Tag Archives: Brisbane

City with abseiling right at its doorstep

1 Nov

How many cities offer outdoor rock climbing and abseiling within walking distance? I recently popped out of home for just a couple of hours during a Sunday evening for a session of sunset abseiling with exquisite views of Brisbane city. How cool is that?!

Shea takes his first steps over the edge of the cliff at Kangaroo Point.

I went abseiling down a cliff at Kangaroo Point, along Brisbane River.

I'm enjoying abseiling for the very first time and just minutes from my apartment in Brisbane city.

We enjoyed watching the sun lower behind the city and finished abseiling right on dark.

The first steps were the scariest but, after leaning over the edge, I quickly trusted the ropes. Bunny hopping down the wall was hilarious and I even started racing to get to the bottom before others. I’m now looking forward to another Sunday session of abseiling and I’ve set my sights on the Glasshouse Mountains for next time, which are only around an hour north of Brisbane.

Check out Adventures Around Brisbane for details on abseiling at Kangaroo Point and bust your bubble with abseiling too!

By Marissa Toohey


I’ve seen how a simple investment in development pays dividends forever

23 Oct

In Vietnam I saw that individual cash donations provided bricks and mortar to build homes for people in need, which protected them from typhoons and severe illnesses like malaria, and even improved their education and livelihoods through stability.

I’ve seen firsthand how simple contributions play a part in creating better lives and futures for marginalised households.

Here is a short video that inspires me and demonstrates how you can also do something as simple as investing in a single girl to produce positive impacts for families, communities, women and even the world: it’s called The Girl Effect.

By Marissa Toohey

Walking the Bridge to Brisbane

12 Sep

Me and my team after the Bridge to Brisbane race.

The Bridge to Brisbane race was a simple way to enjoy a sunny day and contributed to a good cause. Every entry helped to raise funds for Legacy Queensland which is an organisation that cares for the spouses and dependants of Australian veterans through pension advocacy, safety and security, financial security and social and medical care.

There are a number of other fitness and fundraising events held across Australia throughout the year, including the long running Cancer Council Relay for Life at several locations, the extreme Simpson Desert Multimarathon and, one of my favourite ideas, the Pub2Pub Charity Fun Run and Walk which is an annual Sydney event that starts at Dee Why Surf Club and ends at The Newport Arms Hotel.

By Marissa Toohey

Hobbies to [reverse culture] shock you – a post for my dear expat friends

29 Jul

HOBBIES TO [REVERSE CULTURE] SHOCK YOU  How many hobbies does it take for a blonde to get over reverse culture shock? Six: golf, dressmaking, scuba diving, jogging, bushwalking and even burlesque dancing.

It might sound like a joke but it’s my life.

I’ve been back in the “western world” for almost half as long as I was gone and I’ve only just made it through all the typical phases of reverse culture shock:

  • the honeymoon period when I fell in love with all the little things I’d missed;
  • the shock phase which consisted of panic attacks over (what then seemed like) absurd retail prices and feeling like I didn’t belong; and
  • finally the adaptation phase as I recognised good opportunities, accepted benefits of the Aussie lifestyle and became used to and even excited about the idea of sticking around Brisbane for a while longer.

I look over Brisbane city from Mt Coot-tha. Bushwalking has become a hobby and coping mechanism.

The only way I really kicked reverse culture shock, though, was by getting to know my long term enemies: routine and commitment. I didn’t go crazy and sign up for a two-year phone contract or anything silly like that – I said “commitment”, not “long-term commitment”. It was new hobbies that gave me regular activities to look forward to in the short term and connected me with the Brisbane community.

Settling back into Australia was more difficult than I expected and much harder than adjusting to Vietnam. I’ve continued missing the affordable travel and daily social events of my Vietnamese lifestyle but, of course, that’s only natural. Now I’m focused on enjoying the “sunshine state” with its beautiful national parks, beaches, dancing venues and welcoming new friends.

I quite like Brisbane and it could even turn into love. But I’m taking it slow – just one hobby at a time.

By Marissa Toohey

This post is dedicated to my dearest friends from Vietnam, many whom are now returning to Australia as well. I hope you all cherish the exciting moments when you realise you can drink tap water again and walk down a footpath without getting abused by a motorbike driver. I equally encourage you to allow yourselves to mourn the loss of your Vietnamese lifestyles because we had a f*cking good time that would be hard to top. Wishing you all the best in your returns, reunions with family and friends, your coping mechanisms, new hobbies and future adventures. I genuinely hope we all remain great friends for many years to come.

Moreton Island wild dolphin feeding experience

16 Jul

MORETON ISLAND WILD DOLPHIN FEEDING EXPERIENCE  Dolphins are one of the most adored creatures on Earth and people travel from far and wide just to get close to them. Moreton Island near Brisbane is one of those special locations in Australia where people can pay to hand feed dolphins in the wild. For me, a truly devout admirer of the species, it was a bitter sweet experience.

The family of dolphins have been visiting Tangalooma Island Resort for decades. Three generations frequent the resort nightly, familiar with the routine of feeding at 6pm. Resort staff have watched them grow up and have names for every one of them.

But disappointment consumed me when a noisy flock of over 150 people raced towards the water to take part in the feeding experience during the weekend. The noise, pushing and shoving, and sneaky people jumping the fence to join the queue was too much for me, which made me feel for the seemingly dependent pod in the shallows of the water.

Only a handful of people were actually allowed into the water at a time and fish were rationed to one per person. The rules were firmly announced: no touching the dolphins. But it still felt like the dolphins were controlled for a show, rather than wild creatures as they should be.

Dolphins arrived early and people swum out to meet them.

Another disappointing aspect was the lack of management before and after the show. A number of dolphins arrived at the resort over an hour and a half before the feed was due to begin, swimming into shallow water in anticipation for food. People continued fishing off the pier despite the presence of dolphins below, and others swum right out to meet the wild pod, which is illegal in Australian waters (you are supposed to keep a distance away). Staff were nowhere in sight to manage the behaviours of their guests.

But the experience was still magical and I believe it must be effective in educating tourists from around the world. Getting up close to a dolphin, where you can see their playful eyes and powerful dorsal fins, is really inspiring – even if it was only for one minute. I only wish it was managed by researchers (not for profit) and restricted to fewer people.

Crikey – Irwin’s perform live croc show

13 Jul

CRIKEY – IRWIN’S PERFORM LIVE CROC SHOW Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin are keeping Steve’s dream alive by educating Australia Zoo visitors through a ripper of a croc show.

I recently went to Australia Zoo and watched the Irwin family perform a croc show with Steve’s best mate, Wes. It was obvious that Steve’s passion and humour have been passed to his children, as Bindi bravely fed a large crocodile from just metres away and Robert joked about Channel 7 reporting them for allowing her to do so.

The family educates its audiences by demonstrating crocodile behaviours. Wes jumps into the water to make the croc territorial, they wave food above the water to temp it to jump, and Terri lures the large croc out of the water with food, showing the audience how slow it becomes once out of the water. The crystal clear water gives people a rare opportunity to see how the animals actually behave under water, revealing the power and pace with which their tales drive them forward.

The croc show is the greatest highlight of Australia Zoo, but it has many other merits as well. Zoo keepers play with tigers, feed elephants, walk wombats and cheetahs. Kangaroos roam freely in a large park and zoo guests are welcome to hand feed them.

The entire zoo is very leafy and sparse and the animals have impressive habitats. In fact, they are the happiest looking animals I have ever seen in a zoo.

Australia Zoo is located at Beerwah, around a one hour drive from Brisbane. The zoo offers a shuttle bus from Roma bus terminal in the CBD. Visit the Australia Zoo website for more information and to buy tickets online.

Brisbane day trip #1: The Glasshouse Mountains

19 Jun

Me at Wild Horse Mountain lookout with Glasshouse Mountains in the background.

BRISBANE DAY TRIP #1: THE GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS Perched atop of the flat plains of Beerwah,45 minutes north of Brisbane, lie 15 perky mountains called the Glasshouse Mountains. 25 million years ago they were active volcanoes. Today, only the ancient cores remain, consisting of hard solidified molten rock.

Some of them appear like spires, the others distinctively round. Mt Beerwah is the highest at 556 metres above sea level. To witness a panoramic view (pictured above), drive south east to Wild Horse Mountain and then follow the signed walking track. The cement path detracts from the scenery during the steep walk to the lookout, but it’s only 700m and the view is first class. You will see Brisbane, Caboolture and Maroochydore cities from the top.

Mt Coonowrin

Mt Coonowrin - one of 15 Glasshouse Mountains.

Scenic drives around the national park are clearly signposted and make for a peaceful day out (no GPS necessary).

If you only have a couple of hours to spare, I recommend walking the Wild Horse Mountain and Glass House Mountains lookout tracks. Beefy’s Pies on the Bruce Highway make for a convenient treat in between the two tracks.

The mountains offer more for amateur and experienced climbers, with summit treks, rock climbing and abseiling options. However, the mountains have been closed several times this year because of serious damage caused by rock falls. In May, three climbers were air lifted to safety from Mt Tibrogargan. Climbers should always consult authorities for official weather and condition reports before commencing a climb.

Visit AustralianExplorer website for more information or go to the Brisbane Information Centre.

By Marissa Toohey

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