We returned today from our very relaxing two-night stay on Bribie Island, just off the coast near Brisbane. The island is joined to the mainland by a road bridge and is therefore a popular weekend holiday destination for local ozzies, including (and I blush sheepishly and judgementally to say it) a fair few ‘bogans’ (oz for chavs). It also has a substantial permanent community, falling within what I found out is a fairly deprived borough of the greater Brisbane catchment area. As such, I felt I was experiencing a slice of the kind of ‘real-life’ Australia that isn’t usually very accessible to foreign holiday-makers, which, of course, I found fascinating (possibly my most-used word in this blog?!).
I loved the rough-round-the-edges cafes and restaurants, unapologetically refusing to pander to modern pretensions with no-nonsense (yet delicious) fish and chip menus and decor that was the ozzie equivalent of the wipe-clean tablecloths and pre-smoking-ban-stained walls found in the average UK greasy spoon. It was also great to people-watch lots of ozzie families enjoying their Easter weekend and making use of the free communal BBQs that seem to be ubiquitous here; al fresco living at its best.
Our accommodation was directly opposite one beach, but the armada of baby-blue jellyfish bobbing about gently in the water, feigning innocence, meant we spent most of the time on the long, white-sand beach on the other side of the island, playing in the crashing surf (which led to various wardrobe malfunctions – I’m sure bikinis were designed by a bloke).
I tried to get to grips with the local brashly colourful and noisy avian life from our apartment’s balcony – insistently screeching lorokeets that flash through the air like rainbow bullets, gurgling doves brandishing their comical crest on top of their heads as though someone has done the old ‘shampoo hair’ trick on them, and the curious pelican, whose beak can hold more than its belly can. I also spent a long time trying to photograph the fruit-bats that kept lazily flapping past, before resigning myself to the fact I would only ever get a black screen… 😦
I also had further opportunity to marvel at the early-morning culture in Australia. I love going for sunrise runs, when all is quiet and the world feels like it belongs to me for a short while. But no such luck here – I had to share the beach with a thoroughfare of bright and bushy-tailed ozzie proactivity. And, even more miraculously, EVERYONE I passed gave me a broad beam and wished me a cheery good morning. I felt like I’d finally found my tribe.
We finished off our weekend last night with a slap-up meal of fish and chips on the sea-front, with the tang of salt air in our nostrils, listening to the deafening racket of lorokeets ‘settling down’ to roost in the trees above, and watching geckos darting after flies on the roof above. Perfect.
Anyway, a few photos below of my lovely, hot Easter weekend below.
The beach was covered in these spherical globes of sand pushed out of a central hole by an unknown sand-dweller.
Yummy mummy, Abi, with Isaac, wearing his VERY cute pirate towel.
The milky hues of a full moon over the sea on our first night.
Lorokeet seen from the balcony – when perched they look mostly green with a yellow breast, but as soon as they take flight their wings open up into a rainbow of bright blue, red, green and yellow.
What I like to think of as an interpretation of a lorokeet in flight, through the medium of kite-flying.
Shampoo-head dove (as far as I know, not the actual name).