Your Quick Guide on What to do in Canberra – In just one day!
Canberra, often mistaken as just another small city in Australia competing with Sydney and Melbourne for glory. What so many tourists that visit Australia still don’t realise is that Canberra is actual the capital. Yes, that’s right Canberra is capital like London and Paris are to England and France. Canberra was actually invented to be the Capital of Australia because nobody could agree whether Sydney or Melbourne should hold the title. I imagine like myself that people ask questions like well where is it, how will I know what to do in Canberra, is it worth visiting during your time in Australia? I asked these questions to myself too! (I used to think Sydney was the capital of Australia until we started planning our move out here – guilty!)
To me, Canberra was a little bit of a mystery. Knowing it’s the capital but not really knowing much about the city we decided there is only one way to find out! We recently took a quick trip to Canberra to see what it was all about. It was quick as we only spent one full day in the city but we felt that’s all you need! In this post on what to do in Canberra, I’ll guide you through how to make the most of the city even if you only have one day to visit!
First, Where is Canberra?
Before you decide what to do in Canberra is pretty important to know where this city is and how you’re going to get there. Canberra actually has its own state! Nestled in-between New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (VIC), Canberra sites in the Australian Capital Terrority otherwise known at the ACT. It uses the same time zone at NSW and VIC making it around a 3-4 hour drive from Sydney. If you’re driving from Melbourne then you’ve got a long road ahead (almost 7 hours), so probably to pencil Canberra in as part of a stop off on a big trip, rather than a day out.
When choosing the best time to visit Canberra October-January seem to be the most popular months, probably because of the weather! Canberra does get cold in winter, we visited in March (not even winter yet) and it experienced lows of 7 degrees – when you’re used to highs of 20 it hurts! In the summer months, Canberra can have sunny days up to 30 degrees. You’ll find the capital can get a lot of rainfall so pack a jacket just in case!
Second, How to get to Canberra
Planning how to get there is also a good idea before deciding what to do in Canberra. Being the capital city Canberra has good transport links with the rest of the country so fairly easy to get too. We opted to drive from Sydney because we were at the start if a road trip but you can easily fly or get a greyhound/other coaching company.
Driving from Sydney
The drive from Sydney – Canberra is really straight forward. In fact, the most difficult part is actually getting out of Sydney! I’ll let you into a little secret here, it took us well over 4 hours to reach Canberra because it took us that long to get out of Sydney. That may or may not have been due to me missing the turn off for the tunnel and due to an abroad amount of tram work and dodgy GPS we drove around a LOT of circles in the city until we reached a way out. But once we managed to find that great open road the rest was a total breeze!
It’s basically one straight road down to Canberra from Sydney. You’ll take the M1 out of Sydney and stay on the M31 Federal Highway for the next 212 KM following it all the way to Canberra. I’ll link a map below with the driving route.
Top Tip: About an hour before hitting Canberra you’ll reach Lake George also known as Weereewa Lookout. The lookout is literally at the side of the highway so you don’t need to detour but it is worth stopping at. Lake George used to reach road level but hasn’t been full for some years now. When we pulled over it was bone dry but we did get a little surprise when out at the view. Because we reached the lookout at 4 PM the kangaroos were just starting to come out to play! It was amazing to see these creatures in their natural habitat bouncing around.
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What to Do in Canberra
Enough of the boring, but very important, bits here are my recommendations on how to spend a relaxed day in Canberra. When you’re deciding what to do in Canberra it kind of depends on your hobbies, interests and what you enjoy! Canberra is full of history in the form of museums, if you’ve got a politics buff on board then they’ll be right at home or if you just like wandering around and enjoying a new city then you’ll be happy too! I guess I like a little bit of everything when exploring a new city, I enjoy finding local independent coffee shops and going to museums to learn a little more about that destination. We also love being outside so I’m always looking for any hikes or walks around the area. In Canberra, we mixed all three together for a great day.
What to Do in Canberra – Morning
Australian War Memorial
Canberra is home to the Australian War Memorial located just off Adelaide Parade, approximately 10 minutes drive from Canberra CBD. When thinking about what to do in Canberra I would highly recommend this memorial. Dave and I both enjoy our history. In fact, once upon a time, Dave wanted to join the army himself so he loves learning more and more about our previous war history. The museum offers reams of knowledge and pays a huge tribute to soldiers, medics and civilians affected by war, past and present.
A rainy day didn’t make for great photography but still a magnificent building!
The museum is huge and spreads over three floors. If you know you’ll want to explore it all then you probably need at least 3 hours to really make the most of it. We spent about two and a half hours here and did rush around the end. The memorial offers free tours which operate every day lasting 1.5 hours, also helpful if on a tight schedule.
You can find out more information on the memorial itself here and all the facilities inside. Entry is free but they do accept donations. I have to give some time to speak about the grounds and building which is beautiful. The architecture of this building is amazing and so symmetrical (like most of Canberra!) With spotless gardens full of statues and tributes to those who fought for Australian and New Zealand. Parking is free for four hours (March 2019) and you can find a cafe called Poppys on site. We didn’t get anything from the cafe but it was packed to the brim on this particular wet and windy morning – always a good sign!
The Houses of Parliament
Once you’ve finished up at the memorial why not head down the road to do The Houses of Parliament. After paying for tours in London I was thrilled to find out that the tours/walking around by yourself in Canberra are free! Parliament is open every day except for Christmas Day and you can check the schedule online here to see if anything is on that particular day. You can also watch question time at The Houses of Parliament which starts at 2 pm on the selected days. Book this online or when you arrive, note you must be seated by 1:30 pm so don’t turn up too late. Take some time to admire the views around the building and notice just how well thought out the building of Canberra really was. The red-bricked area on Adelaide Parade reminds of the walk up to Buckingham Palace.
What to Do in Canberra – Lunch
Feeling a little peckish? My favourite part of exploring any new city is finding gorgeous coffee shops and cafes for a little snack! We do try to stay on a budget when we are travelling but I always keep aside a little extra cash for treats like this!In Canberra, we found a beautiful independent coffee shop called The Coffee Lab. Located in the heart of the CBD this quirky cafe come restaurant offers a great menu full of relatively healthy meals, snacks and not to mention cakes! We arrived at around 12 pm so opted to have a full lunch here and we weren’t disappointed!
The Coffee Lab, Canberra
Dave opted for a breakfast burger consisting of bacon, eggs, hot sauce and of course cheese in a soft brioche bun. It may sound simple but the flavours were mouth watering good! I went for a more snack like lunch with grilled halloumi avec homemade chilli chutney it was divine! Dave tells me the coffee was good and I can vouch for the chai latte being awesome too! Definitely worth a stop-off! There’s plenty of parking opposite the cafe but it does get full but the streets in the immediate area all offer ticketed parking.
What to Do in Canberra – Afternoon/Evening
Lake Burley Griffin
Running through the centre of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin. This lake was man made back in 1963 and is one of Canberra’s most stunning places for a stroll. The shoreline runs a vast 40 km so is perfect for walkers and cyclists no matter how far you intend to go! There’s lots of fun to be had on the lake from kayaking, fishing or even paddle boarding! The lake is lined with cafes and restaurants if you prefer staying dry! You can read a little more about the lake here…
Visit Mount Ainslie
The sunset from Mount Ainslie
This was by far my favourite part of Canberra, Mount Ainslie sits tall over the city offering stunning views of Canberra before your eyes. You can either drive or walk up to the top for these scenic views of the city below. The mountain is steep so wear comfortable shoes and take plenty of water if you do opt to walk! We did drive because we arrived in Canberra pretty late and didn’t want to miss the sunset. If you get a good day the sunset will be spectacular, hands down one of the best sunsets I’ve seen in Australia!
As the sun goes to bed for the day the city glistens under the golden tones of the sky, wildlife surrounds you, kangaroos hopping and parakeets swooping. Watch the capital of Australia fall asleep around you. You’ll also be able to see what I mean when I talk about Canberra being so symmetric! When deciding what to do in Canberra then Mount Ainslie, preferably for sunset, has to be at the top of your list!
Another sunset picture from Mount Ainslie
You can park for free at the top or if you do opt to walk you can park for free in the Australian War Memorial car park. Again, Mount Ainslie is quite central at the top of Adelaide Parade just up the road from The Houses of Parliament.
Where to Stay in Canberra
Wondering where to stay when visiting Canberra? If you’re camping or in a motor home or some sort then I can recommend a great campsite! I can’t really comment on any other accommodation as we were only here for one day! I do find that booking accommodation on booking.com always saves me money when compared with other travel sites! Use the search box below to find some accommodation. As for the campsite we stayed at Exhibition Park. Canberra’s show-grounds where there’s always something going on from shows to markets. At the rear of the show-grounds is a campsite where they offer powered and unpowered sites at a reasonable price. We paid $35 for a powered site which one of the cheaper sites we’ve stayed at this time around (March 2019).
You’ll find all the basic facilities you need here including, toilets which were clean, showers, laundry and a camp kitchen! The reception is open daily from 8 am – around 4 pm. The guys who run the site are very laid back! We knew we were going to be later than 4 pm so we just called and he said to just find a site and pay in the morning – easy! But I will let you into a funny story…
Imagine two brits in their rental camper van excited to be on the road again. We just enjoyed a beautiful sunset and were high on life. We arrived at the campsite a little confused as to where to park our camper van. There were so many motor homes taking up power cables! Anyway, we find a site right at the end, plug in, make dinner and praise the campsite on its facilities. As we are just getting ready for bed a couple come and tell us that we are in the wrong campsite!!! Yep, we had placed ourselves amongst the market stall owners getting ready for a big show the next morning – starting at 6 am! That would’ve veep one embarrassing wake up call! We found the campsite a good 5 minted away at the other side of the grounds! So if you do stay here note that the campsite is around the back, not the grass section where you can see the main road!
So, should you visit Canberra when you’re exploring Australia?
Absolutely! Canberra is the capital city of Australia so it would be kind of rude not too! It’s a great city with friendly locals and a nice easy going feel about it! We only spent a day here and felt like we’d seen a good chunk of the city. You could spend longer but if you’ve only got a day then it’s definitely doable! It’s also easy on a budget too as most of museums and memorials are free! If you’ve been to Canberra and have anything else to share then make sure you leave a comment below! Make sure you save this post if you did enjoy it, some of your friends might like it too!
I love reading travel blogs. When a blog post really draws me in I’m often left with the excitement of wondering where said travel blogger is heading too next! Sometimes you can find out via social media but I also love it when you can read all about their future travel plans in a blog post too! It makes me feel like part of their journey knowing what adventures are in store for them next. So that said, I thought I’d better create my very Where to Next page! If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know I haven’t updated my previous ‘where to next’ page in a little while.
After living in Australia for a year it was time to hit the road again. We left Australia in June 2019 and found ourselves not too far away in the beautiful country that is New Zealand.
When I first imaged our life after we got to Australia I thought that we would be here for good. But you don’t really know what a place will be like until you’ve lived, breathed, cried and relished in all that it has to offer.
This adventure started with one dream. My dream to see Australia, I have no idea what but something was pulling me there. Living in Australia was nothing other than amazing, educational, liberating whilst being challenging and difficult too. The big thing that I’ve learnt since arriving in Australia is that the world is a BIG place with so much more to see! It’s left me with an even bigger wanderlust than before and now we are on a mission to travel the world, starting with New Zealand, I mean we are so close it would be rude not to right?
I have no idea how long we’ll stay in New Zealand but we’ve got a Working Holiday Visa which gives us up to 23 months in the country if we want it!
It’s hard to give you any more than that for now because though we want to travel the world who knows what could happen in another year? One thing is more certain though, we aren’t done with the world just yet, travel is who we are right now and I can’t wait for our next string of adventures. I hope you join us for the journey, your love and support is everything because without it I wouldn’t be sat here writing any of this.
Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter that I put out every month – subscription box in the footer! I talk about the month’s blog posts, what we are up to in terms of travel and what’s next! I also love sharing my favourite blogs from that month & favourite books! I’m a huge reader whether it’s fiction, self-development or travel my nose is always stuck in a book!
So now I’ve told you, you tell me where is your next adventure taking you?
Heading to Byron Bay this year? Well if you are I’ve got a great bunch of Things to Do in Byron Bay in 2019 right here! PS. I’m extremely jealous and hate you a little at the moment.
As we crossed the border from Queensland to New South Wales we could hardly believe that we were heading into the last week of our road trip. We had spent the three weeks before this one exploring the beauty of the Australian East Coast. From golden beaches longer than you can imagine, 92% silica sand, floated in freshwater lakes and danced in breathtaking waterfalls. So as we approach our last leg or the trip, I had one question on my mind, can this possibly get any better?
From the moment that we joined the queue of rusty old camper vans, yes I was lusting over each one, Byron Bay captured my heart almost instantaneously. Famous for being one of Australia’s most sought after backpacking destinations I was a little dubious to how I’d like Byron Bay. I had imagined a town bursting with students and eighteen-year-old brits knocking back too much goon on the beach! Whilst, of course, there was some of that I was greeted completely by surprised as we drove through the town taking in the sights we were greeted with. From young families, students newlyweds to retirees, it appeared that nobody would be stuck for things to do in Byron Bay this year (or any year), no matter how candles you blew out on your last birthday.
In this post, I want to chat about all the remarkable things to do in Byron Bay in 2019. Because this surfer town, believe it or not, has so much more to do than surf! Whether you’re into lazing around on the picture-perfect beaches to hiking through the hinterland, Byron Bay has you covered. You even might be lucky enough to meet some of the locals (No I’m not talking about the local guitarist either!)
Things to Do in Byron Bay!
Cape Byron Light House Walk
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (thank you) then you’ll know that as well as being a beach babe I love being active! Growing up in Sheffield in the UK hiking is a way of life for us in the Peak District so any chance for a good walk to keep the muscles going, I’m in! My favourite way to explore a new place is on foot, that way you don’t whizz past anything incredible by accident! So we knew immediately that we would tackle the Cape Byron Light House Walk! If you’re in good shape/active, I say this because there are a fair few steep hills on this trail, then you must do the lighthouse walk! You are seriously missing out on some of the best views that Byron has to offer if you don’t do it – It just isn’t an option right?
The Cape Byron Light House walk is a 3.7-kilometre walk and will take anything from 1-3 hours, but plan for the latter because you’ll be stopping a lot to take in the scenery. The walk starts from the bay but you can choose various starting points whether it’s from the beach or the real start of the trail! We started at the trail because we walked from the campsite (which took our walk up to about 5 kilometre’s, cue one very sweaty couple!). You can check out this website for the official trail route, maps and tonnes of information about the walk. As you make your way up to the lighthouse, an architectural wonder itself, you stroll along beaches, clifftops, bush walkways, rainforests and even a café/bar if you fancy a beer or wine to get you up those hills!
As if the natural beauty of the walk wasn’t enough you’ll also get to see some epic landmarks too! Like, did you know that Byron Bay is home to the most easterly point in Australia? Well you do now and you’re going to walk straight through it (and take an obligatory photograph of course!) And to top it all of you’ll get to meet some of the locals too.
I think that’s what made this walk so magical for me was the wild and sea life we were lucky enough to spot! As much as we enjoyed spending time at Australia Zoo it’s always a magical feeling when you see animals in their natural habitat, which is exactly where they should be. During our hike we got to see not one but TWO pods of dolphins, a lizard that totally freaked me out because it looked like a snake with feet (see photograph below!) and little did we know that Byron Bay would be the place that we spotted a Koala in the wild, which if you’ve been to Australia you’ll know they can be hard buggers to spot!
I may be a little biased because of the blissful weather we had and the wild and marine life we got to see but the Cape Byron Walk has to be on the top of your list of things to do in Byron Bay! But if you are unable to make the walk due to health reasons or you simply can’t be arsed then at least take a drive up to the lighthouse as the views really are breathtaking and this is where we spotted our pods of dolphins!
Close your eyes and imagine a rainbow coloured street, rainbow-painted houses, shops, public toilets you name it, everywhere is painted the colours of the rainbow. Imagine vintage shops lining the streets and shops so full that whatever they are selling is spilling out of every nook and cranny, there’s a certain smell in the air, not dirty but definitely not clean either. And if you’re really creative you might even imagine being asked if you’d like to try one of Nimbin’s speciality cookies on several occasions as you walk down the street mesmerised by what you’re witnessing before your eyes.
If you’ve already been to Nimbin then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! When you visit Byron Bay you have to take a drive up to see it, a tiny rainbow-infused town nestled in the hills of the hinterland.
About an hour or so inland from Byron Bay is the town where people sell you weed on the streets and offer you cookies, yep you guess it full of weed as well. For the locals, it’s their way of life and probably really normal but it’s something I haven’t experienced too much of – very hard to write this without sounding like a total snob (Which I really am not!). If I could explain Nimbin to you it’s the exact definition of free-spirited land hippy living. I guess Nimbin is what I expected Byron Bay to be like. Which if you’ve ever visited both places you’ll know how different they really are!
We arrived in Byron Bay late afternoon on our first day so we decided to head to the main beach and take a stroll and boy am I glad we did! What was meant to be a short walk for some fresh sea air and to get the sand between our toes again turned out to be major beach exploration! We ended up walking a good length of the beach from main, all the way down to The Pass. The Pass is one of the most famous places in Byron Bay to surf but the waves were tame so the beach luckily for us was tame too. If you are heading to Byron Bay in the summer be mindful that this section of the beach will be jam-packed! That said it’s still worth a visit just to see Fisherman’s Lookout.
You won’t be able to miss Fisherman’s Lookout, sometimes called staircase rock when you reach The Pass! The lookout is a rock formation that looks back on Byron Bay and out into the glittering ocean and is simply stunning. The lookout is a natural landmark made from rocks that have been formed over the years. Make your way up the rickety steps and take it all in!
Visit the Byron Bay Markets
One of the things I adore about Byron Bay is its vintage chic feel. From the shops to the people Byron is full of a hippie, free-spirited and relaxed vibe. It even comes through in some of the shops you visit and the markets in Byron Bay are incredible! Byron Bay has markets twice a week and extra ones dotted around the year, so you’ll no doubt stumble upon one or two no matter when you visit! We were lucky enough to be in town during the Twilight Markets which are held every Saturday from October to Easter.
These markets gave us everything from glorious food to some talented local artists, photographers, dressmakers and heaps more! Byron Bay also holds a large flea market full of everything you can think of every second Saturday! You can check out this website for a list of the local markets and what dates they are on, so you can be sure to be in town!
Take a Surf Lesson with Let’s Go Surfing
Okay, so I may be kind of cheating a little with this one but don’t give up on me just yet! The ultimate activity we longed to do in Byron Bay was to surf! I mean come on Byron Bay is the place to surf! It’s where every Aussie hit’s up for the holidays to get out on the waves! But we kind of had a freak out when we saw the price, yes surfing is expensive and decided to be sensible sausages and save it for another time! That said we have had now had three epic surfing lessons in Sydney with the same company that run the surf lessons in Byron Bay!
Let’s Go Surfing is the only surfing company on Bondi Beach down south and teach hundreds of amateurs to surf a week! The experience we’ve had with these guys has been world-class and I wouldn’t recommend any other surf company! We even managed to stand up on the boards on our first lesson! The surf is good in Sydney but I know it can be better in Byron and whilst you’re visiting the ultimate surf town it would be rude not to give it a go right? But if you’re like us and strapped for cash because you blew it all on the rest of your roadie, then fear not you can hop on aboard when you get to Sydney!
Sunrise at Tallow Beach
What is it about the sunrise that makes you raring to go for the day? I can remember the day we headed to watch the sunrise at Tallow beach like it was this morning. As the alarm rings in my ears at 5:30 am I’d already been lying awake for half an hour prior. You see, camper-vans aren’t very soundproof and those Australian birds are singing at the top of their beaks way before the sun is up! But I could think of a lot worse noises to wake up to, I loved listening to them as I lay in the back of our home on wheels.
When Dave is eventually ready to head to the beach we look like two ninjas in the dark stumbling out of the van! Without a care in the world, we walk 500 yards and we are on the beach, crazy I know, it was 5:30 am and I was stood on a beach in Australia, in my pyjamas waiting for the sun to rear its head. It honestly felt like it was a movie.
I vividly remember being shocked at how many people were out at that time in the morning walking their dogs, jogging or just having a stroll! But if I lived that close the beach then I reckon I’d be there most mornings (note to self, get to Bondi Beach in the mornings more often!). The sky was clear with just two strands of pink cloud, looking a lot like candy floss in the distance. The sunrise was simply spectacular and well worth getting up early for!
Now, Tallow Beach is about a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay in Suffolk and I highly recommend you get up there for sunrise if you can, you can see the lighthouse in the distance as well as the glistening ocean with your feet buried in the sand! Another popular option for the sunrise is actually heading up to the lighthouse – we are saving this one for our next trip!
After the sunrise make sure you head to Suffolk Bakery and grab a pastry and coffee – they honestly do the best of both in Byron! There wasn’t a day or time when this bakery wasn’t bustling with people, the smell of homemade baking goods lures you in from the street and honestly, it tastes just as good as it looks!
Soak up the sun on some of Australia’s most stunning beaches!
The Byron coastline is full of fantastic beaches! From the gorgeous Main beach to the more quiet and mellow Tallow Beach, you are spoilt for choice! They all ooze beauty with glorious waters to swim, paddle and splash around in! There is even a tonne of water sports activities you can get on board within Byron Bay! You can go here for some more details on those!
It can be difficult when choosing which beaches to explore especially when you’re on a time constraint – we had the same problem so I feel ya! That said we did manage to get around a few of them like a pair of beach hussies on the loose! So below are our favourites & the ones we think you should visit!
Stating the obvious I know, but it’s impressive how many people avoid the main beaches of coastal towns like Byron Bay because of the high volumes of tourism people expect to find! The Main beach in Byron Bay wasn’t like that at all and it has so much more to offer than just a beach. Begin on the grass near the car park and you’ll be invited in by acoustic music!
We listened to a fair few talented guitarists during our visit! You can bring a picnic up the grass and just listen and hang out on there if you like! Or you can drop down onto the beach which yes, will be busy but still beautiful. Main Beach importantly has lifeguards patrolling which is somewhat lacking on the other beaches! So if you’re up for a swim in the sea the best place to be is Main Beach so you can stay safe and swim between those flags!
I know I’ve already talked about how tranquil this beach is but that isn’t just at sunrise. Tallow Beach is stunning at all times of the day! The view of the lighthouse makes it extra special as does the lack of people! If you’re looking for a quieter strip of sand so that you can fall right into the pages of that holiday read then Tallow Beach is the place for you! You won’t find any facilities at Tallow beach so make sure you’ve plenty of food and an empty bladder!
We stumbled across this lovely little bay and beach area when we were hiking up to the lighthouse! A gorgeous little cove makes for an idyllic place for a sunbathe, swim and BBQ! There is a car park, a grassed area and plenty of facilities for your toileting needs! A perfect place for a group get together and family fun!
I briefly mentioned The Pass in an earlier section but I just want to touch on it a little more here. This can be one of the busiest spots in Byron due to the awesome waves that surfers love to ride when the conditions are right!
My advice would be to stay out of the water if you find yourself here on a day like this – best not to get wiped out by a surfboard, unless you’re a pro that is! But this beach is definitely worth a visit. I don’t know about you but I love watching surfers and it’s home to Fisherman’s Lookout, a perfect place to spot marine life and gaze onto the horizon. As well as that, like every spot in Byron, it’s perfect to sunbathe!
The great thing about Byron Bay is that it’s surrounded by trees, whether it’s pandanas, palm trees or pine trees you’re bound to find a spot of shade on any of the beaches! The most open of the four I’d say is tallow beach.
Eat Your Weight in Gelato
Okay, so I’m for sure not a foodie blogger but god do I love my food and Dave certainly loves his deserts! I had to give this place mention in this post because the Gelato we had from this counter was unreal! I have never tasted anything so light, like ever! Bella Rose has every flavour you can think of from coconut to Ferrero Rocher and it doesn’t make you feel all frumpy afterwards – it’s honestly THE BEST!
Bonus Tip: Where to Park Your Home on Wheels
Before you go I just thought I’d add one more piece of information to this post! Of course, the best way to travel the Aussie east coast is by camper van! So if you’re like us and jumped on the bandwagon, or van in this case! You’ll notice as you drive further south the pricing for the campsites slowly starts to increase! When in Byron Bay I recommend staying at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park! Though about a 10 – 15-minute drive from the centre it’s a lot cheaper than some of the sites nearer the city & a bonus is that it’s set back from Tallow Beach! You can have a look at their website here but I couldn’t recommend it more!
We had more than two during our five days here! There are, of course, countless ice cream counters throughout the town, you only have to turn your head sideways and another one will most certainly be in you’re view!
So, in case you didn’t quite get the message in this post-Byron Bay has a very large chunk of my heart. I would go as far as to say I could happily live in Byron Bay for a long period of time. The people, the culture, the lifestyle isn’t anything short of perfection! & some of those houses dotted around the bay – wow! I might want to live there but whether I could ever afford would be another story, I’ll let you know if I ever make it!
But honestly, I would happy in the back of pastel green VW camper van for the foreseeable future! There are so many things to do in Byron Bay and we only scratched the surface but I look forward to updating this post the more we get to go back and explore!
Why is Byron Bay Special to us?
Byron Bay is a magical place and honestly it was the most at peace with ourselves we felt the whole road trip. We even made a huge decision whilst strolling the beach.
When we first arrived in Australia we were adamant we going to undertake the 88 days of rural farm work you have to do to extend you’re working holiday visa (Check out my post about WHV’S here). But in reality, neither of us were really being honest with each other. I was secretly dreading the whole thing, so much so that it was stopping me enjoying Australia to the full! Dave, on the other hand, would be able to hack the farm work but was wondering how I’d handle it! Turns out I ’m just not cut out for it and that’s okay.
So it was as we walked hand in hand on Wategos beach that we decided, no farm work! I suddenly felt a weight lifted from my shoulders and a deeper love from Byron Bay! It might sound crazy but this place for sure has something special about it!
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Byron Bay was just one of the amazing spots we loved on the East Coast of Australia. I’m so excited to finally be writing about each and every place! You can take a look at all of the destinations we hit up on our road trip in part 1 (Queensland) and part 2 (New South Wales) – click on the states!
Brisbane, the most up and coming city in Australia. Brisbane like most other smaller cities in Australia is often outcast by the bigger and, let’s face it more famous and popular cities that are Sydney and Melbourne. In 2018/19 we were lucky enough to live in this vibrant city for four months. Following the amazing time we had in Brisbane I’m making it my mission to give Brisbane the recognition it deserves! Starting with this Ultimate Guide to Brisbane. I’m hoping that this guide may just inspire you to add Brisbane to your Aussie bucket list! So why should you visit Brisbane?
Ultimate Guide to Brisbane – The Weather!
As we touched down on Aussie soil in June 2018, despite the temperature soaring 25 degrees (yes we are British) Australia was in the height of winter. So even though we knew it wasn’t going to be ‘cold’ anywhere we picked the city we knew would be the warmest in ‘winter’ Brisbane. Located in Queensland, nicknamed the sunshine state, Brisbane is one of the hottest places to hang out during winter in Australia. It’s also the best time of year to visit Brisbane. Because of its inland position, Brisbane reaches humidity levels over 90-100% during the summer months, if you do plan on visiting Brissy then do so in winter!
Temperatures in winter remain a comfortable 14-25 degrees but it rarely drops below 16 in the daytime during June-August. The humidity is low and the sun will shine probably every day! Brisbane experiences very little rainfall so the chances are you’ll have plenty of dry weather to enjoy all Brisbane has to offer. As a guide to Brisbane in the summer months expect a more sticky situation. The temperature rises to 30 degrees with, as I previously mentioned, humidity reaching 100% some days. Picture having a shower, going outside to put the bin out and feel like you need another shower – not nice!
It only took a week living in this sunny city for us to realise what a beauty it was! We’d soon become accustomed to taking long walks along the river, having coffee and brunch out almost every day and living our most relaxed out lives to date! When they talk about the standard of living in Australia is relaxed, they mean it! It’s hard to explain why. The vibe is just a lot slower, especially in Brisbane! So if you’re looking for a winter break with slow travel in mind then Brisbane could be exactly what you’re looking for!
Guide to Brisbane: Basics
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
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Guide to Brisbane: How to Get There
So, you’ve just touched down in Australia and the excitement is flowing through your veins! The mistake you don’t want to make is not knowing how earth to get from the Airport to your accommodation! Sounds obvious right? Well, apparently not for us!
Quick Story Time
As we waltzed out of the airport we thought he had it covered! We had our air train ticket booked and headed for the station! Trouble was that’s all we had booked! We hadn’t booked a taxi or a coach from the station to our Air BnB or anything! I don’t know how we thought we were going to navigate our way to our accommodation with no idea where we were and no Wi-Fi!
Luckily, Brisbane is awesome and in the city, there are free Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere, we eventually made it to our Air BnB via BUS! Pretty impressive hey?
The Air Train service runs from the airport seven days a week, from 5 am – 11 pm. From the airport to Brisbane city centre it takes approximately 40-45minutes. Tickets are cheaper if bought online so book before you ride! $15 per person approximately (September 2018)
You can find the timetable and where to book tickets via the Air Train website here
There are taxis available from the airport if you don’t mind spending a little extra. Brisbane uses two taxi companies: Yellow Cabs and Black and White Cabs, both taxis are situated at the taxi ranks at both the international and domestic terminal. Do not use any other taxi company as these are only two that Brisbane Council recommends. Uber is big is Brisbane depending on your opinion of the service I’ll leave that up to you!
You’ll find taxi ranks located at both terminals: Domestic terminal: in front of the domestic terminal building centrally. International terminal: at the northern end of the terminal outside to the left.
In off-peak times it takes 20 minutes to drive to the airport costing $45-$55 (September 2018) Peak Times your looking at 30 minutes costing a little more but not much more. If it costs more than $60 you are being ripped off big time!
You can also choose between a council-run bus service and a shuttle run bus service to and from the airport. Brisbane recommends Con-x-Ion as its best shuttle bus service which will take you to a choice of destinations in and around the city, prices starting at $15!
The council’s bus service runs seven days a week from the Sky Gate Centre at both terminals! You can check the Translink website for more details on that!
My advice would be to get air-train as its cheap and convenient stopping at every suburb on the way into the city! Just make sure you know exactly where and how you’re going to get to your onward destination from there!
The beautiful city of Brisbane
Guide to Brisbane: Where to Stay
The city of Brisbane is small, and a lot of the hotels are in and around the CBD or on South bank/South Brisbane. But Brisbane is surrounded by beautiful suburbs with some amazing accommodation opportunities and by far my favourite option is always Air BnB.
New farm is one of my favourite suburbs in Brisbane just a 30-minute walk from the city centre! This suburb is a lovely and quite an affluent area of Brisbane bustling with amazing coffee shops, brunch spots, yoga studios and the famous New Farm River Walk. It’s the first place we stayed in Brisbane and gave us perfect first impressions of the city. New Farm has great transport links into the city that include, two ferries, one free and one paid service (paid service is quicker), bus or of course by your own two feet. I’d say New Farm is the best option if you’re not a traditional backpacker looking to be in the thick of it, travelling with a family, are a little bit older or in general, wanting to avoid the party scene. As a couple in our mid-twenties who love walking New Farm was perfect!
If you do end up staying in New Farm some of the top things to do are:
New Farm River Walk
Eat Brunch at The Moray Cafe
Grab a free comedy show at The Powerhouse every Friday at 5 pm
Relax with skyline views of the city in New Farm Park
Fortitude Valley is the home of the backpackers. Nicknamed ‘The Valley’ this is party central of the city where all the students, partiers and backpackers gather to let their hair down most nights of the week. Fortitude Valley is the home to most of the hostels in Brisbane, so if your down from the coast for a weekend then a hostel could be a great option for you!
The most popular hostel in the valley Bunk Brisbane Backpackers or otherwise known as Birdees located in the hub of the Valley!
Birdees is well known for its crazy pool parties in the summer months! Surrounded by shops, restaurants and bars and in a great location to get into the city! Bunk Brisbane is the ultimate go-to for backpackers and partiers alike! This hostel is full of everything you could need to host the ultimate backpacker party! Not only is this hostel in an epic location it has some of the best facilities around! Birdees comes equipped with three bars and a tiki-inspired rooftop! With plenty of dorms to choose from and the option for 4,6,10 and 20 shares I’m sure this hostel has exactly what you are looking for! & did I mention the pool? This hostel comes equipped with a heated pool open all year round! Because let’s face it, it always feels like summertime in Australia! Fortitude Valley is also the night-life queen of Brisbane which I’ll mention later on is this guide to Brisbane!
If you want to be in amongst the action but perhaps not so much in the clubbing scene then South Bank is an amazing option for you! South Bank runs parallel the Brisbane River and is the home to Streets Beach and plenty of restaurants and cafes to feed you for a year! You won’t find too many hostels on South Bank, but you will find plenty of hotels that line the streets.
An average night in a hotel on South Bank for two people will cost approx. $100-$200 per night so it isn’t your cheapest option but it’s probably the best one if you want to stay in a hotel! Everything you could possibly need is close by, including all the transport links to get around the city!
The Brisbane Wheel located on South Bank
Of course, you’ve also got the CBD which I wouldn’t recommend staying in unless you’re on a business trip or for some reason need to be in the city centre! There isn’t much going on in the CBD of Brisbane, most of the action happens on the river at South Bank or at Eagle Street Pier. There’s very little for the tourist to explore in the CBD but there are great shopping facilities! From Tiffany’s to H&M you’ll find a shop for you whatever your budget! So, if shopping is your thing then go for it, but you’re going to pay for it!
An average hotel night in the CBD will set you back $100-250 a night, on the plus side you will get some epic views of the river if you choose your hotel wisely! You can see where your hotel is in comparison to the river by using Google maps!
There are plenty of other suburbs that are amazing to stay in. However, if I list them all we will be here all day, literally, there are loads! West End, South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point, Morning Side the list goes on! But the ones mentioned above are my top picks for staying in Brisbane, having spent a lot of time in each of the above places I know you’ll have a blast staying there!
Please note this is an affiliate link so if you book via this link I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thank You!
Guide to Brisbane: Things to Do
Cool off in the lagoon on South Bank
As a city, Brisbane boasts energy and vibrancy whilst being one of the most laid-back cities in Australia. Whilst a lot of the main tourist landmarks in Australia are located on the East Coast and in the bigger cities such as Sydney, I mean we’ve all heard of the opera house, right? Brisbane is still bursting with things to do and has so many places that you shouldn’t be missing out on when visiting the land down under!
Relax on South Bank
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again South Bank is the life and soul of the party. The entertainment hub of this city sits on the edge on the river dazzling with shops, bars, restaurants and even a man-made beach! Make sure you hit up South Bank as much as you can because there is always something going on!
Head down on a Sunday to enjoy Social on the Green a free event every Sunday hosting live music and drinks galore. South Bank is perfect for everyone whether you’re a family of four or a backpacking circle of friends you can enjoy what South Bank has to offer. There are also markets on at South Bank every Friday – Sunday for a spot of shopping promoting local small businesses!
Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Not far from the city just a little journey down the river sits Fig Tree Pocket. The lovely little suburb of Fig Tree Pocket is home to a few furry Australians natives. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is one of Australia’s only koala sanctuary which helps sick and injured koalas. The sanctuary first opened it’s doors way back in the 1920s and continues to help these furry creatures today. As well as koalas you can roam around the huge open spaces with Kangaroos, Emus, Joey’s and Dingoes! But of course, that’s not all you’ll crocodiles and a very friendly platypus within the park too! You don’t want to miss taking a visit to the sanctuary during your visit to Brisbane!
On the other side of the river to the city lays Kangaroo Point, now Kangaroo Point is residential but right down by the river it has a great walk along with some brilliant activities! Take a stroll along the Kangaroo Cliffs Broad Walk, Climb and Abseil down the Cliffs with the River life centre!
Not as iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge but still pretty impressive and at the heart of the city. As you wander down the river walk you won’t be able to miss it. For the best views head of the Story Bridge make your way to Wilsons Outlook Reserve. A great place to watch the sunset and capture some amazing shots of the Story Bridge. If you’re looking for an adrenaline activity then you can also climb the bridge.
The Story Bridge
Hike up Mount Coot Tha
Hike up to the top of Moot Count Tha for some epic views of the city below. These views are amazing at any time of day but if you have a car go for sunrise or sunset for some amazing views that will stay with you forever! The hike to the top of Mount Coot Tha is fairly easy if you have a good level of fitness but there is a bus that runs right to the summit as well. There’s a restaurant at the top which is reasonably priced but I’d take a picnic and lay out on the grass – maybe treat yourself to ice cream?
Guide to Brisbane: Day Trips From Brisbane
Whale Watching from Redcliffe
In the months of June-November, the humpback whales migrate to the warm Australian waters. Luckily for us, we can take this opportunity to try and spot some of these magnificent creatures in their own habitat! Brisbane Whale Watching company runs various tours from the months of June to November where they guarantee sightings! After using this company, I wouldn’t want to use any other I cannot recommend them enough!
The quaint little seaside town of Shorncliffe is just thirty minutes away from Brisbane and well worth a visit if you have a chance! It’s an excellent place to go for a walk, fishing, a splash in the sea or enjoy some brilliant fish and chips!
Glass House Mountains National Park
The Glass House Mountains National Park is situated above Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and gives some amazing views when you reach the top! Get outside and breathe some fresh air into your lungs as you hike upwards to the top of the glass house mountains!
Enjoying the scenic views at the summit!
For the low down on what’s happening in Brisbane bookmark these pages!
Brisbane is foodie central! If you’re into food markets, then Brisbane has got you covered! We haven’t even been able to scratch the surface when it comes to enjoying some of the culinary delights Brisbane has to offer, but here are our some of our favourites!
Eat Street Markets
I think I talk about this in every Brisbane related post! Think small food market with a few stalls, then multiply by a thousand! Eat Street is the place to be! With over a hundred different food stalls and every cuisine going you are spoilt for choice!
Eat? Okay if you insist!
The Moray Cafe
This perfect cafe in New Farm does the best brunch in the city! We ate here on our first morning in Brisbane and have gone back continuously!
Superbowl Chinese Restaurant
In need of a little updating from the outside but once inside this place will get your taste buds tingling! As always go where the locals go and they all go here!
Now more a casual dining experience come fast food option Zeus does the best Greek wraps in the city! Try the Hermes wrap if you like things a little spicy!
We became a little bit addicted to these noodles since we arrived! We just can’t resist a Pad Thai!
The Manhattan Line, Oxford Street, Bulimba
The best value for money when it comes to American dining! I’ll drop a picture below of all the food we ate here for just $50!
BBQ for yourself in the middle of your table! This amazing Korean BBQ restaurant brings out your meats raw and you cook yourself on the BBQ plate which we think is pretty cool! The food was delicious, and it brought a little bit of fun to our dinner too! Located in China Town & Queens Street Mall.
The Brunswick Project
One of our top picks for breakfast/brunch!
Night Noodle Markets
Now this will 100% depend on when you’re visiting Brisbane but if you’re lucky enough to be here in July, then hit the night noodle markets on South Bank for some amazing choice of Asian food from noodles to pork buns!
Top Tip – Fear Not! If you are visiting at a different time of year, then South Bank will have you covered you can follow @eatsouthbank on Instagram for the latest updates of amazing street food coming to Brisbane!
The Munich – Not the cheapest of options but if your looking for something close to a Sunday lunch then grab a German banger’s, mash and gravy from The Munich, you won’t go home hungry that’s for sure!
As well as some superb eatery’s Brisbane is also full of quaint and quirky cafes to feed those caffeine cravings! Some of our favourites: The Moray Cafe (yep again!), The Brunswick Project, Miss Jones, King Arthur Café, The Coffee Club (because the opening hours are great!), Who Shot the Barista and Jimmy’s on the Mall and the list again could go on and on!
Guide to Brisbane: Nightlife
Brisbane is a pretty family-friendly city but that doesn’t mean the nightlife isn’t just as good! Brisbane has some epic party spots for all round banger of a night out! And the majority will stay open until the sun rises!
Howard Smiths Wharf
New to Brisbane in 2018 Howard Smiths Wharf is located on the New Farm Riverwalk directly underneath the Story Bridge. Complete with a brewery, 2 sophisticated cocktail bars and private venue areas it’s the new place to be! With a perfect view out onto the river, it’s ideal for daytime or nighttime drinking! If you’re a Yoga fan you can also enjoy free beer and yoga on a Monday night from 5:30 pm.
Eagle Street Pier
This is one of the places to be for a sophisticated night out with cocktails by the river or to start off! The many bars look out onto the river making perfect scenery to start your night off! I recommend Riverbar and Kitchen and Riverland which are the two best bars to kick off your evening on the town.
This is where your party will end up if you want clubs and late bars this is your place. Usually most busy on a weekend but you can have a fun night out in the week too! The top places in the valley for dance are, The Woolly Mammoth, TBC, Cloud-land, RG Hotel and The Osborne!
For a chilled evening out with friends for a beer and a good conversation then you want to hit up South Bank with plenty of bars to choose from and live music every night of the week, it’s the perfect spot to catch up with friends or hang with fellow travellers.
Guide to Brisbane: Transport
Finally, I thought I’d give a very brief overview of how you can around the city because it’s super important, I think anyway!
Brisbane has great transport links including, bus, ferry and train being the easiest. The CityHopper is a free service along the river and The CityCat is paid, if you’re just visiting Brisbane and staying central then you can get everywhere you need to go via the CityHopper! If you are venturing out a little further one of the other options may be more suited! The trains and very regular as are the buses!
These cards will reduce your cost of travel, for example, single fare without GoCard $5 with GoCard $2, it’s well worth the $10 deposit (which you can get back if you hand your card back to a ticket office at the end of your trip!) Other than that Brisbane is quite small, and a full loop of the city would only take you a few hours to walk, and by your own two feet is a perfect way of exploring!
Sharing is Caring
So, I really hope you’re excited about your upcoming trip to Brisbane and if you’re not heading to this sunshine city then I hope you enjoyed learning a little about it! If you have visited or know Brissy well and think I’ve missed something super crucial, then I want to hear from you! Comment below or send me an email at [email protected]
If you’re heading to Australia you might enjoy some of my other Aussie posts too:
So what really is moving to Australia like? We are here update you three months in!
Australia is one of those countries that’s on most people’s bucket list right? It’s often a big one because, yes it’s so far away, from anywhere else, in the world! I can certainly say that it was probably my biggest country that I wanted to tick off the bucket list and even more make it my home for some time! This year in June 2018, just in case I’m lucky enough to have readers still reading this in a couple of years’ time, I managed to cross ‘moving to Australia’off the bucket list with a big fat marker pen. That in itself feels like an immense achievement!
And now we’ve been living down under for three whole months! As I write that sentence and say it out loud I can’t quite believe it’s already been that long, the time has flown like a quick bolt of lightning across the sky! It feels like two minutes since I was complaining about how long it was until we were moving to Australia!
I find myself so grateful for the fact that we have at least nine more months and hopefully another year after that to enjoy Australia Because we really having the time of our lives!
So what has living in another country been like? This is an update on our adventure so far so grab a cuppa and enjoy this tale of our life down under so far!
The beautiful city of Brisbane
‘It might not be what you think you’ll it be’ and ‘You might not like it’ and ‘I hope you’re not biggin’ it up in your head too much before you even get there’
These are all phrases that I heard way too many times in the months before we left for Australia. In true human fashion, we got a lot of these negative remarks opposed to the more positive like ‘you really are going to have the best time’ Of course the people who were plying us with this negativity got ignored big time but I couldn’t help myself from falling into the trap of wondering the same? What if I’d been imagining our life down under as this big break, as an amazing country where everything was going to fall into place? What if it didn’t? What if it all came crashing down and what if these people were right?
Well from the smiles on those faces I’m guessing you can see which way it went? These past three months have been some of the best in my life so far and I can feel that the best is still to come!
We decided to spend our first three months in Australia in the sunny state of Queensland. Arriving in June it meant we were landing just in time for the Aussie winter. By winter I mean sunshine most days, temperatures of up to 24 degrees and up to three days of rain. What I just defined doesn’t even come close the usual British summertime so it’s safe to say we were okay with arriving in winter. In our first year here we want to live in the big cities, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne so with Queensland having the best winters of the three, we headed for Brisbane.
Brisbane has been nothing but spectacular and I’ve written a load of posts with travel tips galore about Brisbane here and have loads more to come so make sure you subscribe! But this post isn’t about Brisbane it’s about our adventure here and what we’ve learnt from moving to the other side of the world, being away from family and friends and going from mostly grey days to constant sunshine!
Days off in Australia? WE EXPLORE!
So after a pretty turbulent twenty-nine hours of travelling door to door we finally landed in Brisbane. Now if you ask anyone I know then they’ll tell you I’m a major worrier! I wasn’t going to be happy until we had touched down on Australian soil until then something could go wrong until I had two feet firmly on the floor It wasn’t real. So you can imagine the anxiety flowing my veins when we landed and the captain announced:
‘Someone has been taken sick on this plane and Australian immigration need you all to stay in Quarantine on the plane until further notice’
Luckily we were all soon cleared and allowed off the plane. We’d made it and my Australian dream was finally underway! Now before any of us jet set off to Australia we know the flight time right? We know it takes a day to get there. But after that flight and as we wandered through the airport It hit me how far away from home we really were. It was night time here in Australia and the morning back in the UK. We’d jumped through so many different time zones we were excited, tired, nervous every emotion going!
So has it been worth it? Absolutely!
Living the Dream
When people move abroad and when researching into our move down under I had read some pretty grim horror stories about moving abroad. Cases getting lost, jobs falling through, finding nowhere to live, getting robbed, mugged and heading for the next flight home. Now even though I’m sure in true human nature you would all love to hear a horrendous hilarious story about our cases getting sent to Canada and being denied at passport control. But I’m sorry to disappoint because this story doesn’t quite go like that!
To our surprise, everything in Australia has just fallen into place and neither David or I can quite believe how easy it’s been! Now David calls it high maintenance but I call it being prepared, I had done so much planning prior to arriving which completely paid off! We stayed in an Air BnB for our first ten days and I’d already researched the suburbs around Brisbane and knew what area we wanted to live in! So the hunt began and we soon fixed up a room in a house share in Newstead, just a ten-minute walk from the public transport links and a twenty-minute walk into the city! AMAZING!
Living in a house share after you’ve lived on your own
On the topic of accommodation living in a share house after you’ve lived as a couple in your own space for the year before is hard work! Suddenly you need to watch everything you’re doing again, how loud your being in a morning, putting appropriate clothing attire on when wandering to the toilet in the middle of the night, I know you feel that one! And having to work out who bought the last packet of toilet roll. Along with fighting with your housemates over whether or not it’s appropriate to play music at 2 am and worse!
Moving back into a house share has been the hardest thing since arriving and its shown us that we would not be able to cope in a hostel, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS! Maybe that makes us posh backpackers? And I’ve never been called posh in my life so I’m rolling with it.
Backpacking with a Difference
Amazing views EVERYWHERE!
Our plan to see Australia is a little different to most! Most of you crazy backpackers just sling your life onto your back and head for on gap year, backpacking you’re way around the country! We are doing things a little different! We are spending two-three months living and working in the big cities taking holidays every few months to enjoy all the backpacking adventures Australia has on offer!
Before we came out here one of our big questions was will we be able to find jobs? Luckily I’m a nurse and could apply and secure a job out here from the UK which was incredible! Meaning we knew we could start earning as soon as we arrived if we needed to! (Having just spent the last almost two years saving for this adventure luckily we didn’t have too!) So I was going to be okay but would Dave find a job?
Is it easy for Brits in Australia to find work? Some people say yes and some say no. If you want my advice, if you aren’t fussy you’ll land a job! Dave managed to get offered two jobs in the space of a month! Some will say that’s luck but I say it’s going for what you get offered! If you come to Australia expecting to get the exact same pay and be in exactly the same position as in the UK then your going to be hit hard when arriving down under. Unless you have a job lined up before you come then you’ve got to be prepared to take what’s going when you arrive!
Come to Australia with that mindset and you’ll get on just fine! Besides with the amazing rate of payout here you can probably earn just as much if not more for a less senior position. Less responsibility = more time to explore this exotic land?
We’ve even made friends of the furry kind!
‘Australia is so expensive’ quote every person who has never lived or worked in Australia.
I ain’t gonna lie to you, Australia is expensive. As a tourist on holiday, you will be shocked at how expensive it is, beer will set you back $7 and that’s not even for a pint! Cocktails are $16 upwards, wine $12 for a small glass! Need I go on? If you’ve budgeted $100 a day for your travels you won’t get very far. BUT when you’re earning the wages Australia is just as expensive as anywhere else, the wages match the cost of living and we haven’t even put a dent into our savings that we came with which is pretty awesome! Meaning can spend more on seeing all the sights! If I could give you one piece of advice so far regarding money, it would become to Australia and work! Or at least double the savings you were planning on bringing!
The main reason we moved to Australia in the first place was to get an epic taste of their chilled out lifestyle. In the UK we are constantly on the go taking zero time for ourselves rushing to get almost anywhere! Here in Australia, you can instantly feel the vibe relax from the moment you step of the plane, and we haven’t even visited Byron Bay yet! The Aussie way of living is work to live not live to work. We love nothing more here than spending time outside cooking on a BBQ and relaxing in the sunshine!
So I’ve compiled a list of fun Aussie Lifestyle Facts that we’ve been learning about over the past three months:
BBQing isn’t just a clique – everyone here cooks their dinners outside, even on an evening just for the family of four!
Sunbathing is everyone’s past time – Yep no matter how long you’ve been living in the sunshine for everybody here loves heading to the coast for the weekend!
Getting up at 5 am is standard – There are no daylight savings in Queensland which means in the summer it gets light at 4:30 am! But nobody gets up that early right? Wrong Aussies rise with the sun and by the time you’re just rolling out of bed at 11 am everyone else has already, met friends for breakfast, been on a run and done the shopping.
Coffee shops shut at 3 pm (sometimes even 2 pm!) – We’ve got into the habit of getting up earlier and earlier to join the Aussie crowds. Which is just as well, especially if you want to explore a cute coffee shop because after 3 pm you’ve got no chance!
The Coffee Club will be your best friend – But don’t worry The Coffee Club is open until 10 pm and you will go here A LOT!
Australians are terrible Drivers – If you think Brits are bad wait until you hit the roads down under, the indicator may as well not exist!
Aussies drink A LOT – You know that feeling when it’s sunny outside and everybody flocks in force to the beer garden? Imagine that every day! Aussies love the beer and I’m putting it down to the awesome weather!
Your friends will have a better tan than you! – Don’t be surprised when you facetime home and realise your pal who’s just been all inclusive to Tenerife for a week has a better tan than you. You don’t sit outside all day everyday in Australia, it may be sunny but everyday life exists even in Australia and you will spend a lot of time inside!
You will get fed up of the sun – Constant sunshine is amazing! I’ve never felt so bright than what I do I now because the sky is always blue and the sun always blazing. However, the heat can get exhausting and you will get sick of it!
You will have the best time of your life – Ultimately the lifestyle here in Australia is amazing and anyone who’s thinking about coming for a taste of it, I urge you…
BOOK THOSE FLIGHTS NOW!
Australia has our hearts already and we are only just at the beginning! There is no reason why you shouldn’t come and take a gap year down under, it will honestly be the best time of your life!
Living our Best Lives Yet!
So all in all after three months down under I’ll say this. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we miss home, we miss friends and family which is the hardest thing of all. Australia is so far away and you don’t realise how far away It is until you’re here.
But we live in an amazing world…
And you don’t have to wait three weeks to get a letter anymore you can literally be seeing and chatting with your friends in minutes! Yeah, the time difference makes it tricky but it is no excuse not to keep in contact. Phone calls home to keep us happy and even though it’s not the same it helps you get over the homesickness for a little while! But as well as missing our loved ones back home we love our new friends down under and you will meet so many amazing people on your adventure!
Moving to Australia is better with friends!
So you want to know If I recommend Australia so far? What do you think! Book those tickets!
We’re Moving to Sydney!
Before you head off and start shouting from the rooftops ‘I’m moving to Australia!’ we’ve got big news, yes that’s right we are moving to Sydney! But not before we embark on an epic road trip down the East Coast! We are flying to Cairns in October and hiring a camper van (which I will not be able to drive!) and spending a month rolling our way down to Sydney! You can check out our Itinerary here!
So in another three months when I write our Six-month update I can guarantee so much that we are experiencing now will have changed! Our lives are about to change and we’ve got a great feeling about it!
If you are reading this from Australia then hit comment below and get in touch! Maybe we can be friends!
UK friends and family we love and miss you millions! But we won’t miss the winter this year!
After living in Brisbane Australia for six months I wouldn’t call myself an expert on the city but I’d say I’m pretty close. After a lot of exploring we quickly learnt that there’s a lot of things to great things to do in this city despite its ‘unpopularity’ score with a lot of backpackers in Australia. Brisbane is definitely one of the less famous cities down under. The majority of people visiting Australia head to the likes of Sydney or Melbourne, just passing through Brisbane perhaps on an East Coast road trip. Brisbane lives in the shadows of the bigger cities but I hope that I can convince more people to give Brisbane more of a chance starting with sharing The Ten Best Things to Do in Brisbane City!
Granted the city of Brisbane is somewhat smaller than those of Melbourne and Sydney but its got a lot going for it. I like to describe Brisbane as a cultural haven. If you’re into brunch, coffee shops, getting up early for walks along the river, food markets and live music then Brisbane is the city for you! There are also heaps of free things to do in this city, I have a whole other post dedicated to the best free things to do in Brisbane here.
The Ten Best Things to do in Brisbane City
1. Visit Streets Beach on South Bank
“Everyone’s favourite, South Bank” the words of the sailors as the free city hopper anchors on the end of the jetty.
South Bank is the entertainment hub of Brisbane with a buzz about the air no matter come day or night. South Bank is one of my favourite places in Brisbane. Lined with cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars it’s the social capital of the city. Its also home to Streets Beach.
The one thing that drags Brisbane down in comparison to other Australian cities is that it isn’t on the coast. Brisbane is located over one hour inland from the East Coast. Whilst you can easily get to the coast on public transport or by car the city decided to take matters into its own hands and build a man-made beach. This little beach is definitely on the best things to do in Brisbane city and is loved by so many.
Locals, travellers you name it those living or staying in Brissy for a little bit of time are in that lagoon cooling down come summertime!
2. Indulge at Eat Street Markets
Do you love food? Then Brisbane is your city! The ultimate favourite foodie haven in the city is Eat Street Markets! I actually think I could write a whole blog post on how amazing this place is! The Eat Street Markets sit at the end of the ferry route in Northshore Hamilton and is easily accessible by the City Cat ferry. Imagine all your favourite food cuisines in one place and I mean hundreds of different cuisines, all sat on the edge of the river in huge shipping containers!
You’ve got everything from starter to dessert and curry to fish and chips, there is something for everyone! But Eat Street Markets is more than just a place to go and eat it’s an experience. The market is only open Friday – Sunday but there’s a live stage with different acts performing every week. It’s mostly music but the atmosphere is amazing. Kids get up and dance on the grass whilst adults watch on and by late Saturday everyone is up singing and dancing after knocking back a few beverages!
3. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
What animals do you think of when you think of Australia? Kangaroos? Crocodiles? Koalas? Me too! And you can see all of these at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane! It’s hands down one of the best things to do in Brisbane city even though it’s about an hour away but I’m still counting it!! The sanctuary first opened its doors way back in 1927 to sick and injured Koalas. Although Koalas aren’t yet an endangered species in Australia they are hunted for their fur a lot in the wild and their future definitely isn’t 100% certain.
You can get up close and personal with these Australian natives and even hold a Koala if you would like to. I don’t personally agree with this practice because Koalas are a wild animal and not supposed to interact with humans. The sanctuary do say that they put practices in place to protect the Koalas whilst being held but it’s something you should research first. There are also a variety of other Aussie natives at the sanctuary including injured joeys, kangaroos and dingoes.
4. Walk or Cycle The New Farm River Walk
This walk comes up in most of my posts about Brisbane probably because it’s one of the nicest walks in the city! This walks runs from the suburb of New Farm back into the city centre suspended on a bridge above the water. The New Farm River Walk was rebuilt after the previous walkway was destroyed in the disastrous 2011 Brisbane floods! It’s just over a mile long and super easy. You’ll walk around the winding river taking in views of Kangaroo Point and the Story Bridge.
If you want to mix up a little then grab a city cycle and cycle instead of walking! Cycling is a popular option in Brisbane and you can literally hire city cycle bikes for free around every corner! Brisbane is quite flat so it’s easy to cycle around which is why I think people would say that cycling is one of the best things to do in Brisbane city.
5. Kangaroo Point Cliffs Broadwalk/ River Activities
Kangaroo Point is home to some great cliff edges and along the top, you can follow a Broadwalk which will take you along the top of the cliffs and then down to the waterfront. This walk is host to some of the best views of the city so make sure you have your camera in tow! Sunrise is the best time to go and watch the city come alive from the cliff tops. The sun will rise behind the Story Bridge so you get a gorgeous warm reflecting over the city.
As well as being one of the best places to capture great shots of the city Kangaroo point is home to River Life Adventure Centre where you can hire kayaks, climb and abseil down the cliffs. Again sunrise kayak will give you an amazing view of the city.
6. Cruise Brisbane River
Seen as Brisbane is built upon the river it would rude not to appreciate the natural wonder and cruise along! Brisbane has so many options when it comes to exploring the river! The City Hopper and City Cat are Brisbane’s public transport ferries that go up and down the river. The city hopper is free and only covers the main stops around the CBD. The city cat, however, stops for miles along the river and you can hop on-off for two hours without having to buy another ticket!
Brisbane also offers tonnes of private boats that you can enjoy on the river. The two most popular are the Seadeck, seen as Brisbane’s river party boat and the Kookaburra Showboat a more relaxed dine and cruise experience!
The Best Things to Do in Brisbane City!
7. Visit or Hike Mount Coot Tha
A mere twenty-five minutes bus journey out of Brisbane and across the city towards the suburb and mountain of Mount Coot Tha. Mount Coot Tha is a great lookout for the whole city! You can see the whole of Brisbane river, the CBD and you can even see Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island in the distance! North Stradbroke Island is a wonderful island for a day if you have extra time in Brisbane, I wrote a post on that here! Make sure you head up on a clear day, which isn’t hard to get in Brisbane! There are two restaurants at the summit of Mount Coot Tha so you can enjoy a spot of lunch with a fantastic view!
8. Ride The Brisbane Wheel
This is the only thing that we haven’t actually done! I was sceptical as to whether I even include this or not. But even though I don’t share the same opinion people seem to love big wheels! Other than the London eye I haven’t really embarked on any big wheel experiences and when I did take a ride on the London eye I was massively disappointed! The prices of these things are silly! Sure the views are good from the top but I bet you can find a great rooftop bar with the same view and you get to enjoy a lovely cocktail or two! What could be better?
That said people who visit love the Brisbane Big Wheel so if you’re a fan of seeing some great views then apparently this is the place to be! It costs $21 so it’s not going to break the bank! The architecture of the wheel itself is brilliant! Its located on South Bank so you won’t miss it!
9. Free Yoga under The Story Bridge!
This is a fairly new addition to Brisbane but if you happen to be in the city on a Monday night you have to take advantage of a free yoga session! This yoga class isn’t just any class but a yoga and beer class! Hosted by Felons Brewery underneath the Story Bridge it’s a great thing to enjoy. Take your travel partner or go it solo and stretch off. The views are wonderful and the bonus is of course that it’s free.
The botanical gardens in Brisbane are beautiful. With lush green lawns and gorgeous water features, the botanical gardens are a great place to relax. It’s the perfect spot in Brisbane for a picnic or just a walk around. I recommend walking all the way around the botanical gardens to reach South Bank on the other side.
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