After a 10 hour flight and a long night of heavy and indulgent eating and drinking, a serious siesta in the plush, cloud-like hotel bed was just what the doctor ordered. With the exception of that psychopath Catherine Toth (who decided to wake up early to work out!), the rest of us bloggers headed up to the 30th floor at a reasonable hour the next morning for the Special Club breakfast (served from 6:30am-10am) at Club Sofitel, Australia's largest executive club lounge.
My (2nd helping) breakfast plate with Melissa Chang & Kaleo Lancaster doing their thang
On my plate, you'll notice a little container of Vegemite, a popular spread in Australia made from yeast extract (yes, I got brave). On paper, as a beer lover, I was supposed to enjoy it, but it was definitely something one needed to get used to. Here's Melissa and Cat's take on the Australian specialty:
Melissa Chang and Catherine Toth try Vegemite (via thedailydish's YouTube channel)
Refueled and ready, us four blogsketeers embarked on our journey to see Brisbane on the best mode of transportation on earth: foot. The stroll afforded us the opportunity to take in the scenery that Brisbane had to offer.
Going southwest through Queen Street Mall
Art on Queen Street
Chanukah display at Brisbane Square
Crossing Victoria Bridge
Outside the Queensland Art Gallery
Cat navigating while Melissa and I document
We made it to the Queen Elizabeth II Park/Parklands area on the banks of the Brisbane River
Nice look back at the metropolitan city we just walked from
Cat, me and Melissa posing along the Brisbane River
As we made our way along the river on Clem Jones Promenade, we noticed that there were a fair amount of joggers and bicyclists getting their exercise on. Here's a site you don't often see in America (at least one that's not destroyed or vandalized): a Community Bike Station, complete with tools, a place to mount your bike for repairs, and even a tire pump!
Community Bike Repair Station along the Clem Jones Promenade
Along Clem Jones Promenade
And then we got to the South Bank Parklands area where we found nice picnic areas, pools, and even a manmade beach called Streets Beach.
Pool at the South Bank Parkland
Manmade beach called Streets Beach
The sights were good enough to get Kaleo, Melissa and Cat a snappin'
On the way back, we headed to the Queen Street Mall main stage to attend the Hawaiian Airlines Consumer Event. The locals got a total kick out of our folks from Hawaii spreading their Aloha with song and dance.
Hawaiian Airlines Consumer Event at the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane Australia
Shortly after returning to our hotel, some of Hawaiian Airlines' execs invited us to join them for an informal lunch in Fortitude Valley's Chinatown district, which was a short 15 minute stroll from our hotel. Twelve hungry Americans pounding "Hawaiian style"? Ouuuuraaaaiiii!
The sights along the way to Chinatown
The first signs of Chinatown
We landed at King of Kings (Chinese) Seafood Restaurant, which was a hit with a few of them on a previous visit.
King of Kings Seafood Restaurant in Brisbane Australia
It wasn't long before we found out why.
When in Chinatown…
King of Kings Roast Duck
Just getting started…
Custard Tarts off the Yum Cha menu
One of the highlights of the afternoon was watching Kaleo Lancaster go from blogger to "Dragon Slayer" as he took down the legendary "Dragon Drink", a series of three, increasingly potent drinks that King of Kings is known for. Here's a video I took of the momentous, yet painful looking event.
Kaleo Lancaster takes on the Dragon Drink from King of Kings Seafood Restaurant in Brisbane Australia
After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to unwind before getting ready for another walk through South Bank and meal in Fortitude Valley. Part of the unwinding process naturally included Happy Hour at another visit to Club Sofitel.
Pre-gaming at Club Sofitel with some bubbly
And then, it was off – on foot again! – to South Bank, this time guided by Hawaiian Airlines staffers Jeremy Althof and Jesse Starmer. The sights and sounds of Brisbane at night give a totally different perspective to the scenic city. Highly recommended!
Remember the Treasury Casino & Hotel earlier today? Here's what it looked like at night.
Walking through Brisbane Square, we saw some filming going on, which appeared to be a TV news segment.
Getting reminiscent of Hawaii: here's a gecko sighting. I wonder if it has an Australian accent too? 8)
Here's a close-up of the famous Wheel of Brisbane.
And here's us in front of it (l to r: Kaleo Lancaster, Melissa Chang, me, Catherine Toth)
Moonlit Brisbane skyline from South Bank
With our restaurant reservation coming up, we jetted off via taxi to our dinner destination: Alfred & Constance, an eclectic collection of random, mini restaurants (sorta), serving food, drinks and desserts. Here's a description of each of them:
- The Vanguard Beer Garden & Restaurant: Booze, Beer and sharable feasts
- White Lightning Tiki Bar: Tropical drinks and a party that never stops
- Alfred's Café: Workday bites, salads, coffee and sweets
- Late-Night Dessert Café: Featuring alcoholic juice & boozy smoothy stations
Since Jeremy and Jesse knew the owner there, we had a table waiting for us at the Vanguard Beer Garden. Perfs!
Here's one of two Cocktail Jugs we ordered: Watermelon & Ginger Swizzle, which consisted of Gin & watermelon liqueur shaken with homemade rhubarb syrup & topped with soda. The other one we got was the Pimms & Lemonade jug: Pimms No. 1 & Fresh house made lemon syrup, swizzled down with fresh mint & topped with soda.
Watermelon & Ginger Swizzle (Gin & watermelon liqueur shaken with homemade rhubarb syrup & topped with soda).
Salt & Pepper Squid with Lemon & Sweet Paprika Mayo ($14.90)
Here, they are known for their free-range meats which are cooked whole in wood and charcoal ovens. We went with their popular roast pork with crackling.
250g of Roast Pork carved from the whole pig w/crackling ($29)
Oysters Kirkpatrick (6 for $24). Raw oysters, barbeque sauce and bacon. 'Nuff said.
Cat and Melissa opted for dessert from Alfred's Café. Melissa got the Baklava Muffin, while Cat got the Classic Crème Brulee.
Cat's Crème Brulee ($12)
And there's day 2 in the books. We've got just half a day left in Brisbane, but lots to see & do. Come back next month to witness koala and kangaroo petting, majestic views of Mount Coot-tha and grindz at The Shelter Bar.
To view more photos from the trip and get a sneak preview of what's to come:
Melissa Chang's #AlohaBNE blogs:
Catherine Toth's #AlohaBNE blogs:
Kaleo Lancaster's #AlohaBNE blog:
My #AlohaBNE blogs/posts:
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