Brisbane (Visiting my boss!) – February 2015

We were looking forward to seeing Brisbane for several reasons. We’ve been to eastern Australia’s top and bottom before, but never the middle. It’s a glorious city built on the Brisbane River, with bridge crossings providing access to parks and shopping areas.

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Brisbane skyline next to the slow-moving Brisbane River, South Bank Parklands in the foreground.

Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland uses daylight savings time, so it is one hour behind Sydney in New South Wales. Interestingly, several people told us variations on this: Queensland is one hour…and one hundred years…behind New South Wales. (Sometimes just ten years.) We wondered just what we would see in this “backward” location. Guess what. It’s not backward at all!

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The Wheel of Brisbane, a new highlight along the river, is almost 200 feet tall.

We visited the City Botanic Gardens on the northeast side of the river and then walked across a pedestrian bridge to the South Bank Parklands and back across another bridge to the Queen Street Mall pedestrianized shopping area.  The city is very walkable. It was like visiting one continuous city park, with beautiful trees and flowers, peaceful walks and nice river views.

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Great color on and great shade under this colvillea tree in Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens.

This Botanic Gardens was planted by convicts in 1825 with food crops to feed the prisoners. No prisoners any more. (Brisbane has another Botanic Gardens farther out of the city.) This part of the city is about a half-hour drive from the ocean, but South Bank has Streets Beach, a huge man-made chlorinated lagoon with sandy beaches.  It’s quite large and warmer than the ocean, with no riptides. Wish we had brought our suits!

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Are we looking like Aussies yet in our wide-brimmed hats in front of the gardens’ bamboo?

We spent just one day in Brisbane on our way north to Noosa and will return later to visit one of the city’s main attractions, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Spoiler alert: It has much more than koalas.

One of the big activities we were excited about in Brisbane was visiting the folks at Toursim Media, one of Nancy’s Elance employers. For those who haven’t yet heard my enthusiastic proselytizing about doing freelance work, here it is in brief: Two years ago I was hired through Elance by Matt, someone I’d never met or spoken with, to edit travel materials from around the world, often places I haven’t yet been. Over time I started writing some of the articles too. Now I have contributed in one way or another to nearly 1,000 articles about places across the globe. Now I just need to visit all these places!

Working with the Tourism Media people “on the other side of the world” is a blast! They’re fantastic people, although we’ve never met. We hadn’t even shared photos, so I wondered what my online friends and coworkers would be like in person. I found out…

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Francene, Nancy, and Barb – a chunk of the writing team, face to face

The folks at Tourism Media create beautiful travel materials for popular destinations. Among other things, they create video travel guides for Expedia. Search for “youtube city name” and it’s highly likely one of Tourism Media’s 100+ Expedia travel videos will be the first item in your search. For example, look at their Sydney Travel Guide to get a better sense of what we experienced during our visit.

The written travel guides are the area Nancy contributes to. My Noosaville travel guide will be available shortly, as soon as Francene approves it. This is one that I finally wrote “on location”! I was able to incorporate insider information to look for kookaburras in a specific gum tree.

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Jamie, our airbnb host, said we’d find a kookaburra at Laguna Lookout in Noosaville, and we did. More on this later.

 

The Tourism Media team was kind enough to invite us to join them for their regular Friday cookout. (They also do Monday and Wednesday cookouts. Nice!) We had a tour of their topnotch multimedia facilities and met the whole team, that is, the part of the team located in Brisbane. More folks like me are scattered around the world contributing to the global efforts. Michael even got in the act here in the write-up that Kathy created for the  Tourism Media blog using some of the photos from our Finger Lakes to Lavender Fields blog.

A great time was had by all. As Kathy notes, we loved the mango and macadamia nut salad. (Recipe is on the TM blog link above and soon to appear as a regular menu item at Keuka Lake.) It was truly fantastic to finally match friendly faces with the names I see “at work” every day.

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Nick (left) and Matt (right) created Tourism Media about 20 years ago and maintain the small-company culture in their business, now a leading global force in the travel publication field.

By the way, Nick met us at the door barefoot. That’s our kind of job!

With technology expertise, global integration, and appreciation for a happy workforce, it  sounds like at least this group of Queenslanders may be ahead of the rest of us in their innovative thinking! (Take that, New South Wales people!)

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