livable city" in Australia. Why? Because personally out of every city I have ever been to, I've never felt more comfortable to be here. And if it wasn't for my inner urge to explore the world, I'd probably never leave.
The city of Brisbane is located in south-east Queensland, Australia, and was established around 1780 as a town for immigrants from Britian to start a new life. It was later in 1901 when Brisbane was allocated the capital of Queensland. Ever since its development, Brisbane has grown both socially and economically, becoming a major trade point with both the Asian and Indonesian continents, and a prestige spot for new business and industrial opportunities. Thanks to a strong environmental plan, Brisbane has some of the lowest pollution rates in the country, especially for its size and area. Making it a very desirable living area for all of its citizens.
Brisbane is a large, fast growing, city with a population of around 1.5 million (Including the sub-cities of Logan and Ipswitch), and full of the friendliest people you will ever meet. People are encouraged to be individual and comfortable with themselves in Brisbane - Its not unlikely to see people dancing in the inner city streets, holding friendly protests, and spraying legal graffiti. Whatever lifestyle you hold, whether straight, gay, alternative or strictly cultural - there's a place in Brisbane for you. The crime rate in Brisbane is the lowest of any city in Australia, allowing a safe atmosphere for pretty much anyone of any race or nationality, to walk around and not feel threatened.
Like all Australian cities, Brisbane is divided into a large numberof Suburbs, with some names derived from the state's rich Aboriginal heritage. Examples include Indooroopilly, Goodna and Yeronga, as well as European names like Graceville or Forest Lake. Largely made up of confusing back roads, the suburbia of Brisbane is cosy and friendly, with many a close community and strong neighborhood belonging. Most kids grow up in the same areas together, attending the same schools, and usually stay together through and after University! (Its uncommon for many teenagers to leave their cities after high school to attend university in Australia).
Brisbane also prides itself on its education system, which includes a massive number of both State and Private primary and high schools, as well as the acclaimed University of Queensland, and the Queensland University of Technology.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Yes, people do drive on the left side of the road here, and the standard of most drivers is better then average. People get around by car, bus, train or foot, mostly utilizing Brisbane's great public transport system, which covers the majority of the city. Even those of us with cars like to use the system, clearly as it is very expensive to park in the CBD areas. The bus service, which is supported by the city council, provides a large web of access, especially to the inner areas of the suburbs. While the 6 line Queensland Rail citytrain system pushes its way through the middle of the suburb and city areas out to the coasts.
Highway systems and bypasses provide quick and easy access for car owners to access the 4 different main areas (North, South, East and West - Allocated from the Central CBD) of Brisbane, plus direct access to both coasts, outskirts and airports. Brisbane has both International and Domestic airports, which were upgraded to accomidate more traffic in 2000.
Brisbane's Appeal and Tourism
Like most of Queensland, Brisbane is placed in a sub-tropical climate making it especially hot and humid in summer, and quite mild and cool in Winter. Also a popular growing tourist attraction and favourite holiday spot with southerners, Brisbane sits straight in the middle of two main "coast spots" - the Gold and Sunshine coast areas. A simple hour drive north or south provides fantastic beaches, theme parks, resorts, and atmosphere. Brisbane includes its own growing nightlife sector with both its "Valley" and "City" areas, which include a large number of clubs, pubs, and event halls. Concerts and Festivals are always on offer, namely Big Day Out, held usually on the Gold Coast, holds host to many popular alternative bands, both locally and overseas. Also held is Livid, which usually features primarily local talent.
Full of trees and thick in the middle is what Brisbane would look like from a top down map. The people of Bris-vegas enjoy large amounts of space for their homes, either living out in the suburbs, the inner-city areas or the CBD. Heaps of hills litter the city, as well as lakes and the token swirling Brisbane River which divides the fair town in half. Public parks are scattered amongst the place, as well as a large number of forests and reserves.
Animals, primarily birds, reptiles and insects are common in Brisbane, sharing the land with the citizens. Popular birds, such as the Magpie and Kookaburra are easily noticed around Brisbane, as are various species of lizard, including the Blue Tongue and the Gecko. You might also be lucky at night to see a furry possum, koala, or Owl. More "Australian" animals such as the Kangaroo or Wallaby, are slightly a rarer see in inner Brisbane, but are an occasional find in the outskirts. Be warned though, that common species of poisonous spider, such as the Red Back, are located in most areas of Brisbane, as are pests such as Bull Ants, Mosquitos and Flies.
What do we do in Brisbane? We shop, catch a movie, see a play, go for a drive, go to one of various events, see a museum or grab a drink or a meal at a pub, or cafe. In the summer heat of up to 40 Degrees Celcius (or 104 Degrees Farenheit!), swimming is a popular pastime, as are trips to the coasts and BBQ's and parties. It's best to use your imagination and find out as much as you can about what's happening, to enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Brisbane is a wonderful, bright and underrated city with heaps of beautiful landscape, people and wildlife. I encourage everyone who has yet to see my home to visit and enjoy it as much as I have.