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

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x C x

 

 

Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks

Mount Coot-tha, Brisbane

IMG_9501Brisbane is Queensland’s beloved river city, our suburbs and city trail along the brown snake from Moreton Bay inland for a distance of 344km. It is also no secret that I am a die-hard Brisbane river fan (much to my Husband’s confusion).

So today, we did something different, we ventured from the river and headed up the very beautiful Mount Coot-tha, which is 287m above sea-level and has beautiful panoramic views of Brisbane.

Mount Coot-tha was originally home to the Turrbal Aboriginal people and whose name derives from the aboriginal word for honey kuta. There is a rich history of logging, goldmining and military.

It is only 7km from Brisbane CBD and there are many free activities up there, for all ages. There is also the Summit restaurant which is quite lovely (although pricey).

The last time I was at Mount Coot-tha, one of my girlfriends Meagan and I had ventured to the Summit track, which is a beautiful 2km hiking (easy) trail near the lookout area.  There is a selection of sixty-six different walking trails in the Mount Coot-tha area, for all fitness levels and ages. You will normally see hundreds of runners, hikers and cyclists training up and down the area – given its cycle hill training 10km loop (so please take care driving!).

On Sunday, we decided to take advantage of the rain-free weekend (Brissie has been a bit soggy lately!) and headed off for a cost-free morning (aside from our Sunday-morning coffees – because, Sunday).

It only took 15-20 minutes for us to drive from Balmoral to Mount Coot-tha and although parking is limited, you are usually able to find a parking spot a bit further down the road. There are also buses and if you are feeling athletic, it is a really popular walk there and back!

For a list of the Mount Coot-tha tracks – click here.

Once you head back down the hill you will find the Botanic Gardens (again, free entry) and the entire grounds are just beautifully manicured and filled with something for everybody.

If you are looking for a free day out, then do as we did and pack a backpack, some water bottles, your hat, sun cream and even a picnic – there are plenty of picnic areas to visit and head off for the day!

Please remember to stick to the walking tracks, only use the designated trails, keep your dogs on a leash, don’t litter, no fires, clean up after your pets and don’t interfere with the flora and fauna.

Enjoy!

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

Boxing Day – Exploring the Eastern Suburbs <3

Boxing Day was one of those days where we could have opted to stay in bed and sleep the day away, or hit the day and hit it hard.

So…we decided to get dressed, hit to road and walk the 8km from Darlinghurst to Nielsen’s Point, to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Sensible heads prevailed though and instead we caught an Uber to Rose Bay and walked the rest of the way to Nielsen’s Park. The walk took an hour or a so, but it was up hill the entire way. So any food and/or drinks from Christmas were quickly sweated out!

Watching the start of the race was so much fun and I was able to test out my new 24mm Canon pancake lens, it is going to take some getting used to but I definitely like it!

The walk was phenomenal but the difference in $$$ in terms of suburbs in Sydney was amazing! The Eastern Suburbs are something else! Have you ever seen a BMW Police Car? I have and I have to tell you it is one of the strangest out-of-this-world things I have ever witnessed!

Boxing Day-4G and I walked all the way along the Hermitage path back to Rose Bay – which was one hell of a walk! A LOT of stairs but so many absolutely beautiful spots to stop and try my new 24mm pancake lens!

After our walk we caught an Uber back to Darlinghurst and G went out to pick the kids up after their day with the other side of the family. I had every intention of doing some blogging but instead I found myself being woken up at 7pm by G and the kids – I had been asleep for nearly four hours!

Boxing Day-7I am not normally a big sleeper but I think when you are on holiday, the year catches up with you and you just need to wind down and rest!

We spent a lovely night together catching up and talking about Christmas and just enjoying each others company. Sydney is so beautiful, there is so much to do!

How did you spend Boxing Day? What is your tradition for the day?

x C x

Australia

#SnapBrisbane – Brisbane’s 24 Hours of (increased) Insta-Fame <3

It’s no surprise to anyone how much I love Brisbane. I love, love, LOVE Brisbane. This is my home, I live here, wild-horses could not drag me to a new place to live. Ever. So when I remembered #snapbrisbane was coming up again – I knew I had to get out there and pound the pavement and get some new photos of the city I love so much!

My Insta: https://www.instagram.com/redhead_novaturient/

I started with about 18 pictures from the weekend (down from about 40), but that seemed a little excessive. I try not to post too many pictures on IG in any one day, but when there is a 24 hour IG event, I can’t help myself? Let’s showcase our girl! So, I settled on 9, G helped me cull (*crying because I had to say no to several of them*).

So here they are, the selected 9 – I hope you enjoy!

jacarandas again

Jacaranda Trees- ‘purple rain’ all through Brisbane from late September through to late November ❤

Courtney Gaye Kookaburra Queen Flowers

A sweet little view of the Kookaburra Queen, behind Mr and Mrs G bar down at Eagle Street/Riverside 🙂

the mansions

The Mansions, up on George Street in the CBD. Built in 1889, in gorgeous Victorian architecture style.

brick wall

This gorgeous brick wall, is located up the top of Beatrice Lane (off of Margaret Street) – the Former Watsons Brothers building was built in 1887 – the original stables are now used as a city Wilson’s carpark!

red door

Margaret Street has a sassy little red-door which commands attention! This is she….say hello!

william street

As we venture along the ‘Reflections on the River’ heritage walk, there was a road shut, so we couldn’t get to Queens Wharf Road, so as we kept along George Street – we then popped up this alleyway….look how cute it is!

Jacaranda 3

Jacaranda Trees will always be my favourite and they have been in Brisbane since 1864!

southbank

South Bank in Brisbane is one of my favourite places and has been since I was a little girl – you cannot beat the beautiful archways with their buganvilia flowers :).

IMG_6131

The cutest little bee in some flowers, in a Coles car parking lot I took this morning (armed with shopping bags of course!!).

Well there you go, 9 pictures of my beloved Brisbane which I submitted as part of the #snapbrisbane event.

If you would like to see more – follow the below link! I heard today that one of my pictures is going to be published in the newspaper (my Kookaburra Queen picture!) – so I am unbelievably excited!

http://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/snapbrisbane

Thank for reading, have a fantastic end of your week!

x C x