Staying on the Goldcoast for my last month in Australia was pretty special and I will forever have lovely memories of my time there. Mainly because I was able to spend time with four friends that I met back in 2014 in Morocco.
It amazes me that friendships can remain strong, even when so far apart. The fact that a couple from San Franscico (Ken and Joann) happened to be in Australia the same time as me and wanting to meet up with Peace (from the Goldcoast) and Caitlin (from Yass), is pure magic. We just HAD to meet up! It would be rediculous not to, what are the odds!
The Gold Coast is Surfers paradise.
The Gold Coast, Australia is east of Brisbane and full of sun, surf, and sand!
It’s known for its sunny subtropical climate, surfing, beaches, a rainforest hinterland, and wild nightlife.
In recent years much has been done to reverse the reputation it had gained for skyscrapers and bikini-clad parking meter attendants! Simply taking a walk along the foreshore boulevard you’ll find that the locals enjoy the area just as much as the visitors do! Enjoy the regular sporting events and competition hosted on the beach, or browse the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night.
Mount Warning (Wallumbin)
The Mount Warning track is a steep hike to the top of a volcanic plug, and the first place on the Australian mainland to be touched by the morning sun.
The remnant of an ancient shield volcano, Mount Warning stands to the south-west of Brisbane in the Tweed Ranges. A place of cultural and traditional significance to the Bundjalung (Aboriginal) people, the mountain was officially recognised as Wollumbin in 2006.
Wollumbin is considered a sacred men’s site and people are discouraged from climbing the mountain (there’s signage at the start), although very few Web sites mention this and it’s a popular walk.
Peace, James and the kids take me up it and it takes about 4 hours to walk to the top. I wasn’t feeling particularly good that day, I made it to the end of the trail and had to stop and rest at the summit, whilst the others climbed the steepest part to get to the top. Walking back down to the car park took about two hours. I’d suggest taking packed lunch and plenty of fluids, especially in the Aussie heat and avoid during midday sun.
It’s a well-made track; a few sections are a bit rough and there’s sometimes a bit of mud (it looks like it could get pretty muddy in places after heavy rain) and we make good progress. As the mountain gets steeper, the track zig-zags up the hill maintaining a very constant or consistent gradient. There’s occasional views out through the foliage, and there is so much majestic woodland to see!
Hints and Warnings
- It can get cold when you stop – bring some warm clothing.
- There’s a chance you’ll get a leech; you can bring salt, pluck it off with fingers or wait until it falls off!
- Don’t be on the summit (or on the section with chains) if there is a thunderstorm. [Update: a man was killed and his partner injured by lightning on the summit in December 2016. ABC News]
- There is no mobile coverage on the trail.
is a beautiful city about 40 minutes away from the Goldcoast, I really enjoyed visiting here, even though I am not a fan of cities, I liked Brisbane to Bristol here in the UK. It felt artsy, vibrant, with quirky edges.
With flawless weather and incredible natural beauty, Brisbane is a must-see city. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and lush national parks, this Aussie city has it all.
The capital of Queensland, Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia and it is the heart of culture, art, food, and history in northeastern Australia.
Brisbane is sarcastically known by locals as “BrisVegas” because it’s not the most exciting city in Australia. However, there’s still plenty to see and explore here!
Story Bridge: The most iconic site of Brisbane is the historic Story Bridge. If you want a view of the city like no other, this is the place to come.
You can actually climb up this bridge and abseil down if you are feeling brave. There are climbs to do at dawn and dusk that are especially gorgeous.
Bring your camera and get unbeatable views of the cityscape, the Glass House Mountains, and beyond.
The Collective Markets: Stanley Street Plaza at the South Bank is the place to be on Fridays and Saturdays. Come hungry and experience the best local street food, then browse around to find a one of a kind souvenir from local artistans.
Roma Street Parkland: When you need to get off of your feet for a while, head over to Roma Street Parkland. This stunning tropical oasis in the heart of the city was made for picnics and lazy afternoons in the sun.
The Wheel of Brisbane: Another prime spot to get a striking view of the city is from the The Wheel of Brisbane. You can get a 360-degree panoramic vista from 60m (200 feet) above the ground.
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA): The largest gallery of modern art in Australia, this is a must-see for art lovers and a good pick for anyone looking for an engaging rainy day activity. They have different exhibits going on all of the time so it’s always worth checking their calendar.
Bisbane Botanic Gardens: The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha are recognised as Queensland’s premier subtropical botanic gardens. They are a key attraction in the Brisbane City Council Mt Coot-tha precinct.
Founded in 1970 and officially opened in 1976, the 56-hectare gardens open daily. Entry to the gardens is free.
Nimbin and Byron Bay
Both these towns are known for their bohemian community. I was a little underwhelmed with Byron Bay, I feel that once upon a time it had a charm about it, and now it has lost its appeal by becoming too commercial. That being said, I did enjoy many of the quirky shops selling oddities. Nimbin was a little more rough around the edges, feels like it was created by a hippie commune.
discovered by the aboriginals and actually went by the name of Cavvanbah. Cavvanbah translates to ‘The Meeting Place’ and was a place where people united and shared resources, which still holds true today.
Byron Bay and Nimbin are no doubt the hippie epicentres of Australia. People travel from all over (typically in their run down VW campers) to experience the carefree, chilled out, slowed down pace of life these places are known for.
Byron Bay and Nimbin are home to an alternative community, one that rebels against the 9-5 lifestyle and searches for a deeper and purer existence. It’s this very honest and free living nature that attracts unique individuals from all over the world.
Spend your days walking barefoot through the golden sands and side streets and indulge your nights in sunsets, cocktails and phenomenal musicians busking on the streets, incredible street art and multiple boutique shops, yoga classes, retreats and alternative healing centres!
Tucked away in the hills west of Byron Bay, Nimbin was once a sleepy little dairying village in a lush setting of farmland and forest. Today, Nimbin is known the world over as Australia’s most famous hippie destination and alternative lifestyle capital.
Nimbin shot to fame when it hosted the 1973 Aquarius Festival, attracting students, hippies and visionaries from all over Australia. Once the bands left and the dust settled, a few intrepid souls stayed on to live the dreams and ideology of Aquarius and sow the seeds for today’s vibrant, sustainable community.
This internationally famous village is intriguing and quirky with its unique mural streetscape of indigenous, rainforest and psychedelic facades and colourful local characters.
With an amazing array of cafés and shops the village also features fascinating places like Djanbung Permaculture Gardens, Rainbow Power Company and the extraordinary Nimbin Candle Factory.
Cape Byron Light House
Visiting this light house was a lovely pitstop in Brisbane. At at certain time of year it is great for whale watching too. There is a gift shop, seafood restaurant a car park on the grounds which you can walk around and take in the views. When we went, the weather was a bit gloomy however we did spot a pod of dolphins and a baby whale!
Terania Creek and Minyon falls
Minyon Falls lookout offers stunning views of the waterfall and rainforest of Terania Creek. With easy parking, picnic spots and barbecue facilities, it’s a great day trip location for people visiting Byron Bay.
The view from Minyon Falls lookout is the best in the area; not only of the falls themselves, but on a clear day you might be lucky to see all the way out to the coast.
From the lookout, watch the cascades flow over Minyon Falls to a deep palm-shaded gorge roughly 100m below. The tops of the cliffs are forested with Australian eucalypts, like blackbutt and scribbly gum. At the base of the falls is a beautiful natural pool that was made for swimming.
Minyon Falls is a great place for a quick stop, but if you’d like to spend longer at this pretty place, there’s a picnic area with plenty of shady trees, barbecues and picnic tables. There are also a couple of bushwalks and walking nature trails.
My time in Australia was more about relaxing with friends and less about cramming in numerous sites. However the places I did see where very enjoyable. I do believe next time I will make it a proper jam packed adventure! I am yet to visit friends in Canberra and Melbourne so I feel going back is a definite plan for the future, especially since I am already planning to go back to Bali with my partner and in the hope to teach on retreats out there. A flight from Bali to Australia is only about 5 hours so it would make sense to hop from one to the other!