Thursday, 31 December 2009

Beached as, bro

This is just a quick post on the beaches I visited when I went to Queensland.

First up, the Gold Coast, which is located at the south of Brisbane. A trip to Queensland is never complete if you don't go to Surfers Paradise. I swear, this place really is GOLD. I went in 08 for a night and I knew I had to go back. This year we just stayed for an entire day (a TOTAL MISTAKE!), as we had other places to cover.

Tourists and locals soaking up the Gold Coast's sun

Caloy and I with the Gold Coast as our backdrop

I had heaps of fun - a full day at the beach with good food and good company can't ever go wrong. The waves weren't as big as expected, so we spent a lot of time in the water. A lot of surfers and body boarders were about as well. If you're just out of school and about to turn 18 (or already are), this is the perfect time to go. I went just the day before schoolies, a well celebrated event for people who've just graduated from high school. Next year it starts on the 20th of November and runs for a week.

Mosaic art on the walk to Surfers, cool beans

The Gold Coast is a fantastic place to get wet and wild. That's all I have to say about it. You might need a week to fully experience it, which is what I'm planning to do next year.

However if you're with your family and wish to just have a laid back trip, I suggest you head on over to the Sunshine Coast, located to the north of Brisbane. Expect a lot of children running around and making sandcastles. We went to King's Beach and spent the whole day swimming and eating fish and chips.

The beach was pretty packed that day

Kings Beach is good for skimboarding

I enjoyed myself as I lounged about and chased the kids we had brought along with us. I'm all for lazy days and you can definitely have lots and lots of lazy days at the Sunshine Coast.

With that I leave you with the carefree (and for some, careless) spirit of summer and 2009. Surely there'll be better things to do and see in 2010. 'Til then, xoxo.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Glass House Mountains

This is all about Queensland's Glass House Mountains.

Okay, maybe I'll throw in something a little bit more interesting (hint: pubs and alcy?), for those who're growing tired of my nature natured (haha) posts.

I came to Queensland with too little knowledge about Brisbane's outdoors. All I knew was that in Queensland you'll find the Gold Coast and The Great Barrier Reef (which I've yet to visit). Other than that, I pretty much have no idea what there is to see. After our city visit, I realised that there's much more to QLD than just boys washboard abs and girls head-turning curves.

Tippy decided that we should go up to visit the Glass House Mountains. I reckon this is QLD's version of NSW's Blue Mountains. It was named so by Capt. James Cook because the mountains reminded him of glass furnaces. Just like the 3 Sisters, the Glass House Mountains have their own story. They are supposedly, a family of 6 children plus a pair of twins.

Glass House Mountains information at the lookout

Mt Beerburrum?

The lookout that we went up to was Mt Tibrogargan (the "Father" in the legend) and it is 364m tall. Seeing this side of Queensland has made me realise that Australia is full of surprises. I really like the story behind the Glass House Mountains and thought it was way cooler than the Blue Mountains. :-P We went on a little walk down towards the foot of the mountains, but didn't end up at the finish line which is another lookout as we had little kids along with us as well as their nan.

A fallen tree along the Mt Tibrogargan walk

Our hiking buddies for the day!

Mt Coonorwin, my favourite one!

I really enjoyed the drive to the Glass House Mountains because it was a perfectly sunny day and of course we had our own little mishaps, such as that of making a wrong turn and ending up at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. I reckon it would be a brilliant idea to go visit the zoo in the morning then go up to the Glass House Mountains in the afternoon as the sun sets. Too bad we didn't have enough time.

Steve Irwin Way!

We drove into the zoo's parking lot and had a photo by the zoo's shuttle bus to make missing the turn worthwhile. Haha

Queensland sunsets are very pretty.

The view from the drive. Trees make my heart very happy :-)

After absorbing the beauty of the scenery, we drove back to Tippy's but made a pit stop at Ettamogah Pub. Beside it are quaint little shops where you can buy local stuff, which reminded me much of Tasmania and Dubbo. We had a little bite to eat as well as a few beers at the pub, which was of course, enjoyable. The interior is definitely a must-see, with framed cartoon pieces that tells you about the pub's history as well as lots of wooden furniture that really takes you back to the country.

Me being touristy and foolish

Classic country style

Favourite part of all the signage in Ettamogah

Outside the pub just before leaving

The tiring but well spent day trip to the Glass House Mountains called for a big dinner and a few drinks with a couple of Tippy's mates. It was really fun, but I wish we could've explored more of the mountains. Maybe next year I'll do it again.

Last but not least... have a Barefoot Radler! It is :3

I realised I've gone past a thousand views, and wow thanks everyone!!! I never thought I would even go past a hundred in a year (sure went by quick didn't it?). It's all so overwhelming, haha, really. Thank you!!! :-) That said, I want YOUR input for next year's mishaps... I'm really looking for new places to see outside of Australia (hint: youngest country in the world). It would really mean a lot to me if you message me stuff that you want to read about, or places that may be interesting to the rest! :-) Leave a comment and I'll make sure to take note. Thanks very much for sticking it out with me & my lameness and for making my year! :-) xoxoxoxo

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Welcome to Brisbane!

When the spring semester ended, my friend Caloy and I decided to go on a 6-day adventure to Queensland. My best friend was kind enough to give us a roof to live under and good food to eat throughout the trip. It's funny how we're all from different cities. I live in Sydney, Caloy in Melbourne and Tippy in Brisbane. Because of this, we have had a lot of chances to compare Queensland to our places of residence. Of course Tippy has her own biases being a Queenslander.

Caloy and I took a plane up to Brisbane (Thank you, JetStar!) and after a hearty breakfast and a long early morning nap, we decided to first explore Brisbane's CBD. We took public transport which I may say is quite different from Sydney and Melbourne. The QR trains are one level as in Melbourne, but they're all pretty vintage. I actually liked it but I assume there might be a lack of seating capacity come rush hour. It comes out really cheap though, right about $5-6 for FIVE ZONES! Even much less if you have QLD concession.

Me enjoying the train ride.

In the city we went to see the Anzac Square. We had our photo taken at the Shrine of Remembrance. I think it's one of the places that are really worth seeing because it has a lot of history behind it.

Shrine of Remembrance with Caloy

Close by was the Central Station, but I wasn't able to go inside. Here's a photo from the outside:
Central Station is not their biggest station, but Roma Station

I must say their CBD is quite quaint and definitely much smaller than the Sydney one. It also isn't overflowing with people during lunch. What I like most about it is that everything is close to everything else. For examplem, The Cathedral of St Stephen's is merely a 5 minute walk from the shops where we had lunch.

This is the interior of the church where we said our prayers before going to Southbank.

Crisp white, classic structure. Notice that there are individual seats and not pews

At the dock you can see Story Bridge, which is something like the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is much smaller, and its main difference from the Sydney Harbour Bridge is that it is a cantilever bridge where as the latter is a steel arch bridge. I heard you can also climb the bridge just like you can in Harbour.

The Story Bridge

We tried to catch the CityCat to get to South Bank but failed miserably so we just caught the usual ferry. The CityCat is bigger and it just sounds so much cooler.

City view from the ferry :-)

At South Bank, we walked until our legs gave away. Lol jokes. We went around the South Bank Parklands and it's really pretty. Seems as though it's so easy to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Brisbane. It's like a 10 minute ferry ride!

This is what welcomes you to South Bank!

What's even more awesome about it is that there is a man-made beach called Streets Beach (click on link for 360º view). I find that such an insanely gooooood idea. In Sydney, you can easily hop on a bus to get to Bondi or other nearby beaches or get a ferry that can take you to Manly in half an hour. In Brisbane it takes like 10 minutes, and there aren't any sharks!!! Haha I'm so sold to this idea since I can't swim properly but love the beach anyway.

Super awesome, right?

As we continued walking towards the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) & Queensland Art Gallery (QAG), we passed by the tourist attraction Wheel of Brisbane. It is, of course, like other ferris wheels in other countries, a great (aerial) way to view the city.

Didn't want to try it cos I get insane dizzy spells!

Tippy & Caloy on the bridge to the Galleries. This provides such a good view of the city!

Our last stop for the day was the GoMA and QAG. Unfortunately, the GoMA was still in the process of being set up for the upcoming exhibits. The Queensland Art Gallery, however, had quite a selection of artists and artworks, ranging from indigenous Aussie art, Picasso, Warhol, to Queenslander art. I really enjoyed our visit there but maybe not as much as I had enjoyed the National Galleries Victoria in Melbourne. What I loved most of all about it though is the very modern look of the building!

I love the colours they used! So easy on the eye.

This may be rather weird but this is one of the highlights of our city trip ---

Ceiling decor made of paper & clips (!!!)

This simple decoration of the GoMA looks really really good in real life. The best part is that it's simple and anyone can do it. I swear, I'm considering putting the exact same thing up when I finally have a house (with a high ceiling to match)! :-)

For the lack of coherence I promise you better entries about the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and many more of Queensland's pride! Happy holidays, all! :-)

Monday, 21 December 2009

Just a teaser

Shorncliffe Jetty at night, Brisbane

I'll be writing about my 6-day adventure to Brisbane soon. Sorry about the backlog, I've been maximising my 5-week holiday in the Philippines. See you all very soon with lots of picspam + stories from the Sunshine State! xx

I just realised how huge that watermark is. HAHAHA it's so funny. Sorry guiseee.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Sculpture by the Sea 2009

When I went to my Aunt's workplace some couple of weeks back, one of her workmates told me about her plans to go to Sculpture by the Sea with her family. She told me that it was an annual public art exhibit on the coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama. All of it sounded interesting and I obviously wanted to go, unfortunately, she knew for a fact that the day that they were coming to see the installations was the last day of the exhibit.

Disappointed, I went home trying to figure out how to get there on that same weekend. However there really wasn't time to go. I thought that I wouldn't be able to go this year, but when I searched for the website, it had been extended another weekend. I excitedly asked a friend if he had wanted to come. He wasn't the type to go to art exhibits and such but he willingly agreed to accompany me.

The following weekend we decided to catch the train to Bondi Junction and when we got off the train there were signs that led to the busses to Sculpture by the Sea. I liked the fact that it was well organised, especially for those who take public transport. When we got to Tamarama there were also shuttles/cars that brought people down to Bondi for free.

We took the Tamarama bus without knowing that it was the end of the walk, hence we kind of had to start at the last set of sculptures. I first noticed the beautiful rock formations along the area and I was really amazed by them.

See how I mean?

It was over a hundred although there were some that were missing. These are the ones from Tamarama:

A skull made out of plastic bottles

Huge timepiece made of wood & steel

The biggest diamond I've ever seen in my life! Haha

This is what I would call a good representation of living in technicolour

I honestly thought this was a real naked baby from a distance. Hahaha

Over life-sized soy sauce container. Took me awhile to realise this

Then we walked up the coast, until we reached a hill - I have already forgotten its name but it's the biggest place where the sculptures were installed and where most of the people were. A lot of the pieces were interactive and I really enjoyed this section the most. Here are some photos:

This oddly reminds me of the homunculi we drew in class

Literally, a sea of shoes! (Pun intended, hello, seaofshoes!)

In detail: these are actual shoes covered in sand

Such intricate woodwork!

One of the crowd (yes, not just the young ones) favourites - a playhouse!

In detail: lots of little toys stuck onto the house - can you name them all?

Such an interesting wood & steel piece. One of my faves.

Lacquered tree stumps

Reminds me of Mayans

Concrete underground sewage things painted neon (my arms were to short to stretch out to the diameter... many of the guys were able to, though...)

A massive domino effect

Flags marking the beginning of the way down to Bondi

After that, we moved along downhill, going closer to Bondi. We took a few photos of rest of the pieces there until my camera's batter gave away. Since it was scorching hot, we rushed down to the beach. Luckily, the water was really cold that day but the undercurrent was too strong and as everyone knows, I'm vertically challenged and easily wiped out by waves. Haha. Here are the rest:

Love this 3D piece of a human face

Another pretty rock formation!

Last but certainly not least, a giant straw in the ocean!

All in all, it was a 2.5 km walk full of creative, contemporary pieces on such a beautiful backdrop - the Sydney coast. I'm glad I was able to go to Sculpture by the Sea this year. It's one of the most fun, interactive art exhibits I've been able to visit ever and the best part is that on either ends of it are 2 awesome beaches that you can chill out at after enjoying the art made available to the public. I can't wait to go back next year because all the pieces will be different yet again, and that's something to really look forward to.