Today was a public holiday in Brisbane. August is Royal Show time in the city, so to make sure there’s a chance for every local to go and spend a few hundred dollars at the “Ekka”, we Brisbanites get a day off.
Instead of showbags, rollercoasters and sideshow alley, we opted to take our children for a day out of the city. After initial grumblings about not getting to go on rides and eat dagwood dogs, we drove to a lovely spot called Mt Glorious. It’s only about 40km from the heart of Brisbane and so it’s an easy day trip even for your little people. Mt Glorious has some great walking trails through the rainforest, past creeks and waterfalls and offers some beautiful views over the city and the surrounds.
Walking through the rainforest at Mt Glorious near Brisbane
It struck me as we were meandering along one of the walking tracks today that for all of the exotic places I blog about there really are some special places right here in my Aussie backyard that deserve a mention. It seems only appropriate that I begin with home sweet home – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
View from the Brisbane River – you can see the Story Bridge on the right
My son and I from Mt Coot-tha lookout – Brisbane behind us
Sunset across Brisbane – view from Red Hill
While I wasn’t born here, I have lived most of the last fifteen years here in Brisbane and consider myself a Queenslander through and through. Brisbane is about 1000km north of Sydney. If you draw a horizontal line through the middle of Australia, Brisbane is pretty much where the line intersects the east coast. I was drawn here by the palm trees and the mild winters – a stark contrast to Canberra’s frosts and brown grass. It’s a beautiful city that straddles the river, has lots of green spaces and a climate that means you can spend most of the year in shorts and a t-shirt. There’s even a public beach and swimming area in the heart of the city – a perfect spot for families on a warm day.
Australia is very fortunate to have fabulous beaches, and we are very lucky to have some of the best on Brisbane’s doorstep. A 45 minute drive south of the city is the famous Gold Coast – known for it’s glitter, glam, nightlife and surfing, it is still an idyllic spot and a great place for a beach break. A little further past the Gold Coast and you head into Northern New South Wales with a run of gorgeous beaches that include the towns of Kingscliff and Byron Bay.
Byron Bay Coastline – clear water, beautiful sand, stunning cliffs
Salt Beach at Kingscliff
You can also take to the water on a houseboat and explore the Broadwater or the Tweed River from the Gold Coast. We have enjoyed a number of holidays this way over the years – simply relaxing, fishing, swimming and exploring the towns and beaches around this area. There are also some fantastic islands off Brisbane – North Stradbroke Island, South Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island just a name a few.
South Stradbroke Island
Onboard a houseboat, checking out the neighbours
Looking back at the houseboat
Head north of Brisbane and you reach the lesser known of the “Coasts” – the Sunshine Coast. We have spent a lot of time at the Sunshine Coast over the years and it is like a second home to us. We especially love Caloundra and its beaches. When we first started going there many of the spots along the Sunshine Coast weren’t much more than small beachside towns, but even though there has been great development and a population boom it has managed to hold on to much of its charm and laid-back style.
The jewel in the crown of the Sunshine Coast would have to be Noosa. A holiday favourite for many Brisbane families over the years, it is perched on the mouth of the Noosa River and surrounded by National Park, making it a naturally beautiful part of the world. Add to this great restaurants and boutique shops it and ticks many boxes for travellers. The great range of accommodation also means that there is something to suit every budget.
Main beach at Noosa
Sunset overlooking Noosa RIver
Not a beach person? Never fear! Both the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast have “Hinterlands” – hilly areas just behind the coastline. The Gold Coast Hinterland is home to some stunning waterfalls and hundreds of kilometres of walking tracks. Favourite spots include Lamington National Park, Springbrook National Park and Mt Tambourine. There are wineries, glow worms, local markets, scenic drives and great places to eat and stay. It’s also a beautiful place to get married… in fact, it’s where my husband and I tied the knot!
Binna Burra, Lamington National Park
Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park
Our family’s favourite way to holiday close to home is to camp. We are so lucky that there are so many great spots close to Brisbane where you can do this. My friends write a fantastic travel blog about camping near Brisbane as well as all around Australia – Are We There Yet – and I won’t begin to write any camping tips here as I am not a patch on them! I will say that we love camping spots that we can get to in an hour or two of the city – that way you can justify going just for a weekend.
Our favourite campsite at Neurum Creek Bush Retreat near Woodford
Local wallaby residents
Stunning sunset with the silhouette of the Bunya pine trees, Bunya Mountains
The countryside of South East Queensland
We really are so lucky to be able to call this place home. I still crave new places overseas to explore, to taste and to experience, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world than Brisbane. Why would I want to? This is the view from the back of our house nearly every night…
Typical sunset from our place
What’s your favourite thing about Brisbane? Or about the place that you call home?
x Sonia x