Byron Bay for the Day

Last weekend was a long weekend because of the Australia Day holiday on Friday. We didn’t do much for Australia Day, so once Saturday rolled around we decided to hit the road and hang out in Byron Bay for the day.

We hit the road by 8am that morning and were in Byron by 10 (which is actually 11 their time, since we crossed the New South Wales border). This worked out well since Leighton could take a little snooze on the way. It was already so hot outside, we immediately found street parking and headed straight to the beach.

It was very sunny and hot out that day, so we made sure to set up our little beach tent for shade and lather on the sunscreen.

We played in the waves (not the sand because Leighton thinks it’s “yucky”) and walked along the beach looking for rocks. After a quick snack and smoothie break in the tent, we were back out jumping in the waves.

After we had enough, we walked around a bit through the cute town center. Byron Bay is such a unique and fun place to visit. You will never be bored people watching either, there are folks from all walks of life and someone always wanting to read your palm or tell you your fortune. It started to sprinkle a bit as we walked but the dark clouds quickly passed by.

When we couldn’t decide on a place to eat lunch, we chose to move on to the next stop on the itinerary, The Farm at Byron Bay, and eat there.

We had been hearing about The Farm for a while now, but hadn’t made it out there yet. Luckily, it was right on the way out of town so the perfect place to go before we headed home. The Farm is a working farm that also houses a restaurant, bakery, produce store and flower shop. So you get to see the animals and produce that they sell and serve. It’s supposed to be a learning experience as well as a culinary one.

Unfortunately since we were arriving a bit late for lunch (2pm) they were closing down the restaurant, Three Blue Ducks, for a private event so we couldn’t eat off of their menu. The bakery and BBQ stand were still open though, so we grabbed a sandwich and a bbq lamb wrap to share between us. The grounds are so pretty and we found a picnic table overlooking the fields to post up at. There were people all around picnicking in the grass.

After eating we strolled around and looked at the flowers and the animals. Leighton was very excited to see this sheep and ran up to him excitedly. When she did, his cow friend got a bit protective and let out the loudest moo and scared her half to death. I felt bad for her, but it was absolutely hilarious at the time.

The sun was getting a bit intense at this point and I realized I was getting a sunburn on my feet, which is never fun, so we decided to head for the shade. We scoped out the produce shop and I headed back to the bakery in hopes of getting one of their homemade donuts to take home. Unfortunately they were sold out, but I picked up a scrumptious pan au chocolat I enjoyed later.

With full tummies and sun kissed skin we headed back to Brisbane. Leighton and I both took nice long naps while Trav drove the hour and forty five minute commute. It’s safe to say we will be back, Byron.

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The Best Place to Live in Australia

Hi friends! I have a special guest over on the blog today, Rachel from A Nesting Nomad. We have both been working on a project with Currency Fair, but I will let Rachel share more about that… 
When I met Courtney back in July, we had so much to talk about. Despite following each others blogs for years (!!), as a new expat I had so many questions for her about what it was like to live in Australia, and Brisbane specifically – and why she moved here in the first place. What can I say, I’m nosy and I love a good relocation story.
A great opportunity arose recently for both Courtney and I to share our stories with Currency Fair, giving the reasons for picking our particular neighbourhoods within our respective cities. But today, we thought we’d continue the share-fest and tell you what we love about our cities. So here is why I think Sydney is the best place to live in Australia, and if you hop on over to my blog, Courtney will be making the case for Brisbane.
The harbour
Of course I’m going with the big ticket item first. It’s what most people know Sydney for – that big blue gem right in the middle of the city. There’s nothing like rounding the corner onto Circular Quay and seeing the Harbour Bridge and Opera House just sat there, facing each other across the water. Or going for a stroll in a nondescript suburb and coming across a sheltered beach with a killer view and not a soul in sight. It links the city from East to West, North to South; everyone loves the harbour and I don’t care what you say – as long as I live here I will never fail to go “oooooh” whenever I catch sight of it.

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Australia’s Nature Must Sees

Hi friends! I have a special guest on the blog today. Alex is a blogger who wanted to share an Aussie’s point of view on the best places down under to tick off your bucket list. I have only been to one of these, but the others have been on our list for ages and we need to get to them! Hope you enjoy :).

After years of consideration, tossing up the amount of time and effort it would take to get to Australia, the great land down under, you finally made it with some cheap flight deals! What’s the point of travelling all the way to land in another metropolitan city you ask? Well, Australia is so much more than just the hustle and bustle of the major cities. Of course the cities are stunning, feature beautiful architecture and cultural icons, but Australia’s crowning jewel is the natural environment. If you really want to see what Australia has to offer, I suggest you get out of the cities and check out some of my favourite places in Australia. Continue reading

Perling Falls {Springbrook National Park}

I mentioned here that we had taken a day trip to Springbrook National Park while we were entertaining family, but I wanted to share more about our day.

Travis and I had visited Springbrook and done the Perling Falls hike back when I was quite pregnant. As pretty as it was, the falls were a mere trickle while we were there. Since it was the same time of year I was worried that we would have the same fate.

So, I did what any other millennial traveler would do and I searched the Instagram hashtag and geo tag for recent photos hoping to see any pics from the past few days. Every picture I saw (and I was careful to read captions to make sure they weren’t throwback pics) looked like the falls were flowing nicely, so we took off first thing that morning.

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Weekending in the Granite Belt 

Last week was a doozy. Poor Leighton battled a double ear infection and we spent lots of time at home. When Saturday came around we were all ready to get out of the house. So at 8am when Travis suggested getting out of town and heading to the country, we were packed and on the road within an hour.

Ever since I visited the Granite Belt region back in 2015 with some girlfriends, it’s been one of my favourite places to escape to for the weekend. While we were on the way we called up the Peter Allen Motor Inn where we had stayed the last two visits and luckily they had a room available for the night. As we always do with car trips we made sure Leighton was in the car at nap time, and luckily she didn’t make a peep the entire three hour drive.

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A Day in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

It is no secret that Travis and I love a good weekend adventure. Since having Leighton our international (and even domestic) trips have reduced drastically, so we love to take advantage of what is around us in Queensland.

One area that had been on our list to check our forever was the Sunshine Coast hinterland (hinterland = remote area away from the coast), more specifically the towns of Maleny and Montville. I had always heard that they were adorable little mountain towns with stunning views. For some reason it took us almost three years to visit, but a few weeks ago we finally made it.

We left the house early so that Leighton could take her nap during the hour and a half drive. The town of Mapleton was first on our destination list and checking out Mapleton Falls was the goal. Luckily, we got to Mapleton Falls National Park just in time to snag a parking spot before it quickly filled up.

It was a short circuit, so Travis carried Leighton. She really liked looking at all the leaves and the seriously tall trees.

At the end of the circuit we stopped at a viewing deck to check out the stunning mountain vista. Leighton mostly just wanted to stand on her own and look at everything.

We stopped at the viewing deck for the waterfall, but since we haven’t had much rain lately it wasn’t very exciting. I would love to go back when it is really flowing because it is quite large.

Photo from here. I couldn’t get nearly as good of a shot.

The circuit wasn’t long (1.2K), but perfect for kids or anyone just wanting to take a short but scenic walk.

After our walk, we drove to the town of Montville. One my favorite places to take visitors to Mount Tamborine because it is really scenic and has lots of cute shops. Montville reminded me a lot of the main strip there only I thought it was way cuter and less touristy. There were so many cute cafes and restaurants, along with antique and gift shops.

My favorite shop (of course) was Chocolate Country. It was hard to choose which chocolates to try because everything was so yummy looking.

We picked up a few truffles and a chocolate frog (Travis’ only request) and headed to find a spot for lunch.

There were quite a few places to choose from, but we decided on wild rocket @ Misty’s. The sign advertised a tapas menu and a micro brewery, which coincidentally are two of our favorite things. They also had live music in the courtyard which Leighton enjoyed as well. The atmosphere and food were both great. It was the perfect way to unwind after our busy morning.

We saw that there was a winery nearby so we decided to check it out. Flame Hill was pretty busy when we got there and so we waited a bit before trying a few wines. There was a fee for trying even a few wines, which is uncommon around here. Leighton was beginning to get tired, so we quickly did a short tasting and bought a bottle. Flame Hill also has accommodation and a restaurant, which was very busy. My favorite part was this cute porch off of the tasting room.

Leighton quickly fell asleep in the car, but I had one more stop I wanted to make- Maleny Cheese.

Cheese is my favorite, so I knew I had to check out the cheese shop in Maleny. I had to run in quickly since Travis was waiting in the car with a sleeping baby (and sleeping babies don’t like to be stationary long), so I didn’t take any pictures. A gouda and a port flavored cheddar made their way home with me (and were divine). I would love to go back and enjoy one of their cheese platters, like the ones I stalked on instagram.

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After my purchase we headed back home to Brisbane. Hiking, shopping, wine, chocolate and cheese make for a day well spent. We always knew we loved the beaches on the Sunshine Coast, but now we have a whole new appreciation for our northern neighbor. We can’t wait to show it off to some of our upcoming visitors (all 7 of them!!).

As usual, linking up with my girls LaurenMarcellaVan and Isabel at Wanderful Wednesday.

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Lake McKenzie and a Misadventure {Fraser Island}

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Welcome to part 2 of my recap of our trip to Fraser Island (part 1 here).

When we decided to go to Fraser there was one place we knew we wanted to see, the stunning Lake McKenzie. The lake is in the middle of the island and is surrounded by white, silica (sand) so it looks like a beach. It is a perched lake meaning it is only rainwater and doesn’t feed into streams or flow into the ocean. The varying depths cause the water to be such beautiful blue and green hues that look like stripes.

We woke up Saturday morning and got ready to go to the lake. But first we had our first hiccup of the day which was me accidently ordering Travis a cold coffee. Whoops.

Even though it wasn’t a very far distance it took 45 minutes to Lake McKenzie on the bumpy dirt paths. Luckily we got there pretty early and almost had the place to ourselves. I wish that we would have gotten more pictures, but going along with the theme of the day, the camera battery died and someone (me) forgot to charge the backup battery. Whoops again.

Both Travis and I were pretty amazed at how beautiful the lake was. He commented that it was one of the few places that actually lived up to the pictures. I would rank Lake McKenzie up there with Whitehaven Beach as one of the most breathtaking places I have been. It just did not even look real.

After we splashed around in the water for a bit, the backpacker tour buses began to show up and it got more crowded. We got to see a lot of very staged Insta photos being taken. One group literally spent their entire time trying to get the perfect picture and one of the guys even asked me to move out of his shot once because I was ruining his super natural photo of him lounging in the sand in his speedo. They also were literally yelling at each other of these photos. People like that make me want to get rid of social media, but I won’t because just like them I am addicted.

After a while the clouds started to darken and pretty soon we were taking cover up by the bathrooms as the rain passed.

Luckily it was only a quick shower and then we were back in the sunshine.

Leighton loved splashing around in the clear water and didn’t mind the cool temps as they were warmer than the ocean water she was in the day before.

A couple more showers passed in between the sunshine before we decided to pack up and find a spot for lunch. You aren’t allowed to bring any food or drinks on Lake McKenzie because of the dingos, but there is a gated picnic area by the car park.

When we got to the car we realized we wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon, because it wouldn’t start. Several very nice people in the car park tried their hand at it but no one could quite figure out the problem. Fraser Island has very limited cell phone service so Travis had to find just the right spot to get one bar to call the road side assistance company. They didn’t have anything set up on the island, so they gave him the number to the tow truck company near our resort.

Since we knew it would be a while until the tow truck arrived we decided to go ahead and have our lunch. That’s when we realized we forgot the bread for the sandwiches at the hotel (that one wasn’t me). It was clearly just one of those days. One positive was how helpful everyone around us was. So many people came over and tried to help fix the car or figure out what was wrong. Several people came by and asked if there was anything Leighton needed since they could tell we were stuck. Gotta love Queenslanders!

Right before the tow truck arrived Leighton passed out (it was her nap time) and even stayed asleep for the first part of the ride bouncing around in the front seat of the monstrous vehicle. The tow truck driver said “when they called and said their was a baby with you I was like far out, this truck is a bumpy ride!” So yeah, super safe and definitely one for the baby book.

Once we were back at the hotel Travis and the mechanic messed with the car some more with no luck. We were already booked on a ferry the next morning but the tow company uses a different port to get to their shop in Rainbow Beach. Lots of google searches and phone calls to the truck’s owner (who was on the other side of the country for work) later we realized we were probably going to be leaving the island in the same tow truck and having to rely on people to give us a ride the 4 hour drive back to Brisbane. Not ideal.

We were all so worn out from the stress all three of us went to bed early without dinner. We were planning on trying out the onsite restaurant that night, so I can’t give you feedback on the food sorry! Also, Leighton peed on Travis (a lot) when he was getting her ready for a bath. Because how could that not happen on a day like that.

The next morning Travis woke up and decided to give it one more go and miraculously it started running! He gave it a few more test drives before we called the tow company to tell them we didn’t need them anymore. We were pretty nervous that we wouldn’t make it all the way home but luckily they let us keep the car running on the ferry and we didn’t shut it off until Brisbane.

It was a long drive home because poor Leighton got carsick for the first time on the way to the ferry so our car smelled like vomit, and she was pretty unhappy about being strapped in her car seat ( I don’t blame her). I don’t think we have ever been so excited to see our little apartment building. After all of that stress, there was only one way to end the weekend…

some wine and an early dinner not cooked by us.

Luckily we had such a great trip up until the car trouble that we couldn’t help but laugh at the series of unfortunate events. It seems we always have some sort of misadventure when we travel so it was only fitting that something would happen on this trip.

As usual, linking up with my girls LaurenMarcellaVan and Isabel at Wanderful Wednesday.

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75 Mile Beach {Fraser Island}

One place that has been on our Australia bucket list since we moved here is Fraser Island. It’s the largest of the four sand islands in our state and actually the largest sand island in the world.

We finally booked in a trip the weekend after Easter. You have to have a 4 wheel drive on the island because there are no proper roads just muddy off roading and beach driving. Luckily Trav’s co-worker offered to let us borrow his for the weekend because they are not too cheap to rent.

Our ferry left at 10am so we had to wake up at the crack of dawn and head out the door. Luckily Leighton went straight back to sleep in the car until we stopped for a quick breakfast. From there we drove on the ferry and then hung out upstairs.

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