Brisbane, the third largest city in Australia and the capital of the state of Queensland, was my last destination on my one-month trip to Australia. Brisbane is a city that I’ve wanted to visit for ages, mainly because of my love for Black Milk Clothing. In order to explore as much as possible in and around the city, I chose to spend an entire week there.

When I travelled to Faroe Islands in March 2015, I met four people on the ferry, who later became my friends and travel buddies. Among them were Elien from Belgium and Liam from Australia, who are engaged and dedicated to chasing solar eclipses all around the World together. They were in the Faroe Islands to see the solar eclipse, just like I was. When they found out that I was going to Brisbane, they invited me to stay at Liam’s parents’ house in Shailer Park, Logan City, where Elien and Liam are living at the moment.

I was so excited to see them again and I was thrilled that his parents let me stay there for that long. They are such a lovely family and I immediately felt at home. To give you one good example of just how considerate and caring they are, the family went vegetarian for the week, just because I was there! I also quickly became buddies with their lovely – and constantly hungry – dog, Princess. She is the funniest thing ever! She didn’t go vegetarian though, as she was too hungry to refuse those chicken legs 😉

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Christmas time in my new home
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Their backyard – major envy!

Elien and Liam love travelling themselves and had dedicated their time that week to show me around Brisbane and the surrounding areas. I feel so lucky to have friends like them – and because of them, I have seen so much more than the normal traveller would.

On the evening of my arrival, Elien and Liam took me to Cornubia Forest Nature Refuge, a protected nature conservation area with many good bushwalking and mountainbiking tracks. We actually ended up walking a mountainbiking track, where we saw many tropical birds that are native to Australia and, something that I found very interesting, burnt out trees from former bushfires. To me, it was scary to see, but apparantly the trees have actually evolved to rely on the bushfires in order to reproduce.

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During the night, there was a massive storm (I call it massive, but it was pretty standard for the Aussies). The sky was completely grey and the thunder and lightening just would not stop! At one point, I felt like I could feel the electricity from the lightning in my finger, as I was holding it against the wall, but then suddenly pulled it away. I was fine afterwards, but I’m sure it must’ve entered my finger somehow. That was pretty scary and we all ran in afterwards!

I don’t even know why I stood outside in the first place; I guess I was just fascinated. We get thunderstorms in Denmark, but nothing like this one – this one was just plain scary! It was kind of cool to experience a tropical storm though!

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The next few days were full of adventure, as we headed South to Byron Bay and Springbrook National Park. Read about the first day in Byron Bay on my previous post.

Springbrook National Park is located in the Gold Coast hinterland about 100 km. from Brisbane. As Liam had work that day, we waited for him to finish before going there, so since we didn’t have much time to explore, they decided to show me some of their favourite sights.

They showed me some of the most beautiful lookouts in the area; the first one being Purling Brook Falls, a beautiful horsetail waterfall. From the lookout, we could see people in the forest far beneath us having lunch. We tried shouting to them, but they couldn’t hear us.

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The next lookout we went to was one that is called Best of All Lookout. Unfortunately, the name was a bit of a joke, as thick clouds decided to enter the area just as we got there. I didn’t get to see much, but I could imagine just how beautiful the view would be in good weather.

On the 350 m. walkway to the lookout, we passed some fairytalelike trees called Antarctic Beech Trees (or Lophozonia Moorei), which are Gondwana relicts of the rainforests in the southern hemisphere and only exist in wet areas with high altitude in eastern Australia. Unlike most other Australian trees, Antarctic Beech Trees are slow to recover from fire, so they are only found in fire-free areas.

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As the sun was now starting to set, we decided to head to our last destination that day, Natural Bridge, a naturally formed rock arch over Cave Creek, which is home to a colony of glow worms.

The best time of day to go to the Natural Bridge is in the dark hours, as you get to see the beautiful glow worms light up like stars in the cave. I can’t recall ever seeing anything so beautiful. It looks like such a peaceful life, being a glow worm.

Unfortunately, glow worms are really hard to photograph and I couldn’t figure out my camera settings (why do I always wait until the last minute?), so I only got this half-crappy photo, which doesn’t do them justice at all. Really, all that would do them justice, is to go and see them for yourself!

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While we were walking back to the car from the cave, Elien jumped as a Python snake lifted up his head right beneath her feet. She almost stood on him and it was a miracle that Liam or I hadn’t stood on him sooner, as it was completely pitch black.

I was really excited to see my first snake in Australia, but it wasn’t the last one! We saw another TWO SNAKES on the roads and had to stop to wait for them to get over first lol. I didn’t think I’d get lucky enough to see any snakes in Australia, but I ended up seeing three! You can imagine, how excited I was 😉

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Since Liam’s family lives in Logan, which is about 50 km. from Brisbane, we didn’t go to Brisbane often. We chose to do all the sightseeing in one day and I went on my own to the Black Milk party another day.

There is a lot to see and do in Brisbane and one day is not enough for all of it, but they managed to show me all the highlights on a walking tour through the city. We took a scenic ride on the public ferry from West End to Teneriffe in Newstead, from where we walked to Black Milk’s headquarters and got there just before the Concept Store closed. I wanted to see it before the party, so I knew where to go for the sample sale. There was a lovely employee, who showed us around the shop and told us all about Black Milk. I think it was interesting for Elien and Liam to see that other people go crazy about Black Milk too – it’s not just me!

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From Black Milk HQ, we walked through the lively Fortitude Valley and the atmospheric Chinatown to the CBD (downtown), where we saw one of the main shopping streets covered in Christmas lights; Brisbane City Hall, which looked like a smaller yet prettier version of Big Ben; St. John’s Cathedral, a medieval gothic revival cathedral, which was built in 1901; the Shrine of Remembrance monument, which is a war memorial with an eternal flame dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps; and the Wheel of Brisbane, which is a 60 metres tall ferris wheel.

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Fortitude Valley
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Chinatown
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Christmas in the shopping street
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The City Hall – Or Small Ben 😉

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St. John’s Cathedral
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Shrine of Remembrance
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Wheel of Brisbane

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We then walked back to the car and drove to Kangaroo Point Cliffs for a great view of Brisbane’s skyline, before going back to Logan.

Although I didn’t spend long in the actual city, I feel like I saw the most important sights and the next time I go, I’ll be able to really get to know and feel the city. I know that I’ll come back to Brisbane, as it’s just too awesome to leave alone. In my opinion, it’s up there with Melbourne and Sydney!

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On one of the last days, Liam and Elien took me to Mt. Cootha, where the view is absolutely spectacular. You can see all of Brisbane and the suburbs from the mountain and there’s even a café (with decent priced food!) that has the most fantastic view. We chose to have lunch there, while looking out at Brisbane in the distant. That was a great way to end my Brisbane adventure.

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With vegemite, Australian coffee (which is said to be the best in the world), Tim Tams and other Australian specialties packed away as gifts for my family that waited for me to return in Denmark, I said goodbye to the family that I had come to adore so much and headed to the airport.

Ahead of me, I had four flights; from Brisbane to Melbourne, from Melbourne to Beijing, from Beijing to Frankfurt and finally, from Frankfurt to Copenhagen, where I stayed with my friend Mads, before travelling home the next day. Another adventure had ended, my first trip to Australia had ended, but my dreaming about the adventures that await had just begun.

Having a home base in Brisbane and spending time with a loving family was just what I needed after three weeks on the road. It was like being back home in Denmark, despite being on the opposite side of the planet; There, I could relax and be myself. I miss them all very much now, but I know that I’ll see them all again someday. The next time I see Elien and Liam will be in Indonesia, for the next solar eclipse in March 2016. I can’t wait!

Don’t forget to follow Elien’s and Liam’s amazing blog: Follow the Sun!

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9 thoughts on “My Last Week: Brisbane and Beyond”

      1. Oh, Melissa, everywhere you’ve already been 🙂 I want to see the world like you and one day, not too far, I’ll do it. I’ve already been with my father in 7 or 8 countries, but only for 5-6 days. It was beautiful, but I want more 🙂 I’d like to join you but I’m only 16 and I am not allowed. Maybe 2 years from now 🙂

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