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City heat: Brisbane and Toowoomba

Thursday, April 14, 2011
We asked Kelly Landry to visit Brisbane and Toowoomba to see how they were faring. Unprecedented and prolonged rainfall took its toll and eventually the Brisbane River's banks broke at 4.46m. Thousands of homes and businesses were evacuated and streets closed.

All up, around 55,000 volunteers arrived to help wherever they could. Many of those people left their affected homes to assist others who were worse off.

Ferries and City Cats are running again and it's all systems go.


Kelly took a bicycle ride with Riverlife Adventures along one of the city's most popular paths, which had been completely inundated by flood waters. It's all cleaned up and hard to imagine that not long ago it was under water.

The cycle path is flat and South Bank, one of the city's top attractions, is an easy ride. It was hit hard, but an amazing amount of work has gone in to transforming it to its former self.

The most popular ride goes along the river, past Kangaroo Point Cliffs to South Bank and over the Goodwill Bridge. Then it's an off-path cycle through the Botanic Gardens to New Farm Park before returning to Riverlife.

South Bank is like a village. It has around 30 eating places ranging from Turkish, Indian, Asian, Mediterranean, Italian and Australian favourites. It's home to the Queensland Art Gallery, Performing Arts Centre, Opera Queensland, Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Museum and State Library.

South Bank Art and Craft Markets are on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Street performers add to the fun atmosphere as you wander around deciding what to buy. Fashion lovers haven't been forgotten. Little Stanley Street has a range of boutiques as well as shops selling homewares, gifts and accessories.

South Bank Parklands are connected to the city by Victoria and Goodwill Bridges. They have a mixture of rainforest, water, grassed areas and plazas. Special features are Streets Beach, Grand Arbour, Suncorp Piazza, Nepal Peace Pagoda and the Queensland Conservatorium.

The Wheel of Brisbane has 42 air-conditioned, enclosed capsules and gives 360-degree views of the city and river.


Ninety minutes away, the university and cathedral city of Toowoomba is functioning beautifully after the January massive flash flood that created havoc. It was localised at the meeting place of East and West creeks and was quite dramatic.

Known as "The Garden City", Toowoomba has 150 public parks and gardens and hosts the Australian Carnival of Flowers each September.

Easterfest is another annual event. The main office escaped flooding, but the secondary office was internally ruined. Everyone was shocked but safe and Easterfest 2011 will go ahead. Thanks to the lateness of Easter this year, there was extra time for cleaning up.

Australia's largest drug-and-alcohol-free music festival began in 1999. This year the program is made up of international and local artists performing everything from metal to pop. Check the website to see who's on at

The tourism boost from Easterfest is appreciated every year, but even more so this year!


Around Brisbane and Toowoomba.


Riverlife bicycle hire is $15 for 90 minutes or $30 for four hours. They have fully guided tours to the city and back to Riverlife for groups at $45 per person.

South Bank Markets are open from 5pm until 10pm on Friday, 11am until 5pm on Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sunday.

Wheel of Brisbane tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 years and under and $2 for children between one and three years. It operates between 11am and 9pm from Monday to Thursday, 10am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday and 10am to 9pm on Sunday.

Toowoomba's 2011 Carnival of Flowers will run from September 16 to 25, 2011. Easterfest is on between April 22 and 24, 2011. One-day passes are $55 for adults and $45 for children. Three days cost $110 and $90 and with camping $140 and $115.

Virgin Blue has one-way flights to Brisbane from:

  • Sydney $103
  • Canberra $124
  • Melbourne $139
  • Adelaide $154
  • Hobart $185
  • Darwin $205
  • Perth $239

There are limited seats, which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at April 14, 2011, and are subject to change.

Prices correct at April 14, 2011.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

Riverlife Adventure Centre
Naval Stores
Lower River Terrace
Kangaroo Point, Queensland 4169
Ph: (07) 3891 5766
Fax: (07) 3891 5788

South Bank Tourist Centre

Australian Festival of Flowers


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