Tag Archives: Brisbane

19th January 2017

How to celebrate Australia Day

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On the 26th of January, only a month after we have started to recover from Christmas, Australia takes a national day off to celebrate Australia day.

Australia day is traditionally a day to celebrate the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales.  Today the day is considered more of a celebration of the entire nation including its beautiful and diverse population and indigenous people* There is some controversy about the day which you can read more about below.

The first time we experienced this holiday, we were thrilled to be invited to our friends house. While we were there we took the opportunity to ask the group what traditions we had to experience for it to be a real ‘Australia day’.

 

Here is what we learnt:

. Have a BBQ – This one won’t come as a surprise. This day is at the height of Australian summer (my northern hemisphere brain will never get use to these hot Januarys) so it makes sense to spend the entire day outside and throw another shrimp on the Barbie (sorry not sorry for saying that Aussie friends). Burgers , hot dogs and steaks all around on this day as well as some delicious homemade salads. australiaday2

. Eat Pavlova – Pavlova’s exist in the UK , but they aren’t a big part of our diet. Coming to live in Aus has opened my eyes to the joy of a good fruity Pavlova. The one we tried last year was chock-a-block with beautiful fresh fruit and caramel. It helps that the tropical climate of this place makes it very easy to smear coconut , pineapple and kiwis on everything.

. Drink Beer – Lee and I were very surprised to discover what a fantastic beer culture Australia has. It’s packed full of craft beer bars and home brewing stores. Lee has been bitten by the home brewing bug and has already fermented 5 ciders and 4 beers. The reasons for this countries love of beer may come from the heat, which makes it very easy to keep the yeast warm to ferment your own ale. Another reason may be out of necessity. A beer in a pub (or ‘hotels’ as all their pubs seem to be called due to licensing rules) would make you want to run back to London to buy a round. Don’t panic too much though because wine is dirt cheap. Woohoo! This country understands the greatness that is beer. It feels like it is an absolute fact that you must consume beer (and plenty of it) on Australia day. We aren’t complaining. australiaday4

.Find a Pool – It’s going to be boiling so most people find a pool and don’t get out of it unless it’s to head to the Eskie (Aussie slang for cooler) to get a beer.

.Play backyard cricket – because there is so much space in Australia it has become tradition that families head to the garden and play a little friendly game of backyard cricket. We took this to the next level and played water bomb cricket, which I highly recommend.

This cutie wanted all the sausages

This cutie wanted all the sausages

.Listen to the Triple J radio show – The Triple J radio show would probably be the item on this list that our Australian friends refuse to miss. The Triple J show asks Australia to vote for its favourite songs of the year. The people vote and on Australia day the radio show plays a countdown from 100 – 1. It sounded really lame when I first heard about it (who’s still listening to their radios?), but it was actually really fun to listen to and have a recap of the years music. It was the perfect soundtrack to the day. The songs are normally not what you would call ‘mainstream’ songs so you get some gems in there that you wouldn’t normally catch while you’re listening to the radio in the car. I mocked you guys last year, but my work playlist still has quite a few songs on it that I discovered last year on the Triple J’s radio show. I’m on board.

.Wear the flag somewhere on your body – painted on your face, thongs (flip flops), hats, towels, diddly boppers, bikinis, pants…you name it. If it exists then you can find it with an Aussie flag on it for Australia day. It was fun to cover ourselves in excessive Aussie merch and be part of it all. Lee bought a cork hat especially for the day and was ordered to take the corks off of it so there are limits.

lovely Aussie plants

lovely Aussie plants

. Play Goon of Fortune – I have to admit we haven’t done this year, but it seems like a big deal. A goon bag is a bag of wine that comes in a box. It is normally not the best of brands and comes in a bag that fits about two and a half bottles of hooch. The silver bag has a tap at the bottom and the bag is attached to a spinning clothes line (from what I can gather from being told second hand). People then stand around the clothes line, spin it and if the good bag ends in front of you…then you are drinking! Bag-o-wine. Drinking…sign me up J

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Overall it’s a day that gives everyone an excuse to get out of the boiling offices (or freezing offices if they love the air-con) and celebrate with friends. Enjoy the day off guys and remember to ‘advance Australia fair’….or something along those lines ???

 

*I really wanted to add an extra note here. In recent years it has been brought to light by a lot of the indigenous population that celebrating the day that your land was taken over and invaded is hurtful and insulting. This has led to many movements wanting to move Australia day to another time so that it is a celebration of the country as a whole rather than a day just to celebrate the anniversary of the English coming to steal it. I can completely understand this argument and I think it’s great that Australia, from what we’ve seen, is really starting to embrace its aboriginal people and their culture, even more so than in the past. This may be a bias view because we have mainly been around creative young people who are passionate about their countries original origins. It’s hard to tell.

While being here I have met Aboriginal Australian’s who have had mixed opinions on the 26th of January. Some feeling it should be changed as a mark of respect. Others feeling that it is fine to stay the same, others thinking they should keep the day but change it’s name and meaning. As an outsider I have no idea what Australia’s solution to this problem of ‘Australia Day vs. Invasion Day’ is, but I hope they can come to a conclusion that celebrates all aspects of this fantastic country. To read more about this important issue please read both sides of the argument here: https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australia-day-invasion-day

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Things To Do In Brisbane

27th February 2016

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When we arrived in Australia we had no idea what was going on. We had no jobs, no home and no bloody clue about anything that was going on….at least they speak English here though.

Almost 9 months later and we are happy to say that Australia was definitely the right choice for us. So much so that when we got offended the opportunity of staying in Australia for a while longer, we jumped at the chance.

So it seems long over due that we would make a Brisbane bucket list. Here are a few things we are excited to get around to while we are in the sunshine capital of Australia.

 

. Hold a Koala at Lone Pine Zoo – We did this..her name was Tinkerbell and I wanted to steal her. 12122577_10153152951543388_6627074604296737826_n

. See a Kangaroo – We did this at Lone Pine Zoo too and it was fantastic. ROO’s and KANGA’s as far as the eye could see.

.Go to Fraser Island – The reason I was excited to move to Australia was when I saw some friends pictures of Fraser Island. I can’t wait to go.

.Go Whale Watching – We did this and loved it. The Whales jumped around like crazy. I felt like we were meeting a celebrity. 12747617_846100285512104_1553819085_n

.Go to Moreton Island – This beautiful island has shipwrecks off the beach, perfect for scuba diving (if I wasn’t terrified of sharks).

. Eat Korean food in Fortitude Valley – I do this most weeks since I work in the Valley. I’d recommend the singing rooms too. NOREABANG!! 887544_10153184146053388_4507646595431289051_o

.Go on the XXXX beer tour – People from Brisbane mock me for wanting to do this traditional tourist thing. This only makes me want to do it more.

.Take a boat trip down the Brisbane river – We get to do this quite a lot because our house is near the river. It’s insane to take a boat home and it be a normal thing. whalewatching_12

. Go to Eat Street Markets We have just moved into a new flat that is a stones throw away from these beautiful markets. I’m not going to say that we moved there just for the incredible food but ….that would be a lie. 12039127_10153132344788388_5032742197605760957_o

.Watch some cricket at the Gabba – Lee is a massive cricket fan so we have arrived in the right country. I have loved learning about it over the years. Having an excuse to sit in the sunshine and drink beer is also good.

.Visit Kangaroo point – Kangaroo point is a really pretty park area looking out to the Story Bridge. A perfect picnic spot.

.Go inside the town hall – The town hall is a beautiful building in the center of the city . I’d like the excuse to see more of it.

.Visit the top of Mount Coot-tra – This big mountain is said to have some of the best views of the city. I’m excited to see if it’s true.

.Watch Brisbane RiverFire (a fireworks display) – We saw the River Fire display from over the tops of skyscrapers on our first few days in Brisbane and had no idea what was going on. This time i’ll force Lee to have front row seats. 12407654_1542039636106290_1013615708_n

.Climb the Story Bridge – The Story Bridge was a little disappointing if I’m honest. After seeing the huge Harbour bridge in Sydney I thought that the Story Bridge would be similar but its very small in comparison. BUT Lee hates heights to scaling this bridge first will be a good first step. …Also , just so no Brisbanites hunt me down and bitch slap me…the Story Bridge has become a favourite of mine now. The big fairy lights are perfect.

.Go to a ‘Drive in’ cinema – We did this recently and although it was really busy and we couldn’t see much…I LOVED IT!!! I’ve definitely grown up with too many American films.

.Visit Woolloongabba Antiques Centre. – This is probably because I’m moving into a new house but I want so many pretty things for the new flat (or to just stare at them and dream about them).

.Visit Westend – I get told off for calling it ‘The’ Westend. Here it is just ‘Westend’. It’s full of lots of shops and lovely restaurants. I need to eat all the foods.

.Visit Paddington – This is meant to be a cool area.

.Visit Merthyr – Just to see how it compares to the Welsh town.

.Visit Simpsons Falls – Massive waterfalls and jungle only 20mins away? Yes please!

. See the Gold Coast. Massive skyscrapers on the beach? This needs to be viewed. whalewatching_10

. Visit the Sunshine coast. White sanded empty beaches as far as the eye can see. We did do this already but I don’t think there is a limit on visiting this place.

. Go for dinner at ‘La Dolce Vita’ – Only because there is a Eiffel tower above a restaurant with an Italian name…and that’s too weird to miss.

.Spend a weekend on Straddie island – It’s only an hour away and looks like paradise.

 

Just writing that list has me excited for doing things. We are in full on ‘moving in’ panic mode so this list is making me feel human again. Bring on the pretty views, awful unhealthy food , and sunshine.

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Australia – A Re-Cap

16th January 2016

header Well you might have already guessed from our instagram feed, but we are no longer on our grand tour of Asia.

It took us 3 months and 17 days but a few months ago (quite a few months ago now) we arrived in the merry old land of Oz. We were ready to see some Kangaroo’s, put another shrimp on the barbie and many other stereotypical things that i’ve learnt from watching too much Neighbours and having a affinity with The Simpsons episode  where they go to Australia.

Here is a little glimpse of our last few months trekking on a new continent.

Perth & Fremantle

australia11 australia10 Our first stop was Western Australia. Partly because it is the closest part of Australia to Asia and partly because we really wanted to see one of Lee’s best friends. Mo moved to Perth a few years ago and he, his beautiful girlfriend and their adorable dog , made the crazy mistake of letting us use their spare room for a while. Jobs were harder to find than expected but it didn’t take the shine away from our beautiful surroundings.

We were actually living in a small town connected to Perth called Fremantle – or in the traditional Australian way of adding an ‘O’ to the end of all words – Freo. We learnt (and Lee fell in love with ) AFL or the Aussie Rules Football League. I found a job in a craft beer bar and had a wail of a time serving pints and throwing together cocktails with a great bunch of people. They introduced me to a ‘Boilermaker’ and my liver will never be the same again*.  We saw fantastic sunsets and ate so much good food. Our last few days in WA (Western Australia) were spent in Margaret River, which is lovingly known as Wine Country to the locals. I managed to take a trip to wine country while I was suffering the mother of all hangovers . Not the way i’d recommend seeing the place but if it’s pretty when you are carrying a carrier bag ‘just in case’ around with you, then you know it’s got to be good.

australia9 australia13 There is a lot of things we didn’t get to do while we were in WA – mainly due to lack of funds so we will need to go back.   As if seeing Mo, Paula, Diego (the not so tea cup chiuaua) weren’t reason enough to go back , we didn’t get to make it to Rottnest island and see a Quokka (look at their lovely faces here) . But we aren’t too sad. It’s always good to have a reason to go back.

*I will explain what a ‘Boilermaker’ is in other posts but right now the memory is still too clear…urrrr my poor liver.

 

Melbourne

australia6 We didn’t think we would be able to see more of Australia so soon but  I luckily got a job offer at an animation company in Brisbane that was too good to pass up. We decided that instead of flying directly to Brisbane we would take the long route. Our next stop on our whistle stop tour of Australia became Melbourne.

How can you describe Melbourne? I read countless times that it was ‘liveable’ and had no idea what this meant…until we arrived there that was. It is a bustling, fun , delicious and just beautiful.

australia5 We scaled the Eureka building, ate till our bellies were bursting in China town and Lee got to fulfill a life long ambition and go to Melbourne Cricket Ground where we had a fantastic tour and learnt a lot. I’d recommend it to everyone, even if like me you are clueless about cricket.  For me the most important part of the trip was getting to see my favourite band ‘Post Modern Jukebox’ perform. You can see them here…I recommend watching allllll their videos. Seeing them perform was the only reason that our elaborate journey to Brisbane had such a long stop over in Melbourne. Boy are we glad we had the excuse. We can’t wait to go back.

It’s cheesy but i’d recommend the free tourist tram that travels around the centre of the city. Nice views, good information and you can rest your tootsies. australia4 australia8 australia7

Sydney and Manley Bay

australia18 Sydney is of course AMAZING! I felt like I was walking into every story I’d ever heard my mum tell of her childhood. My mum and her three sisters and two brothers moved to Australia when see was just five. It has been one of the reasons i’ve always wanted to see this country. It hasn’t disappointed yet.

We saw bustling Bondi,  the iconic Harbour Bridge , the even more iconic Sydney Opera House and enjoyed every moment of it. We stumbled upon a German beer house and had our fill of German beer. It wasn’t very Australian but we’ve managed to find a German spot in most cities so it felt almost rude not to. There is nothing quite as fun as watching Lee in a German beer bar. He’s like a kid in a candy store – but more drunk.

australia17 australia16 Our favourite part of our trip to Sydney was a day trip to Manly, We assumed that people had suggested this trip for the boat ride that takes you past all the major sights of Sydney so we were both a little taken aback when we arrived on Manly to discover a paradise hidden among the city. Beaches, harbors, blue seas and even a wild cockatoo. We spent the day fantasizing about living on this little piece of heaven. I finally, after years of Lee up-selling this country to me,  understood the pull of Australia and the hold it has on people. I never really thought that I’d be someone who would fall for this country but i’ve fallen hard.

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Brisbane

australia15 Last but definitely not least is our little corner of the continent. We have made Queensland our home for the last few months and boy are we glad that we made the move over here. We have loved each part of Australia, but Brisbane feels like home to us now. We fluked a great little house that has a SPARE bedroom . For two ex-Londoners who couldn’t stretch their arms without touching both sides of the wall , it is bliss. We also have a garage that the optimists in us have turned into a mini gym….or as it should aptly be named ‘the dust farm’.

I am a massive nerd and love animation so I keep pinching myself that the company took a chance on a backpacking weirdo. I’m working my tukas off but it’s the first time in years that I’m excited for my job and at the same time I can’t wait to come home. It’s a weird feeling. Lee is working in a dungeon at a hospital converting horrible case files but I think he secretly likes the organisation of it all (this is the man who’s hobby is Excel after all :D) australia14

Brisbane is much more laid back than Sydney and Melbourne , as pretty as Perth and sunny 362 days a year. We have explored the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay where we saw humpback whales froliking in the surf but there is still so much more to see.  We did get treated to a visit from the incredible Kaleena , you may know here as the writer of this incredible blog. I know her as my ice cream partner in crime and America’s top sand castle builder.  It’s been a fun few months and although the idea of moving to a continent with no job and not a lot of money was a terrifying prospect. It has been worth every second. Everything’s coming up Millhouse! Fingers crossed 2016 holds a lot more in store.

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