After four and a half months away from home (with three months living solely in Melbourne), I was starting to miss the things that make home, home: my friends and family. Lucky for me, one of my best friends is doing her master’s degree in Brisbane, a short two-hour flight from Melbourne!
So, I stuffed a backpack and got on a (very cramped) plane to Queensland.
As you can see from these pictures, my outfits in Brisbane consisted of two things: a loose top and very short shorts.
As with every Australian city I’ve been to so far, there was a lot to see and do in Brisbane and I was excited to do it all (I’m an excitable person, okay?). I spent a couple days exploring Southbank, went on a relaxing hike up Mount Cooot-tha, and spent an amazing day on Moreton Island.
Southbank (aptly named as it’s on the southern banks of Brisbane River, directly across from the CBD) was the first place I visited in Brisbane – if you’re not counting my very first night in the city, which was spent at a packed college bar (it was way more fun that it seems, I promise). We took a meandering ferry ride from the University of Queensland St. Lucia campus and made our way up the river. We passed under a few of the city’s sweet af bridges and got to see the CBD from the river, which was really, really cool.
Cheap traveler’s tip: if you don’t want to spend $$$ on a guided ferry tour, grab yourself a Go card and take the CityCat ferry up and down the river. You will literally see all the same sites and you can make up your own Brisbane facts along the way (!!)
Now, back to Southbank. As soon as we got off the ferry, we walked into a forested area that housed the Nepal Peace Pagoda. There are also a bunch of cool restaurants and cafes in the area, as well as an outdoor pool and lagoon, which I would 100% live at if it were legal to.
Also a giant pink bunny idk
Amy: Hey, do you wanna go on a hike while you’re here?
As strange as this seems, I honestly missed the feeling of dirt under my feet and sweat trickling down my face. I missed the rhythm of my steps as I pushed my body up a mountain. Needless to say, Mount Coot-tha, as small of a mountain as it is (a whopping 190m elevation gain) was a welcome treat.
What I wasn’t used to was the danggg humidity. Sweat was freely pouring out of ever single one of my sweat glands and it wasn’t going away.
Our Uber dropped us off at a random picnic area close to J.C. Slaughter Falls and we made our way through the parking lot to a dirt path. Following signs that clearly said “J.C. Slaughter Falls”, we eventually made it to an area with large boulders and a very tiny trickle of water. We had made it to the famous J.C. Slaughter Falls (say J.C. Slaughter Falls one more time, Von).
After the slight disappointment (but hey, a hike is a hike and you can’t fault that!), we made our way through the gum tree forest filled with beautiful multi-coloured birds and a meandering creek (which we pointed at and sarcastically said “look, waterfall” every time it dropped more than a foot) to arrive at the lookout. Unlike the peaks of most mountains back home, this lookout had a restaurant and cafe, a couple gazebos, and an insanely sweet view of Brisbane.
You guys, the day I spent on Moreton Island with Amy has been one of the best days in Australia so far. Yes, there were a hiccups along the way, but none of that could truly dampen how amazing this experience was.
We got up early to drop off our luggage at the lockers in Southbank (we were heading to the airport right after our Moreton Island adventures!). Honestly, this was a lowkey stressful thing to do, I would definitely not recommend leaving all your stuff in a day locker. After our first hiccup of the day (we couldn’t figure out how to add more money/time to the locker), we drove to the MICAT ferry dock to catch our ferry to the island.
The ferry ride itself (both there and back) was great as they sold everything I needed to survive (hilarious t-shirts, chai lattes, chocolate bars, and veggie pies) the one hour journey to the island. Large enough to carry off-road vehicles and a tour bus, the ferry was pretty sleek and stylish.
As soon as we got off, we walked barefoot in the sand and found a place to hide our stuff (pro tip: put your valuables in a ziploc bag and bury it in the sand so people can’t find it! Just make sure that you know how to find it later). We then donned our amazing $22 children’s snorkeling gear from Target and attempted to snorkel to the Tangalooma Wrecks.
I say attempted because it took me a good 15 minutes to warm up to the idea of snorkeling in the ocean and, as soon as we got about halfway to the wrecks, Amy spotted a jellyfish and freaked out.
Leaving behind the mess that was our first attempt at snorkeling to the wrecks, we traversed down the beach to the Tangalooma Island Resort, where we sneakily bought food from what, in hindsight, was probably a guests-only food court (oops). We walked around the resort, taking in the towering palm trees and the ocean breeze. Then we ran into pelicans, which are hUGE IN REAL LIFE. LIKE. MASSIVE.
We then tried to make it to the sand dunes to go sand tobogganing, but we were far too cheap to join a tour group and we didn’t want to traverse the desert by ourselves.
After exploring the resort and our failed attempt at sand tobogganing, Amy and I made our way back to the wrecks, where we found three other people who were swimming out. Deciding that it would be better to swim out to the wrecks in a bigger group (“That way, if there’s a shark, there’s less chance of me being eaten.” – Amy), we swam out with the others. About 20m from the wrecks, my body started getting reeaaally tired and I swear, at the time, I thought I was gonna die! *insert laugh-crying emoji*
BUT we made it and we had an absolute BLAST swimming with the fish, in and around the sunken ships! 10/10 would highly recommend (but maybe take a boat or a kayak out to the wrecks… definitely do not swim out).
Here’s a short video of Amy and I snorkeling the Tangalooma Wrecks!
While in Brisbane, I met two of Amy’s friends: Alexa and Cherise. I can honestly say that I love these girls. They’re both so hilarious, super kind, and we got along swimmingly! Being Canadian themselves, they made me miss the people back home. With all the travelling I’ve done, I can pretty confidently say that there’s just something different about Canadians and it makes me happy to be from Canada!
- Brisbane is humid af. You can never pack too many pairs of shorts.
- Doing something that scares you (me with snorkeling/being in the water) can yield the most rewarding results. I was genuinely terrified of both drowning and getting eaten by a shark while I was out in the water, but I was also able to treat myself to beautiful schools of fish, really cool sunken ships, and an experience that will (hopefully) get me into snorkeling more.
- Friends are important. Though my friends are starting to move away and are living their own lives (and are getting engaged!), it’s great to meet up every so often to see how they’re adjusting to ― or thriving in! ― their new mental and physical surroundings. Nurture your existing friendships and make new connections!