“Not all those who wander are lost.”J. R. R. Tolkien

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The first time I remember visiting Brisbane as a child was Expo ’88. The Exposition which marked the bicentennial of the European settlement of Australia. It felt like it was sprawling and it was a great holiday with my parents and sister. But, the most significant effect of Expo ’88 was the way it opened up the world to me. I discovered other countries, and other cultures. I remembered being fascinated with the Fijian, French, and Japanese displays. I remembered the LCD screens that descended from the ceiling in the Japanese exhibition and was in awe of the technology. These kinds of cultural experiences are invaluable – that my memories of Expo ’88 has stayed with me is testament to the value of the investment! I’m sure it was a huge sacrifice for my parents at the time!

Journeying on a train from state to state in Australia isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The Australian railways were largely developed pre-federation: pre 1901. What this means in practice is that they are a mishmash of different gauges (that’s different sizes for the uninitiated). You can however travel northward into Southern Queensland by a route that starts in Sydney and which I will join in Newcastle.

The train from Newcastle to Brisbane (and thus Southern Queensland) is an overnight journey – it leaves late afternoon and arrives early the next morning. The approximate cost – Economy $115, First $161.39, Sleeper $249.39. It’s helpful to note that Sleeper can’t be booked online – you’ll need to contact a countrylink booking office for bookings and ticket collection. Here is a link to the countrylink XPT timetable

One of the areas I’m likely to explore again is the cultural centre – an apt name for the cultural precinct where the Queensland Art Gallery, Performing Arts Centre, Queensland State Library, Queensland Museum and Sciencenter and the Gallery of Modern Art. They  sit among leafy green trees – in Brisbane is inspiring. There is a sense of space that is inviting here. Though none of the galleries or library open until 10am there is always a healthy number of people sitting in the cafes, staff purposefully walking around the precinct, and even quite a few people with laptops out, reading or typing or even writing away well before then. The amount of outside (but covered) seating is refreshing and there are many people taking advantage of the powerpoints next to built in outdoor seating.

Brisbane is sub-tropical, though by May it is usually starting to get a bit nippy in the early mornings. The city of Brisbane is the capital of the state of Queensland and has a population of 2.2 million people. The CBD is built on the Brisbane River and in recent years the redevelopment of the Southbank area have made it incredibly inviting! Good coffee, art, and music is definitely there for the taking.

The train from Brisbane further north leaves at 1325 from Roma Street Station (one of the main stations in Brisbane).


Day 2

  • Train overnight from Newcastle to Brisbane.

Day 3

  • Train arrives in Brisbane (early AM)
  • Meetup in Brisbane CBD (Location and time TBA)

 Day 4

  • TBA

Day 5

  • Depart Roma Street, Brisbane (early PM)

Where you come in!

Are there any places I should go in Southern Queensland? artists i should talk to? great places for street art I should visit? Do you want me to visit with you group, organisation or church?

I’d love any ideas, feedback, suggestions or thoughts you might have. This is sort of a ‘choose your own adventure’ so on the  facebook page I’ll be asking questions about where you think I should go on this trip. Your comments, advice and links to other resources that might be useful will be most welcome on the posts I’ll be putting up about the whole Overland from Oz adventure. The planning is just as much part of the adventure as the actual trip!

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Traveler. Scholar. Photographer. Writer. Dreamer. Teacher. Not a Pedestrian Life is a crazy adventure marked with photos and word and inspired by the incredible women in Anna’s family, especially her late grandmother, whom she knew as Nan-Nan.


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