Top tips for two days in Brisbane

Top tips for two days in Brisbane

It’s your first trip to Brisbane and you only have one weekend to see as much of this incredible city as possible. Here’s our West End and Toowong team’s tips for an unforgettable weekend (we popped in a sneaky Friday night to make sure you cram more in!).

Friday

Spend Friday night sipping cocktails at Fortitude Valley’s Eleven Rooftop Bar or check out Mrs Brown’s Bar and Kitchen in Newstead for a fab mix of bar food and top notch wines. For a relaxed night with market vibes, cool music and more food than you can imagine, Eat Street might be the go.

Saturday

Visit Brisbane’s inner city suburb of West End. Start early with a visit to the iconic Farmer’s Market with a huge array of local produce, fresh flowers and breakfast options you can enjoy while sitting by the river. Feel healthy as you watch the cyclists, runners and dog walkers go by. Then wander the cafes and boutique shops along Montague Road and Boundary Street (Wholehealth Pharmacy and Healthfoods is located at 359 Mongtague Road!!). West End is a vibrant and eclectic suburb and we guarantee there will be plenty to keep you entertained as you walk the streets.

As lunchtime approaches, stroll over to Southbank and enjoy a meal and glass of wine in the sunshine at one of the many restaurants located along the river. Feeling intrepid? Get a bird’s eye view of the city by taking a spin on the Brisbane Eye. If you still have energy to burn, GOMA and the Queensland Museum are close by and always have something interesting on display.

This is a huge day but there’s no time to waste. There’s always a good show on at Queensland Performing Arts Centre or if you feel like something a little more low key there are plenty of suburban cinemas that offer the latest blockbusters or art house films.

Sunday

Head to Mt Coottha nice and early for a pre-dawn hike up the mountain. You’ll work off yesterday’s eat fest and seeing the view of Brisbane from the top as the sun rises will be worth the early start.

It’s mid-morning but there’s no time to stop as there is SO much shopping to do in Brisbane. The inner-west suburbs of Paddington and Toowong offer a mix of boutique and brand name shops that rival any major city (did we mention there is a Wholehealth Pharmacy and Healtfoods at Toowong?!) and there’s plenty of riverside  pubs and restaurants to stop at for lunch. We particularly love a Sunday session at Toowong’s Regatta Hotel.

Sunday night – you’re home to recover and plan your next weekend get-away to this bustling city.

Top Hiking Trails on the Sunshine Coast

Top Hiking Trails on the Sunshine Coast

While the beach is the obvious drawcard for visitors to the Sunshine Coast there are a whole host of beautiful walks, climbs and hiking trails, both beachside and hinterland that make for a great day out for locals and visitors alike.

Walking these trails will expose you to a diverse range of landscapes from bush to rainforest and beach terrain, not to mention the wildlife you’ll encounter along the way.

When our Maroochydore team are not in-store spreading the love for all things holistic and healthy, they love nothing more than getting out and about discovering hidden trails and re-exploring old favourites. Here are their top four recommendations.

Mount Coolum

Located mid-way between Maroochydore and Noosa, Mt Coolum is easy to access and once at the top gives amazing coastal views and features rare plants, wildflowers and birdlife. The hike is steep – at the peak Mt Coolum is 208 metres above sea level but there is no pressure to rush the climb. We love to take it easy and enjoy the scenery as we go. If you are walking in summer, we’d recommend going early to avoid the heat and sun.

Noosa National Park

This would have to be one of the most beautiful National Parks in the country. For a first-timer, we’d recommend doing the Coastal Walk to give you a stunning view of beaches and coves from Noosa all the way to Sunshine Beach. Start at the Hastings St end pack your togs and towel as there are some beautiful (and often less busy) beaches to stop at along the way. Hell’s Gates is spectacular, the famous and secluded Fairy Pools are super Insta worthy and if you make it all the way to Sunshine Beach you can have a well-deserved drink at the Surf Club. Return the same way or now you are more experienced, you can enjoy some of the well-marked bush trails that will return you to Hastings St.

Kondalilla Falls

Kondalilla Park is a cool mountain retreat in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The name Kondalilla is Aboriginal for rushing water and describes the park’s waterfall which is at its best during the summer season. There are several short hiking tracks that take in the beauty of the National Park and waterfall.

Mount Tibrogargan

One of the more challenging hikes on the Sunshine Coast, and definitely not for the feint-hearted, Mount Tibrogargan is located in the Glass House Mountain Range. It is a climb made largely of loose rocks and at times you will be using your feet and hands to navigate the largely unmarked path. The key is to leave early to avoid the heat and take your time. The view at the top will be worth it. Care must be taken on the way down too but you will be prepared having done the hike up!

Our final tip hardly needs to be given. Hydrate with water and pack sunscreen!

Try them out and let us know what you think or leave a comment below with suggestions for where we should be going next weekend!

Best Places to Cycle Around Cairns

Best Places to Cycle Around Cairns

The Cairns region has one of the most varied landscapes you will find in Queensland and is also one of the most picturesque. Where else can you find lush tropical rainforest and beautiful sandy white beaches within a stone’s throw of each other? One of the best ways of getting around and seeing all the beauty Cairns has to offer is to cycle. Whether you are backpacking your way around North Queensland, holidaying in 5 star luxury resorts or live in the region and spend your weekends exploring, jumping on a bike will give you easy access to all the best scenery and sights .

The team from our Cairns stores offered their favourite cycling tracks and rides

Cairns City and Surrounds

The city area has a well-developed and maintained series of bike paths that allow you to explore the city at a leisurely pace. A great place to start is at the Esplanade and then take a ride along the foreshore to the Botanical Gardens. This is a perfect ride for families to take on weekends. It is relatively flat and easy for kids of all ages to navigate.

If you are feeling extra energetic you can ride down to Lily Creek to explore the pretty waterways.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach is a truly beautiful area and needs to be explored pronto! It is nestled between two world heritage areas – the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest. There is a flat 10.6km ride across Mission Beach that is easy enough for the whole family to enjoy. At low tide you can go down onto the beach and take the ride across the hard packed sand. Stop and get your feet wet while you enjoy the view out to Dunk Island.

Davies Creek Trail Network, Mareeba

If Mountain Bike riding is more your thing, the Davies Creek Trail in Mareeba is a great place to spend a weekend. The area is located just 40 minutes from Cairns and has trails to suit beginners through to experts. At the end of your ride, you can cool off with a dip in Davies Creek and there are camping grounds nearby if you want to spend the weekend.

The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing

The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing

There’s something soothing and relaxing about taking a stroll through a peaceful, lush rainforest. The chirping of the birds, the rustling of the breeze and the scents of the trees have been enjoyed by people for centuries. We’re loving the term the Japanese have given to getting amongst forests in your spare time – forest bathing – or in their language, Shinrin Yoku. This form of eco-therapy was developed in the 1980’s and has become a popular form of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

It is also becoming a pastime in the US, where resorts and nature parks are offering guided, forest bathing walks for visitors to soak up the sights and sounds of nature.

Forest Bathing is not about hiking, climbing or running the trails. It is simply visiting a natural area and wandering or just sitting amongst nature, preferably for a few hours and taking in the sounds, smells and sights of the forest.

Without getting too scientific, the sense of relaxation that comes from Forest Bathing comes from trees releasing essential oils and organic compounds. The trees do this to protect themselves from germs and insects but this process has the wonderful side effect of smelling great AND improving our health.

Forest Bathing has been said to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce stress hormone production, boosts the immune system and improves feelings of well-being.

Other benefits are said to be decreased feelings of depression, improved focus, greater creativity and increased energy.

If you don’t have a rainforest in your back yard don’t despair. A leisurely relaxed bushwalk or stroll through your local Botanical Gardens will do the trick as would grabbing a sandwich in your lunchbreak and sitting quietly in your local park.

We can’t wait to hear how you’re enjoying your next Forest Bath : )