Border Control, Base and Bridges in Brisbane

Out of the airport
Waiting for the Airtrain

We’d arrived in Brisbane and the first thing we need to do was get through immigration and customs. On the flight there’d be a few films telling us what we weren’t allowed to bring into the country but after watching lots of episodes of ‘Border Control’, we already knew. We’d got rid of the food we wanted to keep from the plane meal like the bread but were then faced with the problem of getting the cake through. There was to be no dairy brought in whatsoever and here we were with a chocolate mousse cake. Oh dear. I hope it’d be fine though as I hadn’t had the chance to try any due to the amazing plane breakfast filling me up and it looked very tasty. Everybody had been given a card to fill out as we’d landed so we could declare anything we did have including any medicine. We’d declared the cake on that and as we walked through the arrivals gate, the woman there checked the cards and said she was sure it’d be fine. I hoped so, I didn’t fancy being the subject of ‘Border Control’ on their next series!

The next stage was having our passports checked and because we had chips in ours, we got to use the cool machines which scanned them then let you through to the big scanner. Of course I panicked about being left behind and couldn’t do it to begin with but eventually got there and stood very still for the scan. We then had to join a queue to hand in the card and declare anything we had before being searched. There were quite a few people in front of us having all their cases open but as soon as we showed the guy the cake and told him about the medication, he let us through straight away. I was quite disappointed in a way as I didn’t get a proper look at the search dog but also surprised that they allowed the cake into the country with their rules being so strict. Ah well, we had a tasty cake to eat and that was all that mattered.

On the Airtrain
On the Airtrain

Making our way through the crowds and buying our tickets for the air train (sadly not as exciting as it sounds) we headed off, dragging our luggage down the steps to the platform just outside the airport. That was when the heat hit us. It was like walking into a tumble dryer but not in a horrible way at all, I quite liked it. It wasn’t long until the next train was arriving so we watched the people driving to the carpark (all the fun) and the little birds and butterflies fluttering past before clambering on board. I was surprised at how different the trains are here to the ones in the UK even though they cost a similar price to travel on. They were clean, none of the seats were frayed and falling to bits and there was even free wifi ,although it wasn’t much and didn’t last long, it helped us to contact people at home to say we’d arrived. It was all looking so promising….

Codie on the Airtrain
Codie on the Airtrain

…Until we arrived in Brisbane central. We managed to navigate our way to Base Hostel Central where we’d be staying the next 3 nights, with a little help from a woman we’d asked, and after dragging our things across roads and down steps, we made it into the lobby. It seemed a nice enough place and the staff were friendly enough, we just wanted to find somewhere where we could lie down and have a little sleep. Originally, in the working holiday help package we’d bought, we were staying in an 8 bed dorm but after the flights we both decided we wanted somewhere quiet and so upgraded to a double for the first 2. I don’t think it was that expensive to do it and it was definitely worth it with how loud the entire hostel got later on! We then tried to claim the money back on the air train tickets as we’d been told to by STA travel but this was when we hit the first problem. According to STA, the free shuttle bus Base ran no longer existed and instead we needed to get the train and could then get our money back. In reality, they did run the shuttle bus and had been waiting there for us whilst we hopped on a train instead. Grrrrrrr. As a result, they couldn’t give us our money back and we lost $14 straight off. Perhaps not the best start but we left to find our room and subsequently collapsed for a few hours and caught up on some much needed sleep.

Brisbane CBD
Brisbane CBD

Following our lovely nap, we decided that we should probably have a look around Brisbane to see what it was like before we made any sleepy judgements of it. It seemed nice enough though a lot busier than I’d imagined as we were in the CBD and it was full of cars, taxis, buses and people rushing about. To begin with, we wandered off in one direction and found a little park type of area where we sat down to gather our bearings. It was strange to be sat on a grassy wall, surrounded by trees and hedges and have huge, sky dominating buildings behind them although I enjoyed seeing an ibis wandering around. They’re big white and black birds with an almost dinosaur like head and huge long beaks; quite a lot different to the UK pigeons and seagulls in the cities!

Brisbane CBD
Brisbane CBD

After a little while, we decided to continue with our wandering and headed towards the river to see what was there and ended up on the South Bank. It was really nice and full of trees, cafes and had a beautiful view of the skyline across the river. We perched ourselves on a wall for a little while, taking it all in and enjoying the different between here and the UK before deciding to walk a little bit further and back to the hostel. After an overall 3km walk, we made it back; we’d seen police on horses wandering down the cycle path, walked over a big bridge and watched the boats going up and down the river but now it was time for another nap. This meant that by the time we’d woken up, the shops were closed and we had no other choice but to have Subway for tea. Yum.

A walk about
A walk about

It didn’t bother me in the slightest and my steak sub was very tasty especially eating it snuggled up in bed. There was a vending machine downstairs and for about £1, you could get a 390ml can of coke so we’d stocked up on some of those and were quite content and relaxed. Obviously very early days yet but we haven’t yet encountered the high cost of living many travellers talk about when they mention Australia. So far we’ve been getting a lot more value for money than in the UK, I just hope it continues! It’s a shame that we didn’t celebrate Codie’s birthday properly like I really wanted to but I think we’d both have been too shattered to enjoy it and have plenty of time to catch up soon. 🙂

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