My excitement is palpable. I have reached down under and I am waking up to blue skies and wonderful vistas. I never imagined I would live here. Growing up in Cyprus, Australia was a place some poorer Cypriots travelled to in search of a better life and it felt then, a little like writing them off the face of the earth, well my earth that is, as many of them were unable to make the trip back often. How things have changed. Australia, whose name comes from Australis meaning southern is no nearer, that is for sure, but somehow it is so much more in evidence, so much more of a sought after destination and at the end of the day, a couple of flights away.
So here I am on a continent I know nothing about and which I am dying to explore so the obvious place to start is with its history and origins. It was inhabited by its aboriginal populations as long ago as 50,000 years ago and it was first discovered by the Dutch in 1606 and then came James Cook in 1707 in the Endeavour.In 1823 John Oxley was looking up the coast from Sydney to establish another penal colony and settled on the area near Brisbane river which is my new home on the east coast of Australia, about 1000 kms from Sydney.
The city has developed around the Brisbane river which snakes its way through it and divides it into north of the river and south of the river. The River and Riverside is wonderful as Cat ferries take you up and down and deposit you on the South Bank which houses most of the performing arts areas or north bank where the Central Business district is found, called CBD. It is a city which was transformed in 1986 for the Commonwealth Games and 1988 for the World Expo from a small sleepy town to a bustling metropolis which is the world's third largest municipality after Los Angeles and New York according to Queensland Travel Guide Jasons.com.au.
The city itself is just over 2 milliion so it is large enough to get lost in it but small enough to know the girl at the supermarket checkout. Regionally the population is about 4.5 million and it takes in some of the better known tourist areas of the whole of Australia such as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast which includes the Great Barrier Reef all within Queensland State, also known as the Sunshine state. So to all my readers a sun-filled invitation to explore with me all this vast continent has to offer.
The Brisbane River
The beautiful old Customs house with the walk way and the CBD at night
To pin point where I am on this fun map I am on the eighth floor of an apartment block on Spring Hill.
So much more to come ...