We just celebrated our first Ozziversary on November 15. It was one of those milestones that snuck up on us—it seemed so recently we were immersed in trying to find the hardware store, grocery store, nearest good beach then suddenly I had the answer when strangers asked for directions or tourists asked for ideas about what to do. I know where Albert Street is, I can suggest good ways to spend an afternoon. I actually know what people are saying to me now…
Time flew past while we were caught up with our own routine, but as this season’s boats were wrapping up their Pacific crossings, new cruisers were heading off to Mexico and those ahead of us are exploring PNG, SE Asia or closing in on Africa, and it became impossible not to acknowledge the fact we’ve been here for a whole year.
|the jacaranda tree near our boat--my new favourite tree
When you’re used to moving all the time (Maia spent the past five Halloweens in five different countries) staying in one place for an entire a year of seasons feels a bit strange. The surprise of the jacarandas blooming has given way to the expectation the flying foxes will return, and the mild sunny spring days are starting to grow humid, with thunder and lightening storms arriving to cool them off—a sure sign our tropical summer is just around the corner.
Being in a place for a year though also means we’ve developed a bit of a list: things that are good, things that are bad and things that just confuse the heck out of us. But because this is a celebratory post I’ll stick with the good. So in no particular order—here are some of the things we love about Oz:
|it's easy to gather friends when parks come with BBQs and shelters
BBQ’s—Almost every park has them. Free electric or wood BBQ’s where you can sizzle your sausages while enjoying lunch at a nearby picnic table. Early on we learned the etiquette. If the barbie is busy queue up your meat and enjoy a bevvie while you while away the arvo waiting your turn.
Bubblers—Forgot your water bottle but refuse to buy bottled water? No worries mate. There are bubblers (water fountains) almost on every corner (and even on a few hiking trails).
City Ferries—We love the public transit system here and the free city hopper ferries are a great bonus. They are slow, and don’t run that frequently but they work for some trips and they are fantastic entertainment.
|can you spot the koala?
|not a crime scene--this is known as a bloodwood tree, I think...
Flora and Fauna—This is a country full of fantastical creatures and weird plants straight out of a nursery rhyme. The other day a wild kangaroo came up to us in the park mooching for food. A kangaroo! And last weekend we saw our first wild koalas. Seriously, that never gets old.
|this is a chook, not a chicken. honest.
The Lingo—So I’m pretty sure we understand most of what people say to us now. Occasionally I’m still stumped—but now when someone tells me to rug up or suggests we wag off I don’t assume the worst.
|Australia Day--just one of the 365 things people in Brisbane appear to celebrate...
Fun, fun, fun—There’s a celebration for that. Could be our city, could be Oz, but there is a festival on right now. And there was one last weekend. And there will be one next weekend. I'll reckon that whenever you read this there will be a festival on.Public art, parks and spaces—Brisbane prides itself on the amount of public art that’s around the city—in fact it has policies which require new buildings to provide a certain amount of public art or public space. The city also has heaps of parks, pathways and trails—this means we don’t need to leave the city even to find new places to explore. And the playgrounds... Oh, to be a kid.
Farmers Markets—I love markets—especially ones I can walk or dinghy to. And happily we have several excellent options every week. Our favourites are Saturday morning in the West End—a 10 minute dinghy ride away. Or Wednesday afternoon in library square. Cheap, fresh & local. Mmmmm.
The Beaches--Could go on and on and inlcude the hunderds of pics we have but I'll just say the water is warm, the sand is soft, the colours shift through a rainbow of blues and green, and Austraila has 11,761 of them. We're working on finding our favourite.