How to feel like you’re travelling the world, even if you’re only hanging out in Brisbane.
Do you have post-holiday blues? (I very obviously have). Therefore, for the past month and a half I’ve been compiling this list of great things to do around Brisbane and surrounding areas that make you feel like a traveller – even when you’re a local. Everything listed is within or can be undertaken as a day trip from Brisbane.
1. Heart shaped waterfall
This waterfall in Beechmont is getting traction all over the world from people whot want to see it, and it’s only an hour’s drive from your house.
A 50’s-style American diner that hides in the middle of Coorparoo suburbia. Not only is the food delicious and the setting authentic, the charismatic chefs will keep you entertained singing the best of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5.
3. Buddha festival
The largest annual Buddah’s Birthday festival in the world is held at Southbank in May every year. There’s lion dancing, meditation classes, dragon boat races, tai-chi instruction and the traditional bathing of the Buddah ceremony.
4. Literally any beach.
It’s mean to criticise other people’s beaches because it’s all they have. But when I’ve been to beaches in the Northern Hemisphere – I just don’t know how to react. How are you swimming!? It’s freezing! The pebbles hurt my feet! As a Queensland local it’s easy to forget we have miles and miles of beautiful beachline that is just not normal to other countries.
Are in numerous supply! This photo was taken at Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm.
6. Sunflower fields
The Sunflower fields just outside of Toowoomba are beautiful and well worth the drive. Blooming season is from January – March.
7. Mon Repos Turtle Season
8. Strawberry picking
There are a few strawberry picking venues around Brisbane and surrounding regions but Palmview Strawberry Fields on the Sunshine Coast has the best online reviews.
9. Celebrate Christmas in July
Whenever the temperature starts to turn towards “boiling hot” in Australia I think “YES. It’s Christmas”. But in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas means staying under a warm blanket, sipping hot chocolate and eating comfort food. This year we celebrated Christmas in July with knitted jumpers, homemade roasts, potatoes, minced fruit pudding.
Foodie paradise. Filipino Corn is the bomb.
11. Party at a Backpackers Bar
Cheeky Monkey’s, Byron Bay
This is not my style, but it might be yours.
My travel agent husband went out for a work function one Wednesday night. He was going to be late so I went to sleep. I woke up at 2am to find he had still not come home. Worried, I called him and was answered with a stream of background noise. Where are you? I asked. “THE DOWNUNDER BAR.” he yelled back “[Insert store manager’s name] IS WEARING A DRESS”. Ok you have work tomorrow I think you should come home now. “OK!”. 15 minutes later, walks in the door.
12. Yatala Pie
I wasn’t going to include Yatala Pie on this list because I thought everyone knew about it. But Clare had never heard of it. WHAT. If you haven’t had a Yatala pie, you can’t call yourself a Queenslander.
13. Night Noodle Markets
The Night Noodle Markets in Southbank offer 30 different Asian cuisine stores over two weeks in July-August and are attended with thousands of noodle lovers. Admittedly, I didn’t get to go to the noodle markets. I missed their appearance. Clare on the other hand had just come back from two super-fun-awesome weeks in Japan, and was craving okonomiyaki. Two days after being back from travels, she went to the Brisbane noodle markets and immediately found okonomiyaki. Global food culture is here.
14. Eumundi markets
Eumundi markets have a unqiue collection of food, homeware and clothing stalls. A great place to visit when you’re low on Christmas present ideas!
15. Find a waterfall to swim under
Cedar Creek Falls, Tamborine.
Prohibition is the new 1920s/Gatsby inspired bar in Brisbane. They do make-up for girls in the bathroom!
17. Aspley Special School Cafe
There is no better place in the world than Aspley Special School’s Frothee Coffee Shoppee. Choose from delicious scones, sandwiches, spiders, milkshakes, and the special of the day for the cheapest prices. But the best part of Frothee’s is the friendly customer service. The shop is open every Friday, but you have to get in quick with your booking as spots are always limited.
18. Buddah Walk Crystal Castle, Byron Bay
I forgot about daylight savings and by the time we made it here – it was closed! Jump on the website to check out the bamboo trail – it’s reminiscent of the famous bamboo walk in Kyoto, Japan.
19. Binna Burra
Binna Burra is a worth a day trip for spectacular views and hikes. I can’t recommend the restaurant though… that’s a story for another day! Pack a picnic lunch 🙂
20. Rainbow beach
I remember being taken to Rainbow Beach as a child and being extremely disappointed that the sand does not include the colours of blue, green, purple and all the colours of the rainbow – as the name so misleading implies. As an adult I can appreciate the amazing turquoise colours of the ocean on Rainbow Beach. It reminds me of Zanzibar.
21. Mundo Churrasco
And last but not least, my favourite restaurant in Brisbane: a Brazilian steak house with all you can eat food. The meat is cooked BBQ style for 24 hours and smothered in seasonings – it’s a mouth watering experience. A number of staff employed are from South America, which adds to the vibe of the venue and if you’re lucky you might meet the lovely owner, Shirley who introduces herself to all restaurant guests.
Mundo is where I took my husband on our very first date. Because Josh is introverted I was a little bit worried about conversation starters during our meal but because the food is so delicious we couldn’t stop talking about how great all the food was!
Try not to drool as you look through the photos below…
What’s shameful is that before I wrote this list I had personally been to only half of the places (and only had a picture of one – a beach). I therefore spent a month and a half on weekend and weeknight excursions to collect pictures and experiences that make up this list.
It was timely reminder for my post holiday blues that you don’t have to be hopping from country to country to experience new cultures, see beautiful fields of flowers or eat mouth-watering foods. Sometimes these places are just two hours up the road on the way to Warwick.