Posts Tagged “Queensland”

My background of working for many years as a holiday planner inevitably has an influence on my holidays these days. When someone was recently planning a trip to Queensland, it was only natural to suggest destinations such as the tropical rainforests near Cairns and the pristine waters of the Whitsundays’ coast. Having delved a little deeper into my research, I realised that the state’s capital demanded inclusion into the itinerary.

Brisbane Queensland AustraliaBrisbane may have earned a reputation as something of a Gen Y urban playground, but while there is a growing number of flagship boutiques and Melbourne-inspired laneways, there is more to it than inner city bravado. Basing the trip from CBD, close to the lush botanical gardens, the first morning of the plan takes you to Cleveland, gateway to North Stradbroke Island. ‘Minjerribah’ to its indigenous Quandamooka people and ‘Straddie’ to other locals, the island is a favourite getaway for many city dwellers wishing to explore the native wildlife.

Having arrived by ferry at the main port of Dunwich, one heads along Nazi Road to the Blue Lake area, in the Naree Budjong Djara (‘My Mother Earth’) National Park, the base for two walking tracks, Neembeeba and Karboora. Given the often-high temperatures, it’s usually best to opt for the easier 5km return trip through the banksias and eucalypts of the Karboora trail. The area is home to birds such as honeyeaters and lorikeets as well as many freshwater fish and the golden wallaby. Venturing north by car to the popular Point Lookout, you can cast your eye out towards the migrating humpbacks and playful dolphins, all the while soaking up the stunning coastal views.

Returning at dusk you can still catch a bus up to the renowned Caxton Street precinct for a well-earned cocktail at the kitsch Statler & Waldorf. Across the road is the newly-established Brewski, which specialises in craft beer and gourmet pizza. While the next day’s plans demand a sensible bedtime, you may find it hard to prise yourself away from the lively atmosphere of the strip.

Whilst the well-known and nearby Mt Cootha provides hikers and cyclists with rewarding city views for the physical challenges they present, you can also take an early morning drive north towards the volcanic peaks of the Glass House Mountains NP. If you feel guilty about taking the easy option, try taking a hike up Mt Tibrogargan’s summit route, at the end of which you will find yourself a satisfying 364m above sea level. For the less experienced, the Tibrogargan or Trachyte walking circuits would be a safer option. After that, there’s time for a quick lunch before setting off to Mt Beerwah, the highest of the four peaks in the range and home to many birds including peregrine falcons, kookaburras and cockatoos as well as koalas, goannas, echidnas and well-camouflaged kangaroos.

If you have an interest in such things, the rapidly growing alternative and vegan culture of the West End, one of Brisbane’s most multiciltural of suburbs should be your next stop. Enjoy the raucous live music of the Lock ‘N Load Bistro. Enter the narrow, bustling bar that possesses a lush beer garden, an unusual rarity in Brisbane. Among the vegan offerings on the menu are the spiced sweet potato falafels with quinoa salad, a wholesome and delicious choice. If you’re in the party mood, head on over to ‘the valley’, where locals go to party into the wee hours. More live music is usually on offer at the New Orleans-themed Papa Jacks, where the attentive staff will whip up a cocktail from scratch based on your tastes and budget (as long as it stretches over $15, that is).

After partying at the Family nightclub, it may be time to call it an evening (a rather late evening, all the same) and retire to reflect on the two extremes of this amazing and unique city. From its invigorating natural beauty to a hip and happening urban scene, Brisbane caters for many and disappoints few.

Author Bio
Mary Ann Keeling is a travel planner from Brisbane. She is still in love with her home town and always in the mood to talk about life in the city. In her free time she likes to drive her bike through the Brisbane suburbs.

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Travel Photo of the Week: Amethystine Python

During our lovely break to Port Douglas we took a day trip northwards to explore the Daintree Rainforest region to Cape Tribulation. After crossing the Daintree River we stopped at the superb Daintree Discovery Centre. A must if you are in the area! The centre has won a multitude of awards in both general tourism and ecotourism. The highlight is most definitely the aerial walkway which takes you into various levels of the rainforest canopy and finishing off with a climb up the canopy tower to view of the rainforest treetops.

Whilst ambling along the elevated boardwalk with a small cluster of visitors, a young lady beside me called ‘Snake‘. We all stopped in our steps wondering where this snake was. As it turned out it, it was right in front of us and intertwined with the rainforest vines – very well camouflaged. The snake was an Amethystine Python and a small movement had caught the lady’s eye. Very well spotted we all thought! The small movement turned into further movements until it’s head poked out for some classic photos to be taken. What a good sport!

Amethystine Python in Daintree


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A recent break took me to Port Douglas in far north Queensland. An area of Australia I was yet to explore. The furthest north I’d been was Magnetic Island (twice) off the coast from Townsville. We enjoyed (my husband and I) 8 days with no work or kids to enjoy the surrounds of Port Douglas and boy, did we indulge! I was very impressed with Port Douglas and whilst it was more developed than I had expected, it proudly retained many of its historical buildings and features. One in particular caught my eye was the gorgeous historical chapel, St Mary’s by the Sea. Surrounded by lush tropical plants and only meters from the waters edge.

St Mary's by the Sea


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As a gateway to major attractions like the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park, the city of Cairns is easily one of the most visited destinations in all of Australia. While Cairns is home to a number of wonderful things to do, see and explore, many visitors are eager to get out of the city for a few days and see a different side of Queensland. One of the most popular adventures is a road trip to the nearby town of Malanda. Since Malanda is just 90 minutes away from Cairns, it is simple to rent a car from Europcar Australia and begin this scenic journey on your own terms and according to your own schedule. Tours are available for this road trip, but setting out on your own gives you a lot more freedom, and it also allows you to enjoy getting behind the wheel on a truly scenic road. Here are the top five things to do in Malanda and the surrounding region.

Cairns to Malanda

Image courtesy of robstephaustralia/

1. Malanda Falls

There is no question that the top attraction in the area, and truly the big reason for making this journey by car, is for the opportunity to see the beautiful Malanda Falls. The word Malanda itself was once an Aboriginal word for waterfalls, and the town today is known almost exclusively for the breathtaking collection of waterfalls in the area. The best way to see the falls is to stop in at the Malanda Falls Visitor Centre. They can give you a map and help you decide on the perfect trail to see as much wildlife as possible on the way to the falls themselves. If you are in a rush, you can actually drive almost directly above the top of the waterfalls, which gives you a spectacular view of the water crashing down below. If you want to relax and you have more time to enjoy the area, try swimming below some of the falls with the locals.

2. Millaa Millaa Waterfalls Circuit

Just 20 minutes south of Malanda is another collection of amazing waterfalls known as the Millaa Millaa Waterfalls Circuit. These three falls are all within walking distance of one another, but there is also a paved road to drive between the three if you are in a hurry. If the waterfalls look familiar to you, it might be because you have seen them before featured in advertisements or films. The Millaa Millaa Waterfalls can be found in the Peter Andre video called Mysterious Girl, and it is also featured in the Timotei Hair Swoosh advertisement that you have undoubtedly seen before.

3. Lake Tinaroo

Although this man-made lake is just a few miles north of Malanda, the drive along the winding roads can take about 30 minutes. However, the journey itself is a beautiful one, and the time will pass quickly as you admire the view from your car window. Once you arrive at Lake Tinaroo, you will want to enjoy all of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. Fishing, hiking, swimming and even waterskiing are popular pastimes that you can enjoy on the lake.

4. Mount Hypipamee Crater

It will be another 30 minute drive to get from Malanda to the Mount Hypipamee Crater, which is commonly known to residents as simply The Crater. This amazing crater in the Tablelands was only discovered in the late 19th century when explorers nearly fell into the chasm, which measures in at over 180 feet wide and almost 300 feet deep. Visitors can hike around the edge of the crater, and you can also explore the surrounding Mount Hypipamee National Park and its impressive rainforest.

5. Curtain Fig Tree

Nature lovers will definitely appreciate the sheer size of this incredible tree, which is located between Yungaburra and Malanda. The aerial roots of the tree are on display, and you can walk along the wooden boardwalk next to the tree to get a closeup view of this enormous natural landmark in the Tablelands.

Since the Malanda Falls as well as the rest of these incredible attractions are just a short drive from the city of Cairns, it is the perfect option for an extension of your holiday. Spend a day touring the Tablelands, or make a full weekend of waterfall-hopping throughout the region.

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