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Weekend getaways from Brisbane

heymikey

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  • Added on: January 11th, 2008
I just found out that my boss is sending me to Brisbane, Australia for work for 3 months starting Feb 4. Are there any suggestions on what sights to see and things to do during the weekends? How far is the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast from Brisbane? Are they accessible without a car (preferably trains)?

By the way, for those of you guys who work in Australia, am I correct to assume that there is no work during Easter (Mar 21 - 24) for office-related jobs? I would like to book my airfare and spend Easter in Sydney. Or, is there a better place to spend 4 days off? I'm more interested in cultural and historical stuff than going to the beach. Yeah, Australia really isn't my top choice for a tourist destination.
"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time" -- Fight Club

Groo

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  • Added on: January 11th, 2008
Sorry that we don't meet your high cultural standards and that you uncaring employer has consigned you to the antipodes. What did you do to offend him or her?

Easter is indeed a four day holiday weekend for office workers and you couldn't do much better than spend it in Sydney.

Gold Coast is easily reached by rail and connecting buses but I am at a loss to understand why someone with such high cultural values would wish to visit there.

Check Queensland National Parks website for National Parks in the Brisbane Area. Suggest the McPherson Ranges for some walking.

There is a cultural precinct on Brisbane's South Bank comprising library, museum, art gallery and theatres, but I am sure that you will find it beneath contempt.

An activity that you may enjoy is the annual Tweed Valley fireweed picking festival, held on a property near the charming village of Uki. If you would like to participate please contact me.

You may find a guidebook useful in planning your visit rather than relying on such wide ranging and general questions as those posed above or is this, perhaps, a troll.

Mim

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  • Added on: January 11th, 2008
Hi Mikey,

Fear not - Mim is back in the loop!

**NB: The following is coloured by my interest in things natural like creatures, landscapes and plants - and my disdain for consumerism.

The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are each about an hour by train either side of Brisbane.

When I first moved here I was expecting the "big country town" - nothing special. I have been pleasantly surprised. While it is by no means a fabulous, crowded metropolis - it is definitely Unique (I mean in a good way). We get a few good shows / concerts and some of the more colourful areas are West End and Fortitude Valley (also known as "The Valley"). Paddington is apparently a Cool area to live, as well as New Farm (I suppose that means I'm not cool).

Easter weekend is a 4-day weekend - revered by all Australians as the best weekend in the year to go camping. If you are looking for something historical or cultural to do for that weekend may I suggest you fly over to the Alice or up to Cairns and get some Aboriginal culture into you. I am ashamed to say that I still haven't been to Alice Springs - I'll get there oneday! The Gold Coast is all glitz and no substance - the fakest place I have ever known. Sunshine Coast is aspiring to arty-farty - but a pretty area especially if you go inland a bit. I am not a fan of Sydney - fast and sleek but not very engaging - except the Gay scene.

Let me know if you want any more questions answered - we have to make sure that you have a great stay!!
Mim
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heymikey

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  • Added on: January 12th, 2008
quote:
Originally posted by Groo:
Sorry that we don't meet your high cultural standards and that you uncaring employer has consigned you to the antipodes. What did you do to offend him or her?

Easter is indeed a four day holiday weekend for office workers and you couldn't do much better than spend it in Sydney.

Gold Coast is easily reached by rail and connecting buses but I am at a loss to understand why someone with such high cultural values would wish to visit there.

Check Queensland National Parks website for National Parks in the Brisbane Area. Suggest the McPherson Ranges for some walking.

There is a cultural precinct on Brisbane's South Bank comprising library, museum, art gallery and theatres, but I am sure that you will find it beneath contempt.

An activity that you may enjoy is the annual Tweed Valley fireweed picking festival, held on a property near the charming village of Uki. If you would like to participate please contact me.

You may find a guidebook useful in planning your visit rather than relying on such wide ranging and general questions as those posed above or is this, perhaps, a troll.

LOL. Sorry mate. I didn't mean to offend anyone especially someone who is really sensitive. For that, I apologize. What I meant was that I usually like to visit countries that have different cultural, historical, and religious backgrounds from Canada (where I live). The more different, the better. This is why the US doesn't appeal to me as a destination either even though it's just close by. Considering Canada and Australia are very similar in a lot of ways (except weather and English accents) and it would feel a lot like home, so what I meant was that it wasn't really my top pick if I were traveling as an independent traveler. It's just a preference.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm really excited to visit your beautiful country again (I was last there 15 years ago when I was a kid). And thanks for the suggestions.

And I'm sorry again for all these "general" questions considering I haven't really given those questions much thought or even looked at a guidebook since I just found out that I'll be going to Australia in the last day or two. So please forgive me for this troll-like behavior.

-----------------------------

Hey Mim, thanks for the Alice Springs and Cairns suggestions. I'm currently looking at cheap airfares through JetStar and Virgin Blue. Any other budget airlines I need to check into as well? Where's the best place to go snorkeling and get certified for scuba diving? I also like to learn how to surf while I'm there. I'd like to check out Byron Bay and Fraser Island as well. Are they within reach from Brisbane? Thanks a lot! I'm really looking forward to visiting Brisbane.
"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time" -- Fight Club

Groo

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2008
so I presume you have no interest in the fire weed picking festival. bugger! how 'bout the lantana destruction crusade? the brown snake adoption league? all worthy causes and well within reach of Brisbane.

You did not, incidentally, offend someone who is "really sensitive". Quite the opposite really!

heymikey

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2008
quote:
Originally posted by Groo:
so I presume you have no interest in the fire weed picking festival. bugger! how 'bout the lantana destruction crusade? the brown snake adoption league? all worthy causes and well within reach of Brisbane.

I'll have to research them first. I have a feeling these festivals don't exist and you're just pulling my leg. LOL. Anyway, thanks for all your suggestions. Keep them coming.

Is Brisbane a walkable city that I wouldn't need a car to get around?
"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time" -- Fight Club

Groo

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2008
OK. How 'bout these.

For three months I'd consider getting a car or a motorcycle. It would make getting around a lot easier.

Byron Bay, a somewhat overcrowded once beautiful and once pleasant backpacker filled town is easily reached by bus from BNE and you'll certainly find surfing schools aplenty there. Consider also Broken head, about 8km south, quiet, visually attractive, good surf, pleasant walks along quiet beaches bordered by littoral rainforest and a good camping area.

The Gold Coast is not all overdevelopment and tourist sleaze. Parts of it can be pleasant, especially the southern and less developed parts around Burleigh Heads (if you go there be sure to eat at the Burleigh Beach Club) and Coolangatta. Just to the south of the Gold Coast are Fingal and Kingscliff. Also worth a look.

Travel down to Murwillumbah in Northern NSW, visit the regional art centre, climb Mt Warning. Maybe travel down there via the Numinbah Valley Natural Bridge and Chillingham. There's an excellent YHA in Murwillumbah and a good campground just below Mt Warning. For this one you'd certainly need a car.

I can also arrange a rural homestay with the hill tribes who live around Nimbin and introduce you to my brother in law who owns an opal mine and will make special deal for you.

Groo

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2008
Brisbane is quite walkable and there is a good public transport system, rail, ferries and buses. I imagine that you'll be seeking accommodation reasonably close to the CBD and not somewhere in outer suburbia and this would make movement easier.
Try this

homeschool

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2008
I was wondering if that homestay in Nimbin and the tour of the OPal mine is available for a mom and 13 year old daughter in April? Can't read a great opportunity like that and not ask? I'll be in your beautiful area APRIL 2008 as the last stop of my RTW with my daughter. Hate to have it be last but we have saved the best for last...don't you think???? sincerely Homeschool

Groo

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2008
Sorry, homeschool, those last two items were in jest, an attempt at parody of two of the more common scams you will meet up with in parts of Asia, the colourful "hilltribes" (who frequently hide their sophistication as the tourists approach) and the tout with a relation in the gemstone business who always offers a "special price" which usually exceeds the going rate by a significant margin.

There are, however, plenty of colourful people in our hills, where alternative cultures prosper. A trip to The Channon markets (second Sunday of the month) or one our other hinterland markets would possibly prove instructive.
And then there's the Nimbin Mardi Grass, but maybe not a good thing for your daughter.

Everything else in my earlier post was quite genuine. Maybe that trip down to Mt Warning and Murwillumbah would be especially appealing to you. You could even combine it with a trip to the Channon Markets or those at Bangalow (4th Sunday), Byron Bay (1st Sunday) or Mullumbimby (3rd Saturday.

My apologies for having misled you.

Two other websites of value, for both you and heymikey are:
NSW National Parks
and
Queensland National Parks.

homeschool

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2008
thanks for getting back and fessing up! no hurt feelings..homeschool

whalewatcher

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  • Added on: January 14th, 2008
If you're at all interested in creatures, consider a weekend trip to Moreton Island where they hand-feed wild dolphins and you may spot dugongs on a boat tour (which I sadly missed).

Brisbane is a beautiful city and a place I really would like to move to one day Smile

Mim

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  • Added on: January 16th, 2008
[/QUOTE]Hey Mim, thanks for the Alice Springs and Cairns suggestions. I'm currently looking at cheap airfares through JetStar and Virgin Blue. Any other budget airlines I need to check into as well? Where's the best place to go snorkeling and get certified for scuba diving? I also like to learn how to surf while I'm there. I'd like to check out Byron Bay and Fraser Island as well. Are they within reach from Brisbane? Thanks a lot! I'm really looking forward to visiting Brisbane.[/QUOTE]

Hi Mikey,
You have discovered the repertiore of cheapie airlines in Oz. It doesn't hurt to check the qantas site though - you may find some surprises.

I used to work on day tour boats out of Cairns - and later on, on a Cruise ship that also sails out of Cairns so underwater savvy in this area is my forte. You can definitely take any day tour to the reef from Cairns - they all offer snorkeling. Don't bother with Green Island - go to one of the reefs or on one of the sailing boat tours to Upolu Cay.

If you only have a 4 day weekend don't bother doing a scuba course - you can do an "Introductory Dive" (also known as Resort Dive) - second dive is cheaper but doesn't leave you much time to snorkel so prioritise what you want to do.

If you manage to wangle yourself a week to go to Cairns, that is definitely the place to go to do a dive course - my avice, as I said above - just rock up and check out the best deals on the day. Prodive is the most expensive (they have pretty boats), Cairns Dive Centre (CDC) and Deep Sea Diver's Den are on a par at the "value" end of the market. I'm sure I've missed one of the main companies - you'll find it. All hotels have brochures.

On to surfing which I know little about...
The Gold and Sunshine Coasts definitely have Surfing lesson businesses. They are only 100km - 200km from Brisbane. I think Byron Bay is about 400km from Brisbane - bit more of a hike but quite do-able. Fraser Island is at the top of the Sunshine Coast. Have a look at the National Parks website about this one as I am not sure how much you can do if you go without a 4WD. There are 4WD bus tours but I have never done it so will not comment.

Otherwise - in Brisbane - maybe we can check out the Pub culture here. I don't "Pub it" very often but for a Bootie I would risk the hangover.

Cheers
Mim
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heymikey

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  • Added on: January 22nd, 2008
Thanks a lot Mim! You've been a really great help. Smile
"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time" -- Fight Club

Chrissy_number1

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  • Added on: February 10th, 2008
Groo, could you please stop giving out false information for your own amusement. It is misleading, not funny and rude. This is a forum to help people with travel tips not insult others intelligence. I also thought the opal mines with a tribal homestay in nimbin sounded interesting and wanted to know more until I read it was a scam you just made up. Not funny. Confused


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