Despite all claims to have a quiet few weeks before jetting back to the homeland (I hope those dates are in your diary Hex!), a surprise 3 day weekend made things too hard to resist, and before I knew it, flights were booked for a trip to Brisbane to visit two of my absolute favourite Australians from my time in Canada.
Jetting off bright and early from Melbourne on a 7:00am flight, the time difference meant I had landed in Brisbane at only 8:00am leaving plenty of time for the days adventures. After a long overdue catch up (and endless travel tales to share between our worldwide endeavors!) we set off to Mount Glorious to trek off in search of an abandoned plane wreck. It’s incredible how quickly you can be out of Brisbane into a beautiful national park, and we stopped along the way at some beautiful viewpoints to take in the surroundings!
The search for the plane turned into more of an ordeal than anticipated, as after a short while leisurely strolling through the rainforest, the situation became reminiscent of a horror movie as we looked down and discovered hundreds of leeches crawling onto our shoes, and god forbid – INTO OUR SOCKS! Clearly unprepared for this ambush, a handy machete had to be used to get these evil creatures off us – a somewhat alternative method to the recommended use of salt. Unsurprisingly, myself and Phoebe only managed to deal with this for so long, and wisely chose to return to the car. Fortunately the boys did kindly take a photo of the plane so we didn’t miss out entirely! Quite an unexpected start to the trip, and enough time has now passed for this to be one of the funnier memories of my Australian adventure so far!
Keen to avoid jungle based activities for the remainder of the trip, we set off on day two for a cycle around the city. Brisbane does have its very own version of the “Boris Bikes” (in a very bright yellow rather than Santander red!) but the group lent me a (children’s) bike for our day of exploring. Starting from New Farm, we cycled along the river side bike trail towards the city. For someone who is not particularly blessed with balance, these trails were ideal, removing the need to contemplate how to avoid cars, and it proved that bollards were the trickier obstacle (much to Haarlem’s amusement).
With the sun shining down, I found myself constantly distracted by all of the impressive houses sat along the river bank. After extensive flooding a few years ago in the city, my personal tour guides informed me that the majority of these had been completely rebuilt as the damage had been so severe, allowing some to build more impressive properties than they had even started with.
We continued through the Botanic Gardens and beyond, with a few breaks at the conveniently placed bubblers (one of my favourite Aussie terms; “water fountain”), and then headed to Southbank for a well-deserved lunch. Southbank is a bustling area of the city full of cafes, shops, a city sightseeing wheel, and even an outdoor pool which was of course heaving on such a beautiful sunny day! One of the newer additions to the area is the “Brisbane” sign, which was put in place several years ago, and became too good a tourist spot to remove.
Rather than cycle back, we took the city cat, where I could take in the scenery without worrying about getting distracted and cycling into the river. This would certainly be a perfect way to see the city for those who aren’t so keen on bikes!
In typical Australian style, after a dip in the pool we finished off our day with a BBQ at Kangaroo Point, overlooking the city.
With a full day to fill before my return to Melbourne we ventured away from the city and up to the Sunshine Coast! (Slowly getting further and further north in this country..!) We stopped for a drink on route at “Aussie World”, where the pub was one of the funniest Aussie stereotyped places I’ve seen. I would imagine the amusement park is similarly comical, but that will perhaps be discovered another day!
How to round off this amazing few days? Why of course – THE BEACH! Suddenly I find myself back to questioning why I left the East Coast behind – I will never get over how beautiful the beaches are in this country! Despite being “Autumn”, the ocean is incredibly warm, and it was nice to regain a little bit of the tan I left behind when I flew south. Hopefully it won’t be long until I can explore more of the Sunshine Coast and beyond…!
Unfortunately the real world was calling, and the time had come to head back to Melbourne. I am very lucky to have such wonderful friends to visit, who were the most perfect tour guides! I am certain it will not be another 3 years until our paths cross again, as my feet are very much itching after being on the move again…
Lucky I’ve got another big trip to look forward to, just in the opposite direction this time, see you soon Hector!
With kindest regards,
Have any of you been pleasantly surprised by Brisbane? What were your favourite spots? Where should I visit next on my return to the Sunshine Coast? We would love to hear!