The Plan for Sydney, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast

We chose Sydney since we haven’t spent much time there and Cameron will work some while we are there. We are thinking about staying in Manly or Bondi Beach. I love the idea of being at the beach and being able to walk to restaurants and shops. Both fit that requirement, but Manly’s beach seems bigger than Bondi, so we will probably go there. It will be fun to take the ferry into the downtown area to see the city. We usually stay in apartments or houses rather than hotels when we travel. These give us more space and the option to cook if we want to.

We will spend four days in Sydney before we fly to Brisbane. We are planning on going to Byron Bay, visiting friends in Brisbane, going inland – maybe to the Bunya Mountains or the Maleny area – before we end up in Sunrise or Sunshine Beach. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and her family are staying there for two months, so we plan on surprising them on the beach one day! My SIL knows we are coming, but it will be a complete surprise for my MIL.

So we will have just over two weeks to spend in the Brisbane area….what to do? We are all looking forward to spending time at the beach since we live in the mountains and have very long winters. Our first stop will be Byron Bay. I haven’t been there since I visited over 20 years ago. Next, we will visit friends who live in Brisbane. Every time we are in Brisbane, we visit with Kim, Mark and their kids and go to Lone Pine. Lone Pine is a koala sanctuary that my MIL used to visit when she was a kid. It is a wonderful place that lets you get close the animals – you can hold a koala, a snake, and even birds of prey! We walk among and feed the kangaroos, too, and there are shows throughout the day. It is a highlight of our trip every time!

When Cameron and I went to Australia together for the first time, we took a day trip to the Bunya Mountains. We hiked through the forest and saw a bower bird nest and some wallabies, but the highlight was the king parrots and crimson rosellas we fed. These are beautiful parrots, and they landed all over us to get some food – head, shoulders, chest, and the jacket I had tied around my waist! It was so entertaining.

Australia Zoo is also on our agenda. This is a spectacular, large zoo with all the Australian animals and the keepers have different animals out all day around the zoo. The kangaroos aren’t as friendly as the ones at Lone Pine, but we can get up close to them anyway. This zoo also has animal shows throughout the day that are fun to see.

The main attraction of our trip is the beach. Why is that? We love Australian beaches, especially the ones with few people on them which seem like most of the beaches when we get out of highly developed areas. They are lovely and long so we can walk for miles. In many of the places we’ve been to in Queensland, there is a green buffer between development and the ocean. You have to walk through the bush to get to the beach. It means you don’t see most of the houses from the beach and it feels way more isolated than it is. If you are looking for hotels on the beach, you will find that on the Gold Coast.

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