It’s 30 years this month since I arrived from England. And I’m well aware that many people arrive here at this time of year, usually because someone in the family starts a new job. So I’ve decided to write a book about our city. Not a What’s On guide or a list of theme parks and art galleries.
Secrets of Brisbane will be just that: what noone tells you.
So what would you tell someone who’s just moved to Brisbane? And for any newcomers to Brisbane, I hope you get something out of the following:
If you’re going into the city on a weekday, the parking can really break the bank. However it’s only $15 a day (all day) at the cultural precinct car parks. Walk or bus over the Victoria Bridge and you’re in the Queen Street Mall.
You’ll find an entire community of people – usually tourists and students – sitting outside the State Library at night. They’re using the free wi-fi internet. There are even power points on the outside of the building to plug into! It’s free to join a Brisbane City Council library. Each card holder is allowed 20 items at once and that includes a huge range of movies and TV shows on DVD. Free DVD hire for a month at a time!
We have a Chinatown in the Valley but some of our best Chinese restaurants are in Sunnybank on the southside.There are great views of the city from Mt Coot-tha and Mt Gravatt. Both have restaurants but Mt Gravatt has a curfew. Public transport is cheaper with a go card. And cheaper still between 9am and 3.30pm and after 7pm.
Buy a house near a train line. Trains have delays but they can’t get stuck in traffic. And once you have bought somewhere, Brisbane City Council will give you two free trees a year. Take your first rates notice of the calendar year to a participating nursery.
Apart from winter, it’s always best to carry a brolly or at least have one in the car! Become familiar with the Mt Stapylton radar on the Weather Bureau’s website.
The cheapest cinemas are not the ones found in shopping centres. There’s free improv theatre Monday nights in the Valley. Visit http://www.impromafia.com/ for details. And there’s a free board game night in King George Square on the last Thursday of the month.
Here are just three ways to avoid a council fine. Don’t park across your own driveway. Don’t park in your own driveway if you’re blocking the footpath. And don’t leave your bins on the footpath more than 48 hours after they’ve been emptied.
There are tight parking restrictions around the Gabba (or Woolloongabba for the real newbies) and Lang Park on “event days”. Oh, and Lang Park is also known as Suncorp Stadium. To some, the William Jolly Bridge is still the Grey Street Bridge, 56 years after it was renamed. To children, it’s the Inspector Gadget Bridge. Watch “Inspector Gadget 2” and you’ll find out why!
You can turn right from Hale Street onto Coronation Drive, despite the lack of signage. It’s as if they don’t want you to know. And you only need one tag in your car to drive on any of our toll roads.
Now, what have I missed? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and if I use your suggestion in Secrets of Brisbane, you’ll get an acknowledgement in the book.