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.


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.


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.


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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A Girly Weekend in the Barossa Valley

When our friends, Ashley (aka Otto) and Allen, were planning their trip to visit us there was one event only the boys were on board with- shark cage diving. Travis had been dying to do this since we moved here, but I would never give in (scaredy cat for life). Obviously, he was ecstatic to finally have someone who wanted to go with him. The next thing to decide though was what would us ladies (Leighton included) do while they were on their adventure. The shark cage dive is located in Port Lincoln in the state of South Australia and a short flight out of Adelaide. Guess what else surrounds Adelaide? WINERIES galore!

Our last trip to the South Australia wine country was with my parents when Leighton was still in my tummy, so I jumped at the chance to go back. We all flew down to Adelaide together and did a bit of exploring before parting ways. Adelaide is a great destination for food and drink options. Since Travis used to travel there almost biweekly he had quite a few recommendations for our short trip.

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Australia Zoo and Caloundra Beach

While our friends were visiting earlier this month we decided to take a day trip to see the world famous Australia Zoo. The zoo was originally opened by Steve Irwin’s parents and then became famous with the success of the TV show “The Crocodile Hunter.” Even though we have lived here for almost three years we still hadn’t made it to the zoo.

Australia Zoo is only an hour away from Brisbane, so we left first thing in the morning to beat the crowds (and coordinate the drive with Leighton’s nap time). That worked out well because when we got there the parking lot was pretty bare, but by the time we left it was pretty crowded (and this was on a Wednesday).

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Hobart Expeditions

Well now that we are 5 months out from our Tassie trip it is about time to wrap up the recaps. Our last stop was the capital, Hobart. Last time we didn’t spend too much time there so we were looking forward to having three nights there to close out our trip.

We drove in straight from Wineglass Bay and headed toward the cottage we rented through the site Stayz, we are usually loyal AirBnB users but that site actually had more options and better rates for Hobart. The historic home was SO cute. I totally failed at getting pictures of all the quirky features, so you will have to check out the pics on the listing and bear with this crappy snapchat pic of the outside.

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Wineglass Bay {Tasmania}

Hi friends! I am back in Australia and ready to get back into blogging. I started this post two and a half months ago and finally getting around to finishing it. When I left off we had visited the Bay of Fires and spent the night in Scamander.

The next morning we checked out and headed to a different bay, Wineglass Bay, in the Freycinet National Park. We took the trail up to the top, stopping at a few lookouts on the way.

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Bay of Fires {Tasmania}

When I left off, we were heading out of Launceston towards the east coast. Our first stop at the Bay of Fires was an area called The Gardens. It is by far the most beautiful beach I have ever visited.


It was pretty windy (as you can see by Leighton’s face) so we couldn’t stay too long.









After spending some time at The Gardens our next stop was Binalong Bay where we saw more of the gorgeous orange rocks.



From there we had a late lunch in St. Helens and picked up some groceries for dinner because we knew from experience that Scamander (where we were staying) has little in the dining department. We also picked up two dozen oysters for $1 each from the side of the road. A way better bargain than anywhere in Brisbane and much fresher.

Our apartment in Scamander had everything we needed (even a fake fireplace/heater) and an ocean view.


We did have a little mishap when I went to shower and accidentally flooded the bathroom. The maintenance man that came out (immediately) was so friendly and fell in love with Leighton. When he returned with supplies to clean up the mess he brought her a Finding Nemo stuffed animal.


Just as we were getting settled in a storm blew through, so we got all cozy and enjoyed our oysters and some Tassie wine. The rain passed by quickly and we were left with this gorgeous rainbow.



The next morning we headed out to see another bay, Wineglass Bay but more on that next week…

Linking up with my lovely friends at Wanderful Wednesday: LaurenMarcellaVan and Isabel.



Walks and Wine in Launceston 

Well I didn’t mean to take a full week off of blogging but I started this post last Tuesday and between a baby demanding my attention and subpar internet service I didn’t get around to finishing it until Saturday. #momlife

When I left off last week two weeks ago, we were just leaving Cradle Mountain and heading towards Launceston. We pulled into a rainy Launceston mid afternoon and quickly checked into our Airbnb, which was a loft in a historical building downtown (pictured below). Then we drove around to get our bearings and see the city. We had spent a day there on our last trip but stayed in a different area.

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Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain

The first stop on our journey around Tasmania was Cradle Mountain. We didn’t have time to go there on our trip last year so we made sure to plan a day there on this one.

Once we landed in Hobart we picked up our rental car and headed towards the Promised Land… no really, that was the name of the town our cabin was in. As we started off we passed by beautiful vineyards and orchards. The weather was sunny and perfect so we decided to stop in the most adorable town of Richmond. Travis had read about the town and how it was home to the first Catholic church in Australia.


The town was pretty small so it didn’t take long for us to find the church and check it out. Continue reading