With our lovely hosts sharing their lives with us and schoolwork to get on with we didn't really do too much touristy stuff. A few trips to the local park for some cricket and flying fox action. A one day extravaganza into Brisbane to be outlined below and a trip to Redcliff to catch up with Nina and Matt. Matt went to Coffs Harbour Primary School with Paul.
Let it be known henceforth that Brisbane public transport is ridiculously overpriced and very difficult for the uninitiated. I arrived on the station with not many minutes to spare while Paul parked the car. I attempted to get a return ticket to the city but could not make the machine work. I had the boys out hunting for a guy to help but couldn't raise anyone to help a poor, befuddled interstate tourist. Paul finally arrived...before the train, thankfully... and we found a guy to buy tickets from on the next platform. Turns out it wasn't my fault with the machine. They DON'T SELL return tickets!! You have to buy two singles!! Turned out to be 4 times the price to catch the train compared with driving your car and parking in the city! The guy to his credit was well aware of how ridiculous this was and was trying to get us to get our car and drive it in to station X where it would be this much cheaper to get the ticket and we may just get on the same train etc etc! Can you believe a public transport system that is so expensive even the workers encourage you just to use your car?!! We had a similar experience (ie nice person trying to work with a useless system) with a very helpful ferry ticket guy. We had 2 hours to get to the end of our journey and our tickets had just run out prior to getting onto the ferry. He acknowledged how ridiculous it would be to get a second set of tickets just to get into the city and another set again to get out and graciously let us have a ferry ride without recharging us. Enough of a gripe... Once we made our decision to pay a big price we just got on with it and had a great time!!
The train ride was pleasant and uneventful. As the kids were getting ratty, we stopped at a nondescript part of the city to have some of the lunch I had painstakingly prepared (much to Paul and the kids horror - who wants real food when there is junk food on every corner). And then sprinted off to Tangled Yarns (a spectacular yarn shop that my knitting girls have made a prilgrimage to already this year) so we could be in and out and on the ferry by the 2 hour after ticket purchase time. Of course we didn't make it, despite the rush, and were quite prepared to pay for more, but as mentioned the guy kindly let us off. The ferry into Southbank was one of the highlights of the day for each of us, except Sascha, who sat inside angry most of the trip as no one wanted to come in and play Uno with him...
The rest of lunch was consumed in the park at Southbank. Icecream was had by Sascha and Dom and moods were lifted. We walked to the Queensland Art Gallery where we took in a room or two of art, just enough for the kids to have not had too much, then headed into the free stuff in the Queensland Museum. Once the kids had done their dash in there we headed into the Queensland Library where we all had a little play/read in "The Corner" a kids section which is really quite lovely.
Sascha had been nagging most of the day for Subway so thats what the kids got for dinner. As junk food goes its not too bad. We walked across the way to Govinda's and had a delicious vegetarian feast while the kids played Uno peacefully at another table. It felt like a date!!
For our final flourish of the day we all walked to the Chocolate Pavilion and consumed some hot chocolates and fondue. We got back on the train round 8.30 at night and Dom dropped like a stone. The big boys then supervised and tutored the parents playing subway surfer on our phones all the way home! What a great big day!