Tag Archives: sunshine coast

Exploring Brisbane and the Surrounds – Part 2

in the previous post, i talked about the first day that my sister was here. this is just continuing that weekend.

friday morning we woke up to rain rain rain. now obviously this is depressing… it’s the height of summer and the sunshine coast and gold coast are not exactly living up to their names. but anyways, we obviously tried to make the best of it. on thursday, i had booked for a show called the “Australian Outback Spectacular”. but that only started at 7:30 (and we needed to be there around 6:30) – so we had the whole day to find something to do. so, off we went to the gold coast to try to find something to do while it was raining outside. usually we would think of going to the theme parks – either Wet ‘n Wild water park or the Warner Bros’ Movieworld, or even the beaches… but this time we looked for some inside activities. i remembered the previous day that we drove past a putt putt venue called King Tut’s Putt Putt – and i though maybe that we would be a good place to start.

so, we went directly there for some friendly competition. they have 3 courses of 18 holes – 2 are inside the warehouse and one is outside. so, because it was drizzling very lightly, we decided to start outside first, just in case it came bucketing down later. now i have to say, the putt putt courses that i’ve played at four ways in JHB, the one at Brooklyn in PTA (before it shut down) and even the one at the boardwalk in PE are more challenging. it is still more entertaining that sitting inside and doing nothing. it was quite competitive – the lead changing back and forth. melanie managed to start off the proceedings with a hole in one and antonio and i also managed some, but in the end, melanie ended with more holes in one. BUT in the end, in the best of 3, i won 2 rounds and melanie the third. i think that antonio and i need to find more putt putt places and ones that are definitely more challenging…

once we finished there, i thought maybe we can go bowling. it’s been absolute ages since we’ve bowled, so we were all rusty. the last time i had actually gone bowling was in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. in Dubai, i would go to the Ibn Buttuta mall and buy a 1 hour block and just bowl bowl bowl. usually by the end of that, i was moeg and my arm was almost dead! but it was always enjoyable (and i managed my highest score of approx 220…). but this time, it was antonio and melanie that out bowled me. was great fun – definitely need to go play a bit more. once we finished off there, we went off for some gelato. i know the weather wasn’t that great, but i was just lus for some yummy gelato 🙂 we all got 3 scoops and just found a bench inside the mall where we could sit and just enjoy the yumminess of it.

the bowling alley

the bowling alley

as we only needed to be at the Australian Outback Spectacular by 6:30, i thought i’d be the early bird and leave surfers paradise early and get to the venue early – as i didn’t want to get there late in the event i take the wrong turn and went on an adventure (more on that later :)) – so we eventually got to the venue around 5:30pm (yeah yeah – early, but i like being early). antonio and i had a quick change of clothes and then we went and stood in line. once the doors opened, off we went inside and when we check in, we got a free hat! how awesome is that! once inside, we were directed like cattle 🙂 to photo booths where they take photos of us. from there, into a large venue where you had the bar, could take photos of horses and the dogs from the show etc. there was also pre show entertainment who sang a lot a country type songs. was cool sitting down and just enjoying ourselves. then everyone was split according to their hats – the hats either had a red band or a yellow band, which is part of the show. everyone went into the venue and once you found your seat, you had your starter (the show included a 3 course meal). our started was a spinach and ricotta quiche. was delicious. once we finished eating, the show began. it started with a video clip on the HUGEST screen (one side of the venue is a white wall where all the cast and horses come out of – and a video is projected on the wall). it started off showing amazing scenes of Australia and the Outback. was really cool how during certain portions of the video, you’d see a horse rider in the video coming towards the corner of the “screen” and then all of the sudden, a real horse rider would come running into the venue from that corner. was really amazing. there were lots of bush stories and “competitions” between the 2 stations (as signified by the red and yellow hats). we were given our main course during the middle of the show which included eye fillet steak with plum sauce (delicious! and they served lots of drinks throughout the show and they were included in the price) – and while were eating the cast of the show were in the middle of the set telling bush stories about horses and Australia. the next portion of the show included telling the story of the legendary horse called Phar Lap – one of the greatest horses ever to be produced in Australia (if it was an american horse, it would most probably get a movie like Sea Biscuit and some other horses got). in the end, there were more competitions on stage and then they also included the audience in the competition. they had the cutest dwarf horses. everyone went like “cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute” 🙂 our desserts was awesome pavlova – and then the final portion of the show was all the cast on horse back doing amazing “dancing” with the horses. all in all, it was a great way to spend the evening (the only thing that ruined my evening was the 2 couples sitting next to me – who arrived late, moaned about the food, argued with the waiters that they were strict vegetarians who didn’t eat eggs and then they demanded the pavlova (like WTF), and then left early. but at least i still enjoyed the show even if they didn’t). i would definitely recommend the show to anyone – great story, great food, great venue and just a great night out.

The Australian Flag outside the venue

The entrance to the venue

Just outside the main hall of the venue

one of the horses

so, even though the day was gloomy and rainy, we actually had a great time.

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Exploring Brisbane and the surrounds – part 1

this past weekend I had my sister visiting from Sydney. i haven’t seen her since she moved to australia in October 2009, so it was nice that she came to visit so soon after we arrived here.

now, the weather the past week and a bit has been pretty dreary – rain, rain and yet more rain. now, it was nothing on the scale of the rain that queensland experienced last year in january when brisbane flooded, along with many other small towns and communities. seeing all the videos on the news in the 2nd week of january still doesn’t put into perspective how badly it flooded. today on our way back from a meeting, anne pointed out to me the extent of the flooding in the Brisbane river – we drove over a bridge which was approx 6m above the river level – and the bridge was actually totally covered and the hills up to about another 3m! that is INSANE! some of the images we saw was of the river walkway that was built on the river washing down the river! craziness. so you can imagine with all the rain how the people that lived through it last year felt. there were lots of areas flooding in and around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

so, with my sister visiting, it was raining and that limited our options of what to do. usually if it’s sunny, we would have gone to one of the theme parks or go lie on the beaches (some of which were actually washed away). but we had to make other plans to maximise the fun of the long weekend 🙂 (thursday was Australia Day, a public holiday – and i was given friday off – so it was a nice long weekend). first things first – off to collect Melanie from the airport. she was supposed to land at 10pm at the Brisbane domestic terminal, but of course, with all the rain she was delayed by an hour from Sydney. now, Brisbane domestic terminal is one giant ass construction zone – so needless to say it was messy when arriving there and trying to figure out where to go. in south africa at OR Tambo, everyone goes to the same counters and the same gates to get to departures. here there are 3 distinct areas – Qantas arrivals and departures, JetStar arrivals and departures and right at the far end, Virgin Australia which Melanie flew. very messy and disorganised.

anyways, when she finally got off the plane, we were off! it had managed to stop raining wednesday night so it was nice to drive home. when we got home, antonio and i set about pumping up the air mattress with a foot pump! it took us like an hour to get it done! quite a leg workout! (And then of course we had to re-pump it every night because it seems to have a slow leak 😦 ). we eventually went to bed after midnight… thursday morning arrived – dull and dreary outside BUT not raining! so first thing we did was buy tickets for a show for Friday called the “Australian Outback Spectacular”. once we ate a hearty breakfast, we quickly got ready to tackle the weekend and try to make the most of the break in the rain.

first thing we decided to do was to go to Mt Coot-tha. Mt Coot-tha is the highest point in Brisbane being 287m above sea level and it offers a great view of Brisbane. It’s a nice drive up to the top (and of course there was a traffic officer with a radar gun checking speed – which is 50kph), and once at the top, there is tons of tourists! obviously everyone had the same idea as we had to make the most of the dry. Other things to do at Mt Coot-tha is to visit the botanical gardens and the planetarium, and for the health conscious, there are quite a few hikes in the area.

The view from Mt Coot-tha of the Brisbane CBD

with my sister

after we took the obligatory snaps of the CBD and the surrounding areas, we decided that the next place we were going to visit was Mt Tamborine and go to the Skywalk. Mt Tamborine is just south of Brisbane – in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Had a lovely drive on the winding roads, lush green fields, TONS of horses, creeks etc. Very scenic and idillic. really pretty! the drive up to the Skywalk is stunning and EXTREMELY twisty! can’t really drive more than 30kph for fear of driving off the side of the road – but it’s really great 🙂 once we were up at the Skywalk, you pay a couple of dollars entrance fee and then you just follow the path. we were there for almost 2 hours – it’s just so nice walking through rainforest, listening to all the insects making noise, listening to the river running through it. i was a bit disappointed that i didn’t get to see any koalas or wombats etc (but i’m guessing we’ll just have to go to a zoo to see them). we saw some amazing ferns growing in trees, lovely orchids and vines that have twisted their way around other trees… just so pretty.

The Skywalk Entrance

a view of the skywalk

pretty ferns

some plants

interesting "flowers" of the tree

close up on an orchid

a little stream

the river running through the rain forest

a view from the cantilever bridge

a cute insect (with a scorpion look a like tail)

i have too many pictures to upload, so these are just a snapshot. once we were done at the Skywalk, we drove down Mt Tamborine and off to the Gold Coast again. We went for a quick walk on the beach – even though quite a lot of sand was taken by the sea and the seas were quite rough. It was nice to just walk on the edge of the pacific ocean and see how people were enjoying the break in the rain. from there, we drove back home to go rest – otherwise you wipe yourself out before you’re even halfway through the weekend! 🙂

well, that’s it for part 1. i will post the rest of the weekend in separate posts – depending on how much time i have to write it all up 🙂



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