Exploring Brisbane, My Favorite Large City

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Leaving Mackay and the man I would soon marry wasn’t easy, however beginning a dream job and exploring the world a bit more wasn’t the worst thing to be walking towards. I excitedly hopped back onto a plane and headed south to Brisbane, the city of sunny weather. Some of the best things Australia has to offer are in and around this sizeable city. If anyone were to ask me which large city in Australia they should spend their time in, and I’ve been to both Sydney and Brisbane several times, I would tell them hands down, Brisbane.

Brisbane has a warmer climate and all around, more sunshine than its akin city, Sydney. With so many options to exercise and keep those endorphins flowing, this urban area exudes an outdoorsy vibe. I chose to stay in Kangaroo Point, which is just over the river, outside the city center. My mornings often started with me stepping outside my door and jogging along the beautiful foot path that paralleled the Brisbane river and led to the walking bridge that brings into the city center. No other large city I’ve been to has had this kind of accommodation to access its central business district. Every morning, local folks, in their business attire, would walk out of their homes just outside the city center, wearing their sneakers and backpacks, and walk along these well-groomed sidewalks, to work. These footpaths connect residential areas just outside the CBD, and lead them over a large beautifully built bridge that stretches across the river and was built solely for those on foot. Along these footpaths there are rock-climbing walls and exercise stations with well-kept equipment. Once over the bridge, there are a mass number of restaurants, shopping malls, and my favorite, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, with an entrance lit up with twinkle lights at The Domain. This city makes living a healthy lifestyle easy and enjoyable.

The free city hopper ferry is another advantage Brisbane has over so many other cities. With several stops along the Brisbane River, it makes sightseeing all over Brisbane easy and affordable. For my foodie and shopper friends, Fortitude Valley is a must visit location if you are even remotely near Brisbane. It holds some of this region’s top restaurants and choice apparel, accessories, and homewares shops. I strolled this district more than once. With greenery winding through trellised ceilings and walls, and large open air windows perfect for people watching and enjoying the breeze, The Chow House was my go-to, affordable restaurant.

Just south of Brisbane lies the well-known Gold Coast. With lots of large built up areas just across the street from beautiful but very crowded beaches and tons of fast fashion shopping, this place attracts those who want to be seen and enjoy being a part of the crowd. I decided to keep driving and spent a bit of time in Burleigh Heads, a city with a bit more of a quaint, family charm. Soon I was off to my next destination, the notable Byron Bay. With a few days to spend in Byron Bay, I was able to do a bit of hiking and lots of strolling the town and beaches. Byron has an eclectic vibe and is filled with healthy eating options and some eco-friendly, sustainable clothing brand shops. The beaches are filled with surfers from all over and the waters are warm and inviting. Though this area is a bit crowded, and I can see why it attracts those from all over. There are many beaches to choose from tucked away in this beach-lover destination.

Brisbane and its surrounding areas is worth a stand-alone vacation. Now taking a car north of Brisbane to Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast, to begin my new job training. Noosa, in itself is an astonishing place and one location I loved so much we’d soon call it home. But first, after job training, with no long-term visa in hand for Australia, I would head back to another place I love and have made long standing friendships, New Zealand.

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