Winter holiday in Queensland – Part 1

Winter break and it was time to head on up to Queensland to get some sunshine and maybe if you dare a bit of a swim! We stayed at this lovely Air Bnb near my families house and enjoyed some peaceful times by the pool watching the birds come and visit every day.

This little fella had a couple of other mates who came by to visit each day. I love magpies so much and their morning song reminds me that I am home again.

The kiddos really were a bit excited about having a pool where we were staying so they braved the chilly water and hopped on in when it was nice and sunny – which was most of the time.

We spent some lovely days with my mum and dad and went down to the beach for fish and chips at Suttons Beach. The kiddos love going there to collect hermit crabs and then they build them little homes out of sand.

We were in an area that I was not really familiar with even though I went to primary school down the road. Behind where we were staying were many new developments and the urban planning has included many parks within 15 minutes of where we stayed. I enjoyed walking around discovering new places for the kids to play on and this obstacle course was the perfect spot for challenging their times on how quick they can get across. Afterwards we found this interactive fountain and the kiddos got drenched on a winters afternoon!

The afternoons for me were spent by the pool knitting a scarf with the beautiful yarn I scored in Sydney – this is Hedgehog fibres yarn with a pattern with intentional holes. It was so relaxing to sit by the pool and listen to my audio book and watch the birds fly home for the evening.

Farewell my Fine Feathered Friends

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Today I say farewell to the first part of our journey down under… We came to Redcliffe my hometown first to see my family and from here we are going up to the Sunshine Coast (a place where I also lived up at Peregian Beach). Then we will be going down south to feel the real winter of Melbourne and traveling over to Adelaide for a weekend getaway to see my husbands family. Whoa I am exhausted just thinking about it but time is flying by – only 11 days and I see my hubby again! Still it is always paced gently and generally centered around food with family and friends, which I like very much.

Thursday we travelled by train – a trip I know all too well when I used to work in the city and did the journey every day. This was when I returned home from a 2 year trip to the United Kingdom and need to save some $. Sometimes you wonder when will this day to day cycle ever end and it sure did with moving down to Melbourne, finding a partner, having a baby, buying a house, getting married and then relocating to the Northern Hemisphere. The finding a partner, baby, house, marriage and relocating happened in a mere 3 years!!

I digress, so back to our day trip to South Bank in Brizvegas and it was a sunny and warm winters day in Queensland. We visited the rainforest walk and the Nepalese Peace Pagoda from World Expo ’88 – such a beautiful piece of craftsmanship created in Nepal over 2 years transported from Nepal and assembled for the Expo. I remember going to the Expo in 1988 and visiting the Pagoda and it is wonderful to see that it is still here. The area of South Bank by the river is a thriving tourist hub and a very beautiful place to visit and I am sure in the summer it would be a lot of fun to go swimming at the man made beach. It looked inviting with life guards there at the ready for those brave enough to jump into the chilly waters.

We had a pub lunch at the Plough Inn that has been in South Brisbane forever – more beer battered chips, so good! The smoked salmon on rye bagel with the chips was a treat but my uncle who took us out for the day enjoyed his roast lamb that the pub serves every Thursday. How I miss pub meals. After lunch we needed a walk and took the kids to the museum to see the dinosaurs and the fantastic collection of taxidermy animals including lots of Australian animals. We finally saw a platypus plus and the kids enjoyed checking out the possums and flying foxes who we have been watching traveling the sky at dusk.

Friday was my last day and we had a farewell lunch at Pipel By the Sea and we ate at the cafe. The food was amazing and Mediterranean is one of my all time favorite cuisines. This platter of dips was divine with roast capsicum, blue cheese, olive and hommus with toasted pita bread. The desert was a lemon sorbet in a lemon skin outer with turkish delight and baklava with caramel and coconut – certainly a wonderful treat. I love eating new foods and I have certainly had a fair share of seafood since coming to Queensland, the shish kebabs I enjoyed with lunch were Lemon Myrtle Calamari and Garlic Prawns – my two favorites from the menu.

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The kids found it hard to sit and eat at the cafe so after they had eaten as much as they could they could go and play with the soldier crabs at the low tide. We could see them from where we were sitting and they had a blast digging out the crabs – it was probably a bit cruel! Then they relocated the crabs to a resort they built out of sand leading out to the waves with a pool for the crabs to swim in?!? That kept them occupied for a long time and with the weather at a lovely 21 degrees C they wanted to dip their toes in, so off went the shoes and in they went. I must say the water did feel a perfect temperature unlike the chilly waters of the Bay Area in SF.

My dad enjoyed taking some pictures of the silhouette of the monkey tree on the sand and the shades of blue in the water. It was such a perfect day. Soon it was time to say goodbye to the soldier crabs and head on back to the house for a cuppa and to FaceTime California.

 

There are a few things I discovered in the first part of this holiday –

The trees planted by the beach are called Norfolk Pines not monkey tail trees!

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Pic taken by Ash

These mechanical sounding birds are cool and called top notches by my uncle. Actually they are crested pigeons!

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My kids can actually smile for a photograph.

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More evidence of kids smiling in a photograph – this is the photo shoot we did with the kids when we went to the shops our first week here.

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I do really enjoy the beach and spending time there, it is in my genes and makes me feel at home.

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I also enjoy watching the sun set in the evenings – I can only can do this on holidays when I am being a slacker and not working in the kitchen making dinner!

Golden Years

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When visiting the place I grew up in and checking it out like a tourist you find interesting places that did not exist when you lived there. Like this cool wall of graffiti of ‘tags’ just down the road from where we are staying in Margate. Soon we will be visiting Melbourne and there is much more of this art around the city to check out on the walls and the laneways – I can’t wait as they are the perfect photo opportunity.

As part of the Redcliffe ‘homecoming tour’ I wanted to see places I had never been to in my life so we went to the Redcliffe Museum to learn about the history of Redcliffe from its humble beginnings as a convict settlement. As we walked in we watched a 13 minute short film on the history of Redcliffe and how when back in the day it was promoted as a beachside suburb to come and visit for R&R – one of the film stills of their promos in the pic above. Things do travel full circle and the city folks flock to Redcliffe on the weekend for their R&R, fish and chips and a walk by the beach. The weekends are generally busy here with families coming for day trips and it is funny how when I grew up here all I wanted to do was to escape but having kids and enjoying relaxing by the water it is a beautiful and relaxing place to be.

At the museum the kids got to check out machines of the past like the typewriter – I used an electric typewriter to learn to type at school. These were fully manual and it was funny how when you have not touched a typewriter for years you can still remember how these machines work. The kids enjoyed playing with them and thought it would be way more fun than using a computer!

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Learning about history on the icons of my childhood I found that this wreck of the gunboat the HMQS Gayundah was ran aground at Woody Point in 1958 to serve as a breakwater structure. All these years I had made up many stories of this boat in my mind as to how the boat got there – pirates, war and the like. We used to do photo shoots in the boat when we were younger and somehow we did  not read the signs about entering the structure – oh well, young and danger loving! This ship was launched in 1884 in the UK and traveled for 5 months to reach Australia. While we were at the Redcliffe Museum I found a model of the boat a model with the history and what a beauty she was.

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When we visited the wreck the other day it was amazing to see how over time the rust of the ship had transformed. I loved to see how the bow of the ship had fallen recently creating a fish head with nature in the form of weeds taking her place inside the mouth of the fish. I loved the shape of the stern as how it looks like a mechanical whale tail splashing out of the water.

Always many trees to climb here by the beach – this shady Pandanus palm is the perfect climbing tree for both the kiddos. And who did I find when we were heading back to the car – a lovely pink hibiscus flower in bloom in winter. Aloha Reddo!

The Rainbow Connection

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I love reconnecting with long lost friends after a long time when we come home. My friend Markus & I used to have such a fun time together going out dancing all night long back in the day. We were reminiscing about the fun times we had together and caught up with what our lives are now – we had not seen each since 2009! The great thing is about good friends is that when you leave and come back the connection is still the same.

We planned for a big day out to the Redcliffe show with my uncle and the kids – as we went in the plan was to track down the farm animals and the one thing I remember from when I was a kid going to the show was the pastel colored chicks! Here are some Frizzle chicks washed with wool mix and dipped in food coloring and then blow dried for extra fluff. Apparently their feathers take ages to dry!

Soon we wandered down to side show alley and found these crazy gangster bananas – who designs these things?!? There were plenty of clown heads and certainly plenty of photo opportunities! The highlight of the day was the pig races with these cute little piggies with sequin outfits on. They were not racing on who was the fastest pig, they had a little obstacle course and the first one to the feed dish is the winner! Of course in Australia you buy some raffle tickets for which pig will be yours and whether you win a meat tray – thank goodness our numbers did not come up!! I am a vegetarian who enjoys fish.

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After our lunch it was time to go on some rides – the Gravitron was there and we were saying it was the original from back in the day, complete with ripped vinyl inside. Thank goodness these days my stomach cannot deal with that centrifugal force, so we gave that one a miss. So we opted to go on the ferris wheel – it was hilarious, as we had to separate as a group to balance out the ride as no one was riding it! So Markus and I hopped in and held on tight making sure not to rock the cage as it went higher and higher. The view was quite lovely up there and we held on tight! There were visions of us going round and round all day and night as the ride operator watched movies on his mobile phone and left us circling. Soon it was all over, we survived and made it back down to earth in one piece.

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Markus commenting that this was higher than he planned to go!

There were lots of fun shopping opportunities though traveling for a couple of months makes sure that we cannot add more to the weight of the luggage. Ash enjoyed himself checking out the hats but the kids ended up with no show bag and found themselves with yet another stuffie – this time an ocelot and a rabbit from Minecraft. Minecraft is a big thing here too with the kiddos!

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Thursday we went on a walk from one beach to another along the shore. It was lovely to take the kids and share with them what we used to do when we were kids growing up by the water. Lots of old Queenslanders are still there but in a state of repair and next to them the apartment developments facing the beach selling for the thousands. Lucky there still is a height limit on buildings in place though it does make me wonder who is buying these apartments – maybe they are vacation rentals, who knows? I still love the big verandahs on the big old Queenslanders, they have such character and inside they are designed to be cool in the summer and great for entertaining. We walked back to the main beach called Sutton’s Beach in Margate and found this great place called Pilpel by the Sea and ordered some takeaway shish kebabs with mediterranean couscous and rice and sat by the water watching the kiddos play. It was perfect as I just love Mediterranean food and it looks like we will be going back for more later in the week when we bid Redcliffe a fond farewell.