travel things

Australia: Brisbane

Brisbane is, so far, the city that feels the most “me.”

Brisbane is:

  • Sunny
  • Warm
  • Close to the ocean
  • Silly and off-beat
  • Filled with juices + markets
  • Relaxed and chill

Growing up I associated Australia with myself because of my name, and thus had always wanted to visit. I do wish that we could’ve fit Sydney on our trip, but there was no time to squeeze it in. As soon as I landed in Australia, I knew that it matched up to my personality perfectly. Everyone is laid back, but not overly friendly; the sun, beach, and outdoors are a hugely important part of life; the humor is dry, sarcastic, silly, and pervasive; and vacation is a priority. And more, I was happily surprised to find that eating healthy + gluten free was incredibly easy!

One funny thing is that when I introduced myself to cashiers or fellow hostel guests, they were always surprised at my name! I had been looking forward to the fact that people would be able to understand my name, and not think I was “Cindy” or “Syn-dni” (what is that?). However, most people thought it was an interesting choice for a name! It was unusual to them, but cool, that my name was one of their biggest cities. It would be like if an Australian came here and you found out their name was “Boston.”

The reason we visited Australia was to lead a group of students on a summer mission trip with Cru. I REALLY lucked out that the year I went was the year that the annual Mid-Year Conference was not outside of Melbourne (our location for the rest of the trip), but outside Brisbane in the – get this – RAINFOREST. As a kid there was nothing more interesting or important to me than the rainforest! I was (and am) a tree hugger and animal-lover, and the idea of the rainforest held all of my hopes and dreams.

So, we started off our trip in Brisbane (after a mystical layover at the foggy Auckland, New Zealand airport). After a day and half in the city adjusting to jet lag, we hopped on a bus to Tamborine Mountain (Australians have the funnest city names!). Once our week in the mountains was up, we took a plane to Melbourne, where we spent four weeks meeting college students and talking to them about Jesus. We did a couple of other fun little trips from Melbourne, which I will share more about later. Finally, Whit and I peaced out from the team and spent our last few days in Oceania in New Zealand before the long journey home.

For now, here’s what we did in Brisbane…

Layover in New Zealand (I couldn’t wait to go back!!!)

Nothing beats a sunny welcome to a new place

What a silly tree

To try to brush off jet lag, we explored a bit. The city is modern, clean, sunny, hip, and plant-y.

Markets are always good for exploring

One of our team members had been studying abroad in Brisbane, and met up with us once we arrived. She introduced us to the meat pie, a classic greasy Australian meal (Not gluten free :().

I picked up a smoothie down the street.

Some of the group popped into a museum for a minute while waiting for others to finish taking photos.

Down by the water there is a great little area to walk around and hang out. It has a garden walking trail, some cultural buildings, restaurants, and even a man-made beach!

We spotted an iguana!

I had seen photos of this beach and obviously it was at the top of my list! A beach in the city, what better activity is there?

Some of the group picked up coffees, while the rest of us wandered, sat, and dipped our feet in the water.

Eventually we all took a break for some Middle Eastern shawarma from a nearby stall.

Then it was off to our hostel, where we snoozed hard!

In the morning we shared a hot breakfast, cooked by the men. We had potatoes, eggs, and peppers and onions, along with fruit, cereal, and yogurt. To this day it is my favorite group breakfast!

We sunned by the pool and met some stereotypical Australian surfer dudes before it was time to catch the bus.

Brisbane, I miss you!

Read about the rest of our trip to Australia here. Next up – Tamborine Mountain.

{Note: Some pictures are borrowed from mission team member Lucas Adams.}

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