When you receive an invite to have dinner at a pub in the middle of nowhere (well for city folks), you have to say yes, but later go “why?”
It’s a long drive, someone has to drive, what is the food going to be like etc etc.
Let me reassure you that Rudd’s Pub is iconic and very much worth the effort from where ever you are coming from.
It has a typical Aussie bar at the front and the staff are awesome as well as swift. People say g’day and want to meet you, which isn’t always the case in cities.
The pub has massive history and was originally built in 1893.
Its big claim to fame was the writing of many of the series of the radio series called Dad & Dave which was broadcast on Australian radio from 1937 – 1953. You can read a little more about the series here.
The food is great and what Aussies would call good “pub grub.” The meals are cooked out the back by the owners so whilst yummy may take a while if you have a large group. I suggest putting your food order in early if you are hungry and having a couple of “bevvies” with the locals while it is cooked up.
The menu is quite extensive and includes gluten free options and all the great pub favourites of steaks, chicken parmies and bangers + mash. I am told the rissoles are great as they are home made and home made Aussie rissoles are awesome.
There is accommodation out the back so you can stay on your travels through, a nice venue room for parties and events and lots of memorabilia on the walls to check out.
This good old fashion Australia regional town is a large enough to get lost but small enough to walk around.
Situated only 90 minutes from Brisbane it is the last of the larger towns going west and is renown for it’s pretty gardens and flowers.
I have been coming here for years and have always had a pleasant stay. The town folk are friendly and it is a much different vibe to the closest Aussie cities of Brisbane and Gold Coast.
I am usually here for a work engagement, children’s sporting event or visiting family.
This visit we decide to pop up for 2 nights as Covid restrictions means no international travel, so it’s time to revisit our famous Aussie towns.
We stay in a beautiful airbnb and do a lot but also nothing.
Toowoomba, being the city of gardens, does have many beautiful outdoor spaces. Gardens, flower shows, a Japanese garden and just walking through the beautiful wide streets will leave you inspired.
In September is the famous flower show but every time of year there are delightful gardens to have picnics in or wander through.
The other places of interest are Cobb & Co museum, the beautiful architecture of the CBD and Picnic Point.
The town is perched up quite high on what is called the scenic rim. There are many walks to do along the rim but this weekend we are blessed with rain so don’t venture too far from our airbnb and friends.
For a great coffee head to Nick’s place called Wendlands Fine Foods. Although there are many awesome coffee houses around town.
Preston Peak Wineries is a ten minute drive south of town but is closed for a private function on the day we go but has beautiful commanding views over the Lockyer Valley.
The main shopping precinct is called Grand Central and is like every other big shopping centre in the world but great if you do want to catch up on some shopping or having retail withdrawals.
All in all Toowoomba is a great rural country town and very different to the sea towns in Australia. You will need wheels to get around and if you are willing to explore can pick up some mustering, polo games, dirt bike events and more.
Overlooking the charming area and suburbs of Devonport it Mt Victoria. Set up as a battalion base in the wars it now serves as one of the best, unadulterated views of Auckland.
The Signalman’s House is on the way up and truly breath taking. For it’s colonial style, it’s obvious connection to yesterday and it’s current purpose of offering writers a retreat. Being a writer I am totally in-love with the idea of a haven. A place to write whilst being frivolous and overlooking the harbour.
You can’t drive all the way to the summit any more but you can walk, hike or stroll. Ie foot is the only way. Up the top you will be greeted by sweeping views to the east, north and west. To the south you have iconic views of Auckland although you need to veer past a few trees.
You can have a picnic on the old forts, while watching the clouds jump and jive overhead.
Or you can share a chit chat with an old mate reminencising over times of old … waxing lyrically about childhood while your feet dangle over the edge of the old fortress.
Exploring is lot of fun which is what makes this the perfect afternoon trip for a family or lovers or solo travellers.
2. Visit the Devonport library
Well blow me down, I have visited many libraries around the world but this library is amazing.
Aside from being an architectural designer master piece it offers peace.
Peace and an open air outlook over one of the most amazing bays in the world.
It’s inspiring and has all the literature greats at your finger tips… all for free… waiting to be indulged.
I whittle away a few lustful moments reading the local rag and absorbing the view.
Whilst not a “tourist” attraction I sincerely hope you visit this space. Especially if you have never been to a library before!
3. Walk along the foreshore
This is one of the oldest, loveliest foreshore walks in New Zealand.
Beautiful trees, spaces, play grounds, picnic areas and Elizabeth House, make this a beautiful lazy afternoon walk.
Grab a photo with your family – a real keep-stakes as the back ground of the azure waters of the harbour and the sky line of Auckland subside away. Truly beautiful.
4. Lunch at the Esplanade Hotel
The Esplanade Hotel is such an iconic landmark. Built in 1857 the interior is everything you would expect from a timeless building.
We rock up on a Sunday and have the bowl of mussels done in white wine garlic and cream. Yes you guessed it! Something I will travel back for again and again and again. Especially at the end of the pier if the ferry from Auckland. It the perfect romantic escape and boys… it has a fire side!
5.Visit an art gallery
Despite everyone assuming art is for the rich or eccentric art is an expression. There are many art galleries in davenport and all worth a Casual wander through. There are too many to name and in my personal (artist) opinion, sometimes it is better to waltz through art galleries than it is to visit one. See where your heart takes you.
Finally I have had to resign myself to the fact that today I can only squeeze in a massage and snorkel at most.
As Western though patterns and chasing leaving my body, so does stress.
I feel myself decompressing like a tension chamber that has become unaccustomed to it’s own internal pressure – in actual fact using it for fuel to chase down more business. I need to step back and I have.
Yesterday I jumped on a plane to Bali with a small back pack, some face masks to deliver to Solemen ( A charity I support here) and little else. I had a sense that escaping to Nusa Lembogan would provide me with my next life lessons, poignant and gentle as Mother Bali delivers, so headed for Sanur to catch a ferry.
There are plenty of ferry companies that cross the 45 minute stretch all day. No need to book ahead and it shouldn’t cost more than 400 rupiah return.
I had to wait a while for mine, but I have learned that the waiting is part of Bali unravelling you from what you know, to where you need to be.
I relish in the wait.
With no accommodation booked, I figure that I could do something about it while the ferry is coming. Incredibly I secure a room in a hut that is truly magic and I feel so incredibly grateful to have been directed here.
A generous local drove me to the villas and would not accept any money for the trip. It sounds naive but I know the favour will be returned one day.
My digs for the night are out of this world – incredible views, and I feel I have arrived at the cusp of heaven and earth.
I settle in, have some mandatory spring rolls, a gin and tonic then go exploring.
It is a full moon and the night light makes for easy walking to Dream Bay.
Today i will explore more and post more tomorrow.
My creative flow is back and I feel alive again. Thank you Mother Bali.
Affectionately known as the GABBA, the Brisbane Cricket ground, home to the Brisbane Lions… is an iconic sporting field in Australia.
On this night, my son and I are venturing to watch a short, newly introduced, cricket game.
It’s called twenty twenty cricket (20 overs each team), or the BIG BASH LEAGUE. It is like speed cricket. Really good if you like seeing a result in sport. It’s especially good in a sport like cricket, which has BIG history as a sport but it typically played over 5 days. Even one-day games require a whole day.
The 20-20 big bash is a perfect family sport. Hard hitting, big knocking, smacking a hard red ball around a BIG part. The Gabba is perfect for the fun, action packed game.
Kids love it and as a parent it is pretty awesome too.
The Gabba (affectionately nick-named after Wooloongabbba – the suburb which is in located in) is a Queensland icon. It is very central to the city – a little too so. Fortunately free public transport moves people in, and out really quickly.
The food is average. I find a cafe/coffee house that had a salad which was pretty good value and reasonably priced. The “other food” is rubbish. Hot dogs, chips, pies RUBBISH! I do struggle to understand the blatant opportunity of sporting venues to drive home how important nutrition is to our youth… but now I sound like a wailing nutritionist who cares…
There is beer on hand, wine is much harder to find. Which suits me as it is a coffee and salad night for me with my son.
We decided to stay at Southbank, and I would love to recommend the hotel, but I can’t. There are plenty though, and for those of us who don’t live in Brisbane, coming in the after noon, going to the art gallery , walking along Southbank, then the Gabba, makes for a great day!
It is home to sporting events, namely AFL and Rugby Union and entertainment concerts.
On this night I went to watch Hawthorn’s last game of the season. I was so glad I flew down to watch them play.
Etihad has a real vibe. On a near full crowd the place heaves with noise, cheers and awesome lighting. The facilities are considerate and cater for special needs. The foods is pretty dodgey like most Australian sporting venues, so eat before you come.
The easiest way to get to Etihad is via train. Just aim for Etihad Stadium, Docklands station. It is really easy once there and about a ten minute walk.
There’s something very Ned Kelly about Binna Burra and the Gold Coast Hinterland.
I am always surprised more people don’t visit as it is so close to the coast and yet, offers a totally different perspective of Australiana. Green bush, misty fog, a cooler climate – it is actually like leaving Queensland for the day and entering into a southern alpine region and stepping back in time. Well so I play out in my mind.
Today I just wanted to escape the four walls of my office and clear my head around some work planning.
The drive up requires concentration as it does weave and swerve but once up the top of Beechmont Mountain Range the views are inspiring and the traffic light.
A few of the tracks are closed at the moment – still from the floods and land slides we had at the beginning of the year. You can check on what is open when you get up there or on the QLD National Parks website here.
I like the Cave walk but it is closed today – so I have to settle for the border walk and just turn around after I am satisfied my brain is clear!
Pademelons bounce around the bush, whip birds send their amazing “whip” sound into the air and trees with hundreds of years wisdom groan in unison. I really love the Aussie bush.
Today a koala perches in a tree – a friendly reminder that wild life still dominates the Australian Bush.
The Binna Burra Lodge is a beautiful place to relax. Upstairs is a loft – the library lounge, and I have done much work up there over the years.
The cafe is OK. Nothing special and most of the menu contains gluten which is a shame.
I have been going to Binna Burra for years and it used to thrive where as no days it is much quieter. The midweek crowd is the tourist bushwalker and the grey rinse brigade.
And me! I still love it and will continue to go.
When you go for a walk in the rain you have to check yourself for leeches and when it is dry ticks. And of course like any Aussie bush carry a stick in case of snakes… and don’t touch spiders and watch out for boobie traps! The last one was a joke.