Tag Archives: Brisbane

Retro gold at the end of the road…in Woolloongabba

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Canvas – delicious ambience, share plates, alco bevs and wall art. BYO friends. Perfect.

The G20 is coming to Brisbane, bringing with it a little madness and a lot of security exercises.

It’s the perfect time to step into the retro enclave at the end of Logan Road near the famous ‘Gabba…

It has some of our favourite places all in one street. We love Canvas, with its delicious ambience, share plates, alco bevs and wall art. BYO friends and you have perfection.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

The Crosstown is a place you, well, cross town for. Always a pleasure..

Meanwhile the Crosstown is, well, a place you’d cross town for. Always a pleasure…

For a little vintage shopping or browsing pleasure, start at Absolutely Fabulous. The sign on the door says it all: Prepare to shop (you’ve been warned).

Move onto Lavish for ‘interior styling and home staging’ (I love a good tagline).

Or slip back into the rockabilly and pin-up couture of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s at That Shop.


If you’re feeling the music in you, visit the beautiful Ilja Grawer Double Bass to Violin shop.

Or if you’d rather slip into some lycra and peddle your heart out, Planet Cycle will get you going.

But wait, there’s more…gorgeous antiques, a very cool bridal bazaar, and more fabulous cafes and restaurants.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

And next weekend, you can join a street celebration of food, music and eclectic wares at the End of the Line Festival. Seems like the perfect time to kick back and absorb the retro atmosphere in one of Brisbane’s secret treasures.

Might see you there…

The Keepers of the Path

Saturday dawned hot and still in Brisbane. It may have been perfect beach weather, but we were staying in the city for silly season festivities with clients that night.

What’s the next best thing to surf and sand? A (very long, very hot) stroll in the bush of course.

So EB and I headed to Mt Coot-tha, where a network of trails crisscross the forest, up steep hills and into valleys, and it feels like you could walk forever and never find a way out (especially if you’re directionally-challenged like me!).

It’s a favourite place for intrepid travellers to train those walking legs for  their trekking adventures. We spent many challenging hours on these trails back in 2007 when we were preparing to walk the Annapurnas in Nepal.

the black dog

We couldn’t hit the trails without our black kelpie, who may be getting on in years but adores her bushwalks and doesn’t know how to give up (she gets it from EB, I’m sure!).

Let’s just say that when we arrived at the Simpson Falls after walking for a couple of hours, she dropped into a rock pool and wasn’t going anywhere…

But half an hour of water therapy does wonders and, with a little gentle persuasion (for me, not the dog), we were on our way again.

Soon we noticed that two crows were keeping an eye on us along the trail. They would perch in a tree to watch us pass, then their shadows would slide over us as they soared ahead to wait in another tree until we were a few metres past them, then they’d glide ahead of us again.

Occasionally, they’d koww koww and eh-aw to each other, as if chatting about these odd, dusty creatures below.

I vaguely recalled that crows were believed to be a bad omen, a warning of danger to come, shape-shifting creatures with evil intent, or vessels for restless spirits. And who hasn’t seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, where a terrified young socialite is observed and harassed by flocks of the black menaces and other winged avengers?

But being shadowed by these two crows was strangely comforting. It was as if we were being guided by the Keepers of the Path.

Back to reality. Perhaps they were curious about our four-legged companion, glistening black like them, but with no ability to fly? Or were they just tagging along in case we stopped for a picnic and they could swoop down to snatch up the leftovers?

About eight kilometres later and no picnic stops, they were still hanging in there. They arrived with us back at the car – waiting, watching, and clearly unimpressed with our pathetic attempts to bid them farewell in crow language.

It may be a bit spooky for some, but I’m going with the other myth that says two crows mean joy.

Because there is definitely something joyful about the distraction of two crows, when you’re out walking in the midday sun, your feet are sore and what you really need is a stiff drink…

The carnival comes to (Brisbane) town

It’s almost Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) time in Brisbane and preparations are in full swing for this huge annual event where city meets country.

At the city’s closest caravan park, where we live during the working week, we are immersed in a totally different perspective of this Ekka-slash-carnival life.

The “carnies” (carnival workers) are here… and the park has come to life, crammed to bursting with an array of massive vans of all shapes, sizes and conditions.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Ancient carnival-style vans sit alongside the latest in mobile living – extending decks, satellite dishes and ensuites.

It’s an impressive sight – and not just the vans. These resilient, rough-around-the-edges people have an incredible work ethic. And a rainbow-worthy variety of hair colours…

Right now they’re on the go from dawn ‘til dusk (or later) setting up for the Ekka’s opening on Thursday.

You’d think there’d be a lot of partying going on and the odd brawl. But by the time the moon is up, the park is silent except for the squawking and chattering of fruit bats and other night creatures.

There are no happy hour antics here. The only action is in the laundry, where eight machines are humming day and night.

High viz workwear and a variety of body art and piercings are the trend du jour.

There’s always a smile, a nod and a gidday. Kids are everywhere, riding their bikes around, sometimes almost running you down but apologising with unexpected grace and endearing cheek.

The extendable decks I’ve always thought were going a bit too far suddenly make more sense. For these families on the road, they’re perfect for keeping toddlers and toys out of harm’s way.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

In two weeks, they’ll pack up and move on to the next town, the next carnival, dragging their houses, rides and sideshow alley paraphernalia with them.

The funky back packer campervans and grey nomad caravans will emerge, no longer dwarfed by the magnitude of the Carnie world.

But they’ll be back next year, and this tourist park will welcome them as always. After all, what’s not to like.

Brisbane nightscapes

Our crazy commuting existence continues, and time to travel or blogger on about it has evaporated. Yes the wishlist lives on, but living moment to moment has a lot going for it.

Like braving the chill to learn the tricks of night photography, and seeing Brisbane in a different light…

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Of course, I’m infinitely distractible and unaccustomed to timers and tripods. So I walked off a couple of times to find a better angle, with my camera and tripod in hand, forgetting I was mid-shot.

And I thought only EB couldn’t keep still for more than two seconds…

But yes, I did manage to occasionally – and here are some of the night moves to prove it.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Council buses… or aliens?

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Brisbane’s wheel as buses pass us on the bridge…

Copyright: Louise Ralph

The Treasury Casino from South Bank…

Remember Forever runs brilliant workshops and masterclasses around Australia. They got me loving the M-word (that’s M for manual) and I haven’t looked back. Except to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.

coastal life + city fix

There is an ideal view of the world. From our office window in Pottsville – and in our heads. But reality bites…

view from the loft

A few months ago, we followed our hearts and moved down to Pottsville, a small coastal town in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

Now, hanging out in the Douglas Albert in a caravan park just outside Brisbane’s CBD, we can’t help laughing at ourselves (a little hysterically). What were we thinking?

With both of our businesses based in Brisbane, we thought things would bubble along as usual, meeting with clients a couple of days a week and working from our ‘loft’ overlooking the ocean the rest of the time.

Instead, we leave home on a Monday morning at 3.45 to miss the traffic, set ourselves up in the ‘trailer park’, work with our clients for the week, then head home after 7pm on Thursday to miss the ‘car park’ on the M1.

C’est la vie. What’s not to like about a life in motion?

It requires being more organised than usual (did I mention I hate packing) and a lot of adjusting.

But we’re discovering new parts of a city we thought was beyond familiar and we seem to have more time to enjoy it. After all, playing house in a motorhome isn’t exactly a lot of work.

And driving back to the coast at the end of every week just feels right. Not quite home yet, but that shift in energy as the ocean comes into view is an amazing feeling.

Recently, rolling back into Brisbane as dawn bathed the city in hazy gold, we realised how much we loved this coastal life + city fix. Not forever, but for now…

We can feel that subtle shift as ‘the end’ of our comfort zone moves further away. Which just goes to show that change isn’t only good, it’s revitalizing.

There’s another upside. We’re now prepped and ready for those grey nomad wanderings in the DA. And it could happen sooner rather than later now.

This lifestyle is addictive…