Being a tourist in my own city 23



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Do you know your city only as a driver? I imagine most people who drive regularly in a city know it like that, with maybe the addition of night time visits when it’s either cloaked in darkness or a neon jungle.

Some of you may remember I’ve never driven at all – I’m the expert passenger. I’ve talked to people on buses who have been forced onto public transport for a variety of reasons and they comment on how relaxing it can be (outside peak hour of course). 

They are pleased by how much more they can see of the route, and how much they learn about other parts of the city and suburbs, rather than being restricted to highways, freeways and main roads. 

Since my husband retired through ill health, we’ve made a virtue of his inability now to drive. It’s taken him a while to get used to it, but he’s accepted that driving’s impossible for him. I’ve enjoyed introducing him to the relatively relaxing lifestyle of the habitual public transport user (outside peak hour of course). 

Now, there’s another aspect of not driving, and in my husband’s case, not travelling far, that your city is the perfect answer to. We are in the habit of once a year staying in a good hotel in our city, Brisbane in my case, for two or three nights.

We take the opportunity to attend a show, maybe meet friends for dinner one night if my husband is up to it, then home again without the stress of long distance travel.

In recent years we’ve seen and heard the Vienna Boys Choir, we’ve attended a wonderful comedic performance of the Bolshoi Ballet, and visited galleries and museums.

During our most recent foray we were in the audience for The Odd Couple, a story we knew well from the movie and the television series. It was so good! We toured the City Hall clock tower, until 1967 the tallest structure in the city and now dwarfed by modern giants. We had time for the Museum of Brisbane, also in City Hall. We had some lovely meals and my husband got to walk a bit more than he’s used to – but had a modern comfortable hotel room to recover in. 

Brisbane has quite a few hotels in and around the CBD of varying quality and cost. I’m sure Australia’s other cities do too.

Do you sometimes think of staying home like this, spending your money locally, and learning more about your city? Have your children shouted you a night or two in a really fancy hotel for a special anniversary, in your own city?

Fran Goodey

Frances Goodey is the mother of four daughters and the grandmother of two primary school age boys. With six brothers and two sisters, she was raised in Sydney and later lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Brisbane. She is an avid reader and has had some small success with children's stories being published in New Zealand and Australia. Both she and her husband are retired, and her daughters live in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Sydney and Frankfurt.

  1. A lot of Adeladians do the walking tour of Adelaide and discover things they never knew were there. One of my favourite holidays as a child was staying at a beachside camping ground in my home city, you often don’t need to spend heaps of money to go away you just need to change pace.

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  2. I always try to to pickup a copy of Whats on in Geelong each month. There are always new exhibitions & festivals happening and new restaurants & cafes opening.

  3. Every now and again my friend and I decide to be tourists in and around Perth. It’s great to find places that we haven’t been to in a long time or that are new.

  4. I have always found that the best way to learn about your own town or city is to have visitors stay for a few days. You end up taking them to all the interesting places that you wouldn’t otherwise visit.

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  5. Yes I have! My daughter, myself and her two children started doing a sculpture walk around Canberra City and the adjacent University campus. So many! We got tired before we had seen a third of them.
    We also go regularly to the Portrait gallery and Museum plus other places where the are events and constantly changing exhibits.

  6. I too catch public transport everywhere and love it. Also have a group of us that draw and paint at different locations within our area. Great way to get to know the beautiful spots (outside school holidays of course). A group of us also have a ‘public transport out’ day each fortnight and since we are not too far from Sydney often have our excursions there. No dont stay in hotels locally though.

  7. We used to go to Melbourne for the weekend a couple of times per year. Left our car in the Hotel and public transported everywhere we wanted to go, or walk. Melbourne has become too busy for me to enjoy. Infact, we have only driven home from Adelaide yesterday after driving over there five days ago. We stayed in Glenelg, and again, left our car at the Hotel and either walked, used trams or buses, even a boat cruise to wherever we wanted to go, including Adelaide city as well. There wasn’t much that we missed out on. Hubby drives ALL the time because of his work, never uses public transport. Me on the other hand has never driven because of eyesight problems, so when I get him on a bus, tram, etc, he loves it. I really loved Adelaide, it is so much quieter than Melbourne, no hustle and bustle!

  8. When I lived in London for a year in 1965/66 I used to take my landlady out on the buses at the weekend.She always said I showed her London and she’d lived there 60 years.

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