A Taste of Urban Life: Our Favourite Major City Aussie So Far.
Brisbane was meant to be a two-three day stopover, because it would just be another concrete jungle right? Yes and No.
Smaller than Sydney, more spread out than Melbourne and warmer than both, we felt relaxed and interested here, with the variety in stuff to see, from the fake beach, the upmarket South Bank, the shopping mecca of the CBD, and then the eclectic street markets of the west end neighbourhood.
To be fair to Sid and Mel, we gave Brissy a lot more time and attention, thanks to the awesome local residents we stayed with.
We first couch-surfed with a guy called Lam and his several friendly house mates. They had a big airy open house, with a projector in the garden where we played some games and chilled with some beers!
After a few days there we stayed nearer the CBD at the Aussie Way hostel; clean, quiet and refreshingly old-fashioned in its architecture, near a local cinema and shops, we went to see Mad Max (we liked) and bumped into a guy we met two months previously. Make sure you check out HotelsCombined for great accommodation choices in Brisbane.
It's crazy how we will just be walking through a shopping centre or down the street and will just happen upon someone we once knew along the backpacking trail. Its fun to see what directions these peoples experience takes, this guy was now looking for a job in the city and had gotten a girlfriend, separating from the other guys he'd been travelling with.
Plus it makes Australia feel a lot smaller than it is, although its more the case we are all just following the same well-trodden east-coast route!
Buts its nice to think that goodbye isn't always goodbye, being that the nature of friendships over here are that they are short-lived and hard to maintain on the road. But we also made a new friend in Brisbane who we will be coming back to visit without a doubt!
Rachel picked us up when we were hitch-hiking into town, 5 minutes after we had been dropped at the service station by my cousin from Surfers Paradise. She drove us into the outskirts, told us all about Brisbane, got us to the train station, and then we parted ways thinking we might see each other again, we might not, then a few days later we cheekily asked if she'd might let us couch-surf, which she'd never took part in before. But she took a chance on us, gave us a nicely made bed, and basically made her home, our home.
We had the best week thanks to this friendly and interesting person, who took us out and about, to experience the massive and awesome market at West End, made sure we could feed ourselves with some trips to the shops, treated us to dinner, hung out with us, and was just generally a brilliant host!
But it was eventually time to leave, to begin a work exchange at a beach resort in Bargara, some 4 hours north outside Bargara. We had truly bonded with Rach at this point, and it was actually quite a big wrench to say goodbye, back at a service station, the same scenario as when she originally saved the day for us. She made Brisbane much more memorable and we left happy, relaxed and even more content with how friendly and helpful everyone is towards us here in Australia.
On our final day with Rachel she drove us up the coast to Noosa Heads, along the way we stopped at a little mountain called Mt Coolum for a short 2 hour return hike to the top and back. It was an awesome little mountain with views over the town below and far down the coast! But then the weather started to turn and we watched as a massive rain cloud came along the coast and towards the mountain.. Then we ran for cover under the few small trees we could find as it started to pour down on top of us!
Next up we had the task of reaching Bundaberg, thinking we wouldn't likely reach it that day, we spent two hours on a curb edge, clouds rolling overhead threatening to spill at any second, our brows furrowed in boredom.
Amazingly, moments before we considered putting our bags back on our backs, and stomping off down the road-side, in the vain attempt at reaching the next town, a young couple pulled up in a ute. They were going to Bundaberg too! And it turned out they had just returned from 16 months travelling Europe and Canada!
That's another beauty associated with the community of international travelling, seeing how the more people become part of it, the more empathy and altruism develops, meaning all travellers have a bigger pool of helpful and open-minded people to be looked after by.
Getting us all the way to a camp-site in Bargara, as well as stopping via the supermarket, they made our potentially crap Sunday so much better than we imagined it would be!
Now we begin a two week programme of help exchange, where we live in at a beach resort, provide 4.5 hours per day in return for our bed and meals. This isn't the first time we've done work for accommodation but it already seems more attractive a prospect than what we did back in Byron (toilets and maintenance for the cost of pitching our tent).
Wish us luck!
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!