If the weather looks like this, take a stroll through the Fitzroy gardens, check out the seasonal flower exhibit at the Observatory or visit the tourist money grab which apparently housed the parents of the first invader, Captain Cook.
There’s so much alley art in Melbourne that it was hard to choose a fave, but the layers of tags and the bustling activity in this alley across from Flinders Station and Federation Square put this at the top of my list.
I can barely remember my high school art history classes, and strolling through Melbourne reminds me that I might once have identified a Corinthian column or a Gothic or Art Deco facade.
The doorways are impressive, and older than anything in my hometown of Brisbane. Here’s a sample of some of my favourite doors and doorways in the streets of Melbourne city.
On one of the highest points in Melbourne an intersection of churches competes for opulence, but none can compete with a catholic cathedral.
We visited in March, the first few days of autumn, and the weather was perfect. Blue skies, leaves still green before they turn shades of red and yellow and brown.
Inside the stained glass competes with the gold trimmings and marble features for attention, losing the battle as soon as the organ starts.
Religious or not, the cathedral offers tourists a walk through catholic history in Melbourne and an unforgettable experience.
Drive east from Brisbane & you will be at Wynnum. Or maybe Cleveland depending on which road you take. It’s a quiet seaside suburb with a few great fish n chip shops, a shallow tidal pool, a kids playground and a jetty.
Just 40 minutes drive from the city, Wynnum is the perfect destination for lunch & a walk in the fresh sea air. It’s not that great for swimming though with mud & not much sand, but boats will love the protected fishing options & the short trip to Moreton island.
Every Saturday for as long as I can remember, the Saturday Markets at Davies Park in West End have provided locals with fresh & organic produce.
Our Saturday morning routine involves a smoothie or a bacon & egg roesti from Roesti Revolution and more recently a buchi poured straight from the barrel. Then it’s fruit & vegetables for the week with farm fresh eggs & the occasional free range lamb roast or sushimi grade salmon.
When it rains, the ground is uneven & prone to flooding but most stall holders stick it out and the locals know to wear gumboots… or no shoes at all.
Enjoy a coffee by the river with live jazz or chill out tunes before collecting a city cycle to return home. Whether it’s flowers or fashion, paella or falafel, you’ll find what you need at Davies Park.
There’s a couple of local businesses operating at Parkyn Parade in Mooloolaba, otherwise known as the Fish Markets. Trawlers pull up to the dock where the fridges and freezers are waiting to receive the freshest seafood caught locally. If it’s your first visit to Qld, or even Australia, we highly recommend the Moreton Bay bugs – a crayfish caught in the surrounding waters. Ask the market owner what’s recommended at the time so you can take advantage of the seasons.
Growing up in Brisbane, Mooloolaba has been a lifelong weekend beach destination for my friends and I. It’s a small town along the coast to the north of Brisbane, with the amazing strip of beaches referred to collectively as the Sunshine Coast. Mooloolaba has a nice swimming beach with flags in the middle of the sheltered bay, but my favourite activity is exploring the rock pools.
The volcanic rocks and millions of years of movement of the ocean and wind have created the most interesting hideouts for crabs, shells, small fish and other tiny sea life waiting to be discovered. At low tide, water is left behind in the holes and crevices while high tide puts on a show of waves crashing against & foaming over the slippery rocks.
Some hot tips from locals for walking on slippery rocks.
The South Bank of the Brisbane river is cleverly called Southbank Parklands, home of restaurants and markets and an inner city beach. Southbank is connected to the city by 2 different bridges at either end of the parklands, conveniently located next to QPAC (the Queensland Performing Arts Complex) and the museum and art galleries.
Other attractions at Southbank Parklands includes a ferris wheel, Nepalese temple, Epicurious Garden, segway tours and some of Brisbane’s finest cuisine.
west end, queensland
The #4101. It’s one of the Brisbane suburbs that has resisted development for a long time, and while progress slowly takes over the old houses in the #4101, pockets of the old school awesome will always remain.
Located across the river from the city, West End is the suburb which sits behind Southbank, the parklands on the Expo ’88 site. A variety of local attractions bring tourists and residents to the 4101 on weekdays and weekends. Here’s some of what West End has to offer.
It’s home to restaurants, playgrounds and an inner city beach and lagoon. Well, a fake beach, but it has sand and looks like a beach. The parklands are adjacent to the performing arts and cultural centres including Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and the State Library of Queensland (SLQ). Fireworks, food festivals, fitness activities, free performances are all part of the Southbank Parklands experience.
Boundary Street Markets
Situated on the corner of Boundary St and Mollison streets, across from the park, this market operates Friday night, Saturday all day and sunday until 2pm. The venue is hit and miss with stalls and is heavily impacted by weather.
Davies Park Markets
Saturday mornings from 7am to noon, the Davies Park Markets have been operating for years and are home to some of the best food vendors and organic produce in Brisbane.
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC)
The main convention venue for the city, the BCEC has a view of the ferris wheel at Southbank from a variety of function and meeting rooms.
Coffs Harbour, home to the Big Banana – but I don’t want to oversell it, because the banana really isn’t that big. The town isn’t either, but it packs a lot into its streets. Beautiful beaches, resorts, a harbour, restaurants, family hotels – Coffs is that sleepy coastal town where you’ve always imagined settling down.
I was leaving Port Macquarie after an awesome weekend, and I really didn’t want to leave. The weather was perfect, but I had 9 hours of driving ahead of me. As I pulled out of the town, I noticed the sprawling green lawns of the cemetary ahead of me and knew I’d be making 1 last stop.
The drive thru coffee sign would capture most people, but I’m a sweet tooth so the giant bee hive nestled into bushland pulled me in. I stopped off on my way back from Port Macquarie, & tasted some local honey, purchasing way too many jars to take home. And some honeycomb. Don’t judge me.
The highway is a popular route for anyone travelling along the east coast of Australia, so random attractions like this pop up in the middle of the New South Wales bush, demanding a look.
Port Macquarie is a coast town about 400 kilometres north of Sydney and 600 kilometres south of Brisbane. It sits at the mouth of a river, with beautiful views in every direction. There is a wide variety of accomodation types from caravan parks right on the water to 5 star hotels set high on the cliffs. The town offers a few nice pubs set on the beach with beautiful parks and beaches for those with families or without.
There’s a bit of nightlife in the form of a few pubs and clubs, but the town is mostly quiet and relaxed offering a peaceful holiday destination. If you’re travelling around Australia, Port Macquarie is a great place to setup for a week to experience the fishing, boating and wide variety of water sports available including jet skis, paddle boards and you can even take a ride on a sea plane or a high speed power boat.
I stopped here to stretch the legs and find a bathroom, but I ended up staying for a little longer to explore where the beach meets the river in Nambucca Heads. There’s limited attractions, but it has everything you need for a family escape – a caravan park, a playground and lots of great picnic and fishing spots with a corner store for fish’n’chips.
Flynns beach is one of the main beaches of the town of Port Macquarie with a safe swimming area patrolled by our Surf Life Saving Clubs. Don’t forget to swim between the flags!
I’d been driving in this amazing sunset for an hour, watching it become more perfect as I headed south. I can pick a good sunset in the early afternoon by the placement of the clouds. You’re looking for a thick layer of cloud with a gap between it and the horizon, with layers of softer whispy clouds at various heights. If there’s a thick layer of cloud on the horizon, you’ll get practically nothing but disappointment! It was tempting to stop every 5 minutes to capture this sunset from every angle, but I resisted and only stopped twice.
I pulled up at about 6.30pm, just as the service station was closing. I parked and crossed the road, distracted by the beautiful sight and almost walking into the tall grass that lined the side of the road. A loud rustling sound snapped me out of it and I remembered I was in country Australia, home of most of the world’s most deadly snakes, and I was only wearing thongs (flip flops). I stood in a paddock looking across at the long grass and mountains in the distance, everything bathed in the most beautiful red light. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I took some deep yoga breaths and thanked Mother Nature for her show.
The Northern Rivers refers to the region of northern New South Wales from Tweed in the north to Lismore, Ballina, Kyogle, Clarence Valley and Yamba heading south. It is bordered by the coast on the east and the mountains on the west, but isn’t an officially named shire of its own.
Driving from Brisbane in Queensland to Sydney in New South Wales is almost 1000kilometres and the first 300 of this is spent winding through beautiful mountains, rivers and farmlands. The sunsets in this area are spectactular, with beautiful bodies of water that look like glass reflecting the colours.
It’s a rest stop on the side of the main freeway which circles the entire country of Australia, located in Northern New South Wales in the Yamba region. There’s a restaurant/cafe and a place to have a picnic, along with a beautiful river for the sun to set behind. The cafe didn’t seem to have anyone there, but these roadside restaurants are often empty but waiting to look after you with a delicious meal and good old country hospitality.
I stopped for a break on my drive south because I couldn’t resist the beautiful reflections on the water as the sun lowered in the sky. All you can hear are birds, the splash of fish jumping and the thunderous rolling trucks that pass occasionally.