on May 29, 2006
The City Botanic Gardens are one of two Botanic Gardens in Brisbane—the other, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, are at the base of Mt. Coot-tha. The City Botanic Gardens live up to their name in that they are much easier to reach from the city—when walking down Queen Street Mall away from the river, all one has to do is turn left and continue walking, across Elizabeth, Ann, and Margaret Streets, until you hit the gardens. They take up the majority of one of the many peninsulas jutting into the Brisbane River—the rest of it is taken up by the Queensland University of Technology.The first time we visited the Botanic Gardens, we stumbled upon them quite by accident. My friend and I felt like going out and exploring the city, and having not gotten off at the Riverside stop before, we decided to hop off and see what we could find. After wandering past Eagle Street Pier, we ended up at the entrance to the Gardens. One thing that really struck us was that while the gardens were large and beautiful, there was a noticeable lack of flowers—we mostly just saw trees and lawns along the paths that we took. I assume there are more flowers at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, since these gardens have been flooded at least eight times due to the fact that they are surrounded by the Brisbane River, and that makes it a little harder to maintain a huge Christchurch-style gardens.I really liked the huge ring of palm trees, a very pretty area surrounded by velvety green lawns where a wedding can be seen at pretty much any time. On one occasion, when I was searching for a place outside to study, I ended up lazing on the grass here, which was incredibly relaxing and really did help me study…at least until I fell asleep.There are plenty of pathways you can take through the trees in the gardens. We took one that led straight to a little store selling lots of ice creams, among other things. Past this, we somehow ended up in the River Stage, where many local concerts are held (Jack Johnson sold the stage out a few weeks after our first visit). Unfortunately, we missed one of the draws of the botanic gardens—a mangrove boardwalk, a pathway built solely on the mud along the river. The end of this walk puts you very close to both the QUT Gardens Point ferry stop and a pedestrian bridge leading across to the South Bank Parklands. The gardens are open 24 hours a day, so you can take a stroll whenever the fancy strikes you. Once, when wasting time waiting for a movie at South Bank, we walked by and found that, at night, the Gardens can be rather creepy. Australia is, in general, much safer than America, but my paranoid American mind still told me not to enter a rather empty park at night.
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