Discoveries Down Under Part 2 – Queensland, Australia


Brian, Yvonne and I boarded the Qantas flight from Perth to Brisbane and after about 5 hours crossing this huge country from West to East we landed in Brisbane, capital of the sunshine state of Queensland, Australia. Cousin Carol  (Yvonne’s sister) was waiting at the airport terminal to whisk us to the seaside town of Caloundra, just an hour’s drive away from Brisbane.

We had never met Carol before, but over the following few days we got to know her well since she allowed us a glimpse into her life and entertained us with many stories about their family move to Australia as  “ten pound pom” migrants. She is a storyteller with a big personality and a very generous heart, we stayed at her lovely home in Caloundra from Thursday 9th of February to Monday 13th of February.

The “ten pound poms” was a term used to describe British migrants who were part of the “Assisted Passage Migration Scheme” designed to substantially increase the Australian population and supply workers for the country’s booming industries. The scheme lasted from post WWII 1945 until 1972 and attracted over one million people from the British Isles. The cost of travelling was subsidised by the Australian government charging £10 for the fare ( in 1945 £10 would in 2015 be the equivalent of £ 389) per adult, and children travelled free of charge. Many migrants found that on arrival in Australia many of the government promises of better housing, jobs and a better lifestyle in general were not so readily available.

Carol and Yvonne remembered their arrival as being quite hard for their parents, their father Alec didn’t find employment in Fremantle and Perth where they first arrived and eventually the family of five ( mum, dad and three kids) moved to Geelong, near Melbourne, where Alec got a job at Ford. Carol tells us that her mum Rita missed Scotland a lot and took her over 20 years to fully embrace life as an Australian.

Australia Zoo

Carol organised a great exploring itinerary for us, starting with the 100 acre Australia Zoo, made famous by the late Steve Irwin whose wild life series “The Crocodile Hunter” was a favourite of my son James as he was growing up. Steve died in 2006 aged only 44 after being stabbed in the chest by a stingray barb during filming of one of his underwater documentary films at Batt Reef, Queensland. The zoo is now owned by Steve’s widow Terri Irwin, although it was originally founded by Steve’s parents Bob and Lyn Irwin in early 1970’s when it was called Queensland Reptile and Fauna park. Steve’s passion for animal’s and conservation is evident throughout the park, there are pictures of him wearing his signature khaki shorts frolicking with crocodiles and other animal’s all around the Zoo. He considered conservation the most important part of his work.



For me a visit to the Zoo was also an opportunity to get very close and personal to the elusive Koala. The Koala has big fluffy ears, and very soft skin. I was delighted to be able to hold and snuggle up to a Koala for few minutes, even though she did give me an unwanted present…a small poo that I just gently let it go from the hand that was under her bottom.

With Carol, Yvonne and Brian plus our adorable Koala (minus the poo-poo)

There are plenty of marsupials, mammal, birds and reptiles to see; it is a great day out, with a small train that can take you around the park since it is a very large place with lots to see, in fact we did not manage to see it all in a day.

A very chilled Kangaroo

Your little eyes are mesmerising

Where do you think you are going?


Lets have a quick peep into Africa

Glad for the long necks

We also visited the Australia Zoo hospital, dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating all wildlife in need, where the highly skilled team provides a free service to all sick and injured wildlife, from road accident victims to stranded marine animals etc.

Animal Hospital


On a road trip up the mountains we visited the small town of Montville, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, part of the the Blackall Range around 400 metres above sea level. It is a charming place that in many ways reminded me of my home town of Canela, high up in the hills with charming wineries, craft and speciality shops and restaurants with great views out to the Glass Mountains and the coastline in the distance. We stopped for lunch to have a meal with a view.

View over to the Glass Mountains

Lunch with a view

Aussie Barbecues

I am from the South of Brazil, gaucho land where having a barbecue is a huge part of our culture. Here in Australia it appears that they also have quite a culture of outdoor barbecues and most beaches and parks will have a barbecue pit. Carol and her son Ian organised a fantastic barbecue at a great location with ocean views and a stunning sunset to boot. What could be a nicer thing to do in a warm summer evening?

So what do I do now?

Aussie barbecue

These couple offered us their picnic table, as they had finished eating

There was few picnic tables, but not many freely available, but this nice couple with the dog (above) were so friendly and offered us their table since they had just finished their meal and needed to go home to feed their other animals. We found all the Australians that we met on this trip to be extremely friendly, sociable, fun and easy going. It must be the sunshine that just cheers everyone up.

We had many delicious and memorable meals during our journey around Australia, but it was particularly nice the time we gathered around the dinner table with family to just chat and have a laugh together. In Caloundra Carol booked us a table at this great restaurant near the seafront and we had the opportunity to meet Carol’s granddaughter Beyoncé  (yes…named after the R&B American singer) who joined us for the evening.

Family gathering


We did not want to leave Queensland without a little exploring around their Capital city of Brisbane, where on arrival at the town centre we took a ferry to South Bank.

Ferry to South Bank

South Bank Parklands pier with the 60 m high “Wheel of Brisbane” in the back

The South Bank Parklands is situated on the Southern banks of the Brisbane River, it has 17.5 hectares of canopied walkways, rain forest, a Nepalese peace pagoda, a 60 metre high “Wheel of Brisbane”, lush laws, eateries, bars, an events open air theatre and a fabulous man made beach boasting a sparkling lagoon style swimming pool complete with a white sandy beach and sub-tropical plants. What is not to like?…such a shame we did not bring our swimming costumes.

Nepalese peace pagoda

The iconic “Streets Beach” , Australia’s only inner-city man made beach

Parklands gardens

It was the hottest day we had so far, with temperatures at around 35 degrees C, but since having a dip in pool was not an option we cooled ourselves down inside a lovely pub for a well deserved meal and a very cold drink.

Our time in this part of beautiful Queensland was soon ending and we were moving towards the next leg of our journey Down Under. Carol and Yvonne drove us to Brisbane airport for our flight to Hamilton Island. It was very emotional to say good bye to our cousins, in particularly knowing that it could be some time before we meet again. It had been an amazing time spent together, not only because of all the wonderful places we visited,  but particularly to be able to reconnect with the long lost part of our Scottish family.  Thank you so much for having us, we were so well looked after and totally spoiled.

My next post will cover our time on Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach, The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef (Luckily before Typhoon Debbie struck!). Stay tuned for that.

Have you been to Queensland? What are your favourite memories from the Sunshine Coast?

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12 Comments on “Discoveries Down Under Part 2 – Queensland, Australia

  1. Oh my, what beautiful scenery. I knew it would be, but it exceeds my imagination, I wouldn’t mind visiting there, and the barbecue culture? Awesome. The sausages look amazingly delicious. It looks like you had had a whole lot of fun. I had thought l didn’t care to visit Australia anymore, but your posts are firing up wanderlust in me 🤗. I am enjoying seeing your adventures with family down under.

    • Kemkem, Australia is truly awsome it has such a variety of landscapes and those cute Koalas are adorable. The family looked after us very well indeed, we were totally spoiled. An Aussie barbecue on a beautiful summer evening was a great end to our time with the cousins. I think you and Frederico would love Australia 😄

  2. I read your phrase “ten pound pom” migrant as ten pound *porn* migrant the first time around, Gilda, which really got my imagination going! 😁 As a nomadic traveler for a few years and now as an expat living in Portugal, I find it fascinating to hear other’s stories of how they end up where they do. Also of great interest is why some people adapt and embrace a new country with enthusiasm and others, like Rita, pine for home and the familiar. Your posts on Australia are making the country very tempting. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to visit in the near future! Anita

    • Anita, I am glad I found your comment it did go to the spam box…not sure why, very sorry. Totally agree it is fascinating to hear why people move to another country and how they settle. Auntie Rita found it hard to settle there so far from her family, she only made it back to visit Scotland twice and on her last visit her mother was terminally ill..all very sad. I am glad I have tempted you to visit Australia, it is a great country.

  3. I am sitting here in front of my computer with a nice cup of tea at my brother’s house in Sao Paulo. What an enjoyable blog post. It is amazing how being in a tropical country brought memories of Canela for you. I can identify with that sentiment. I laughed at your experience with the adorable Koala. I am in love with him myself just by looking at his pictures.

    Your Australian family sounds wonderful, warm hearted and took great care of the two of you so parting from them must have been a bit sad. The photos are stunning and add the vision to your clear and lovely depiction of the parts of Australia you visited so far. Thank you for sharing and brightening up my day here in Sao Paulo with cloudy skies, a chill in the air and rain.

    • Val Brian and I were totally spoiled by the Aussie family. They made our trip very memorable. Isn’t that Koala absolutely gorgeous? I did not realise you were in Brazil, let’s catch up over a cuppa when get back. As always thank you for your thoughtful comment 🙂

    • Jo, Australians have a great outdoorsy lifestyle, It reminded me a lot of Brazil. It was a dream trip and we left feeling that we could have done with staying a bit longer….like 6 months perhaps? 🙂

  4. How cool that you got a chance for a little koala cuddling! Australia has always been a place I want to see and I remember watching “Crocodile Hunter” weekly (and the reruns after Steve Irwin was killed) while my son was growing up. We’d go around saying “Crickey” and cracking up. Looks like you are having an amazing visit and I am enjoying, vicariously, your time “down under!” Anita

    • Anita, I loved that Koala cuddle, it will forever be a treasured memory. My son was a huge fan of Steve Irwin’s show, so many episodes have been filmed there at the zoo, so it was very interesting to get the opportunity to visit it. Thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  5. Oh my you really did get around Australia! Wonderful that you had such a glorious itinerary set up. Getting the opportunity to get up close and personal with the koala looks like it was a very special memory.
    Feel free to edit this out but I wanted you to know that when I click on ‘blog’ on the top right tab it is not linking to your posts. Just thought you would want to know.

    • Sue, my blog has been misbehaving even more recently. Your comments ended up in my spam box, very sorry and so glad I realised it. I am going to try sorting it out 🙂 Our Australian Itinerary worked well, it was great to stay with family. Also using the Qantas “walkabout pass” was a winner. Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

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