Brisbane local brewery coaster
How amazing is it to be able to go on holidays, while on holidays? Well, that's exactly what I did last weekend. Off to Queensland, the sunshine state as they call it.
And I know now exactly why. Me and my very burnt skin do as a matter of fact. 30 degrees. All the time. Simply awesome, just remember to bring your sunscreen (which you can carry on the plane if flying from within Australia, weird...).
What is perhaps not so well advertised is the vibrant atmosphere in West End Brisbane, the food markets and the strong winds and sense nothingness around the coast (something I actually particularly enjoyed).
So let's start from the beginning: What and where in Queensland.
Even though I come from a small town were a car is pretty much indispensable in one's everyday life, I've lived in cities for so long now, that feeling the imperative need of a car again felt rather odd. But that's one of the first things I've learned in Australia, you will need a car if you're expecting to do 'cool' things. I mean, you can fly, take buses and trains places, of course, but the really cool things, you only get to by car, and the not so incredible but still on the cool side things, say like going to the beach, can quickly take up to two hours by transport or a quick 45min drive. So yes, you need a car to be in Australia.
Back to my journey, we started with a wonderful breakfast by the beach followed by the discovery of the Sunshine Coast, first stop: Mooloolaba.
Beautiful long beach, with kilometres of sand and a few tall skyscrapers on the back, after the stretch of grass and the wide promenades. If there's one thing they have in Australia is space!
Sunbathed for a bit and made our way down to Sea Life, a really fun experience. We got to 'meet' the sea lions, learn about jellyfish and took a look at other amazing sea creatures. A bit of a childrens' spot one might think, but actually really good fun for adults too. Just beware, it won't be the cheapest activity on the menu, that said, nothing seems to be on the cheap side of pricing down under other than simply laying on the beach.
Moffat Beach on Sunshine Coast
The following day more beach time and my first BBQ awaited. Met some super friendly Brazilians, got to see the Street Food set up; really quite impressive on variety of foods as well as on the carefully selected decoration which makes it a great walk and talk and eat dinner spot.
Sunday was probably my laziest of all days, slept in a bit and headed into Brisbane town for a walk around the Botanical Gardens, a scenic view of the city's many bridges, their local sea-pool (yep, artificial beach right in the middle of Brisbane) and of course their shopping streets.
Overall, nothing too impressive about the city, nice, but not spectacular. Yet the best was still to come. I got invited to a local brewery where my new Brazilian friends were going to perform, right in the heart of the West End. Now that's what I call atmosphere. Who knew Brisbane had such a vibrant alternative scene?
On my last day, the world-renowned Gold Coast was up. I had high expectations for this particular spot, and it didn't deceive. Call me illiterate, but I was quite shocked to realise that Surfer's Paradise is an actual name of a town here, that surf, truly is at the heart of this town, and that other than a handful of hotels concentrated around this one town, the rest is a rather unexploited piece of sandy and bushy land.
uite a refreshing image for a super popular touristy spot that somehow remained relaxed and easy going, nothing like some more crazy beaches I've seen in the past where tourism truly runs down anything else. It might be they did an amazing urban planning around it, or simply they got lucky because isolation comes as a given in this broad land.
However it is, I really enjoyed Broadbeach, Surfer's Paradise and the more inland pieces of the Gold Coast I got to explore in my short trip, and yes, I'll definitely be going back up there too.
So next time you think of travelling to Queensland, do think about sunny beaches, but make sure you portrait a few trees in them, and remember the wind will be blowing strongly while you're on the beach, also make sure you give yourself enough time to eat around (I had Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, Brazilian BBQ and Greek in only four days), and above all, organise yourself a car and some sunscreen, trust me on this one, you'll need it.