Travel

A Guide to Brisbane, the Gold Coast & Moreton Island

Brisbane

Brisbane with friends

Queensland was the second leg of my Australia trip. I was invited over to Brisbane by some old family friends but when I arrived, it was clear that the invitation was rescinded and so being the bright gal that I am I left pretty much as soon as I got there. Fortunately my saviours Elliot, Will and Tobi (from Sydney) decided to drive to Brisbane when I told them I was going and we had an awesome time.

Brisbane with friends

Things to do in Brisbane

South Bank Parklands – We spent all of Sunday at South Bank. It’s one of the main areas in Brisbane with a variety of restaurants, bars and beautiful gardens. There’s also a market around the area on weekends.

Streets Beach – We had so much fun swimming in the fake beach in the middle of the city. Streets Beach is a kitschy man-made swimming beach located in South Bank and is definitely worth a visit. We really enjoyed spending the day there.

Brisbane Southbank beach

The Wheel of Brisbane – Brisbane’s version of the London Eye, the Wheel of Brisbane is located near the Brisbane River in South Bank and offers views of the city. I didn’t take the ride but I heard it’s quite nice.

Ferris Wheel Brisbane

If you’re in the South Bank area, keep Arch of Flowers and Elephantine sculpture The World Turns. They’re pretty great landmarks to check out in the area.

elephant sculpture Brisbane Arch of Flowers Brisbane

Brisbane City Botanic Gardens – After our day at the beach, we took a drive around the city and ended up at the botanic gardens. It was so calm and serene on the late Sunday afternoon and was the perfect way to wind down.

Nightlife – On Sunday night, after dinner in China Town, we bar-hopped around the area and eventually ended up at Fluffy, a gay-friendly club that’s renowned for its big Sunday parties. We weren’t overly impressed but we hung around for a bit before heading back to our hotel.

Kangaroo Point – When the boys left, I still had a couple of days in Brisbane before heading to Melbourne so I did a bit more sightseeing. One of my favourite places had to be Kangaroo Point. It had the best views of the city, river and Story Bridge.

Brisbane Kangaroo Point

Mount Coot-tha – I didn’t get to Mt Coot-tha but the lookout is supposed to be amazing. It’s 15 minutes from the city by car or by bus so if you do get a chance, check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Museum of Brisbane – While I didn’t have time to go into the Museum, I did manage to walk past it a couple of times at night and it’s a really cool place to hang around in the evenings. There’s not a lot to do in Brisbane in the evenings but I loved walking around the city.

Museum of Brisbane

The CityHopper -I absolutely recommend taking the free ferry along the Brisbane River. The CityHopper stops at North Quay, South Bank 3, Maritime Museum, Thornton Street, Eagle Street Pier, Holman Street, Dockside and Sydney Street terminals.

Queen Street Mall – My go-to place for shopping and food was Queen Street Mall as it was walking distance from my hotel.

Park Regis North Quay BrisbanePark Regis North Quay Brisbane room

Where to stay in Brisbane

When the boys left, I didn’t have a car (unfortunately my driver’s license expired and I didn’t get the new one in time for the trip) so I had to get by with walking and public transport. I booked into the Park Regis North Quay because of its central location and the amazing deal I found on booking.com. The apartment only cost $99 (AUD) a night. I couldn’t believe I got this stunning apartment at such a steal of a price. If you’re planning a trip, I highly recommend staying here.

San Churro macarons San Churro hot chocolate

Where to eat in Brisbane

Green Tea (China Town) – The thing with Brisbane is you’ll be lucky to get food after 9pm. Every restaurant was closed by the time we got out of our hotel to start our night and the only place that would serve us was Green Tea. I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t great food but we were starving and the only other option was McDonalds.

San Churro – After the drama with the now ex family friends, my family were pretty worried when the guys left so my sister (always there to dig me out of a hole) contacted a friend of hers in Brisbane and he met me for a bite to eat (and to report back to my sister that I was ok). He took me to San Churro and boy am I grateful he introduced me to this piece of heaven. They have the most fantastic menu – Spanish hot chocolate in the most delicious favours, ice cream macarons, normal macarons, churros, cakes chocolate and desserts to literally die for.

Surfers Paradise 2Jelly Fish Gold Coast

The Gold Coast – Surfers Paradise

On Monday, the guys and I decided to drive from Brisbane to the Gold Coast despite the crappy weather. We got to Surfers Paradise, about an hour after we left, only to discover that the water is filled with jelly fish. There was no way we were gonna be able to swim so we made the decision to head to Bryon Bay instead. More on that in an upcoming post. The next day the boys drove back to Sydney from Byron Bay but I had to go back to Brisbane as I was flying to Melbourne from there on Friday.

I took a shuttle from Byron Bay to the Gold Coast and stayed the night. It was going to be too late and too long a journey to head all the way back to Brisbane. I spent that evening at Surfers Paradise with a couple of girls I met on the tram. We had dinner and headed to Sin City for ladies night. FYI it’s really easy to get around the Gold Coast on the trams.

The next day, I walked around the shopping district, bought a Seafolly swimsuit at Sunburn, had lunch and decided to make my way to Brisbane.

Surfers Paradise Sunburn Gold Coast

Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise pool Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise

Where to stay at the Gold Coast

Accommodation at the Gold Coast is crazy expensive. With all that jelly fish in the sea, I really don’t know why people go there. Anyways, as I was booking at the last minute, I decided to give the mystery booking on Wotif.com a go and ended up at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise. It set me (meaning my sister) back $200 (AUD) for just one night. I can’t complain though. The room was stunning with its massive beds, big bathtub and balcony with ocean view. The only regret I have is not being able to use the pool the next day thanks to the rain.

Tangalooma Moreton Island

A day trip to Moreton Island

One of the main reasons I didn’t head back to Sydney with the guys was because I had already booked a day trip to Moreton Island from Brisbane and I was really looking forward to it.

I booked the for Tangalooma Dolphin adventure cruise on Thursday, which included a catamaran boat trip to and from Moreton Island, a desert safari tour that included sand tobogganing, free lunch and a wild dolphin feeding experience. At the island, you can also book for snorkelling and other water-based activities.

The boat leaves from Holt Street Wharf, Pinkenba at 7am or 10am and I had to book a bus transfer from Roma Street Station (very close to where I was staying – Park Regis North Quay) to get there for the 10am boat as it’s quite far out from the city and there’s no other way to get there unless you have a car.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great on the day and so when I got there it was raining so I decided to have an early lunch before the day’s activities and opted for the battered prawns and chips, which turned out to be a BIG mistake. For the rest of the day, I suffered from indigestion and heartburn and I’ve never experienced this before so I really thought I was having a heart attack. The paramedics confirmed it was just heartburn but this still ended up ruining my day. I didn’t get to enjoy the desert safari, tobogganing and dolphin feeding thanks to the unbearable pain that didn’t go away with any of the over-the-counter meds I took. I also didn’t get to snorkel or kayak as planned. A real disappointment seeing at the cruise cost $175 (AUD) and the bus transfers cost another $42 (AUD).

Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort boat View of Moreton Island Shipwrecks Moreton Island 4

Overall the week in Queensland was fun but it wasn’t my favourite place and I doubt I’ll be heading back there anytime soon.

Hope this guide/diary was useful. Please feel free to leave me some feedback in the comments section or on social media

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