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Australia Part 1 | Brisbane

brisbaneI’m finally sharing my photos (and some tips) from my Australian adventure back in October 2013. It was an amazing experience that I’m breaking down into four posts. Here’s the first one on Brisbane…

Brisbane is one of those places I’ve wanted to visit since my good friend Chris moved there eight years ago. He would always refer to Brisbane as “Bris-Vegas”, which I thought was a completely made up name until I visited and found out that’s what  the locals affectionately call their city. During my five days there, Chris graciously hosted us and led us through the city. Bris-Vegas is a lovely city that has some of the glitz and glamor of a big city, but is actually a relatively small, easy to get around place. We joked that a bad day in Brisbane was a day with six clouds in the sky, as the climate there is sub-tropical and sunny and mild nearly everyday. I left my fancy DSLR camera at home for this trip and all photos are taken with my iPhone 5 or my the little Fuji X-100S (pictured below). Here is my visual synopsis…

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bris21A few must see Brisbane spots:

New Farm Park – It was spring time and we picnicked under the canopy of purple Jacaranda trees enjoying Australian wine, tasty and extra tasty cheeses, Tim Tams and mixed berry Pavlova.

CityCat  – Take a ride on this ferry that stretches along the banks of the Brisbane River (we took it from New Farm Park after our picnic). It’s a great way to see the city at a glance. The South Bank is a must do stop with a lot of great places. The first of which is a man-made beach right in the middle of the city called Streets Beach. After the beach we stopped by the Plough Inn and enjoyed a pint in the outdoor beer garden while people-watching. The Eagle Street Pier is also nice stop to check out along the river. We enjoyed great view of the Story Bridge and drinks riverside at Groove Train and for shopping nearby check out the Queen Street Mall.

Breakfast Creek Hotel – “Brekky Creek” is the most famous and iconic watering holes in Queensland. We had dinner at the Spanish Garden Steakhouse our first night in Brisbane. I had a delicious steak and tried their notable beer ‘off the wood” or beer out of a wooden cask rather than standard stainless steel.

Australia Zoo – Crikey! if this wasn’t the best zoo I’ve visited, ever. It’s a wonderful wildlife and conservation facility that is run by the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin’s family. You can not only see, but touch, many of the animals. You can walk right into Roo Heaven and feed the various types of Kangaroos. You can pet a Koala. You can even sign up for a special animal encounter which allows you to go into the enclosure and touch and interact with the animal under the supervision of zoo staff. We did the Wombat encounter and let me just say not only Wombats extremely cute, but the Southern Wombats have some of the softest fur I’ve ever felt. You must also visit the Crocoseum for their daily show where you can see and learn more about crocodiles. But, not to worry most of the zoo staff will alert you and round you up so that you don’t miss the show!

Mt. Tambourine – Mt. Tambourine is about an hour drive from Brisbane and spent a day there hiking one of the walking tracks (that’s what they call hiking trails in Australia). We walked about on the Palm Grove Rainforest Circuit. We saw some amazing giant Strangler Fig Trees. After our hike we had beers and food at the MT Brewery where we enjoyed a sampler of beers and cheeses from the Witches Chase Cheese Company that is also on site. We ended our day exploring the shops, galleries and cafes along the Gallery Walk. There is even a winery, but we did not have time to visit.

Hope you enjoyed and check back tomorrow for Part 2 on my Great Barrier Reef adventures!

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Lady in Red

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Reina’s wearing: coat/Forever 21, leggings/Amazon, dress/Cotton On, boots/Target, hat/H&M, large ring/Nordstrom, small ring/vintage, makeup/elf

 

 

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Big Sur Day Trip

big surI did the drive down the coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara through Big Sur for the first time in late September. It was just me, my rental car, windows down, salty breeze, some good tunes and the California Coast. It was one of those days I’ll always remember. Driving down Highway 1 through Big Sur has to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It’s where the mountains meet the sea and it’s amazing! I did the drive by myself and it was hard not to pull over at every single overlook. I was in a time crunch, so I stopped at only a few spots; the Bixby Creek Bridge (which might look familiar since it’s been in many a car commercial and movie), lunch halfway through the drive at Nepenthe, a restaurant on top of cliff over looking the ocean, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park where I saw McWay Falls. McWay Falls is only one of two waterfalls in the region to fall into the sea when the tide is high enough. I can’t wait to come back to this part of the country again and if you haven’t visited hopefully these photos will make you book your trip soon!

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