Recently I had the privilege of having two American friends come to my part of the world – Southeast Queensland in Australia. I had four days to show off my country so put together basically a four day which I think… left the girls impressed!
So here’s 13 things to do in South East Queensland!
1. Check out South Bank on Brisbane River
You’ll find a place safe for the whole family to go swimming, great places to eat, markets, beautiful parks to stroll through and see the view of Brisbane city. You can even check out for free Queensland Museum or Queensland Art Gallery. You can jump on a city train or a bus and to Southbank Station.
2. Enjoy the river by catching a CityCat to Brett’s Warf
At Brett’s warf you’ll find lots of places to eat. We walked the short distance to Hamilton Hotel where we bought a good pub meal. Kangaroo steaks are even on the menu!
3. Experience Brisbane by night.
Catch a CityCat back to Southbank and walk across to the Victoria Bridge to the city – or just get off at QUT or North Quay. The city has late night shopping on Friday nights. Lots of pubs, clubs and places to eat. Also walk to and check out the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens – if you’re there in the evening watch the skyline for the millions of bats!
4. Late night at Mt Coot-tha
For a spectacular view of Brisbane by night drive (or catch a cab) to Mt Coot-tha and grab a coffee and cake from Kuta Café. Lovely romantic place to end your night if you have a date!
5. Hit the famous Gold Coast
You can catch a train or bus to the beach but if you can beg, steel, borrow a car that would be make the rest of this trip easier! And try and find somewhere to stay the night. If you can’t find somewhere free to gatecrash try wotif.com for last minute deals on great hotels. I recommend going to a not-so-touristy beach like Burleigh Heads, Currumbin (checking out Elephant Rock) or Palm Beach. Surfers Paradise is a big tourist trap next to the beach. I’m not a big fan. Be sure to douse yourself in Suncream and if you like your skin avoid the beach from 11am – 2pm. (We didn’t and got burnt even with suncream on!)
7. Go snorkeling
Check out the tides and go for a snorkel at the mouth of the tweed river near Point Danger. Best to go as High Tide is coming in to try and avoid being swept out to the ocean. There is really an underwater world out there!
8. Eat at Coolangatta
Kirra Beach is the gateway to Queensland’s Gold Coast and is has one of the widest sand bars – amazing. We grabbed dinner at Thai Coola Restaurant (plenty of options though – Fish and chips, Mexican, Sushi…etc) and then strolled down to an holiday amusement park and had some fun with our cameras.
9. Get some local church culture
We happened to be on the Gold Coast still for a Sunday so I took everyone to my home church Beachside Christian Church. We actually went after another quick snorkel… so you can dress super casual. People roll in from the surf to meet with and worship God.
10. Experience the breathtaking views of Byron Bay
We then headed south into the next state, New South Wales to visit Byron Bay. This is a little hippie town thats becoming more and more of a major tourist attraction. ‘The Cape Byron Lighthouse is Australia’s most easterly light being situated on the most easterly point of the mainland. It is also Australia’s most powerful Lighthouse.’ More If you have more time then we did I recommend going to the exclusive Watego’s beach and walking to the top of the cape to the Lighthouse. If you’re there in the right season you might even see whales or dolphins. Seriously one of my favourite des
11. Go a-drivin in the country to Stanthorpe
We then hit the road a little further south and then west and drove through the Great Dividing Range. It was unprecedentedly green and beautiful. Often struck by severe droughts this country would have looked totally different just a month before. The American’s got to see their first ‘wild’ Kangaroo enroute! We then stayed at a farm just South of Stanthorpe with friends. There are heaps of quaint little villa’s to stay at around Stanthorpe or Girraween. Here’s just one site with info. If you’re into coming to Australia to work for a season – you can come to this town to pick fruit and earn a bit of cash. See here for more info.
12. Go ‘bush walking’ at Girraween National Park
You could spend all day walking to different cool locations at Girraween. We went to the Pyramids – huge Pyramid shaped rocks that give you a great work out to climb. They are made from granite. We then went to the underground river. This was my favourite part. The river was fairly low, so you can climb down into it and see the way the years of rushing water has highly polished and uniquely carved the granite.
You’ll be sure to see heaps of Kangaroos, Lizards and you might even see a snake! Its a bit deadly
13. Take your time and drive back to the big smoke (city)
There’s plenty more to do in Stanthorpe on the way back home. Check out the wineries. Have a meal at a local cafe. Stop at Heavenly Chocolate on the way out of Girraween… or check out the UGG BOOT LADY if you are there in the cold and need to rug up!
Our four day tour of South East Queensland and the little drive through Northern New South Wales truly was awesome. I love Australia. We drove just over 600kms and saw Australia in all its glory… or at least just a fraction of it! I highly recommend you save your dimes and make it happen all you American’s who keep telling me ‘I really want to go to Australia one day’