Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder? The lyrics from the well-known Land Down Under by Men At Work is immediately filling my head as I type up this post.
To make a long story short, my family is spread out all over the world and I’m consistently having to plan my vacations around visiting one or two of them. I know, I know...first world problems. Recently, I traveled to Australia for my beautiful sister’s wedding. Charlie and I spent a little over two weeks enjoying wedding festivities, hanging pool side, swimming in the ocean, and soaking up the wonders of the Gold Coast. If we could, we would have taken a month or two off to truly see the vast beauty Australia has to offer. Two weeks isn’t enough but we did manage to fit a lot in.
A quick flight to Vancouver, drink(s) at the airport bar (possibly a couple orders of fries) and off to Brisbane we went (14.40 hours later!). Thankfully, we booked an evening flight so after a few too many glasses of wine in Vancouver I comfortably passed out in my seat (side note: Air Canada preferred seating is the way to go on a long haul flight like this one).
After we arrived, we spent a lot of time at the Australia Markets and at Noosa Beach. Noosa Beach is quite possibly my favorite spot to visit in Australia thus far! Not to mention, it's where you’ll find the best restaurant with the most incredible calamari - Bistro Café. The elegant beach vibe decor sets the mood...the smell of the ocean breeze, the sun hitting your face, a beautiful glass of rosé in hand as you soak up the view...it truly doesn’t get any better. If you tend to over indulge as I do, you can take a lovely walk around the area around or go for a hike on one of their many marked trails and find yourself on your own private beach. Hello no tan lines!
Although we spent a fair bit of time in Noosa, we managed to fly to Sydney for a mini-vacation within our vacation, this time just Charlie and I. We felt a little like Anthony Bourdain, winging a “layover” as we packed in as much as possible within 24-48 hours. Thankfully we had closer to 48 hours to explore the city. We cabbed to Bondi Beach, took the Fast Ferry to Manly Beach with a bottle of champagne, toured the Royal Botanical Gardens, snapped some touristy photos of the Sydney Opera House, grabbed cocktails with a view at the effortlessly chic Glenmore Hotel, and dined at mouth-watering Tapavino. Although our trip was short, I highly recommend getting lost over at Manly Beach and finding those sweet spots, the lookouts with the most incredible view! After running around before our flight, I welcomed the spa amenities at our hotel before takeoff. A big thank you to the Four Seasons Hotel for a wonderful stay.
Brisbane was busy. We stayed at my sister and brother in-law's beautiful home, snuggling my nephew, Calvi (he’s a fur baby nephew). We had loads of fun finding amazing bars and restaurants, spending evenings with family and friends, and finally enjoying the most charming and lovely wedding I’ve been to in years. If you’re in Brisbane, be sure to stop at Canvas Cocktail. Their cocktails will make your head turn and probably spin at some point. Each with it’s specific glassware, flare and wild additions - the flaming tiki cup is brilliant. I’m a Negroni lover…and in my personal opinion, theirs is the bees knees. It would be a shame if you didn’t pay them a visit.
After a few days of wedding madness, it was time for some serious rest and relaxation. Surfers Paradise, you’re up! The name says it all, total paradise. Poolside at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Gold Coast was heavenly and what we all needed (thanks to my parents for spoiling us with this little getaway!). Cocktails at the swim up bar, dinner at Omeros by the marina (I have to go whenever I’m in Australia), outdoor shopping, locating amazing Pho, playing in the ocean waves, it was simply divine.
Last but not least, the Australia Zoo. We watched koalas for over 20 minutes, fed kangaroos, took endless photos of the giraffe and zebras, and walked the grounds from one end to the other. The weather was a bit sad that day but thankfully the zoo was a bit more quiet. I didn’t mind. It was just us and no lineups to boot!
If you only have two weeks of vacation and wonder if it’s worth the trek to Australia, it absolutely is. A lot can be done in so little time. I didn’t even come close to covering everything we did!