Australia · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between)

Beautiful Boonah, a place of warmth and simplicity.

“They want me. I want them. I want this place. I want everything to be simple and beautiful and warm.” Jackson Pearce (Cold Spell)

I live surprisingly close to the city, which is pretty affordable and means I can get in and out of the city within an hour for the total trip. I love my proximity to the city and the heart of Brisbane, as much as I love living near the river and having pretty much anything I need right on my doorstep.

Day in, day out I start to feel just a little too claustrophobic. I work in the CBD as well and seriously, by the time the weekend rolls around I just feel trapped and want to hibernate in my bedroom and hide away from the world.

Scenic Rim 12

Given the chance to escape the city and get out into the country, I grabbed it with both hands and ran with it. So excited was I to be hitting the M7 and heading far, far away from my house, I barely remembered to pack a jumper or even stop for a coffee on the way. Coffee is my morning elixir, so this provided to be a costly mistake. I had no idea where I was going, how far I would travel or where (even more troubling, when?) I would get my coffee. I drove from Brisbane out through Ipswich and it was not until I reached the very gorgeous Boonah (over an hour south-west), that I stopped, got out of the car, and realised I had no time frame. There was no reason to rush…*SIGHHHH*.

After a bacon & egg roll and a coffee the size of my head, I decided I would make my way out to the Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm, a place which I have wanted to check out for quite a while. Given it was not open until 10am, and I was up with the birds and had finished my breakfast by 9am, I decided to get back into Scarlett and just drive (Scarlett is my incredibly cute 2010 Mazda 3).

Scenic Rim 11

There is something about the country that calms my mind, gives my heart butterfly kisses and makes me feel at home. For a girl who had no real home and was moving every 2-3 years, I don’t have a ‘home-town’, I do however have a connection to the land. Where the skies are long and blue and the ground is brown – I am at my happiest. I don’t know why, it just is. I feel at home. I feel like I can breathe and I am more than happy to spend some time on my own.

I made my way out to Maroon Lake, set my tripod up and thought I would do some exploring. As I had my tripod in its place and not another soul insight (seriously, it was 9.30am on a Wednesday!), two cars rolled in and in a completely empty area – parked exactly in front of the tripod and stared at the camera. It was, strange? Let’s go with strange. So I hauled my gear to the other side of the lake but didn’t get the shots I was after. Not to worry, it was passed 10 and it was Lavender Farm time!

Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm is a little over an hour from Brisbane and has a spectacular view across the Great Dividing Range. I arrived far too early for a meal or a wine, I did however try the lavender tea and some lavender scones and they were absolutely delicious! There is a stunning chapel where I daydreamed having our vowel renewals one day (a girl can dream, right?) and I spent a healthy amount of time weaving in and out of the beautiful rows of lavender and just enjoying the beautiful spot I was in.

Kooroomba has many award winning wines and host a five-star restaurant on site. It certainly is a location I am keen to return to soon. Once the lunchtime crowd started to roll in, I knew it was time to head home.

For under three hours of travel in total, I felt renewed by the time I got back home to Brisbane. The fresh air, the incredibly friendly people, amazing views and large blue skies and deep straw-coloured fields. It just feels like home, every time.

For more information on Kooromba Vineyard and Lavender Farm click here.

Queensland’s very own Scenic Rim is something really special, to see all of the wonderful things you can see and do, click here.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

 

Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Europe · Lifestyle · New Zealand · North America · South America · South Pacific / Australasia

Dear Captain Planet Generation…we are failing

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Captain Planet….if you grew up in the 90’s you would remember him and the Planeteers (Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi & Ma-Ti anybody?). These guys were the reason six year old me understood environmental disasters & devastating destruction long before I ever learnt it in school! We were the generation they were after, they were talking to us – we were going to be the ones to turn it all around.

Except…Did you know that since 1993, we have lost an area of ‘unspoilt’ places twice the size of Alaska? Or that humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years?

With ecosystems being lost there is no ability to reverse the damage and although there is still approximately 30m sq. km of wilderness across the globe, that only equates to 23% of the world’s land mass. In saying that a large portion of this is Australia’s deserts and western woodlands.

For those of us in Australia, our environmental movement really hit its peak in the eighties and the Australian Labor Party began capitalising on national conservation and soil conservation.

We are incredibly fortunate in that Australia has over 6000 Landcare and Coastcare groups nationwide. We are respectful of climate change, sustainability, animal protection and of course environmental care as a whole.

As we continue to experience the effects of the damage we have caused to our beautiful planet, a sustainable economy is more important than ever. We need to live within our means and try to use natural assets rather than depleting them and work to bring pollution to a level that our environment can actually handle, rather than damage it beyond repair.

Sadly, Australia is surprisingly one of the lease sustainable countries in the world. The AEGN confirmed that we as a nation have an ecological footprint which is 2.8 times the work average & our carbon emissions are four times the world average.

So how do we, as Generation Y try to give back to the environment which is home? How do we respect and care for all of the beautiful places which has given us land, rain, clean water, incredible ecosystems, animals, fresh air and healthy oceans (AEGN, 2018)?

Our oceans have the highest marine biodiversity in the world and our native plants and animals are found only here, in Australia. Along without carbon footprint and carbon emissions we have the highest rate of animal extinction and our extreme and dangerous weather events are increasing each year. Whilst there is natural attrition, we humans are responsible for almost all of the damage.

The AEGN is working hard to provide marine sanctuaries, to stop large-scale land clearing, to set up wind and solar farms and provide education around climate change, to protect biodiversity and restore land and to advocate for the proper use and protection of our fresh water supplies. We rely on grants and groups to get this done. So how can you help? Well, have a look at the following tips which I either follow or will begin following and see how you go. I would also love to hear what you do, let’s be the generation Captain Planet thought we would be and step up to the challenge of protecting Earth for the next generation.

  • Walk & bike to local destinations, rather than taking your car
  • Use a refillable water bottle and avoid buying/using plastic water bottles. Did you know that there are 370 million bottles going to waste every year & that these will take over 400 years to break down (ProAcqua, 2014). Australia’s use of bottled water generates 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year!
  • Dry your clothes using a clothes-horse or clothesline instead of using your dryer (these bad boys are one of the biggest energy-sucking appliances in your home).
  • Use a keep-cup for your coffee (it is estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s 2.7 million paper cups thrown out every day! (University of Melbourne, 2018).
  • Use reusable bags when you do your groceries (Greenpeace found that Australians use over 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags annually) (Greenpeace, 2017).
  • Use cold water for your washing machine
  • Unplug your electronics at night to stop them using electricity
  • Use digital documents and avoid print-outs
  • RECYCLE, recycle, recycle (the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste per year and much of this is avoidable!) (Greenpeace, 2014).
  • Buy products with the Energy Rating which is high, this is a mandatory scheme for most appliances and the higher the star-rating the better the appliance (Australian Government, 2013).
  • Adopt a water conservation strategy (fix your taps, use a water-saving shower head, keep your tap water in a bottle in the fridge, use your washing machine when you have a full load and on cold, install a water tank, don’t overwater your lawn etc.,) (Nature Australia, 2018).

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow OURSEQld on Instagram click here – Our SE Qld

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Australia

Glass House Mountains, Queensland

When saving for a holiday, it can be tricky to think of things to do which don’t break the bank but which also get you to leave the house. Welcome to the humble road-trip! We are fortunate enough to live on the river in Brisbane, so it is relatively easy to head North or South, especially with the Motorway so close to our home.IMG_9731Saturday involved a flip of the coin and the choice to head north. A girlfriend of mine had suggested Mount Mee as a daytrip, so that’s where we took off. My GPS has died, so I decided to use trustee Siri on my phone. ‘Trustee’ Siri absolutly fails to take you the easiest route, despite what you are lead to believe! We couldn’t quite hunt down the attractions of Mount Mee and so we drove straight through to the Glasshouse mountains for a well-needed bushwalk.

After a failed negotiation to only complete the 3km route (me), we headed off on our 6km round-trip (G’s choice). Unfortunately for G we had forgotten to leave our backpack in the car and he carted this thing around the entire walk. Also, there is nothing in this world which will remind you of how unfit you are like a) walking past the fittest most attraative couple you have ever seen at the end of their walk without a likc of sweat on them and b) sweating so profusely you consider taking your shirt off only 5 minutes into your walk.

The walk itself was really nice, muggy but nice. The lookout is really pretty and as we made it to the top it started to rain which was a nice break in the heat. G said it would help from being judged too harshly, because most people would (surely) figure it was rain. I was not convinced, mine looked suspiciosly like sweat and the look of death going along with it was a bit of a give-away!

After our walk, which took about an hour and a half we were excited to go and have our picnic and G has now decided he wants to go back and climb the east face of Mt Tibrogargan like a goat sometime in the future. I think seing an elderly gentleman returning from the hike, kitted out in his climbing anchors and harnesses may have given him false confidence there.

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We travelled further up the road and visited the Glass House Mountains Lookout. I have great memories of visiting this place when I was a kid – my family and I used to head up here a few times a year as we lived in Caloundra.

Th Glass House Mountains, named by Captain Cook during his voyage along the east coast are beautiful, they are the remnants of volcanic activity that occured between 25 -27 million years ago. These beautiful volcanic mountains are the iconic landmarks of the Sunshine Coast.

The Glass House Mountains lookout is along Glass House Woodford Road and are open 24 hours, the Glasshouse Mountains Lookout Cafe is just down the road and if you have your own packed lunch (like we did), then there are bbq facilities and picnic tables at the lookout as well.

From Brisbane, follow the Bruce Highway north, take the Glass House Mountains tourist drive turn-off and follow the signs to the Glass House Mountains.

Have you been to the Glass House Mountains? I would love to hear about it!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

x C x

Australia

Be a sunflower, stand strong and follow the sun!

A post dedicated to my beautiful little sister, CG <3.

IMG_9206South-East Queensland has had some super cheeky weather of late. Typically February is the hottest, muggiest and most unpleasant month of the year for me. However, I actually wore a cardiagan last week which is unheard of!

So here we have bee, gloriously skipping along thinking for some reason or another Australia has decided NOT too cook us all alive. It turns out we have been lied to. Australia has been tricking us!

On Saturday I finally decided to head out West and go on the famed ‘Sunflower Trail’. I have left it much too late in the season but I just have not been able to go out west before this weekend.

Southern Queensland country = sunflowers. I have long wanted to visit them myself. When I lived in Central Queensland, we would often drive from Dysart out to Emerald and the sunflowers would face us on the way there and by the time we made the drive home in the afternoon, their beautiful yellow faces would be looking at us again on the way home. It is one of my favourite memories!

The most ideal time to go sunflower hunting in South East/West Queensland is December to February – BUT – I would say Feb is just a smidge too late. If you follow the ‘gram, you would have seen Jan as peak season for 🌻🌻.

Our trip started in South Brisbane and we drove our towards Toowoomba, with a couple of stops for coffee/loos/cuddles with my little (nearly) four year old Niece 😊.

Once we hit Toowoomba after a couple of hours we grabbed some lunch / picnic food and continued our drive out to Nobby, QLD. This took us another forty or so minutes. It was HOT!

IMG_9160We had our picnic in Nobby and had a lovely older gentleman come up and explain the towns history and he pointed out all of his favourite buildings. I think one of the sweetest things in the world is the pride locals take in their smaller communities. We had he pleasure of growing up out West and it’s there that you truly appreciate the saying “salt of the Earth” people. Have a chat with someone if you can, you will always walk away more knowledgeable and with a friendly smile and a wave.

After our lunch and playground evacuation negotiation skills with little L, we drove another five or so minutes out of town to the sunflower fields. Unfortunately we were far too late. They had dropped their last petals and were no longer beaming up at the sun.

IMG_9286At first we were disappointed but really, we had had an amazing day together and we knew we were pushing our luck given it was mid-Feb.

We jumped back in the car (which was no longer red and was more a unique dusty-brown shade) and as we were about to turn around we thought we would maybe just dive a little further.

Another five mins down the toad and we found some sunflowers! Not too many but more than we thought we would! One last little field. We walked up and down the edge of the field, took some pics, watched the cute bees and imagined the hardships our Aussie farmers face each season.

If I could mention something though (and I’m going to), it’s for travellers, grammers and visitors to be respectful. These are not wild sunflowers. These are farms. There are wonderful, hard-working people behind these crops. Don’t just stomp your way through the fields, grabbing the flowers and forgetting that this is someone’s crop. Be respectful. This is private property. If we could explain this to a four year old – then I think your group of ten stomping all over the field with drones and selfie sticks can also work that one out?

IMG_9260Ideally we would so this trip again in January. We would leave earlier in the morning and not pick the middle of the day. However in saying that, for a last minute spontaneous trip out west – I think it went pretty well!

See you next season Sunflowers 🌻.

x C x

For more info on our beautiful Southern Queensland Country click here.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and items, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – redhead_novaturient

 

Australia · South Pacific / Australasia

Sydney in September <3

IMG_3037‘The greatest trips are the unexpected ones’ – Anon

Sydney is the type of destination which makes you think of the Sydney Opera House, the Botanical Gardens, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, insanely expensive coffee and hipsters by the barrel-full. It also makes me think of insane traffic, way too many people and a city which has a constant buzz of energy and activity!

G is originally from Sydney and he did his apprenticeship all around Sydney (think 17-year-old driving a van with a trailer on the back of it), so his driving and people-handling capabilities are far more advanced than mine!

After I surprised G with the news I had booked us a cruise in September, just a mere two days after sitting him down and going through our budget and determining we needed to cut costs and be responsible 30-somethings…. he leapt on board and confirmed that we would be doing it in style!

We booked our airfares and booked the Shagri-La for our pre-cruise stay. The Shangri-La in Sydney is divine, it has views like no other in Sydney and if you can afford to splurge and stay there, then I highly recommend it! We booked an Executive Grand Harbour View room, which although pushing $500 a night, does have views of the full harbour. The Sydney Opera House, the Rocks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the beautiful harbour in all her glory.

The bathrooms are like no other, think marble bath and shower and plush towels and bathrobes. 50sqm of pure heaven and the views, my goodness the views! The rooms are located on levels 22-29.

DSC06606My favourite thing about the Shangri-La is that if you do arrive before 2pm and your room is ready, you are more than welcome to check-in earlier than expected. There is a gym, all day dining at Café Mix, amazing food at Altitude Restaurant and the Blu Bar on level 36. My tip is to get up to Blu Bar well before sunset, because it does get packed and secure yourself a front-seat view to the orange beauty which is a Sydney harbour sunset!

I have some amazing girlfriends who live in Sydney and we often travel interstate to see each other a few times a year, so we were lucky enough to be able to meet up with a late lunch at Cruise Bar, which is in the bustling Circular Quay. The view is beautiful; it has an amazing selection of wine and cocktails and the house made flatbreads with dip and salt and chilli squid is delicious! After spending a couple of hours here, we made our way up to the Blu Bar (get the Thyming Tokyo or Yamazukara ;)) and enjoyed the sunset.

We then headed out to Harts Pub around the corner and enjoyed some sparkling wine and waffle fries and then it was time for us to say goodbye and head back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

Our dinner reservation was at the amazing Saké Restaurant at the Rocks and we had been looking forward to this dinner for months! It was like watching two kids at a candy bar once our amazing server handed us the menu! So, I won’t bore you with the details but our menu looked something like this: sashimi combo, spicy tuna rolls, Hiromasa kingfish, edamame, popcorn shrimp and the cape grim short rib bo ssam. You can go ahead and unbutton your pants and take a few deep breaths after reading that if you need to, we sure did!

Drinks consisted of the Hatori Hanzo (Bombay Sapphire gin, Yuzu sake, jalapeño pepper, cucumber and elderflower), E-momo-ki (cherry-blossom themed) cocktail, a Master of Malt Japanese whiskey tasting board (Mars Maltage Cosmo, Suntory Kabukin & Hibiki Japanese Harmony) and we finished with the phenomenal Miso Caramel Dragon Egg for dessert. We basically had to roll ourselves back to our hotel afterwards!

We spent an incredibly comfortable night in our amazing king-size bed and kept the curtains opened so we would wake up with the sun rising over Sydney heads. We woke up just before 5am and were lucky enough to watch our home for the next 8 nights make her way through the harbour and dock at Circular Quay. This was amazing to watch, from our bed with our room-service coffee!

The Shangri-La gym was our next stop and then we made our way to the famed breakfast buffet and before you know it, it was time to leave!

Matching flamingo shirts at the ready, we made it to the ship – dropped our bags – celebrated with some Prosecco and it was time to start our New Caledonia adventure!

Where are your favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney?

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and items, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – redhead_novaturient

x C x