Welcome to my neck of the woods… Inner East Brisbane. Specifically, the 4171 peninsula, which is a riverside post code, and usually associated with the words “Blue-Chip”. I live here with my husband, 2 primary school aged kids and the family dog.
We aren’t originally from Brisbane, and like most other people in this post code, we arrived here thanks to a work transfer. For us, a job promotion that landed us in a whirlwind of property prices three to four times what we sold for in our regional Queensland hometown, peak hour traffic woes, schooling choices and trying to understand the debate of North side versus South Side, that apparently is a really big deal here in Brisbane.
Having the luxury of living in a spacious 2bed apartment in the city close to my husband’s office for the first 12 months was a dream. With 2 little ones aged only 9months and the other 3years, we really had everything we needed. Firstly, my husband could walk around the corner to walk, and grab a coffee on the way in 5 minutes tops. For the kids and myself, the Southbank parklands and lagoon were literally across the road, an amazing kid friendly museum, a cinema, a stroll across the Victoria bridge to the city for a little retail therapy, and so many dining options we simply found it hard to choose (First world problems really!)
But alas, kids grow up, and living in a high-rise with two bouncing youngsters, they needed some space to spread their wings, jump and explore to their hearts content. So begins the journey of finding our new family home.
Well, after many weekends of travelling around in the car with kids, we soon discovered, the Northside just isn’t for us. Sorry to the folk on that side of town, but it just didn’t appeal to us. With the exception of maybe Ascot and Hamilton. We did toy with Clayfield, and even the cusp of the Hendra/Ascot border – but the thought of bats in the trees in our backyard gave us the creeps, not to mention a train station up the road, where you could here the station controller calling over the public announcement system. It just wasn’t giving us the calm and serenity we were looking for, albeit close to the city and pubic transport for my husband. Because let’s be honest why would you want to pay $400 a week to park your car in the city!
We even ventured west to the hilly surrounds of Bardon and Ashgrove, and further west to Brookfield and Pullenvale. Sadly, as much as I revelled in the thought of sipping red wine by a toasty log fire on a drizzly winter’s weekend, I feared I would become seriously isolated and somewhat of an alcoholic hermit, spending my weekends instead riding a lawn mower and tending to acres of trees. Did I mention I don’t like snakes? Those little fellas love acreage, and love the bushy surrounds of those hilly suburbs. After watching a TV news report on a Bardon mum with a wayward snake that had drifted into the house by accident, (she managed to lock it up in the kids’ toy play kitchen till the snake removal guy could turn up), I wrote the bushy western suburbs off in a heartbeat! Yes, I know snakes don’t discriminate as to which suburb they live in.
By chance one day, a work colleague of my husband, suggested we meet for coffee in Oxford Street on the weekend. The thought of coffee with a work colleague and keeping the kids tame – it could have been career suicide! However, our kids are now quite familiar with appropriate café behaviour, but after about 15minutes, they start to get fidgety, and our stress levels generally start rising, as we try our hardest to maintain composure and not embarrass ourselves with unruly kids. Against our better judgement, we accepted the invitation, and we are glad we did!
Turning into Riding Road, the mature Melaluca trees lined the way, dappling sunlight through the car windows, creating an instant feeling of calm and peace. The wide streets, the parks, sports oval, a scenic running path and so many young families out enjoying the open spaces and sunshine with a fresh cup of coffee in their hands from one of the nearby cafes.
By the time we made it through Oxford Street, we knew had finally found the right locale of Brisbane for us. I think the smile of serenity on our faces gave it away, and as we met our coffee date armed with a list of questions about the area, we were finally at peace with finding the right part of town to live in.
Now begins the journey of finding the perfect home!