Today we drove up to the Brisbane river, where the second Gateway Bridge was officially opened to crowds who could walk the 1.6 km span. This second bridge parallels the first one that crosses the river at Murrarie and will carry six lanes of traffic plus a pedestrians and cyclists on a dedicated lane.

As part of the opening ceremonies, entertainers performed on stage or walked along the bridge, charities sold food and drinks and various notables made speeches. Thankfully, we were delayed in the morning by someone wanting to view our house, so we missed all the pomp and politicians.

When we arrived at Murrarie, we parked in an industrial estate alongside thousands of other cars. Crowds were streaming to and from a line-up of Brisbane City Council buses.

David, Brioni, 3yo, + Aisha, 5yo, May 2010
We hopped aboard (for free) and were shuttled to the base of the bridge. This was Calista's first bus ride in her memory, and with wide eyes she asked me if we were on an airplane.

Aisha, 5yo, David + Brioni, 3yo, May 2010
The bridge opening was a very well-organised public event. The original Gateway bridge (visible on the left) has been open since 1986.

Officials have reported that over 170,000 people walked over the bridge (or at least to the top and back). Barriers along the median of the bridge kept pedestrians to the left, so everyone on each side of the bridge was walking the same direction.

Port-a-loos, Second Gateway Bridge opening, May 2010
We made a necessary stop at the line of port-a-loos at the top of the bridge.

Calista, 2yo, May 2010
The only way to actually see the Brisbane River from the top of bridge was to climb onto the safety fence. The bridge was adorned with artwork by Brisbane primary school students (that's the wavy green thing along the fence).

Second Gateway Bridge opening, May 2010
This snake-charmer was one of the entertainers who wandered the bridge. Both Aisha and Brioni worked up the courage to stroke the 10kg python named Luna.

Second Gateway Bridge opening, May 2010
We stopped for some fish and chips after our historical trek.

Second Gateway Bridge opening, May 2010
Just before we left the scene, we enjoyed the energetic entertainment performed by a dance troupe from Bollywood Dhamaka.

When the second bridge is finally in commission in the next couple weeks, it and the first Gateway bridge will be officially renamed the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges after a long-serving member of the Queensland Government. Somehow, I doubt the name will stick, and they’ll probably continue to be called the “Gateway Bridges” to locals.