The best way to see Brisbane is from a CityCat. The first high-speed CityCats, four of them, were introduced in 1996. Two more were added the same year, and another two in 1998. From 2003, the CityCats really took off: in 2006, 5.9 million people travelled on the network; and by 2009 there were 14 vessels in operation. In October 2014, in time for the G20, the 20th CityCat was launched. The fleet has helped to put Brisbane on the tourist map.
|Old and new at Bulimba ferry terminal|
|How many cranes?|
We took our visitor, an engineer and inventor, downstream to Hamilton North Shore, which seemed apposite. There is a cafe from where you can observe a residential city transforming into a working port. But we stayed on the ferry and sailed upstream to South Bank for a long lazy lunch in the Queensland Art Gallery's delightful cafe, adjacent to the 'signature Watermall and sculpture gardens'.
Patrick Thaiday's Zugub (Dance machines), featured objects used to animate narrative dance in Torres Strait Island performances featuring loud singing and drumming. And these pots were pleasing.
The following weekend we took our guest further afield – to the Glass House Mountains. Having missed his orientation, he followed our route on the iPad. We turned off the Bruce Highway at Caboolture and drove to Maleny via Woodford, where we had a coffee stop. The rookie navigator suggested a back-ways route off the Kilcoy-Beerwah Road a few kilometres west of Peachester. I was wary. My friend and I have tried on two or three previous occasions to find cross-country alternatives to main roads in this neck of the woods, but have always found that, since our map was produced, they have become no through roads. It's happened enough times now to arouse my curiosity, not to say suspicions. There were no 'private property' signs, so how come public access has been removed? We did come upon a wonderfully rickety-rackety bridge, however, before we had to turn back.
|500-600-year-old Rose Gums|
Mary Caincross Reserve is a 55-acre remnant of rainforest that used to cover the Blackall Range. It is an ecological island, with no corridors to other remnants nearby. It is likely that other species once lived here before becoming extinct, and that animals currently inhabiting the forest may be threatened in future. It is one of few subtropical rainforest remnants surviving in optimum conditions; that is, flat, relatively deep basalt soils and plentiful rainfall.
We saw Brush Turkeys, Wompoo Fruit-doves and a Golden Whistler: we heard Eastern Whipbirds and a Green Catbird. We saw several Red-legged Pademelons, one of which had a juvenile suckling. The female Pademelon is extraordinary in that, if she becomes pregnant while she still has a joey in the pouch, the new embryo is put on hold until the pouch becomes available. This reproductive system is known as embryonic diapause. She can produce two types of milk at the same time, one suitable for a developing baby and one for a maturing joey. What a clever girl.
On our visitor's last day, we took him to look out over the city and surrounds from Mt Coot-tha. You could barely see the sand blows on Moreton Bay's islands or the Scenic Rim of mountains towards the New South Wales border, but the River's winding path and wide bends were clear enough. It was the weekend, and there were busloads of… how can I put it… eccentric tourists, who we soon wanted to put behind us. We drove down the hill to the Botanic Gardens for some lunch, before having a wander. I've decided I am a foliage person, not a flower person.