Brisbane Travel Guide
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When a city is situated on a body of water, be it an ocean, lake or river, we can appreciate when it uses said body of water to form the city's identity. Take for instance, Brisbane. Brisbane River in this, Australia's third largest city, winds through the CBD and has become as much part of the city as the people that call it home. So why not set it on fire in a festival called Riverfire?
Although Brisbane has a sordid past with the river from various catastrophic floods through its history, the river is not actually set a-light. Part of a larger festival (aptly name Brisbane Festival), Riverfire celebrates the Brisbane River itself and acts as a grand finale for various celebrations throughout the city. The giant firework show that uses bridges, buildings and barges as its stage make for an awe-inspiring experience.
The yellow and blue big top has been packed up to get more passport stamps. Cirque du Soleil's newest traveling show, OVO, has opened up shop for the start of its international tour. First stop, Brisbane.
After 3 years of ooh-ing and ahh-ing audiences around the US, Canada and Mexico, the creative minds behind the bug-themed circus show have launched their world tour. Bringing the insect world to life with bright colors, acrobatics, contortionists and the signature Cirque clowns, they seek to make it an escape (for a few brief hours) from the real world.
Airplane News / Boeing / 787 Dreamliner / 787 / Brisbane Travel / BNE / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / Plane Spotting / Qantas / Jetstar / → All Tags
The 787 Dreamliner is surely getting some miles on the odometer. Every time we see some news about the new bird, it's touring another country. Of course this is on purpose as Boeing is proud of their new equipment and turned on by the idea of getting it out there, flying to buyers, potential buyers and potential flyers.
This past weekend, the Dreamtour was sponored by Qantas and Jetstar to announce their plans to welcome the aircraft into their fleet by August 2013. The red roo and its low-cost little joey chose to gain some exposure and up the excitement by flying the plane from Sydney to Brisbane for some showboating at the airports.
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Most tourists to Australia visit the more popular cities, like Sydney and Melbourne or the iconic tourist spots like The Great Barrier Reef or Ayers Rock. However, the nation's third largest city is finally getting it's moment in the spotlight.
Situated on the east coast just over an hour's flight north of Sydney, the state of Queensland mostly specializes in rugby, the freshest produce and surfing. Brisbane, or "Bris-Vegas" to locals, is the state capital and boasts more than just beaches, pineapples and sport. The city is flourishing as a laid-back alternative to Sydney and a warmer choice over Melbourne.
Brisbane has near perfect weather year-round, with Queenslanders often selling their state with "Queensland weather: beautiful one day, perfect the next." Since the seasons are flipped from the Northern Hemisphere, this could be an ideal winter get-away. But be cautious since Summer is traditionally the wet season; it is sub-tropical after all.
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From repainting planes to overhauling terminals, Virgin Australia has had their plates full trying rebrand their entire operation, while changing the image from an all-economy service to a full-service airline. From the looks of things, the livery is flying all over Australia with more planes to come and re-Virgin-ized airport spaces. This goes for new airport lounges in major cities.
We took advantage of the fact that Virgin allows lounge access to Gold and Platinum Velocity Rewards members without actually flying, and checked out the Brisbane lounge for lunch. Yea, we went to the airport just for lunch. On first impression, the design is slick and the check-in fast and friendly, as expected from the brand.
One thing worth mentioning are the new staff uniforms, done up in a sultry, yet professional, red with Virgin-purple color pops in the form of neck scarves. So super glam.
Volunteer Travel / Disaster Travel / Australia Travel / Queensland Travel / Voluntourism / → All Tags
In the wake of the devastating floods that have impacted dozens of communities in Australia, including the city of Brisbane, the country's third largest city, Queensland has put out a call for voluntourists who would be willing to help with the clean up.
So far, there has been a great response from volunteers around the world, but it will take months before Queensland is back on its feet. If you're game to go Down Under and lend a hand, here's how to get involved:
Although we travelers and city dwellers here at Jaunted haven't yet fallen ill with any suspicious coughing, we do like to keep a respectful eye on where the Swine Flu monster is making landfall, despite the overhype.
Since it seems like everyone has been daydreaming about grabbing a cheap flight to Australia lately, hearing that swine flu has arrived in the the land of kangaroos didn't shock us much. Over the weekend, the first confirmed case of swine flu was reported in Australia, when a woman who flew from Los Angeles to Brisbane gave a "weak positive" response to the virus test.
On the up side, authorities don't believe that the woman was contagious while she was on the flight, so although they are contacting fellow passengers, this single case doesn't appear to be the beginning of an Aussie pandemic.
As in other airports around the world, screening and testing procedures are in place at Australia's main hubs for flights that could carry passengers infected with the swine flu, and as a result the locals aren't all that concerned. In any case, H1N1 has got to be a pretty hearty virus if it wants to survive those ridiculously long flights all the way Down Under.
Originally set to roll out a 2,000-bike program sometime in the middle of this year, there might be some delays now that one of the main contenders to run the bike share has pulled out. The company is blaming that "the deterioration of the global economic climate," as they so nicely put it, and will leave the risk up to someone else.
Now the Brisbane council's not quite sure when the bikes will be on the street, but they are sure that it'll happen, with around 150 drop-off and pick-up points across the city. Someday. Soon.
There's one ex-employee of Virgin Blue who might not be getting a job in the airline industry again--but that's OK because he seems to have potential as a board game designer.
Torsten Koerting resigned from Virgin Blue's Brisbane office last month and in frustration left a lasting legacy: A board game he designed that looks like Snakes and Ladders, but is really all about the frustrations of working for this particular airline.
It might not be great publicity to Koerting's motivation for making the game:
The difficulty in reaching the end of the game [is like] making decisions in real-life at Virgin Blue.
But the fact that the airline employed staff who are this creative and clever in the first place is probably a strange pat on the back. Play the game at your own peril--there are a lot of nasty rescue slides to fall down.
Flying 'roo Qantas can't catch a break at the moment. Sure, there was brief excitement when their first A380 plane arrived in Sydney, but it didn't take long for everyone to find something to complain about again.
This time it was an airport evacuation of the Qantas terminal at Brisbane Monday afternoon, all because three Qantas passengers managed to wander into a secured area without being screened. Better safe than sorry, Qantas decided to evacuate the whole terminal and re-screen everybody.
As you'd expect, this took more than a couple of minutes, and twenty Qantas flights were delayed by up to an hour. And that means there are hundreds more anti-Qantas thoughts being thought today.
We've always thought the best part about getting married is the honeymoon, and what faster way to cut to the honeymoon is there than actually getting married on the plane?
That may have been part of the reason for Australian couple Jenny Huntingford and Ettore Rapino to plan their wedding for tomorrow on a Virgin Blue Boeing 737 at Brisbane Airport. The couple will have their ceremony on the airplane but then adjourn to the Virgin Blue lounge for the reception--complete with a wedding cake in the shape of a jet.
We're hoping that from there it's a quick move over to the departure lounge to head out on their honeymoon flight. If they've scrimped on a low cost carrier for the wedding location and flight then we're hoping that at least the honeymoon will be in a luxurious destination.
In "Rainman," Dustin Hoffman famously said that Australia's national carrier Qantas was his preferred airline because he considered it the safest: "Qantas never crashed." Not 100 percent true but certainly in the last 57 years, no passenger has died as a result of a crash involving the carrier.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of Qantas staff. A catering employee involved in loading meals onto a Qantas aircraft in Brisbane yesterday fell through a gap in the airbridge and died after hitting the tarmac.
The victim was a 63-year-old woman and nobody's sure if she was wearing the safety harness that's usually required up there. In any case, it doesn't make Qantas's record look so pretty, and it was just another reason for delayed flights out of Brisbane yesterday.