It’s been a long time since I was in the city on a Friday night. Blame it on mothering a teenager, a busy career, and being at an age where hanging out in a pumping bar or packed restaurant after a long working week doesn’t quite have the ring of appeal it used to.
So how lovely to join the Friday Night City Lights Walk offered by Women’s Fitness Adventures.
The concept – meet and walk!
The concept is deceptively simple (perhaps that’s why it spoke to me) – a group of women meet under the Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank around twilight and spend the next two to three hours walking together through the neon kingdom that is Brisbane’s CBD by night.
This is a regular event on a calendar of excursions offered by Yvonne Shepherd, principal of Women’s Fitness Adventures. Yvonne facilitates introductions at the start and then… you just walk.
It’s a truth, universally known, that when women gather they exhibit the natural ability to connect and communicate, even if they’ve never met before. It’s one of the wonderful things about us.
So I got to know some very interesting people as we strolled along the riverside towards Kangaroo Point. A bubbly trio who’ve been friends since childhood were tackling the walk for the very first time. One of them is a long-time carer for her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease.
It was the fourth Friday night walk for a high school teacher from Logan City who likes to kick off her weekends with a solid constitutional. “It’s a great way to wind down after spending the week in the classroom.”
Amanda’s story of starting over
I had a good long chat with a lovely soul by the name of Amanda. A mother of four children, Amanda left her alcoholic husband a year ago. Having been twice married—the first time when she was 18—she’d never really experienced life without a man.
Adjusting to being single in her middle years was challenging at first. But now Amanda sees it as an open door to discovery and freedom. She’s bought a mountain bike, taken up swing dancing and was trying a Tai Chi class the very next morning. This was also her first Friday Night City Lights Walk. In short, Amanda is busy finding herself and revelling in every second of it.
When I asked permission to share her story, she was more than happy. “I’m all about empowering women. It’s something I now want to help other women do.”
Empowering women seems to sum up the philosophy behind Yvonne’s business. Women’s Fitness Adventures offers a range of walks, treks, weekend camps and other active outdoor experiences to push women beyond their physical comfort zone.
In lieu of husbands, partners, and families who aren’t keen to break a sweat, here at last is a welcoming and non-judgmental community of like-minded women in pursuit of personal challenges – whether it’s to travel more; improve their fitness; add an adventurous element to their lives; make new connections; or simply see new sights.
What we saw
Beyond bringing together a wonderfully diverse array of women, the Friday evening walk reveals a side of Brisbane only nightfall brings. If you’d asked me to stroll the CBD streets on my own after dark, I’d think twice. But in the company of others, it’s easy to relax and take it in the spectacle.
How stunning are the Kangaroo Point Cliffs awash with golden light and strung with abseilers? Beyond them is the Story Bridge – lit up this particular evening in purple, like a vast amethyst necklace. We stroll across her, the Friday night traffic humming beside us – a first time experience for some of the walkers. The chorus of cars is soon outdone by the infectiously happy buzz of laughter and conversation drifting from riverside restaurants along the Eagle Street strip.
Finally, we cross the Goodwill Bridge – a blur of cyclists, segway riders and fellow strollers backlit by highrise constellations and shimmering river reflections.
It’s a beautiful walk at a brisk but not arduous pace. And if you make new friends along the way, as I have no doubt you will, there’s always the option to stay afterwards for a convivial coffee or dinner at South Bank. Hope to see you on one of the Women’s Fitness Adventures soon.
As a writer, news reporter, documentary maker and lifestyle television producer, Carole’s professional raison d’etre for more than 30 years has been uncovering Brisbane’s secrets (both dodgy and delightful).
Happily, the latter are in far greater supply!
Carole lives in Brisbane’s leafy western suburbs and when she’s not working or chasing after her energetic teenager, she likes taking happy snaps, striking yoga poses, drinking chai lattes and embarking on the occasional overseas adventure.