The leadup to a Brisbane summer
I don’t know why, but the washing maching turned off before it finished draining. So the door was locked and I had to run another 15 minute cycle before I could get my bits out.
It was 38 degrees today, for like, no reason. But it was a welcome change. I feel like I’ve barely had a summer since I’ve been in Australia, so I took a walk and basked in the oppressive heat for a bit before taking shelter in my apartment which inexplicably kept a level 25 degrees throughout the day without aircon. I assume it’s a combo of good insulation and the heatsink properties of the massive concrete structure.
So I’m happy. I’m really enjoying being here, in this place and time.
On the weekend I went to visit R on Macleay Island. He moved from the very middle of the city for a somewhat literal sea change. More specifically a bay change.
I never realised how gorgeous Moreton Bay actually is. From Macleay you can see all the islands, Peel, Moreton, North Stradbroke. On Saturday just after sunset we saw twinkling lights on the horizon which turned out to be boats mooring off Peel which is apparently a popular getaway spot.
Apparently there’s a (not so?) secret bar on one of the islands that’s popular with seafaring types. Just float up and grab a meal. My hairdresser owns a boat, so I know these things you see.
Last year I took a trip to North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) just to take a break. It was pre-vaccine so it was a weird and anxious experience, and I didn’t have appropriate clothes so I came home with a nasty sunburn. To top it off I accidentally and irreparably deleted most of my photos and vlog footage in a freak MacOS accident. So I wasn’t happy with myself, and truth be told it wasn’t a super relaxing experience.
But with my newfound appreciation for the beauty of the bay and the islands, and a bit more of an understanding of what centers me, I think I want to get out there more in some way.
For perhaps a year I’ve had some notes scratched down and a vague hand-wavy plan to do a vlog series centered around the southeast Queensland rail network. Partly as an excuse to get out and travel more, but also because I don’t have a car and don’t want to get one while our weird supply chain issues are making everything increasingly expensive.
So my idea is that even if I can’t drive to all the beautiful places I know exist around SEQ, I can still explore plenty of other options that don’t necessarily get as much love. The concept of travelling to the ends of each line really appeals to me both as a train nerd and also as a poor schlub who doesn’t have his own transit.
My first trip was an easy one, something I’d already done. Back to Macleay Island to circumnavigate it by bicycle.
I wanted to visit Ryan again, but also find my own way under my own power without needing to catch an Uber or a lift. So this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
The day before my trip I found my bike was making a noise, which was super annoying because of COURSE I should have made sure it was in good working order before I set off. The guy at the bike shop didn’t have time to do a service, but he tightened everything up and it fixed it (for a while at least).
The trip itself consisted of bike to South Brisbane station -> train to Cleveland station -> bike to Redland Bay Marina -> ferry to Macleay -> Bike to Ryan’s. It’s a modest 14 km ride on paper. In practice the trip from Cleveland was hilly and without amenity. I lost count of the times I needed to ride on the grass to get back on the path, or a tiny shoulder as cars raced past.
I sent a random email to the council asking what their preferred route is, in case I missed something.
Anyway the rest of the journey was incredible The ferry is starting to show its age, but it’s amazing to be on the water, watching all the islands slide past. The boats everywhere, doing their thing. Some kid on a jetski.
I never realised Stradbroke Island was so mountainous. I was in awe of it in the distance behind the relative flatness of the South Moreton Bay Islands.
I’ve got a vlog planned, I’m not sure how it’s gonna pan out because that bicycle leg of the trip I didn’t have a GREAT time. But I won’t spoil the rest.
My take-away is that Macleay Island is an incredible, weird, surprisingly normal suburban place completely out of place that I enjoyed riding around. Again, it’s deceptively large and I didn’t get as much done as I originally planned, but I had a fantastic time doing it.
Tomorrow I’m leaving on another trip, this time to Gympie (North).
It’s an odd one, because most people don’t realise the trains go up that far. And to be fair, they hardly do. I think it’s two services a day and the rolling stock are OLLLLDDDDD as heck.
It’s an old gold rush town with a steam heritage and not too much else going for it.
But it’s a cheap destination I’m excited to get out there.
I’m sitting on my balcony, the sun is going down casting golden rays across the walls, and I’m watching a tiny money spider bounce around the table in front of me looking for a bug to eat.
I kind of started this post a month or so ago, and checked back in occasionally but only just finished it now. If “finished” is how you’d describe it. Published at least.
But I’m happy. Things are good. And I’m really enjoying being here, in this place and time.