We love 'the Sunshine State', (ok, we love our state too but must admit it does not have a beach, haha!)... so when Mark had some work training to do up in Brisbane, Queensland late last year, we eagerly tagged along to soak up some sunshine and swim time!
It was a 14 hour drive up there which we did in one hit, thanks to the kids being road trip warriors (sometime, I will put together a post on our road trip tips??). A biiiiiig drive but so worth it!
We spent the first week exploring Southbank. Southbank is this wonderful area of Brisbane just outside the CBD. It runs along the river and has a great mixture of restaurants, playgrounds, free public pools (that look like beaches) as well as a cultural precinct of galleries, museums and libraries... all within strolling distance. It's fantastic, with so much to explore for families and everyone!
So, we spent the first week trying out urban living... we stayed right near the buzzing Southbank area, in a serviced apartment situated between West End and Southbank. It was a great position with heaps of restaurants and interesting little shops around West End and all the fun stuff to do in Southbank just an easy 10 minute stroll away. The West End Central Apartments where we stayed were great for our family. We had two bedrooms so we could space out a bit, a good sized kitchen, a common area pool for the kids to enjoy, a huge balcony/patio area for the kids to play in and a fun view of the busy urban streets. Some of the fitout was a little outdated but that didn't bother us, especially compensated with its great location. They seemed to be in the midst of some renovations so if you are looking for serviced apartments around the Southbank area, I would recommend!
|Nothing quite like starting your day with a sunshine-filled breakfast on the patio!|
|Morning giggles over muesli.|
Everyday while Mark went off to his training (some of us have to work, huh!), the kids and I would pack up a bag of snacks and supplies and head out to enjoy a day at Southbank. Honestly, I didn't intend to hang out at Southbank for the whole week, I thought we would end up venturing into the city or elsewhere too, but there is just sooooo much to do around Southbank, we never felt the need to go anywhere else! It's such a great location, very central for meeting up with a few friends I was wanting to catch up with, too.
The other great thing is that without even really meaning to, we didn't spend a cent all week! Yup, everything we did was **free**!! So much free, fun, family-friendly stuff on offer around the Southbank strip, it makes it a pretty awesome place to hang out! Well, obviously we did have to eat but as we were in serviced apartment with a supermarket across the road, I just bought simple food supplies from there and would make up an easy lunch and snack bag every day rather than buying pricey food when we were out. Always nice to save the $$$ for when you really need it!
|Hitting the 'beach'|
|Southbank has just opened this truly incredible new playground! It's huge, adventurous and shaded - a real winner. The kids wanted to play here EVERY day, at least once!|
|Playing on new toys with new friends!|
|Clambering the nets.|
|This 'hamster wheel' was a huge hit, constantly filled with kids and often adults too.|
I had a go and now I know why hamsters and mice run in these things all day long -
such a surreal sensation!!
|Miles went up and down and up and down the rock climbing walls...|
|Bed time books with big sister on the hotel bed... so precious!|
|This boy knows how to chill...|
|My sister came to meet us in town with my triplet nephews and niece! Love seeing the cousins reunited. Every time they are a little older and can play more and more... it's just wonderful :)|
|Three little duckies bobbing in the water.|
|Brisbane blooms purple this time of year! Loved walking through this canopy every day!|
|Got a little bit obsessed with this luscious green wall across the road. So pretty!|
|They were so tuckered out each night after big days of play. They love adventuring and I love experiencing it all with them! We really hit our groove when we travel together, just love it :) #sleepingbeauties|
|Why don't I do the matching thing more often? It's so cute and my opportunities are|
so fleeting, haha. Love my boys, mayhem and all xx
|One day we did briefly journey out of Southbank - on the free CityHopper ferry! We met up with some lovely friends and cruised down the river to the beautiful botanical gardens. The ferry ride was a lovely way to see all along the river :)|
|Fantastic playground and lots of glorious shade on a very hot day at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. We only saw a sliver of the gardens, but they were gorgeous!|
|Lily was fascinated to recieve the hotel's questionaire and filled it out very seriously on my behalf :)|
|A little pre-bed colouring in with Daddy.|
|Bed time books read by big sister... is there anything better??|
|We met up with a lovely relative and visited the Queensland Museum (also free!). Love the cultural precinct in Southbank - Museum, Library and Gallery all together, free and such good quality! Sadly my favourite, GOMA, was in between exhibitions so we didn't get to visit this time. It's usually fantastic!|
|Helloooo, gigantic squid.|
|The State Library of Queensland has an incredible children's space filled with wonderful play and art and learning opportunities. So rich and relaxing! Perfect for some chill out time after a big day in Southbank too - curl up with some books in the air conditioning! That's one of my tips for city adventures with kids - when everyone gets tired and needs a break, find the library and enjoy some chill time with books :)|
|E gets his craft on.|
|The perfect nook to curl up with a good book...|
|Just doing a little BBQing by the caravan... in the middle of the library. As you do! Haha, love this play set up!!|
|Two hot, tired kids after trekking the city all day. Still cute though! ;)|
|We didn't even discover the awesome huge splash park at the end of Southbank till the last day! It was awesome!|
|Southbank at night is just wonderful, especially with the warm weather! One night I whisked Lily down for a special 'one on one' night where we got Nitrogenie ice cream and had fun adventures together - the next night Mark did the same with Eli. Another evening, we all wandered down for a casual dinner as a family at the cool little restaurant strip near by called Little Stanley Street. We also had a night time play on the playground!|
|When you just want a nice photo of your three kids but the boys want to sword fight with leaves #sigh|
|Me and my gang. We did Southbank, we did it well, and we loved every minute. Without doubt, we will be back!!!|
Southbank, we kinda just LOVE YOU! Thanks for treating us so fine xx