Australia: The Great Outdoors Print Version

I have a post on this blog from July 20, 2009 called Australia – The Great Outdoors. It’s about just one weekend in winter last year involving a party on the Saturday, outdoors and including barbeque of course. And then on Sunday, a picnic combined with a stroll along the river.

Well, now I have another version. But the only similarity between my post of last year and what is coming up, is the title. Everything else is completely different. Welcome to…….

The Great Outdoors Print Version.

Anyone strolling along the aisles of Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s or looking on the shelves of other leading newsagents in the UK might just come across a magazine called Australia and New Zealand.

If you’d have picked up Octobers issue and turned to page 91, you will have seen this picture on the top right hand side of the page…..

Ducks at Colleges Crossing, BrisbaneYes, the little girl in the white dress and wearing the purple hat is my daughter Elizabeth. The littler girl in front is her friend Jasmine. One for the scrapbook.

Of course, the rest of us who have already subscribed to Australia and New Zealand magazine are already enjoying the November issue. I’ll tell you about my article in that one next month. But now, here’s my October entry, the fourth I’ve done for the mag, for those who haven’t been able to get their copy.

The Great Outdoors

We soon discovered that the relentless rainfalls which met our arrival in Australia were highly unusual. Turns out the default weather here in Brisbane is hot and sunny with clear blue skies. This was more like it, this was one of the reasons we came here.

There are a couple of things worth mentioning about the default weather being hot and sunny with clear blue skies. Firstly, it’s incredibly difficult to be miserable in this kind of weather. Trust me, I’ve tried. But in the end you just can’t help smiling. And secondly, with weather like this, staying indoors is quite a crazy notion. Staying indoors was something I did quite a bit back in England. When the weekend would come, my wife would try to tempt me out of the house. “Fancy going out?” She would ask.

When I would enquire about the options, they always seemed to have a shopping connection “We could go to Chelmsford, or Lakeside, or perhaps Bluewater…” Yes, I spent a lot of time staying indoors back in England.

It’s not even that my wife loves shopping, she doesn’t. It’s just that there didn’t seem much to do around where we lived in Billericay. And at least the shopping malls offered protection against the often cold, dull and sometimes wet weather. When the weather was good, we could go to a park or perhaps even Southend seafront.

But now we live in Brisbane. Now if I’m asked if I fancy going out, well, you bet I do! Now, our choices have widened substantially. Now, we are spoilt for choice. What shall we do this weekend? Let’s see now.

We could go to Colleges Crossing (15 minutes drive) and take advantage of one of the many free electric barbecues to cook us up some typical Australian cuisine. The kids could play by the river, feed the ducks and we could open some tinnies and stare at that wonderful clear blue sky.

Or we could go to the Botanical Gardens (20 minutes drive) for a leisurely stroll before driving a further five minutes up to the top of Mount Coo-tha to enjoy the stunning views overlooking the city. Or we could drive to the top of Mount Nebo (35 minutes) and enjoy a relaxing afternoon picnic.

Or if we fancied a bit of seaside, we could visit any one of the fantastic beaches south of Brisbane, choosing from Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach or Miami (about an hour and a quarter’s drive) to name just a few. And yet with all of these ideas we have hardly spent any money at all. But if you do want to damage your wallets……

Then there is Sea World, Movie World, Wet’n’Wild Water World, Whitewater World, Dreamworld … all of them together (about an hour and a quarter’s drive away) in a kind of theme park cluster. Or, closer to home, we could go to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (15 minutes drive), the biggest koala sanctuary in the world and feed the kangaroos, koalas and emus and, if we wanted, use the free barbecues that overlook the river there too.

So, you see, we have so many options. Where the problem used to be trying to think of something interesting to do, now the problem is deciding what to do out of all the fantastic choices. And in case you didn’t notice, not one of those choices included a shopping mall. But if they are your thing, we have a list of those too.

And I haven’t even gone north of the city yet. It’s even better up in that direction. Or mentioned any of the many free local community events. But for sure, we don’t go to the shops at weekends.

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