Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trip to Toowoomba

As I explained in an earlier post my brother's wedding was postponed due to the floods in Queensland. It finally went ahead on the 5th of February, only three weeks after the floods.As the wedding was in Toowoomba I was expecting the worst, but really, it wasn't that bad.

On the Thursday before the wedding Mum and I flew to Brisbane and drove from there to Toowoomba. We had also arranged to pick up my 14 year old niece at the airport, as she attends boarding school in Sydney (on a scholarship to a very, very exclusive school. Very proud of her we are). We found her at the baggage claim with a huge box of Krispy Kreme,that were apparently in her words "to share with everybody". The empty box was found hidden under a bed the day we checked out of the motel.

To get to Toowoomba we had to drive through Brisbane and out past Ipswich and up the Lockyer Valley. We had to take a road which I can honestly say is the single worst road I've ever been on. The Inner City Bypass (on a map, it's the orange road running diagonally across from top left to lower right), which bypasses the The Brisbane CBD. First of all the speed limit is constantly changing, and there are pretty much constant lane changes necessary to keep driving along without getting funnelled off it. It is twisty and turny, and quite scary, which has led me to dub it the Inner City Mad Mouse. Once we made it to the Western Motorway I was able to relax as the from here it was a much more straight forward and relaxing drive.

Along the was we passed through some areas of Brisbane that flooded including Milton (we went right past the XXXX brewery) and Goodna.

In the Lockyer Valley, the highway bypasses most of the towns that were devastated by the flood so the worst could not be seen. There were still some road works on the remaining damaged areas of road, although it seems they had been very quick to repair the road. We only encountered a few very minor delays while driving through the area.

The damage to property in Toowoomba itself didn't seem that bad. The flash flooding was confined to the creeks that run through the town. The only noticeable damage were the closed shops along one of the streets and a lot of debris in places it wouldn't normally be. Other things I saw include a water tank that had floated away during the flood and lodged itself on a fence, and perhaps most telling a large piece of steel girder bridge that had obviously floated down stream. The town city seemed to be getting on with life.

We met up with my brother and 9 year old niece latter that night at our Motel room, as they had driven up from NSW during the day.

Friday we met up for morning tea with the new in laws at the shopping centre. The girls went shopping for dresses and jewlery, while we men went looking at mens things...Actually we just walked around for a bit. That night we went to the brides place for Pizza and to meet the extended family.

The wedding itself was simple and quick. It was held in the Baptist church that my brother's new wife attends. As they have both been married before there was no need for the nonsense of bridal parties. I got to be a witness so now I know what happens during the boring bit of weddings.

There was a short reception held in the adjoining indoor basketball court at the church, before photos were taken in the garden of the church. Finally we had one giant group photo taken back in the basketball court. As it was a morning wedding, we all went out to lunch afterwards.

We had lunch at a restaurant called Angelo's House. I suspect it really was Angelo's House, because it was, well, a house. The food was delicious, I would go back for sure.

On Sunday, the day after the wedding we got to do a bit of sight seeing around the town, which was good.

On the Monday Mum and I drove back to Brisbane airport. On the way we stopped for an hour at Mt Coot-Tha and had lunch at the cafe overlooking Brisbane. My niece had been given a ride back to the airport the day before so we didn't need to worry about her. We arrived back in freezing cold Melbourne at 8 pm that night.

I completely forgot to take my camera to the wedding, so there are no photos of that, but I did snap a few on the day after the wedding, and on the way home.

The view from Picnic Point in Toowomba looking
out over the Lockyer Valley towards Brisbane.

And this is what the lookout looks like...

Looking towards Toowoomba
We found this tree while driving around. At first
we thought it may have been a Boab, but we have
since worked out that it is a Queensland Bottle Tree.

Another View of Toowoomba
Our hire car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, which has been
driven half way around Australia to be with us
judging by the Western Australian number plates.

View of the Brisbane CBD from the Mt Coot-Tha lookout
I love how all the buildings are squashed up close
together in the tiny Brisbane CBD. High density,
almost like a mini Manhattan.

A very dirty looking Brisbane River, it could give the
Yarra River a run for it's money in the brown department.
Our ride home, a Qantas Boeing 767.
We flew up there on a smaller Boeing 737.

We are number three for take off. We also waited
for a planeto land, before lining up on the runway.

The small one is a Beechcraft King Air, I'm pretty sure it belongs
to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The jet is a Boeing 737-800
No need to guess the airline...

Leaving Brisbane in golden light.