Upon moving to Queensland, one of my goals I made for myself was to do a lot more travelling and exploring and so far I think I’ve done pretty well in that department. And I have to add that spending time outdoors in the middle of a stinking hot summer is not easy feat, which makes me even more proud of myself for getting out and about.
So where have I been over the last few months?
Sunshine Coast: For many years, the Sunshine Coast has been one of my dream destinations. As a girl who loves the ocean, I’d always been drawn to photos of the incredible coastline.
My very first time to the Sunshine Coast was a day trip to the town of Caloundra at the southern end. It was actually a first date with the guy from this post and this post. It’s an absolutely love town, very small, very chilled and reminds me of a lot small towns back in NZ ( a lot of things in Queensland remind me of NZ in general and not just the large NZ population!).
My second visit a few months later involved a day trip with my housemates in a severely hungover state (thank God I didn’t have to drive). Somehow I was still able to let myself be enamoured by the lush greenery of the Hinterland, the cuteness of the historic town of Montville and the beauty of having the ocean wash over me in Noosa.
When everyone thinks “Sunshine Coast”, they (myself included) instantly think pretty beaches and yes that’s definitely the main drawcard but driving inland into the Hinterland is really absolutely someting else. If you ever get to visit, definitely make sure to take the time to head inland.
Gold Coast: In the opposite direction, and only an hour away from Brisbane is the glitzy and glamorous Gold Coast, quite the contrast to the chilled out vibe of the Sunshine Coast.
The first time I went there was for a family event in a park next to the beach in Southport. As I saw children running around everywhere, the place didn’t quite match the image I had in my hand of people walking around half-naked with six pack abs and bikinis, but there you go.
The second visit was actually my last ever date with guy mentioned earlier. We spent a bit of time swimming around at a place called The Spit (not the nicest name I must admit), which is a bit further away from Southport. Again, still no bulging biceps around. In fact, if you’re looking for somewhere chilled to visit on the Gold Coast but still not too far from Brisbane, The Spit is a pretty good area.
On my third visit (I’m pretty much a Gold Coast regular now), I stayed in Broadbeach with my work mates to attend the Microsoft Ignite conference and I discovered a bit of that glitz and glamour that I’d been waiting for but I still didn’t see the big deal. We spent one evening out at Surfer’s Paradise eating dinner and wandering around and sure it was a bit busy but it wasn’t that bad. In saying that it was only like 8pm on a Wednesday night.
So in conclusion I quite like the Gold Coast. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t cope well in “touristy” places. Maybe also because I didn’t go near any theme parks (not so much a fan of theme parks personally but there’s plenty of them around if you are!).
Around Brisbane: I have been having a blast exploring Brisbane itself from breakfasting with housemates at the Eagle Farm markets to strolling around South Bank eating ice cream and drinking coronas to discovering street art in the suburb of West End, to spending the afternoon travelling down the river on the CityCat ferry and climbing mountains in the city (Mt Coot Tha and Mt Gravatt). I have been astounded by the amount of stuff there is to actually do here in Brisbane. I’ve also been pretty impressed with the food scene and the lower cost of going out in comparison to Western Australia (oh Western Australia how you’d break my heart with your $20 tequila sunrises).
One of my favourite spots in Brisbane would definitely have to be South Bank. There’s so much to do there but at the same time it’s got a really chilled vibe. There’s a mini man-made rainforest, QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre), the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Arts), Queensland Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery. There’s lots of restaurants, bars and cafes. And there’s this lovely grassy area by the river where they have free live music on Sunday afternoons – it’s seriously divine. With a handy location directly across the river from the CBD, it’s pretty easy to get there whether you walk, ferry or train it there.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Sydney: I have now been to Sydney 4 times in the last 3 1/2 years. This 4th visit was a work trip to meet with game analysts and referees from World Rugby who were around for the Sydney Sevens tournament. For a rugby nut like me, this was as close as it gets to living the dream (yes, meeting game analysts and referees excites me).
In between meetings we made our way out to Bondi Beach for lunch – this was my first time to Bondi and maybe I need to stop having preconceived images in my head because I was expecting crowds of people everywhere. Mind you, it was lunchtime on a Thursday and I guess people do work and go to school.
I was hoping they’d be filming some sort of dramatic mission for Bondi Rescue but it wasn’t to be.
WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?
Back to the Land of the Long White Cloud: I am spending Easter weekend back in New Zealand and I cannot wait! I will be staying with a good friend in the gorgeous city of Wellington, one of my favourite parts of NZ. I haven’t been back in over 3 years so it’ll be nice to head back to the homeland again and try my utmost best to not pig out on all the gloriously delicious (fat-filled, sugar-laden) Kiwi food. I will however spend half my time drinking glass after glass of water straight out of the tap because New Zealand tap water is the most divine thing in the world (I kid you not!).
While I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Wellington in the past, there’s a lot I haven’t seen and certainly a lot that has changed so I’m looking forward to do a bit of exploring but at the same time, return to some of the oldie-but-goodies like visiting Te Papa Museum (only the best museum in the world, although the Louvre wasn’t too bad) and strolling around the waterfront. Fingers crossed the weather isn’t too unbearably cold!
More Brisbane/Queensland exploration: The historic town of Ipswich, only a 30 minute west of Brisbane has my attention. Another trip up to the Sunshine Coast is also on the cards, with the intent of exploring a bit of the art scene up there and smash out some more hiking. I’ve also got my eye on the Gold Coast Hinterland and doing some hiking out there.
Byron Bay, NSW: My friends and I have been discussing a weekend trip down to Byron Bay in New South Wales. Because I’m playing soccer this year, it’s kind of getting difficult to head off for entire weekends away and it’ll stay that way until the season ends in August.
Heading back west: Like the good daughter I am, I have also promised my mother to come home and visit so I will be gracing Perth with my wonderful presence in early May! I think some hiking or a day trip somewhere may be on the cards. It’s primarily a family visit to sort a few things out but I definitely intend to make the most of my time at home (hello Mum’s cooking!).
WHAT HAS MOTIVATED ME TO DO SO MUCH TRAVELLING AND EXPLORING?
If you know me well enough or you’ve followed this blog for a good amount of time, you will know that I absolutely adore travelling. But it can be quite the challenge motivating me to get out of the house sometimes.
I think things are different this time around because I’ve only just moved to Brisbane and everything is new and exciting. It was the same when I first moved to Perth. I spent a lot of time out and about exploring the city and surrounding suburbs. But over time, I guess I got comfortable and content with just spending my weekends at home.
In saying that, things are so much closer together here on the East Coast in comparison to Western Australia. Worst case if I hated Queensland that much (which I most certainly do not!), I’d have plenty of options and could go spend my weekends in New South Wales or Victoria, New Zealand or even New Caledonia or Vanuatu instead!
I also have so much more energy. I live in an apartment that requires little cleaning. I’m totally winning at adulting at the moment and have become a pro at prepping all my meals and doing my laundry throughout the week instead of piling it up for the weekend. I have a job where work-life balance is actually a thing and not just some beautiful pipe dream, which means I start work about 8:15 am and am out the door just after 5:00 pm and I’m not dead. As a result, I actually want to get out of the house more frequently.
Admittedly a lot of this travel and exploration has been with other people (who also offer to drive which helps), although I’ve done a fair bit of exploring Brisbane itself on my own. Not that I’m complaining – I think it’s wonderful that I’ve gotten to know people here to head out with, it certainly makes life more exciting! But I think a few solo day trips away wouldn’t hurt every now and then.
Queensland is one heck of a charmer and I’m looking forward to really getting to know her.
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