Weekend Wandering: Our Front Yard

Summer has come early.

After a long few months of study, surgery recovery, and hubby on night-shift, we came out of winter hibernation this weekend and ventured out into the sunshine for a weekend enjoying all our gorgeous little community has to offer.

Tucked between Bribie Island and Caboolture, the coastal-village of Beachmere has the charm of any other costal township without all the people or traffic. At low tide the sand and mud flats extend out and provide miles of beach to run and explore. Soldier crabs and worms huddle around the edges of shallow pools, the soldier crabs shuffling away before disappearing into the sand. 

Along the white sandy beach there are shells to collect and drift wood to climb. Then castles or pictures to create in the sand, decorating each creation with seed pods, leaves and the other treasures collected while walking along the beach.

When playing at the beach in the sun gets too much, the Beach Shak Cafe is the perfect place to chill out and enjoying a cold drink, a bite to eat and listen to the live local music on offer every Sunday. Or better yet, grab an ice cream, head across the road and let the kids burn off some energy in the playground, while you relax in the shade.


Weekend Wandering: Bribie Island

Dear parents everywhere,

I salute you! You guys are the most amazing people in the universe.

Yours in complete awe,

Emma x

This past weekend our house was home to three little ones all under the age of six years. Two sisters staying for a few days and my friend and her little one visiting overnight. After a big day on Saturday, Sunday started with a 5am wake up call after a dummy was thrown out of the cot. 

I like my sleep. I don’t function well without it, and it appears neither do little people. By 8am the world was ending. Toes were crossing imaginary lines into someone else’s “side of the couch”, doors were shut leaving one out of the shenanigans going on inside the room by the other two, and the toothpaste was the wrong colour. There were tears and cries of “it’s not fair”. And there were screams of “no”, although, in the end I’m not sure what the no’s were about.

It was time to get out of the confines of the house! Time to get some sunshine and chill out. We loaded three children into the car, protesting that they didn’t like the beach or swimming, and headed to Bribie Island. 

Bribie is a great spot to visit with kids. On the eastern side you can 4wd and camp along the beach. On the western side the beaches are protected from big swells and a perfect place to fish or for little ones to swim. There are shops and cafes, and, on weekends, markets to explore. There are playgrounds or shady patches of grass to spread out on and enjoy the view. 

We found a little patch of grass under a eucalyptus tree, in Bongaree, and spread out a picnic blanket. Within sixty seconds all three kids were pulling on swimmers and racing towards the water. So much for hating the beach!

We found soldier crabs and chased fish in the shallows. We chased seagulls and buried our feet in the sand. And after they’d splashed around in the gentle waves rolling in off the boats and jet skis going past out in the channel, three smiling children laughed together and enjoyed a picnic overlooking the beach. 

My 36 hour experience with three young children gave me a new found appreciation and respect for parents everywhere. You guys are amazing!

Five things to see and do in Brisbane

My head is overflowing with university assignments at the moment.  My blog therefore is suffering in my lack of time and effort to think up yet another new and adventurous idea to write about.  So for today I am sticking close to home.  My advice for anyone visiting Brisbane or who lives in Brisbane (but thinks there is nothing to do) on my five favourite things to see and do…

1. Chill out in an inner city park

Brisbane city at night from South Bank

Brisbane is home to some fantastic parks.  Along the Brisbane River you will find New Farm Park, City Botanical Gardens, Kangaroo Point Cliffs and South Bank, to name the major ones.  All are easily accessible by public transport.  Check out the farmers markets at New Farm and West End for fresh organic produce, South Bank and the Botanical Gardens hold free moonlight cinema events and concerts, while Kangaroo Point cliffs offer a great view across the river to the city at night.  Pack a picnic or have a BBQ before going for an abseil or rock climb on the cliffs at Kangaroo Point.  University and social-climbing groups meet weekly with opportunities to learn sometimes available.  South Bank is also the spot to go for a sunbake and swim, if you don’t have the time to make it up or down the coast to a real beach.  The man-made lagoons are surrounded by beaches, cafes and parklands, so makes for a perfect place to chill out with a book or cool off with a dip in the water.

2. Take a trip to Moreton Island

An hour and a bit ferry ride from Brisbane is the jewel of Moreton Island, in beautiful Moreton Bay.  Whether you have a four-wheel drive, join a tour or opt to rough it, it’s a destination well worth checking out.  From camping beach side to renting a house or staying at Tangalooma Resort, there is an option to suit all budgets.  Explore the Tangalooma shipwrecks just a short swim from the beach.  Snorkelling is just one of the highlights of visiting Moreton.  Bush walkers can follow trails that cross the island to reach Blue Lagoon or inland to climb Mt Tempest.  The island has some great fishing on either side, be sure to check out the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services website information on designated fishing areas, camping and walks.  My favourite place to visit on Moreton Island is definitely the Big Sand Hills.  The walk up is not fun, but once you get to the top the view is spectacular.  Make sure you carry a piece of cardboard, a body board or esky lid with you, as the ride down is awesome.  Just remember to keep your mouth shut to avoid swallowing a heap of sand as you go hurtling down the dunes.

3. A night out in ‘The Valley”

Fortitude Valley is the heart of Brisbane’s night scene.  Whatever music you are into, chances are there is a bar, club, pub, venue that will have you tapping your toes or raging until the early hours of the morning in the Valley.  From tiny indie hideouts, to four level clubs featuring the latest in Trance, House and Electronic Dance Music, the beats get cranking.  Friday night is the pick of the week to go.

Tips for making the most of your Valley experience:

– Get in before 10pm to pay a cheaper entry fee, collect your entry stamp and then head to somewhere like RG’s to enjoy cheaper drinks and a chat with your mates or anyone else in the beer garden;

– Forfeit one drink during the night to get a slice of New York pizza, it’s great for soaking up some alcohol.  Which helps with re-entry into clubs as stumbling and staggering in line is a guaranteed way to be refused entry.

– Check online for any international touring DJ’s or special events at clubs, tickets can usually be pre-purchased online for a cheaper rate and it means you won’t miss out.

My favourite part of a night out in the Valley would have to be the drunken friends and conversations at the end of the night.  Whether it’s the guy who has lost all his mates in the taxi line or sitting on a bench seat in the mall stuffing your face with an early morning kebab (or another slice of pizza), this is where the magic happens.  Those drunken conversations that start off about how your night was and end in debating the current state of the ozone layer, to collectively solve the problem by the last mouthful of pizza.  It’s this connection with other reveller’s that is the icing on any Valley adventure.

4. Creative river journeys

Bulimba ferry jetty

You could check out GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and the Queensland Art Gallery at South Bank for the big-ticket exhibitions.  Or explore the countless smaller boutique galleries/cafes/shops spread from Teneriffe and Bulimba, to the Powerhouse at New Farm and continuing upstream to West End, Toowong, Milton and Paddington.

For a full day river journey:

Start at Teneriffe checking out the old Wool Shed buildings with boutique shops and cafes then catch a ferry across the river to Bulimba.  Take a stroll up Oxford St to Riverbend Books for morning tea and a hunt for a new book to read.

Next travel up river on the City Cat ferry to New Farm and check out the Powerhouse Museum.  Before winding your way up the river to South Bank.  After visiting a museum, you can cross the river on the Goodwill Bridge or Victoria Bridge to get to the city.  Enjoy lunch in Brisbane city and then check out the Museum of Brisbane or some shopping.

Back to North Quay ferry terminal to continue up the river.  At Toowong jump off and head across Coronation Drive to the Regatta and spend the after relaxing over a cold beer.

5. West End

If there is one place you go to while in Brisbane, make sure it is West End.  Music, food, markets, clothes, art, books and atmosphere West End has it all.  Step back in time with the markets on a Saturday morning in Davies Park.  Get a coffee from the gypsy caravan then sit back on hessian bags spread around up turned milk crates under the century old fig trees and watch the world go by.

Next drop into Avid Reader as they regularly have book and poetry readings at the store or wander through the quirky clothing stores or thrift shops to trade in your travel wardrobe.

When it’s time to eat you are spoilt for choice in West End.  Choose from Vietnamese, Greek, Malay, Indian, Nepalese and any other number of cafes and pubs that all serve up delicious meals and snacks.  I have too many favourites in West End to name, so it really depends on what you are in the mood for!

Finish off at the Music Kafe to listen to local artists performing or rack up a game of pool.  Alternatively, head down the road to the Hifi later in the evening if you want to catch some well-known bands or DJ’s.

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