The End Of The Tunnel

Yesterday we were telling you how easy it was to have access to a "private" beach. It is still necessary to find it because the ocean is not always visible from the road. But that is not really difficult. You just need to know where to look. Often the shore of the Sunshine Coast is protected. Therefore the beach access consists of a few hundred metres path zigzagging through a nature reserve.

Let us know which beach on the Sunshine Coast is your favourite in the comments below!

Pristine Solitude On The Sunshine Coast Beaches

Having access to a "private" beach is a dream easily accessible in Australia. And when we say "private", we are not referring to the crowded Mediterranean beaches for which you have to pay to access. Indeed we mean a beach where you feel alone in the world, almost (except on a few dog friendly beaches). It is very easy to have access to this privilege no matter where you are in Australia. On the Sunshine Coast, between Noosa and Caloundra, the beaches stretch out of sight. If you are really missing the crowd, you can always opt for the Gold Coast, two hours south.

What do you think? Do you prefer a crowded beach or a more private beach? What is your favourite beach of the Sunshine Coast? Let us know in the comments below!

Vineyard Delight On The Sunshine Coast

We were watching Sideways (a "wine movie" we recommend!) which gave us the idea to ​​explore the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. Montville is a picturesque village, a popular stop for people from Brisbane who are only an hour drive away. Along with accommodation, there are many things to see and do in the area like galleries, restaurants, some vineyards with wine tasting (photo) and cheese factories. In short, a great relaxing place if you want to enjoy life and spend your holidays (or just a day) away from the resorts of the coast in a foodie's paradise.

What do you think? Have you been to "The Soul" of the Sunshine Coast? Which is your favourite wine region in Australia? What is your favourite Australian wine? Let us know in the comments below (and drink responsibly)!

Angourie Pools

Rain and bad weather on the Sunshine Coast are beginning to play on our inspiration. So before the start of our road trip around Australia we have decided to publish photos of places visited in recent weeks. The Blue Pool (photo) and Green Pool are not to be missed attractions in Angourie. Legend goes that these freshwater swimming holes were created when the miners of old quarries reached groundwater sources. They would then have found their quarry filled with water when they returned to work the next morning. The pools are within 20 metres of the ocean. They are an excellent alternative to the beach especially in hot weather.

What do you think? Have you ever been there before? Are there any pools you would recommend on East Coast Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

Does It Rain On The Sunshine Coast?

Apparently the Sunshine Coast is one of the sunniest regions in the world. Lonely Planet speaks about more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Well, obviously we landed here in the remaining 65. In fact it seems that Queensland has recorded heavy rainfall in January and February over the last few years which caused recent floods. For your safety, you may want to have a look at general flood information delivered by the Bureau of Meteorology. No matter what, be prepared for floods and check for road closures. The monsoon belt on the other hand is much further to the north between Cairns and Darwin. Moral: heading south in the coming weeks to run away from the Sunshine Coast weather!

What do you think? How was the weather during your stay on the Sunshine Coast? Have you ever been caught in a flood during your holidays in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrating Australia "BBQ" Day

Australia Day (which is different to Anzac Day) is one of the interesting facts about Australia. It is the official national day of Australia, celebrated every year on January 26, commemorating the arrival of the first British colonial fleet in Sydney in 1788. If you have never seen the flag of Australia before (really?), well keep your eyes wide open, there is a slight chance you might see it everywhere on that day. You may see the Australian Aboriginal flag as well, as Australia Day is also known as Invasion Day for a lot of Indigenous Australians. Although Australian news promote thousands of activities and events celebrating this part of Australia's history, Australia Day seems to just be an Australian public holiday for a large part of the population. We have noticed that celebrations are not as significant as those of Bastille Day (French National Day) or Quebec's National Holiday for example. We did not see any fireworks on the Sunshine Coast but a true barbecue festival instead (a lot of specials on meat!). It seems that having a BBQ Party is part of the Australian culture to celebrate the nation.

What do you think about Australia Day? Do you celebrate Australia Day? How? Why do you celebrate Australia Day? Would you say attending an Australia Day event is an important thing to do in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

Welcome Back To School

Back to school is the period for shopping, student discounts and sales on school supplies around Australia (photo). In other words, just like anywhere else in the world. Here, it is the time of year that is different from what we are used to in the northern hemisphere. Christmas and New Year's Day sandwiched in the middle of summer holidays, Australian kids go back to school in January. The life in Australia is literally upside down!

What does back to school remind you of? What are your best back to school memories? Do you like this period? Let us know in the comments below!

Green Tree Frog Caught In The Headlights

Finally there are many photo opportunities (other than wanting to capture the rain at any cost) when the weather is bad on the Sunshine Coast. "Bad" is in fact a euphemism today (water on the roads is growing as fast as the clouds moved yesterday). The good news is that it is all about frogs when it rains. We have spotted many of these small frogs in Queensland, which are actually rather cute amphibians (they look like Australian green tree frogs but we are unsure if they really are). The one shown in the picture seemed to wait for us on the roadside. We did not have time to ask the regular questions such as what do frogs eat? Where do frogs live? How long do frogs live? It literally leapt across the road as soon as the picture had been taken and ... splaaat! R.I.P. Crazy Frog. Not sure if there is a "Save The Frogs" organization around (What? Isn't it considered as fauna of Australia? Actually there is a national Australian frogs network), but just to let you know, a police car killed this one.

Have you heard about the most poisonous frogs? Did you know that poisonous frogs often have very bright colour patterns generally made up of reds, oranges, yellows and blues? Have you met one of them before? Let us know in the comments below!

Natural Phenomenon Canvas

Still on the Sunshine Coast. The weather has not been good for the last few days, which does not help to explore the surrounding area and take photos. So we decided to go for a walk along Warana Beach at the end of the day, in search of some inspiration. The brightness was pretty spectacular from the moment we walked outside. The clouds, very low, moved with impressive speed. We quickly suspected that a canvas was waiting for us along the ocean. In fact, that is how we captured this beautiful photo of nature at its best. We have noticed that the scenery and the weather can change from minute to minute in Australia. If you are into taking beautiful pics of nature, never underestimate to power of a storm because you might be pleasantly surprised.

Do you think it is our most beautiful photo of nature so far? What is your best iPhone photography shot of an amazing natural phenomenon? Let us know in the comments below!

Rowing The Mooloolah River

Looking at a map of Australia, one can tell that most of the Australian population lives along the coast. So where do you think Aussies spend their weekends? At the beach of course (same as at happy hour time during the week)! Surfing is the main activity but others such as sea kayaking seem also popular on the Sunshine Coast (photo). It is fascinating to see how always active are most of Australians. From what we have noticed, they are generally sportsmen at heart. Love this life!

What do you like the most about the Australian lifestyle? the least? Let us know in the comments below!

Sunshine Storm

Yesterday we were telling you how difficult it is to get an interesting picture of the rain. Today, we shot a magic moment when we saw the sky getting darker with the speed of Mark Webber driving his Red Bull Racing car. If Sunshine Coast rhymes with sun and sand, its weather is also associated with rain and storms. The early 2011 floods in Queensland are still present in minds and when we look at weather predictions for next week, we are a little concerned.

Have you ever been caught in severe weather conditions? Where was it? Share your story in the comments below!

The Calm After The Storm

It has rained a lot in recent days on the... Sunshine Coast (as ironical as it may sound!). We are still in the process of learning landscape iPhoneography and our endeavours to capture the perfect rain shot proved to be a challenge. It is actually very difficult to distinguish the rain in the photos. And since that is what we wanted to show, we decided to give up and wait for the sun to break through the clouds. And what do Aussies do as soon as the sun comes out? They go to the beach (and take pictures!).

What are your mobile photography tips to take good rain shots? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Hour In Australia

At Happy Hour time, it seems to be a tradition for Australians to go to the beach rather than in a local bar. At least it is a more healthy choice. Sitting on their surfboards, these teenagers appear to discuss anything and everything sharing a moment of peace. They watch the waves splashing on the rocks of the Sunshine Coast and indulge in some rock-paper-scissors. The world could collapse, they would not even notice. No worries... that is part of the Australian culture and lifestyle!

What do you think? What do you like about the Australian lifestyle? What you don't like about the Australian lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!

Can Cockroaches Fly?

During a stay in Australia, expect to come across some insects that you have already met, but in different proportions. The cockroach shown in this picture walked quietly into the kitchen. Do you think it is a giant cockroach? Not really, it might even be a baby cockroach actually. Was it looking for the bit of Vegemite we spat out a few days ago? Not sure, but the opportunity to share it with you was too good to be missed. Be careful when you turn on the ceiling fan. There are even some who say they saw cockroaches fly...

Have you ever been a victim of a roach infestation? How do you get rid of cockroaches? What is your best cockroach trap? Let us know in the comments below!

Ant Hills In Australia

A fact about Australian wildlife is that it might present some interesting surprises. Thus it is not uncommon to come across huge ant hills in the bush or on the roadside (photo). To give an idea, the one shown on the picture is as solid as concrete and about 1.50 metre tall. Certainly not among the biggest ant hills in the world, but certainly large enough for us to wish you good luck to get rid of it in case there is one in the yard!

What do you think? Have you ever seen large ant hills? Do you have a natural ant hill killer? Let us know in the comments below!

The Taste Of A First Vegemite

Forget the Nutella, what you spread on your toast in Australia is Vegemite. That is real Aussie food that has been making Happy Little Vegemites all around Australia since 1923! But what is Vegemite made of? Well, if you are expecting dark chocolate as part of Vegemite ingredients, be prepared for a rather huge disappointment. Vegemite is a yeast extract spread which apparently tastes like Marmite. Although its texture and colour are actually similar to dark chocolate fudge, its taste is a bit… different. Whether you grow up eating it then you may love it or you just tried it for the first time and found it absolutely disgusting and so incredibly salty. That said who is up for a Vegemite sandwich?

Have you tried Vegemite? What is so good about Vegemite? Vegemite on toast or Vegemite sandwich, what is your best Vegemite recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

Fraser Island Sand Dunes

We've been repeating it for the last few days, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. We already put the focus on its beaches (here and here) and its incredible wildlife. But where are the sand dunes? Actually there are several of them, mainly concentrated on the east coast of the island. The wind forms and move them very quickly, at a rate of one to two metres per year. Nothing seems to stop them. They cover everything in their path. A disaster? Not exactly. It helps the creation of breathtaking landscapes on Fraser Island. In the middle of the rainforest, the sandy surroundings give an impression similar to that of the Sahara desert (photo). At the foot of this dune stands Lake Wabby, one of the world's rarest dune lakes. Therefore walk the few hundred metres separating 75 Mile Beach from this oasis. Take a deep breath. Take pictures too. Otherwise, you will regret it. As outlined by UNESCO, it is "the combination of shifting sand dunes, tropical rainforests and lakes" that makes Fraser Island "an exceptional" Word Heritage site.

What do you think? Have you ever walked in the desert? What is the natural phenomenon that impresses you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

Unique Australian Flora And Fauna On Fraser Island

World Heritage listed Fraser Island hosts a unique flora which grows in contradiction with the laws of nature. Amazingly enough, its rainforest is the only one in the world to grow on sand (Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island). That's the way it has been off the coast of Hervey Bay for the past 800,000 years! The flora of the island includes rainforest plants dating from prehistoric times and gigantic trees (photo) whose wood was used for the construction of the Suez and Panama Canals. On a Fraser Island tour, we noticed that the landscape changes drastically from one place to another which can sometimes be very surprising. Wildlife encounters occur quite often on the island which provides protection to a rich fauna made of mammals (wallabies, possums, echidnas, dingoes, etc.), reptiles (snakes, goannas, frogs, etc.) and birds (there are over 350 different species of birds on the island). Never feed the wildlife though (heavy fines apply) and be dingo-aware. When we realize the richness and variety of Fraser Island flora and fauna, it is not surprising to learn that academics from all around the world land on the island each year to study it.

What do you think? Have you been to Fraser Island? Which plants of Australia do you find the most amazing? How did you feel when you came across a dingo? Let us know in the comments below!

The Crabs That Make Sand Balls

We have noticed a few times already that Australian beaches are the backdrop for an amazing ritual. Some crabs (not sure if they are soldier crabs or sand bubbler crabs, sorry we do not know all about crabs), hardly visible to the eye, dig in the sand looking for microscopic food between each grain. They quickly gather the sand into a sphere and tosse it behind their legs. Eventually these small sand balls turn into spectacular sand sculptures. Nature is beautiful!

What do you think? Have you seen something similar done by any another animal? Which is the most surprising animal behaviour you have seen? Let us know in the comments below!

Is Fraser Island Worth A Tour?

The ferry departing from Rainbow Beach, 3 hours drive north of Brisbane, dropped us on our second World Heritage site. Fraser Island: here we are! Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world spanning more than 120 kilometres in length. The island has so many outstanding natural wonders to write about, including dune lakes and tall rainforests, that there is nothing better than experiencing it by yourself. Make sure you get a map of Fraser Island not to miss a thing! As the off-road 4WD are the only vehicles able to navigate the slopes and sandy beaches on the island, we highly recommend booking one of the numerous Fraser Island tours available. If you are experienced you can still hire a 4WD on the Fraser Coast, but joining a tour will allow you to focus on Fraser Island beautiful landscapes, unique fauna and rich flora (in addition to feeling like a Dakar competitor without worrying much about getting bogged down in the sand or worse, killing yourself). Camping and beach accommodation are available on Fraser Island and you must be insane not to spend at least a night on the island. Since being on Fraser Island, evolving in the wild and connecting with nature is our new definition of relaxing holidays.

What do you think? Have you been on Fraser Island? What are your best island vacations? Would you have any recommendations in the Fraser Coast area? Let us know in the comments below!

Is There Beef In Australian Hamburger Patties?

As expected, hamburgers are one of the most popular foods in Australia. We could not wait to try them as Australia is renowned for its beef. Actually a few days ago, once we moved away from the coast, the fields were almost exclusive to cattle herds in Country New South Wales. But we have a rant! What is wrong with your hamburger patties guys? How come is it so difficult to find real beef burgers served in restaurants rather than a mixture of different meats (or something else) with a questionable taste? Where is the expected juicy beef patty? We have a few easy ground beef recipes for you to taste the difference. Seriously, even frozen hamburger patties from the supermarket taste better. Just so you understand what we are talking about, in comparison McDonald's would easily get its Michelin stars. However, off the beaten track it is possible to find excellent homemade beef burgers at low cost. Once you find this kind of place, make sure you order a "hamburger with the lot". This is a real Aussie institution which usually consists of a hamburger patty in a bun served with cheese, tomato, beetroot, onions, lettuce, bacon, egg… and pineapple. Quite a simple and tasty hamburger recipe, one should have thought about that! You got that Hog's Breath Café (and friends)?

What do you think? Have you noticed this awful taste in some hamburger patties served in Australia? Which restaurant off the beaten track would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Angourie National Surfing Reserve

Our road trip along the Waterfall Way was great (except for that). But at this time of year, we do not know if you can hear the ocean calling as much as we do but we have felt the need to get back closer to the coast. That is how we ended up in Angourie, quite by chance as travellers usually stop in the bustling holiday resort that Yamba is. Are you reading carefully? Make sure you drive all the way to Angourie (come on, there are only 6 kilometres between Yamba and Angourie)! This small town of less than 200 inhabitants is located between Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour. Its beach (photo) is most probably one of the best Australian surfing beaches. Moreover, it hosts the first National Surfing Reserve in New South Wales. It means that it represents one of the unique places in the world where surfers have travelled from near and far just to experience the quality of the wave and the beauty of the natural environment. We did not surf in Angourie and we have not experienced all the surf spots in Australia so we can not really pretend it is one of the best places to surf. But, our eyes saw this truly beautiful sandy beach. And for sure, this might be one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia!

What do you think? Have you ever been to Angourie or to any other National Surfing Reserve? Where is the best place to surf in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

The Waterfall Way

There are a few facts about Australia that we were not really aware of before coming here (travel guides do not always mention them). One of these facts is the presence of 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites. At the same time, it has given us the opportunity to learn about what a world heritage site exactly is (if interested, read about the criteria for selection). That is how we have agreed to add these not so famous places in our list of things to do in Australia. After having left our cheap accommodation in Coffs Harbour, the first one we explored is the Waterfall Way. This scenic drive route winds more than 150 kilometres through the Country New South Wales, between the Pacific coast and Armidale west in the hinterland. The landscapes that one can admire during this lovely road trip are recognized to be among the most beautiful in New South Wales. As its name suggests, this road is lined by numerous waterfalls (photo), some among the highest in Australia (Wollomombi Falls). Many national parks within close proximity form what is called the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, located in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales. It is nothing less than the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest in the world (inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986) which is host to many threatened species of plants and animals. Beside that, the Waterfall Way also passes through picturesque villages. Bellingen is worth a look and is a perfect stop for lunch.

What do you think about the Waterfall Way? Have you visited a few World Heritage sites along your travels? Which are the ones you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

No Kidding With Speeding In Australia

By seeing this photo you are certainly asking yourself if we have been caught by the police. Yes! Have we been caught speeding? Yes, in the middle of nowhere (the bugger was driving on the opposite side and had a speed camera in his car)! And now you are certainly asking yourself: what is the cost of a speeding ticket in New South Wales? Expensive! How many driving penalty points for speeding? We have not lost any speeding points on our driving licence at least. Anyway it seems that you do not mess with speed limit and road safety (Australian states and territories use two default speed limits within and outside built-up areas, exceptions apply in the Northern Territory and Western Australia). Control radars, both fixed and mobile, are common and the police have zero tolerance in the case of speeding. Exceeding the speed limit by any amount results in a non negotiable hefty fine. If you want to know how to avoid speeding fines in Australia, read this carefully: 100 km/h means 100 km/h. Stick to the speed limit and do not go over it in any case! We have learned a lesson the hard way. We are going to pay our speeding ticket (our first big expense in Australia, how cute is that?) and we promess we are not going to contribute to speeding statistics anymore.

Have you been caught speeding? Drink driving? Could you recommend any traffic lawyers in Australia? What is your opinion on aussie speeding fines? Let us know in the comments below!

Hanging Out In Byron Bay

Today we are wandering around a major tourism destination in Australia: Byron Bay. This small coastal village is located on the scenic North Coast of New South Wales. Brisbane is less than 200 kilometres away north. Even though it attracts many tourists all year long, Byron is renowned for its New Age and ecological way of life. We like its relaxed atmosphere. Many restaurants, shops, hotels and hostels line its colourful main street. The Byron Bay markets are really popular and meant to be some of the best in the region. If you are into handcrafted wares and artworks, it is a must. We prefer to spend our money on locally-grown produce though. Located not far from the Gold Coast, unlike the latter, Byron Bay has preserved its authentic nature and wildlife. Its long white sandy beaches are considered to be among the most beautiful in Australia, if not in the world. It certainly helps to feel good and to attract surfers. Once again, they are everywhere. Actually we are now part of them as we had our first surf lesson here. Among other things to do in Byron Bay, do not miss out on watching passing whales and dolphins. Then make sure you walk or drive to the Cape Byron State Conservation Area where you can admire spectacular views of of the surrounding coast and ocean from the Lighthouse. At this particular location you are on the most easterly point of mainland Australia. And if you are here in March, you might want to attend Byron Bay Bluesfest, Australia's premier blues & roots music festival. On this particular weekend, camping right next door to the Festival seems to be the best option as far as accommodation goes. In other words, Byron Bay is a no-brainer not only because it is a paradise for surfers, but also because we think it is a required checkpoint for travellers or backpackers and a perfect destination for a romantic getaway.

Do you think Byron Bay is the best tourism destination in Australia? Are there any specific spots you would recommend in the area? How would you describe the perfect day in Byron Bay? Let us know in the comments below!

Surfing, A Family Business In Australia

It is rare to find another activity that matches the popularity of surfing along Australia coastlines. Surf schools and surf shops are all over the place. We are able to spot surfboards on the roof of one car out of three we pass on the road. We bump into a lot of people walking barefoot and carrying their surf gear (even in the street of Brisbane). Boys, girls, young, old, all are constantly looking for the best surfing spots. They all sound like an encyclopedia of surfing as well when you interact with them. It is also very common to find entire families of surfers on Australia's beaches (photo). God, do they all live in houses decorated with surfing posters? Something needs to be clarified here: we have used the word "surf" and its derivative 11 times so far in this article (and soon 12 and 13). No, we are not paid to use it. One thing is sure though, more than just a sport, surf culture is an art and a way of life in Australia. It is not surprising that Rip Curl, Billabong and Quiksilver, three of the biggest brands in the surfwear industry, are Australian companies.

What do you think about surf culture? Are there any surfing spots you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Learning To Surf With Surf Schools Of Australia

Today is only our fourth day in Australia and we are ready to surf the ocean waves. Actually we are just about learning to surf with Black Dog Surfing in Byron Bay. We have to admit that we will stand (or try to) on a long blue soft surfboard for beginners (and not on the one in the photo). Still, we are pretty excited! It is difficult to find a better spot for a first surf lesson than the beaches of Byron. Other than this aesthetic consideration it does not really matter where you are because surfing lessons are readily available along Australia's coasts. You can search for a surf school in your area on this Surfing Australia's website. If you are a total beginner, just like us, you might want to choose to spend half a day guided by professional instructors. It will cost you about 50$ for a group lesson (a bit more for a private lesson) and chances are high that you will be able to stand up on your board after this first attempt. Most surf schools guarantee a free lesson if you are not able to. If you are really dying for surfing like a pro (let's say like Kelly Slater), surf lessons might not be enough and you should look for surf camps. No matter what, surfing is a must in Australia even if you are just a regular traveller who has never tried this activity before. Anxious? Just relax and keep surfing

Do you remember your first surfing sensation? How is your surfing going these days? Are there any surf schools you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Holiday Inflation In Australia

Are you going to travel to Australia on a working holiday visa? Are you considering migrating to Australia because of its great lifestyle? One thing we have noticed since moving to Australia is the cost of living: living in Australia is not cheap at all! It needs to be taken into consideration if you plan to travel to Australia because you will certainly notice a difference, sometimes big, on your receipts. Have you ever wondered what inflation is? We have found a few retailers in Surfers Paradise who might be able to help you find the answer as they apply a 10% surcharge on public holidays (photo). Is there any consumer protection legislation in Australia? Anyway, grocery prices are usually quite high. It is not that easy to find meals for less than $15. A litre of gas is comparable to the excessive prices charged in France. Rent prices exceed Montreal prices and can easily reach double sometimes. Lonely Planet recommends a minimum daily budget of $100 to travellers who want to enjoy their stay as long as they sleep in backpackers accommodation and use public transportation. Of course it all depends on where you are. You will find a few cost of living calculator tools online. You might want to use them in order to help you make cost of living comparison. Hopefully, your job search will allow you to work and earn money as soon as possible. Current Australia's minimum wage is $15.96 per hour. At least, it seems that the economic crisis has not hit Australia yet!

What do you think? What are your best ways to save money while traveling? Do you have any cost savings ideas in order to travel cheaper? Let us know in the comments below!

Australia Has Its Own Las Vegas: The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast extends over several dozens of kilometres south of Brisbane. It is still part of Queensland. The town is populated by approximately 600,000 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest city in Australia. Some of them might live here because of the weather. The Gold Coast has a humid subtropical climate with 300 days of sunshine per year and an average annual temperature exceeding 25°C. According to Lonely Planet, it is considered to be "The Mecca of seaside tourism" attracting each year tens of thousands of schoolies. At first sight, the Gold Coast consists of a sad mix of Los Angeles (for its traffic), Las Vegas (for its ostentatious style and theme parks like Wet'n'Wild), Miami Beach (for its architecture) and Cancun (for its fauna and its haute cuisine... not). This is not exactly what we expect to find when coming to Australia. Surfers Paradise district has an appealing name though and… that is pretty much about it. Not too many surfers here but a lot of luxurious and modern buildings, including the Q1 Tower (one of the tallest residential buildings in the world). Actually they should think of changing Surfers Paradise name for Real Estate Paradise. It would certainly be a bit more accurate. The period is quite busy due to summer holidays. Today the Gold Coast is host to Summafieldayze, a huge annual music festival. A line-up of international artists such as Justice, Snoop Dogg, Moby or Erick Morillo performed on stage this afternoon. We have to admit, we are quite impressed. The town also hosts a few different major events throughout the year such as the Gold Coast 600 (a V8 Supercars street circuit carnival), the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and the Quicksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast (a leg of the ASP World Tour). In our opinion, unless you really like the place or unless you have already bought your tickets to attend an event, there is no need to book a hotel or any other kind of accommodation in the Gold Coast. Spend the day if you want, then drive (far away).

Welcome To Brisbane, Australia

Voilà! As the signs at Brisbane Airport say: "Welcome to Australia". Here we are. Our flight to Brisbane just landed. Even if it is only 6 or 7 in the morning, we can already feel the heat from the sun. We have been told that Brisbane has a humid subtropical climate with abundant rainfall. But today the weather is just perfect. It is summertime here in Australia and the temperature is already rising. On our way to the city, which is actually the capital of Queensland, we spot a few tennis players sitting on terrace drinking coffee. There are here for the Brisbane International, a professional tennis tournament part of the ATP World Tour 250 series and of the WTA Premier tournaments. It is held just before the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, the Australian Open. Being the most populated city in the state, we expect to come across a lot of people. Actually it is quite a ghost town on January 1st. A few Christmas lights here and there. Are there all gone to the Gold Coast or what? Among those who managed to get up this morning, mostly families, many find themselves in The Parklands of South Bank situated along the banks of the Brisbane River. Formerly occupied by Indigenous tribes, this green area is now one of the most popular in the city. Its water-play park and sandy beach are reminiscent of certain parts of Miami Beach. Brisbane is not always quiet like it is today. It has played an important role in the Allied supreme military command South West Pacific Area during World War II by serving as headquarters. More recently Brisbane hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo 88, the 2001 Goodwill Games and some events during the 1987 Rugby World Cup, 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The city is also a major cultural and tourist centre.