Almost three months have passed since I moved to Brisbane. I can hardly believe the time has passed so quickly. And yet again there is a huge gaping hole in my travel blog because I haven’t updated in yonks. There are many reasons for that. I spent the first three weeks after returning from Melbourne job searching. During that time of unemployment, I felt guilty doing much of anything fun and interesting, because time spent sightseeing and exploring is time not spent handing out resumés and trawling through gumtree. It felt like that job search would never end – I had handed resumés out to restaurants, bars and shops all over the city, and there were no leads, until I got a phone call some time later from one of the restaurants on Brisbane’s Southbank calling me in for a trial. Luckily that trial went well and now I have been working as a bartender at the Southside Diner, an American themed restaurant, for almost 6 weeks.
So now that I’m settled in Brisbane with a job and a flat and that my bank balance is looking healthier every week, it’s about time to start planning the next step of my Around the World trip, which actually involves travelling! A whole lot of it. The whole time in Australia has really been about saving up money to spend in other countries. However, before my visa ends on January 7th I want to check out a couple more places in Oz, before heading on to my next destination. With Jake’s graduation and a family Christmas all happening in Brisbane at various times, we won’t have chance to do too much, but I’m keen to visit Tasmania for about 5 days, and also to check out some of the beautiful locations up the Queensland coastline, like Fraser Island and the Whitsundays. Jake and I are then planning to travel through Asia together starting from January for as long as we can afford, before heading back to the UK some time around April/May/June. We don’t know. We’ll have to see!
With our savings and budgeting going well (kind of better than expected), we have had chance to spend a little money in Brisbane and its surrounds. One day (a while back now) we caught a bus up to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens up on Mt Coot-tha for a walk around all the different environments, each a microcosm of the wide range of ecosystems found across Australia. From rainforest jungle to desert cacti, they had it all. It was an incredible place and even better – crowd free.
The BioDome at Brisbane Botanical Gardens Mt. Coot-tha
Another day trip we did a couple of weeks ago was to Stradbroke Island (or Straddie) for some sun, sea and sand. Brisbane is a little inland and therefore the best beaches are a little way from the city. Craving a bit of salty air, we got up early and used lots of public transport (a train, bus, ferry, and another bus) to get to Straddie’s Main Beach, which turned out to be wonderful, with white sand and azure blue waters, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since Fiji. We enjoyed a short hike along clifftop boardwalks that offered views out into the Pacific. The island is a popular lookout spot for migrating humpback whales, which we were lucky enough to see, as well as pods of dolphins and even some sanguine sea turtles – all in the space of the first ten minutes! Afterwards we headed to the beach for a tan, then enjoyed a beer to cool off before heading back to the city.
Despite being the beginning of Spring, things are heating up in Brisbane, with numerous halcyon days of 28 degree sunshine, one after the other. The humidity has yet to rise too much so we’re trying to make the most of the weather before the days of hiding out in air-conditioned rooms are upon us!
I’m getting a lot of hours at work which is great. I’m really enjoying my job – the other staff are amazing and it’s a great step up from my work at the Colombian in Sydney. I’m learning much more about what is involved with maintaining a bar, as well as learning how to make “proper” coffee and cocktails as well as getting experience waiting on tables. I’ve yet to master carrying three plates but I’m loving the opportunity to hone my skills in hospitality! It’s a popular way for backpackers to save up money for more travel, so more experience in the area will put me in a better position for applying to similar positions in the future! =D
Life in Brisbane has settled into a nice pace. I’m working hard but with plenty of time to plan the next steps of my trip, as well as spending a load of time with Jake, making new friends and saving up a load of cash. I will try to update again soon!