Club Swizzle!

Just came home from seeing the awesome Club Swizzle at the Brisbane Festival. It was such a good show! Set in a hazy nightclub atmosphere, with a stage functioning as a bar before the show and in the interval, the show consisted of “bits” of performances from various performers. From singers, tap-dancers, contortionists (her performance on top of a turning disco ball was absolutely beautiful by the way), to the Swizzle boys, a group of 4 performing incredible acrobatics -while serving drinks! All very different, but all brilliant as well. Our highlight of the show though was Murray Hill. He was the perfect ringleader for this spectacle: hilarious and cheeky, but in a very warm way. Challenging couples in the audience to make out, calling up a 16-year-old for a pole dance competition (he has done a surprisingly good job!) and just leading through the night without taking himself too seriously.

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Short: Club Swizzle with it’s amazing atmosphere and all it’s endearing characters has created a perfect night, letting the time just fly by.

Brisbane Festival

What an amazing start in the Brisbane Festival Season! We have seen our first show last night and there is a good chance this one might already have been the highlight!

The show called “Fear and Delight” has completely soaked us in from the first moment. A perfect combination of erotic dance and circus performance, live music and comedy it has managed to constantly surprise us with it’s variety and sustained our attention and amazement during the whole 60 minutes.

Looking forward to the upcoming Brisbane Festival shows we are going to see in the next weeks!

More information about the Brisbane Festival!

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Also, look at the amazing dinner we had at Ahmet’s before the show. I must admit, I am a bit biased, as I generally adore Turkish food, but the meal we had there was surprising! Both the Mixed Char-grilled Platter and the Pide were on point. Worth a visit!

Lawn Bowls Sunday Session and Australian Drinking Culture

The weekend, that has just passed, has one more time proved my thesis that Australian’s are insane when it comes to partying. To celebrate Jared’s birthday appropriately we had festivities planned over the full weekend. We started off with a nice dinner with friends at a Mexican Restaurant on Friday, followed by a night out. Then hosted a awesome houseparty on Saturday and ended the bender with a Lawn Bowls Sunday Session.

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For everyone reading this, that is not Australian or has never been to Australia before, this last sentence has probably not made much of a sense. At least that is what I am assuming, thinking back at myself being a backpacker, travelling to this continent for the first time. I had no idea! But fortunately Jared and other people I met all over Australia have been kind and patient enough to introduce me to this cherished cultural heritage of their country.

So let me explain:

A bender is what Australians call the status of being intoxicated for more than one day in a row. They also really like referring back to them at a later time, when they are proudly telling stories like “the 10-day-bender” I once had.

A sunday session is the act of getting together on a Sunday morning or early afternoon to drink even more alcohol, cause Friday and Saturday passed to quickly.

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But even if you can probably detect some irony in my comments, to be honest it’s usually lots of fun. Especially when you are having a sunday session at a Lawn Bowls Club like we had. The sport, which’s objective it is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball  is quite popular here and you find the clubs everywhere. Also it’s usually pretty cheap – at our local Club it’s only 5 $ per person, plus the drinks you purchase at the bar.

Jared’s birthday dinner

It’s Jared’s birthday today and so we went out for dinner with his family. We have been to a excellent restaurant called The Hutch Bistro serving modern European style food. I loved their menu with a big choice of seafood dishes. I decided for the crabmeat tortellini and although the portion could have been a bit bigger, it looked and tasted amazing. Jared ordered a steak and it came out perfectly cooked and in a bigger portion size. Altogether we really enjoyed, both food and atmosphere of the place and had a very nice evening.

A weekend at Byron Bay

For Nina’s last weekend in Australia, I took her on a trip, to show her some nice places down the coast from Brisbane. Our main stop was Byron Bay. It’s a small beach town, which with its laid-back atmosphere, exceptional hippie community and beautiful beaches attracts tourists and backpackers all year long. Also it is just a 2 hours drive from Brisbane, what makes it just perfect as a destination for a short getaway.

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We arrived in Byron late Friday morning, checked in at the hostel and got ourselves some awesome breakfast from a place called Santos Organics. It’s mainly an organic grocery shop, but the in-shop café and juice bar does breakfast and lunch as well. I’ve had their black rice porridge with plum compott, seeds and macadamia mousse and it was absolutely delicious. This is definitely worth a visit when in Byron.

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After Breakfast we had a walk on the beach and did the coastal walk up to the most easterly point of Australia and the Cape Byron Lighthouse. The views from the lighthouse, but also on the walk are amazing and when you are in Byron you should definitely go watch the sunrise or sunset up there. It is breathtakingly beautiful and surely a memory that will last.

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Another thing not to be missed at Byron Bay is its nightlife. Most of the bars in Byron Bay get crowded very early and are playing great live music all through the week. We chose the Beach Hotel to start our night, had some delicious dinner there, followed by a few drinks. As it got later we went to a club called Cheeky Monkeys, which is the place to go for a big night out in Byron Bay. The club is well- known for its great party atmosphere and guests dancing on the tables. And we have not been disappointed: We had a very fun night there.

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Luckily we woke up to awesome weather on Saturday morning and so we got ourselves some snacks and spent the whole day chilling out and tanning at the beach. This was exactly what we needed after last night.

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On our drive home the next day we stopped at Surfers Paradise, the capital of the Gold Coast. It lays halfway between Brisbane and Byron Bay and is absolutely different to Byron. Its Esplanade is very chic, full of skyscrapers, restaurants and cafes. The look of the city kind of reminds you of America. And I really love the Beachfront Markets that take place every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday afternoon. They are located right at the Esplanade, overlooking the beach and there always is a interesting variety of shops. I always find beautiful accessories there and Nina loved the choice of souvenirs.

 

 

 

 

A bike tour through Brisbane

Today we have rented bikes from Brisbane’s public bike sharing CityCycle and I took the girls on a tour to explore the inner city of Brisbane. This is an absolutely perfect possibility to see the city and enjoy great views, as the Brisbane River is flowing through all of the main areas and the bikepaths on its sides are perfectly linking everything together.

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We started our tour at Fortitude Valley this morning and entered the City Reach Boardwalk from there. This path is build directly next to the River and offers you amazing views at the Story Bridge. We had brunch at one of the waterside cafés at Eagle Pier, where the Boardwalk is going past and proceeded to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. From there we took a turn through the city and crossed a bridge over the river, to ride through the South Bank Parklands.

Southbank Beach

After looking at the Rainforest Walk and the Nepalese Peace Pagoda for a bit we gave back our bikes to enjoy the rest of the day tanning at the beach of the South Bank Lagoon.

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

One of the things Nina was looking forward to the most since we have been planning her trip to Australia was to get to see the Koalas and Kangaroos up close. So today, I took the girls to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary,  where visitors can not only watch the animals but get much closer. Lone Pine, which is in fact the worlds first and largest koala sanctuary, shows a large variety of native Australian animals, but my favourite thing about it is that you can go directly in the five acre open-plan reserve and pet and feed the free-roaming kangaroos.UntitledThat truly is a unique experience and a lot of fun! Some of the kangaroos are really small and absolutely cute, then there are some that are just so huge, muscular, and impressive that they can even be a bit daunting at first. But that doesn’t last very long, as they quickly make you realise what friendly animals they actually are. One time we approached a group of very big ones basking in the sun and suddenly they all got up on their hind legs and surrounded us. I have to admit, that I was holding my breath for a second there. But needless to say, in the end they were just interested in the food that we were holding in our hands and even patiently put up with our petting and photo-shooting. That was such a good laugh and probably my favourite moment of the whole day.UntitledBut Lone Pine has much more to offer. The range of animals inhabiting the Sanctuary goes from platypus over wombats, kookaburras, snakes, emus, water monitors to Tasmanian Devils and many more. And the setting, that they are kept in is a delight. Always a bit attentive about the way zoos are holding their animals, Lone Pine has been a pleasant surprise. The site, surrounded by forrest and overlooking the Brisbane River, keeps up a very natural look throughout and many of the generous enclosures aren’t fenced. “The earth is not only for humans” is the stated motto of the sanctuary and I happily believe that.12033463_1060809217276143_114678992_nLone Pine is one of the very few sanctuaries in the world, where visitors are allowed to hold koalas. Strict regulations ensure that each koala is not held for more than thirty minutes a day and they have every fourth day off. So in the end of our visit Nina has taken the chance to cuddle a koala and get her photo taken. For a reasonable price she even got it printed out as a big photo and some postcards.  A great way to send her friends a unique, personal message from her Australia holiday and surely a lovely souvenir for herself when she will be back in Germany soon.12047481_1060809240609474_871329951_n

 

On the drive back from the Lone Pine we stopped for lunch at the Mount Coot- Tha Lookout. It’s the best lookout point in Brisbane and from up there you get the most amazing view over the city and its surroundings. In the distance you can even spot the ocean.

Three girls at mount Cootha

Afterwards we decided to take a look at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens that are located just next to Mount Coot- Tha. We have spent quite a long time there, exploring all the little paths.

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My favourite part was clearly the bamboo forest. I love the sound of bamboo canes in the wind. It is so relaxing and soothing.Bamboo Forrest

Finally! i’ve got my girls back!

Today is a special day. After Jasmin has already come up from Sydney a couple days ago, finally Nina, my best friend from back home in Germany landed in Brisbane last night and I can not even describe how excited I was when we picked her up at the airport. The last time I have seen her was almost one year ago before I left Germany to travel the world. Back then, both of us were thinking that I would be back home by now, but as my plans obviously have changed on the way, she is now visiting me in Australia for the next three weeks. I am so excited!

I have so many things planned for the girls, to make them experience what I love about Australia and my new home city Brisbane. And eventually I will take Nina on a little road trip to show her what my time as a backpacker in Australia was like. So take a look back on the page from time to time as I will be trying to capture and share as much of our activities as I can.

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The photos were taken during our picnic at Kedron Brook this morning. We had selfmade banana pancakes with blueberry and strawberry compott and macadamia mousse. It was delicious!

 

Splendour in the Grass!