Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published April 16th 2013
Flee Brisbane for a day
We're all painfully familiar with the difference between what we ought to do and what we feel like doing. Eating a healthy portion of steamed vegetables will make us feel better in a few hours, but that burger with chips looks so good right now. Likewise, we know we should be getting out and doing things on our day off, but it's so much easier to melt into the couch and watch Masterchef. Part of the problem is research: it's so much trouble to look up places and decide where to go that many of us just don't bother. Here's a list of three places that would make a fun day trip near Brisbane, so no more excuses, okay? Get out there and have a good time - you'll thank yourself later.
Mount Warning is two hours' east of Brisbane, near Cape Byron, the easternmost point of Australia. Its height and location give it a very interesting property: Mount Warning is the very first place in Australia to get natural sunlight each morning.
View of Mount Warning from the Clarrie Hall dam (photo by Pouts31).
Many people every day - and you could be one of them - hike the 8.8km round trip to look out towards the east and be among the first Australians to see the sun rise. This is where the name comes in. Hiking in the dark is dangerous at the best of times, and the steep rocky terrain makes it even more dangerous. You'll have plenty of company (and help, if you need it) but most walkers should invest in a pair of hiking boots and allow plenty of time to reach the summit. One more warning: the mountain is a place of cultural significance to the local Aboriginal people, who request that the uninitiated not attempt to climb up it. Many people do, however, and there is no Parks Service prohibition on climbing the mountain. As with Uluru, once more tourism triumphs over tradition.
If you can't muster up the enthusiasm to climb a mountain before sunrise on your day off - and who could blame you - the little town of Pomona might be more your speed. Nestled at the base of Mount Cooroora, about two hours' drive from Brisbane, it's a relaxing paradise for the stressed-out city dweller. Have a picnic in the large central park, a cup of tea in the charming tea shop, or watch a silent movie in the community-run vintage cinema. For those who absolutely must engage in physical activity, Mount Cooroora can be climbed with some difficulty. There's even an annual race up in winter, called the King of the Mountain, that was organized in the late seventies when men were men.
Mt Tamborine Glow Worm Caves
Drive up to Tamborine Mountain and check out the Glow Worm Caves: two connected chambers filled with bioluminescent critters.
Like this fine fellow (photo by Timo Newton-Syms).
The caves are fairly bristling with stalactites and flow stone. Unfortunately it's all artificial, designed to please tourists as well as the glow worms, but the worms themselves are real. Daytime tours are available (check the website for details) and from April to June they run night tours. It's hard to imagine why - you'd think a cave would be equally dark in the daytime - but if you want a more romantic atmosphere, combine a night tour with dinner at the nearby Cedar Creek Winery restaurant.
These options are a few grains of sand in an endless beach of relaxation. Know a better place to go away for a day? Let us know in the comments - and make it sound tempting. We could all use the motivation.