Thursday, August 27, 2015

Carlo Sandblow

We drove the hour and a half from Noosa to our accommodation in Tin Can Bay, a tiny town next to Rainbow Beach, where our Fraser Island tour was to depart early the next day. I booked hotels for this trip a couple months in advance, but everything in Rainbow Beach was pretty well booked aside from a few rooms that looked extremely over priced to me. Turns out there was some sort of swimming meet that weekend and the only place I could find in the vicinity had the word "motel" in the title, which I generally try to avoid. However, this collection of small cottages was really cute and just fine for our overnight stay.
We checked in just before dinner and decided to find something to eat in Rainbow Beach. There was a little book in the motel room highlighting local attractions, one of which looked like a large sand dune called the Carlo Sandblow. We stopped for a quick look before dinner and it turned out to be an awesome place to watch the sun set. 
As we were leaving, we saw a group of three guys jogging up and down the steep side of the dune. I have absolutely no idea how they did it, but they jogged past us as we were walking to the parking lot, which was slightly embarrassing. If you can jog up and down sand dunes, I salute you. 
The whole area was pretty big and I only planned to walk halfway down because it was steep, but the view was amazing and Peter and I ended up walking almost all the way to the edge overlooking the ocean. Which was cool, until we had to walk back up. 
I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for the various colored sand we dug up, but I don't know what it is! 
Right after this picture was taken, we started back up the hill and for a minute I thought I wasn't going to make it to the top. I think I had to stop three times to catch my breath and if I only climb one sand dune this year I'll be fine with that!
Saturday, August 22, 2015


After spending some time in Brisbane (where we got to hold a koala!), we set out early on Saturday morning for the next leg of our trip. We drove about an hour and a half north up to the Sunshine Coast and stopped in Noosa, an upscale beach town featuring cute shops, good food, and beautiful beaches. 

Turns out we weren't the only ones who wanted to spend our Saturday at the beach, because it took a good hour to find a parking spot. By the time we finally parked, we were starving and ready for some food. My blog friend turned real life friend Courtney recommended we try Betty's Burgers and I'm so glad she did because they were amazing!
After lunch, we got some ice cream and headed down to the beach. The morning started out a bit chilly, but by the afternoon we both wished we had packed a swimming suit. I always underestimate just how strong the sun is here. It was only about 70 degrees, which I wouldn't usually consider beach weather, but with the sun shining we were definitely warm enough and could have probably gotten a jump on our much-needed summer tans! 
One of the things we liked most about Noosa was the beach walk. There is a pretty long stretch of trail that winds along the waterfront and provides some awesome ocean views. Unfortunately, I was wearing new $4 sandals that shockingly weren't very comfortable, so we didn't hike the whole way. 
I tragically forgot the selfie stick on this vacation, hence the awkward solo pics. 

After a quick stroll past some of the shops on the main road, we got back in the car and headed toward Rainbow Beach, our final destination for the day. Noosa was probably our favorite beach town thus far and I would love to go back for a long weekend at some point! 
Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend Recap

I am still in the process of downloading all of our vacation photos from the digital camera and GoPro, so I thought I'd do a quick weekend recap in the meantime. I actually had big plans to organize all our photos and get some posts done on Sunday, but our Saturday night activities resulted in a pretty lazy day during which we accomplished absolutely nothing.

Friday night Peter and I ate at Hanoi Hannah, a Vietnamese restaurant I had been to with some friends awhile back. It was as good as I remembered and we went early enough that there was no wait. We ordered spring rolls which I didn't take a picture of, this Vietnamese slaw: 
And these wraps:
It was all so good and surprisingly filling. The restaurant was really dark so I apologize for the less than stellar iPhone photos but you get the idea. 

On Saturday we attended a party at a friend's place celebrating the one year mark of their move to Australia. They even purchased red solo cups for the occasion-not easy to find here! 
Lauren and I discovered this broomstick magnet and it was the star of the night. 
The party was tons of fun-perhaps a bit too fun-and Peter and I ended up spending Sunday on the couch. Peter did leave the apartment once to buy us super sized Gatorades. #productive.

I started my Monday in the worst way possible- an 8 am dentist appointment to replace an old filling. Aside from that fun experience, our week is looking pretty low key. I should have some vacation posts put together in the next couple days, so look for those! 
Sunday, August 16, 2015

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

The original motivation behind our trip to Brisbane (at least on my end) was to pay a visit to the famed Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to hold a koala. I say famed because everyone from the Pope to Taylor Swift has visited, so you know it's legit. Holding a koala has been number one on my Australia bucket list, but it isn't legal in our state. When I saw ridiculously cheap flights to Brisbane a few months back, I jumped on them in order to make my dream a reality, and also explore an area of Australia we hadn't yet seen.

The trip to Lone Pine did not disappoint! The sanctuary is small and features mostly koalas, but there is also a nice variety of other native Australian wildlife to look at and of course a kangaroo park, which I'm learning is a staple at any Australian zoo.
We arrived a few minutes after it opened to beat the crowds and grabbed a quick muffin for breakfast at the cafe, which was nice and clean and not a normal zoo cafe. They generally really gross me out. 

We first visited some of the caged animals, including this friendly-looking (but probably actually vicious) dingo. 
\. Apparently koalas sleep for something like 20 hours a day, and I officially want to be one. 
Next we visited the kangaroos. We somehow missed the part where you buy the food, so they weren't that interested in us. We chased them around anyway in true tourist fashion. 
At one point a school girl gave us a handful of food and Peter quickly made a friend.
And then he got sick of us and bounced off. 
This guy below was HUGE. 
I somewhat creepily snapped a picture of a group of school children because I can't get over how cute their uniforms are...the matching hats are just the greatest. 
Alright now for the main event! 
Basically, it was everything I dreamed of and more, except for the fact that koalas don't smell great. They actually smell really, really weird. Also, I don't know what I was expecting, but this guy was HEAVY. We only got to hold him for about 30 seconds, just enough time for the photographer to get a photo and the keeper to whisk him away, but it was absolutely worth it! Dream realized.

As part of the ticket price, we got a copies of the professional photos, which I am most definitely going to frame.
Saturday, August 8, 2015


I am just popping in for a quick vacation update before we head to bed. Tomorrow we are up bright and early for a tour of Fraser Island, which is supposed to be really pretty, so we are excited for that! 

We flew into Brisbane on Thursday midday and spent two days there. Below are a few pictures and a quick recap of our first day; the second day warrants its own post, as we did a couple of fun activities (koala holding!!!). Follow along on Instagram (laura_christian89) for real-time updates :). 

After picking up our rental car, we checked into the hotel and spent a few minutes in the room before setting out for lunch. We walked down into the CBD to look for a place to eat and settled on a burger restaurant that was really good. 
It was a cute little place in a laneway complete with a blanket at every table, you know, for the frigid Brisbane winters. It was a perfect 70 degrees and sunny both days we were there, which felt so nice after a few rainy winter months in Melbourne. I definitely did not use the blanket. 

Just before dinner we decided to take a quick tour of the city and drove through the CBD, Southbank, and then sort of got lost and ended up north of the city. We drove along the river for a few miles before turning back and got to see the beginning of a nice sunset. 
We dropped the car off at our hotel and walked back downtown to grab some dinner, passing through King George Square and this pretty building on the way. 
On our walk home from dinner we were commenting on how Brisbane felt much quieter, smaller, and more laid back than Melbourne when we stumbled upon a fight between five men that had spilled into the street. We hadn't walked another block before three cop cars pulled down the street, so I assume the issue was resolved. So, that was some excitement for 7 pm on a Thursday! We ended up retiring to the hotel early and catching an episode of The Bachelor Australia, which wasn't a bad way to end our first day of vacation! 
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Peter's Birthday

This last weekend Peter turned 27! We celebrated the big day by going to a footy match with friends Matt and Lauren. We had planned to go to brunch earlier in the day, but Peter had a cold all last week and was content with just staying in until the game, so the only meal we ended up eating out was at McDonald's just before the game- fancy!
When we first moved here everyone asked which AFL team we were supporting. It's a seriously big deal here in Melbourne, but we had no obvious allegiance given that Southbank (our little area of the city) doesn't have a team. We decided on the Richmond Tigers, as they're decent and not too far from us. Everyone wears their team scarves to the games, so I got Peter one for his birthday.

We had only been to the Melbourne Cricket Ground once before so it was fun to be back. The place apparently holds 100,000 people. 
I took this picture off of snapchat of us waiting for the game to start. It was COLD. probably about 50 degrees, but it was pretty windy and it felt a lot colder than that to us. 
The traditional footy game experience consists of beer and a meat pie for dinner. I don't like beer much, so I left that to Peter, but I did enjoy a meat pie!
Richmond was actually predicted to lose the game to Hawthorn, but they pulled out a win and we got to see a pretty close game. 
Lauren took this picture of Matt, Peter and me toward the end of the game. One thing I like about footy is that it's pretty easy to follow and the time never stops so the game doesn't seem as long. I generally like watching American football, but the games can go on FOREVER; two minutes of play can take a half hour. 

Overall, we had a fun day celebrating and a relaxing weekend. We once again played some virtual golf on Sunday and I'm pretty sure Peter is eager to hit the actual golf course come spring. 
I graduated from moccasins to combat boots, and it didn't help my swing one bit. I even managed to lose a ball...somehow. 

On Thursday, we are ditching the end of winter here in Melbourne for some warmer weather in Brisbane and we can't wait!


Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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