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It is now the end of our second month living in Brisbane. We are very happy we stayed in Queensland but we are suffering with the heat and humidity at the moment. Day-time temperatures are over 30 and it doesn’t go much below the mid-20’s during the night. Luckily there is a pool in the apartment complex and we try to swim at least once a day (it is particularly nice after 8 in the evening when it is dark and getting slightly cooler)

So what have we been up to in January living in Brisbane?

Well we have had a busy month and have again been exploring our new home! We were also able to take a short break in another Australian city – Melbourne –  just after New Year. We had an amazing day travelling along the Great Ocean Road and seeing the Twelve Apostles and wild koala for the first time! I also loved Melbourne though I am going later in the year to test it out in winter!

Melbourne cityscape

We have also spent a weekend at South Bank in the city. What a wonderful place it is – it has a great atmosphere and everyone was relaxed and just having a great time. There will be a post coming about that soon! We stayed in a great hotel called the Mantra very close to South Bank and you can book this hotel or others here!

Review of Mantra Hotel South Bank Brisbane
The Brisbane sign lit up at night against the cityscape
Brisbane sign at night at South Bank
20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane

This month on the blog I have published posts about The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary as well as 2 posts centred around our previous (short but sweet) home in Queensland – Mackay!

I have written a guide to visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which will be invaluable if you are thinking of visiting when next in Brisbane!

All you need to know about to visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Koalas sleeping and eating at Lone Pine Koala sanctuary in Brisbane
Koalas sleeping and eating at Lone Pine Koala sanctuary in Brisbane

The first post this month was all about a visit to a sugar cane farm which we were very privileged to have experienced a few months ago. It was interesting learning all about the process of growing sugar cane and how it ends up in the supermarkets for us to buy!

Visiting a sugar cane farm in Northern Queensland
Sugar cane fields with a dunder truck in the background
Sugar cane fields with a dunder truck in the background

And the second post was all about finding wild kangaroos at Cape Hillsborough. I have been quite shocked that so many Australians haven’t heard of Cape Hillsborough!! It is a beautiful part of the world and we were so lucky to have had such an experience only a short drive from Mackay. If you are planning a drive up the Queensland coast then stop off in Mackay and enjoy some Northern Queensland hospitality! As well as kangaroos it is also one of the best places in Australia to spot platypus at Eungella National Park!

What you need to know about finding platypus in Eungella National Park


Kangaroo at dawn on the beach at Cape Hillsborough in Queensland
I know its THIS photo again but I am a little bit pleased with it!!!
A guide to the best time to see Cape Hillsborough kangaroos

What is it like living in Brisbane?

We are living on the northside of Brisbane on the Peninsula – this is made up of a few places including Clontarf, Redcliffe and would you believe it Scarborough and Margate! (I work in Brighton!!!!) We are in an apartment at the moment but we are looking to move to North Lakes soon as I would prefer a house.

It is very handy to get to both the Gold Coast and the Sunshine coast from the Peninsula and we have some breezes off the sea which can bring some relief from the heat.

There are pros and cons to living in Brisbane but I will save that for another post!! As mentioned above I am also writing a post about visiting Brisbane’s South Bank which is in the city and on the south bank (!) of the Brisbane river! It is a fantastic place for a day out! I will also be looking at other Brisbane attractions as well as further afield like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in future posts too.

I am also starting  new series called “Expat journeys” where those that have moved abroad share the ups and downs of the process. Hopefully that will help others who are considering relocating from their country of origin.

Living in Brisbane can mean residing in one of its many suburbs including Redcliffe on the coast with blue skies and white sandy beaches
Living abroad - Australia - Rachel's story

What I learnt this month?

This seems to be a popular segment to my expat diary posts so what have been the revelations about living in Australia this month?

  • You get THE best breakfasts in the world in Australia. Period. Australians seem to love eating out for breakfast and it is a great time of day to sit outside, enjoy the world going by and not drown in your own sweat!
sweet potato rosti with pea and poached eggs
Australians really know how to do breakfast!
  • A lounge in Australia is not a lounge as in a room! No it is the name for a sofa/settee so if someone is getting a new lounge it doesn’t mean they are having an extension built!!
  • It is extremely expensive to visit Uluru….most Australians seem to favour travelling overseas for their holidays and there is a good reason for this! It literally can cost an arm and a leg to holiday in Oz!
  • The weather in Melbourne IS as crazy as they say! We were on the Great Ocean Road and the mercury dropped from 41 degrees to 25 degrees in 15 minutes...yes you read that right 15 minutes!!!! It was incredible!
  • That London Bridge has fallen down….yes one of the 12 apostles is named London Bridge and it collapsed a few years ago leaving 2 people stranded! They were winched off by helicopter so all was good in the end!!!


London Bridge one of the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia
London Bridge has fallen down!

I learnt a lot this month!

  • That there are things called sea lice …. I seriously don’t want to know the details. I am not a great fan of swimming in the sea (sharks/crocodiles/stingers anyone???) so this is not helping!
  • That the price of petrol here fluctuates wildly and not by a few cents either! It can go up or down by 20/30 cents seemingly for no reason other than its a weekend or a public holiday!! (it is still a lot cheaper than in the UK which is a good job as most car journeys take hours!)
  • On that note I also learnt that getting lost when making my way from the southern suburbs can be a traumatic and expensive experience. Last week instead of taking the M1 which is literally a straight road home my sat-nav/GPS decided to take me on the M3 straight into the city. Seeing Brisbane’s cityscape literally in front of me was a bit of an “Ohhhh  *&^%!!!!” moment!!! I ended up in the Clem Jones tunnel – a 6.8 km experience I do not plan to take again. I then ended up in another tunnel (it is a rabbit warren down there….like how many tunnels are there???) and eventually made it back to Redcliffe about $12 poorer in tolls and having aged 10 years!
  • Ok I was saving this for my grocery shopping in Australia post but I can use it again! These are all I have identified so far but let me know if I have missed something in the comment section below! Things with different name include

Peppers = Capsicum

Sugar snap peas/mange tout = Snow peas

Sweets = Lollies (?!)

Sausage = Snag

Candy floss = Fairy floss

Spring onion = Scallion       Courgettes = Zucchini

So that has been my month experiencing life in Brisvegas! I am getting quite a few queries and questions from people thinking of making the move to Australia so I hope I am giving you a little flavour of life here! Please keep sending e-mails and leaving comments!

Until next month,


Please feel free to pin and share on social media!

Living in Brisbane Australia with photographs of Brisbane South Bank and Redcliffe

To read more about Brisbane/Queensland or just Australia in general check out these great books!


An unforgettable day with Brisbane Whale Watching
15 photographs that will inspire you to visit Queensland



This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

20 thoughts on “Living in Brisbane : expat diary part 2

  1. Shona says:

    I look forward to your posts, Tracy. It’s always fun to hear a new-comer’s view of the land of Oz. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Bris-Vegas but when I have, it’s been a blast. I’m sure you’ll have the roads down pat pretty soon and you can ditch that GPS! 🙂

  2. Angie FeetDoTravel says:

    Ahhh Brisbane, how I adore you and your initial thoughts were just like mine when I first lived there. I also wrote down the translations for shopping and all the other differences like a doona (duvet, but you won’t be needing that until the winter lol). #feetdotravel

  3. Rachel says:

    I love your translations at the end – just when you think you’re talking the same language as someone else, you realise you’re totally not! The time I have spent at the self checkout looking under “r” for red pepper…. Ahh it’s all good fun. I’m glad you’re enjoying Brisbane and that you’ve got a pool to cool off in, that must be crucial. I visited in November a couple of years ago and I could not hack the humidity. Too much!

  4. Derek says:

    English is quite strange isn’t it? You can be speaking in the exact same language but not understand certain terms just because of the different dialects. sometimes you can barely understand each other at all!

    I’ll keep your translation guide in handy when I head over to Brisbane!

  5. Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) says:

    You have provided some great flavors of Australia for those thinking of moving there and for those wanting to visit. This gives me some ideas when I am finally able to visit. Brisbane sounds very warm plus I would love to visit the London Bridge and the rest of the twelve apostles. I understand the expat life and look forward to hearing about your journey. #feetdotravel

  6. Natalie Adcock says:

    Totally loved my time in Brisbane 4-21 Jan 18…in fact, I fell in love with the place. But I love the heat so it didn’t bother me. Would love to live in Oz if given the opportunity, really enjoyed your blog.

  7. Pingback: An ex-pat review of life in Australia

  8. Pingback: Living abroad - Australia - Rachel's story

  9. Jo says:

    Hi Tracy, I’m loving your blog. It’s great to find another expat writing about expat issues. I’ve lived in 11 different countries with my husband and we now call Western Australia home, and love it. I’ve been reading a book called Monday Morning EMails by Jo Parfitt and Terry Anne (?) which is fascinating – two expats emailing each other every MOnday for a year. You might find it interesting too. Thanks for commenting on my blog Lifestyle Fifty earlier. I think you found me either via Lovin Life linky or the Midlife Share the Love Party.

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