It's been a week since I posted - and two weeks since I arrived in Australia. I've now been to Sydney, then to Port Douglas (north of Cairns), Brisbane and now back to Sydney. Needless to say I'm a bit pooped and planning on staying in Sydney for the next week. I'm not complaining, because I mean I'm realistically pooped from exploring, reading, and eating/drinking - so life is pretty damn good.
Arrived in Brisbane last Friday to meet my friend Glen, who I've been staying with in Sydney. We hit the town Friday night in a newish neighborhood called Fortitude Valley on the edge of St. James St. It very much reminded me of my old hood, the North Loop in Minneapolis. Slept in Saturday and then bar-hopped all day through the city (with a few shopping stops to get Glen a hat so he didn't sunburn his head. Ha!)
Brisbane is smaller than Sydney and a bit more chill, but I'll be honest I like Sydney better - mainly because they have beaches EVERYWHERE. Brisbane is similar to the Twin Cities with a big ole river snaking it's way through the middle. Although, they do it better - aka river taxis, TONS of riverside restaurants and just all-around accessibility. Could be the fact they don't really have winter?
I signed Glen and I up for a last minute wine tour on Tamborine Mountain. We were picked up by a jolly fellow in the Vino Bus and off we headed to basically get drunk on wine with some folks from the UK, Denmark, Australia, Greece and Scotland. It was SO fun and potentially one of the most fun trips I've been on this far. Our first stop was this weird distillery that looked like a hobbit house. We tasted about ten different types of liqueur and headed to three more stops before ending at a brewery. That ALSO SOLD CHEESE. Fantastic trip - much recommended.
While my friend worked and did real-life things, I enjoyed Monday and Tuesday in Brisbane walking miles and miles, stopping for a beer here and there and enjoying lunch and reading in the many parks. I've been here for two weeks and have finished five books (and none of which are work books - woo!) Tuesday I wandered to Streets Beach, basically a man-made beach in the middle of the city, alongside the river. Nestled in the Southbank Parklands, Streets Beach butts up against several "seaside" restaurants and bars, cafes and shops. Uber cool area to hang out.
Yesterday, my last day in Brisbane, I took a chance on a day tour to Moreton Island and felt like I got scammed by a timeshare service. I had to wake my arse up at 6 AM (I know, I know, but if you know me, that's too early for holiday.) I took a 1.5-hour ferry to the island and was dropped off into what felt like Australia's version of Disneyland. Want to rent a kayak? $65. Want to snorkel? $55. Want to do anything other than walk and/or sit on the beach? That will be, oh wait I have no money left after I bought a sandwich from your ridiculously expensive cafe. I ended up hiking quite a ways to the National Park and ended up taking a nap (to get away from the Asian tourists and screaming children.) It wasn't all that bad in the grand scheme of things, but I paid a good chunk of moola to sit on a beach, which I could have done in the venter of Brisbane for free. Probably with a cheaper sandwich and cocktail.
So here I am, back in Sydney and looking forward to Australia Day tomorrow - an Australian Federal holiday similar to our 4th of July (I think.) Saturday and Sunday are the Rugby Sevens and apparently we're dressing up as American Football players. Ironic eh?
Til next time!