I've always wanted to visit Australia, and when I had the chance to take an extended business trip last fall, I jumped at the chance.
For about 20 days, I worked in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Getting there and back was the tough part. I struck a deal with management to fly Business Class for the outbound trip since the distance from Virginia is so great. So I boarded a Korean Air 747 from Washington Dulles to Seoul, Korea (about 14 hour direct flight including a delay on the ground at Dulles), and after a brief layover in Seoul, boarded a Korean Air Airbus 330 directly to Brisbane. Both flights were comfortable, and I opted for the Korean food each time.
Upon arrival in Brisbane, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel, the Hilton Brisbane. The Hilton is located conveniently in the Central Business District (CBD), which is a good thing if you are on a business trip. It is also adjacent to the Queen Street Mall, with many shopping, dining, and entertainment establishments.
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, one of the six states of Australia. Located on the northeast part of the continent, it also hosts the Great Barrier Reef, which starts a few hundred miles North of Brisbane. Before my arrival in Aus, I thought that perhaps I'd be able to take a weekend and see the Reef, but, like many others, the sheer scale of the Australian continent didn't register in my pea-brain until I was actually there. Cairns, a popular jumping-off place to the Reef, is 1000 miles to the North. Ditto for the Aus Capital, Sydney: 1000 miles to the South. It looks like I will have to save those trips for another visit... And I do plan to return!
For this trip I will have to stay fairly close to Brisbane. So a city tour is naturally a good place to start.... So, on my first weekend, I decided to book a city tour. Fortunately, there is a Tourist Information Center right in the middle of Queen Street Mall, so booking a tour is a cinch. I selected the Brisbane's Best day tour conducted by Australian Tours.
Continued in section two of Brisbane, Australia: September 2007.