We’ve lived in many different places in Australia over the years. People often comment along these lines to us:
You’ve seen more of our city in the one year you’ve been here than we have since living here our whole lives!
Exploring new places has become a significant part of our family identity and culture. I think one of the advantages of moving a lot has been that sense of feeling like a tourist, wherever we are, and we’ve adopted this way of thinking even now we’ve settled back in Brisbane for the long term. I didn’t realise how much we explore our own backyard until hearing it so many times. I had a think about it, and there are a few things we do.
This is the easy (and obvious) one. There’s always a host of ideas online for places to visit in each respective area.
2. Talk to people
Google is fantastic, however some of our favourite places we’ve discovered have been shared with us by others. One such example is Lips Falls and you can find more about it in my review over at Brisbane Kids here: Lips Falls.
3. Draw a 1 hour radius from your home
This is what we often do when we move to a new area. We circle about an hour drive from our place and then look at spots to explore in every direction. This keeps us busy exploring for many, many, many weekends if we feel like getting out and about.
4. Just drive
Some of the best family bonding moments have been in the car. If we are at odds on a lazy weekend, we might just hop in the car and drive, stopping anywhere that looks interesting. This might simply be a playground, a section of coast, a local creek or an interesting building.
5. Have variety
Sometimes we plan to bush walk. Sometimes we take the bikes. Sometimes we do scooters and skateboards. Sometimes we swim. Sometimes we just walk around and explore. Our little exploration outings can be themed around what we want to do, and we also consider different places that might be optimal for different activities (an example is further below).
6. Do quests
We have running quests in our family. For example, trying to find the best cookies and cream ice cream at different places we’ve visited over the years, stopping at coffee places to try different flavours and driving to places with street names the same as members of our family.
Since being back in Brisbane, we’ve started exploring our home city again. Brisbane is largely split up by the river into the north side, and the south. Both my husband and I grew up on Brisbane’s north, and the years we have spent in the city since we married have also been on the north side. After our move back from a year in New Zealand, we located to the south side and will probably end up settling here due to work commitments. I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of living and settling on this side of the river. In the past, driving over to the south side, with all its highways and u-turns, was stressful. However, I concede, now I live here, I am loving it. It’s central to everything I need: two big shopping centres, airport, Gold/Sunshine coast, parks and playgrounds. I’m largely, much to my surprise, becoming a fan.
One of our favourite spots we’ve discovered recently as a family is Wynnum Foreshore that stretches to Manly. It’s a wonderful place to explore as a family, especially on bikes and scooters. Our family were given a few Micro Scooters so we had wheeled vehicles for everyone (even the adults) and it was such a fun way to explore this section. Our older two were on roller blades and a ripstick respectively, and the younger ones and adults were on scooters.
We started off at the Wynnum Creek end. The kids were intrigued by the abandoned boats in this pocket so we did some research. It appears many of the boats here have been left by private owners and will be removed soon by the government. They were quite beautiful in a way, but it will be interesting to watch this space in the months to come.
What I like about this place to scooter as a family is the dedicated bike/scooter section that is lined separately from pedestrians. You can see in the picture below, the left is the dedicated bike section and the right is for pedestrians. When you scooter with kids, it’s nice not to have to stress about navigating constantly around people who are on foot and that is why this is such an ideal spot for wheeled excursions.
We stopped at Pandanus Beach and the kids explored the rocks and shore. My husband mentioned how enjoyable it was to be on scooters this time because it’s so easy to get on and off as we explored. I think that is what we love about doing a variety of activities as a family as we explore: the experience is slightly different depending on what we do. As a side note: I noticed with the Micro Scooters (we have an adult and child sized scooters) they have stands you can flick on, plus they fold up for easy carrying/transporting. I’ve been really happy with them; beautiful to ride and light to transport.
One of the unique features about the Wynnum foreshore is the wading pool which is acts like a HUGE pool at 128 metres long. It was built during the great depression and opened in 1933. The pool fills with sea water at high tide and even at low tide, it’s designed to retain water to a depth of 75 centimetres. Such a fun spot for kids.
One of the many playgrounds along the way. This one has a little water play area too which you can find more about here.
We stopped at Manly Boat Harbour. Unlike the rustic abandoned boats where we started, this section is lined with rows of neat sleek boats. Stunning.
We’ll keep exploring our city and beyond. It does us good.