A year ago this month, I returned from an amazing adventure through France, Italy, Greece & Turkey with my best friend. It seems fitting that this month, I enjoyed more of Australia. I loved every minute of my third trip to Europe, but upon returning home I promised myself that I’d see more of Australia in 2014. This month I’ve enjoyed the warmer weather with two long weekend road trips and I’ve been busily planning & booking my week in the Whitsundays, Townsville & Tropical North Queensland.
Queensland (Capital: Brisbane)
Montville & Maleny – Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Warwick, Stanthorpe & Thulimbah – Southern Queensland Country
New South Wales (Capital: Sydney)
Tenterfield, Deepwater, Armidale – Country NSW
Dorrigo, Mt Christopherson, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Yamba, Byron Bay – North Coast
Montville’s picturesque Main Street enjoys jaw-dropping hinterland views, has a cafe that takes you back to 1920s Paris and has a specialty fudge shop, liqueur shop AND chocolate shop. Need I say more?
Just across the Queensland-NSW border, Tenterfield is immediately different to Queensland country towns. The country town drips with old world charm and has been meticulously preserved. Tenterfield’s claim to fame is that it was the site of Sir Henry Parke’s famous “Birth of Our Nation” speech in the Tenterfield School of Arts in 1889. The speech is credited with setting Australia on its path to Federation in 1901. Internationally, Tenterfield was put on the map with Peter Allen’s song “Tenterfield Saddler.
I loved Tenterfield’s heritage buildings that show off a variety of architecture styles ranging from mid-19th century to art deco. Chinese restaurants and health food shops rub shoulders with saddleries, country curtain purveyors and bakeries proudly hawking their specialty Federation pie.
About 15 minutes outside of Dorrigo, Mt Christopherson is a world away from modern life. There were 9 of us on our road trip, so we rented out Mt Christopherson Retreat, which sleeps 12. Every window and verandah offered gorgeous views over the forest and all you can hear outside are birds singing and the occasionally cow mooing. If you’re up early enough and can keep quiet, you might spot a kangaroo. I love greedily breathing in the pristine mountain air, doing yoga on the lawn with views over the mountain and enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine in hand.
I’ve been to Byron Bay more times than I can count, but this time we caught the sunset at Cape Byron, by the lighthouse. Because of the small inlet /beach beside Cape Byron, it’s one of the few places on the East Coast of Australia that you can watch the sunset over the water. Byron is the only place in Australia, outside of a major city that I always hear lots of different accents and languages – it’s a backpacker magnet. Despite the (relative) crowd watching the sunset, it was still peaceful. If you’re in Byron Bay, make sure you make it up to the cape for sunset! Parking is $7 or if you’re feeling fit, you can walk up.
Delicious food in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Strawberry picking with David at Strawberry Fields was such a fun way to start our weekend. The strawberries ‘n cream ice cream here is literally the best ice cream either of us have ever tasted!
We spent our evenings nibbling on our indulgent haul from Montville – chocolate, fudge, strawberries with chocolate dipping sauce, local cheese, wines, mango cider and more!
Driving Waterfall Way
Driving waterfall way – it’s famed for being the most beautiful drive in NSW and it totally lives up to its reputation. I thought it was more beautiful than the Amalfi coast drive, to be honest.
We saw the tallest waterfall in Australia – Wollomombi Falls, as well as the beautiful Dangar Falls, Ebor Falls & Crystal Shower Falls. Crystal Shower falls was especially amazing because of the hanging bridge that gives you an amazing view of the falls, as does the track which lets you walk behind the waterfall. Amaaaaaazing!
We saw a handful of other visitors, I don’t understand why there aren’t hundreds of people here every day. This is one of my favourite things about Australia – we do have tourist hotspots, but there are scores of beautiful places waiting for you to explore, crowd-free.
The Dorrigo Skywalk
Holaaa amazing views. The Skywalk is a long wooden bridge that ends in a lookout point over Dorrigo National Park. I’ve been wanting to do it since I stumbled upon it looking for a weekend destination with David.
Catching sunset at Cape Byron
As I mentioned before, Byron is one of my favourite places in the world and just by chance, we arrived at Cape Byron in time for sunset. Truly. Spectacular.
Learning to use my DSLR! I’ve been really slack since I bought it and have only take it off Auto mode when I’ve been practicing on the fruit bowl or an unsuspecting famiy member.
While I’ve been travelling, I’ve had it on Auto Mode – apart from when I accidentally flicked it to “A” rather than “Auto.” A stands for Aperture Priority, so the photos I took of our room at Roseville House B& B were extremely underexposed. Won’t make that mistake again!
Down Under (Bill Bryson) – It’s always amusing to see your country through someone else’s eyes. I think it plays to stereotypes of Australia being a dangerous place, because it makes a better story but also for valid reasons – Australia can be dangerous. However, even a scaredy cat like me doesn’t think about this too much, many things I accept as relatively normal when travelling in Australia, so it’s fun to read about it from an outsider’s point of view.
A Writer’s World ( Jan Morris ) – Jan Morris is easily one of my favourite travel writers and this collection of essays, ordered chronologically from her experiences around the world is the perfect armchair travel
Turning Pro (Steven Pressfield) – This book has completely changed my approach to writing and travelling. It’s simple, but incredibly moving.
The War of Art (Steven Pressfield) – The prequel to Turning Pro, I read this afterwards and appreciated more detail on the creative process.
Most popular blog post
This was exactly what I was wondering before I visited Athens and I’m glad this post is getting a lot of love – hopefully I’m giving readers the confidence to travel to this amazing city.
Most Popular Instagram photo
I’m chuffed that this photo of Brisbane was everyone’s favourite this month! Brisbane is a beautiful city, despite what whingey teenagers or Alain de Botton may tell you. This is a photo of the main walkway AKA the Arbour, at South Bank. It’s across the river from the city and a lovely area – I really recommend wandering around South Bank if you have just one day in Brisbane.
News & Coming Up
I’ve wanted to write more about food for a while now, but Wanderbug often doesn’t feel like the right place. While my foodie experiences overseas or stand out restaurants on my travels make sense here, articles about local restaurants and cafes, recipes and food history / culture that I’m researching don’t always fit in. I don’t want this blog to become inundated with Brisbane (or Melbourne) restaurant posts and there are other food topics I’d like to cover in more depth, so my new blog Genevieve Eats is where I’ll be doing that.
I’ll still write a bit about my best food experiences on my travels and write round ups of great restaurants / cafes / bars in different cities, but for more detail and foodie chat, head to the new blog here.
Islands, Beaches & Rainforests
I’m still planning my trip to the Whitsundays, Townsville & Cairns. So excited to tick off another three regions of Queensland and see some of the most stunning sights in Australia – and the world!