We don't know any kids who aren't intrigued by shipwrecks! Come to think of it, we don't think that there would be too many adults who wouldn't be interested in a shipwreck! Luckily for us, here in Brisbane, there is a really accessible shipwreck right on our doorstop - just north of Brisbane at Redcliffe! The HMQS/HMAS Gayundah was deliberately beached in the 1950s at Woody Point to act as a breakwater. I'm not sure if at that time the beaching of a vessel was viewed with the same intrigue as it is today, but regardless we thought that it would be worth the short drive north to check it out!
Wanting to know a little more about what we were visiting, we did a bit of a search and found out that the Gayundah (meaning lightning), was a gun-boat and originally operated by the Queensland Maritime Defence Force, which we found interesting in that Queensland had its own defence force! The boat had a sister ship called Paluma (meaning 'thunder') and was involved in a mutiny that took place on the Brisbane River! It was transferred to the Australian Navy after federation and was in service during World War One. After the war it was used commercially until the 50s, during which time it sank and was raised before being beached at Redcliffe. Phew! What a life!
Our visit to the Gayundah was not nearly as adventurous as the little vessel we were off to see, an easy half hour drive up the highway and across the impressive Ted Smout Memorial Bridge to get to Redcliffe peninsular can hardly be described as an adventure, however the kids do love the idea of driving across the sea! The wreck is situated at the southern end of the Gayundah Coastal Arboretum, a nice quiet park with some nice views across Moreton Bay and barbeque facilities. There are plenty of car-parking spaces reasonably close in the arboretum or some street parking on Gayundah Esplanade, so there is no problem with parking.
Depending on where you park, it should only be a short walk on concrete paths to reach the Gayundah, definitely pram friendly and if your only plans are to see the wreck , there should be little need for you to carry anything significant, although a hat is definitely recommended in summer! That said, if you have no other plans you might be wasting a great opportunity to stop off in the park for a relaxing picnic or barbeque! You should also note that there are no toilets in the park(?) but there are a number of other parks in the area (driving) so if you are faced with an toilet-emergency, you may have to be prepared to jump back into the car!
The wreck itself does not seem to have retained any of the boat's features that we had seen in historical photos. This certainly did not disappoint us or the kids, and it is still quite distinguishable as a boat, but the years have certainly taken their toll, so it may only be a matter of time before she disappears completely - but I'm sure it will still be around to bring the grandkids! The kids were suitably impressed, and I think the less of its story explained to the little ones the better - just to let their imaginations run wild with their own reasons as to why the shipwreck was here! I'm sure that in their minds they were picturing that it was a swashbuckling pirate battle or a huge storm beached the Gayundah!
There are signs that tell you, most probably for safety reasons, not to get down on the beach to explore the wreck. I'm sure that this will assist in the preservation of this area as well. You can get a really good view of the wreck from the viewing area, however you will need to check the tides before you visit - at higher tides the wreck is almost completely submerged! The wreck is certainly worth a visit - it is so easy to access and the story behind the HMAS Gayundah is quite intriguing. Hopefully you get the opportunity to see the wreck before it goes the way of the wreck of the Dicky at Sunshine Coast - which deteriorated so much it had to be removed!
Amenities: A nice park is adjacent but no toilets! 👍👍
Cost: Completely free but perhaps some travel costs for those not lucky enough to live in Redcliffe!👍👍👍👍
Parking: Plenty of parking around and you can visit whenever you like! 👍👍👍👍
Access: No access to the wreck itself but so easy to get to the viewing area - just remember to check the tide before you head off! 👍👍👍
Entertainment: It's all in the imagination! 👍👍
Best for: Everyone! With a special recommendation for photographers! 👍👍👍👍
Wildlife: Do crabs count? 👍
Summary: A really easy and relaxing way to spend a few hours! Check the tide times and plan your visit, it is such an easy way to get up close to a real shipwreck! 👍👍👍
Hints: Sunrise will give you some amazing photo opportunities!
Photos taken before bow colapse
Where is it: All over the world!
What's it all about: A time to reflect on our energy use!
How can I join in: Simply turn off your lights and TV for an hour! You can also get involved in planned events as well - check the website to see if there are any events near you!
Tell me more: Earth hour is on (or around) the 25th of March, from 8:30pm to 9:30pm (your local time), and while the impact of switching off for an hour might be largely symbolic, this event is more about raising awareness of the impacts that societies’ continued power demands place on the environment. It may help you think about some of the wasted energy in your house too, which if reduced, might be good for your wallet as well as the environment! But what we love most about Earth Hour is to sit with the kids by some candles and away from TV, tablets and other distractions - a bit like being out camping – and the kids love the fact that they get to stay up and play in the dark! There are even some really fun events that take place that we've been to as well - like a fantastic concert at Gold Coast's HOTA (Home of the Arts) with a very environmentally focused theme! Regardless of where you go, it's always a fantastic night and a great way to make the kids aware of sustaining and protecting the world around them!
Concert for the Planet - HOTA
Click Where is it: Sunnybank Plaza, Sunnybank
What's it all about: A super yummy Japanese restaurant with an interesting twist!
Tell me more: We love trying out cuisines from around the world and one of our favourite types is Japanese! On the hunt for some Japanese with a little bit of a difference we came across Pepper Lunch, which has just opened a new restaurant in Sunnybank Plaza! It's a really well presented restaurant and it has a little surprise in store - sizzle! The food is served on special hot iron plates and continues to cook (or sizzle) as it's served! They also have some really cool self serve counters - the first of their type in Australia (or a waiter will assist) so it's a simple process to get your food ordered! You can choose from sizzling steaks, pastas, curry rice or their signature pepper rice! But certainly one of the standout dishes (for our sweet-toothed little guys at least!) was the super impressive (and sizzling) Volcano Waffle dessert! So yummy! Pepper Lunch is definitely one of our new favourite family restaurants!
Where is it: Three Mile Road, Crows Nest, Qld – about 2 hours’ drive west of Brisbane (or 45 minutes’ drive north of Toowoomba)
What's it all about: A lovely and quiet National Park with a few little swimming holes!
Tell me more: This is a really nice day trip from Brisbane that will see you in a lovely bush setting! Pack a picnic and your walking shoes to take a relaxing walk through quiet bushland and beautiful granite outcrops. And don’t forget your swimmers and towel as there a few easy to access creek and swimming hole locations along the walk. You can’t swim in the falls themselves as it is quite dangerous, however there is a lovely lookout point and after heavy rain the falls can be quite impressive! There is lots of wildlife as well – we saw birds, goannas and wallabies when we visited, but there are also platypus in the river (we weren’t lucky enough to see any though)! There is a picnic area with toilets and bbq areas however there is no water so you will need to bring your own. A lovely visit for the day or even better to camp for a night or two!
Amenities: Basic facilities but ok considering the relative isolation! 👍👍
Cost: Free to enjoy the park, however you will need to factor in the cost of getting there! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Parking is free and there should be enough place for everyone! 👍👍👍
Access: It’s a little out of the way, but that’s part of the charm of this place! 👍👍
Best for: A lovely day trip and perhaps suited for the more mobile kids 4 and up! 👍👍👍
Summary: Crows Nest Falls National Park is lovely region and it really feels like you are right in the outback! 👍👍👍👍
Where is it: In the park adjacent to Deception Bay Library, 9 Bayview Terrace, Deception Bay
What's it all about: A really fun day for the under 5s - put on by Deception Bay Families to promote family and encourage socialising!
How can I join in: It's free to join in on this really fun event! Just come along to Deception Bay and get involved!
Tell me more: This is a really fun little outing! Deception Bay Community Youth Programs and DBay Families - great organisations providing help, advice and support to the kids, youth and young parents in the Deception Bay region - put on this great event which we love! Lots of the usual fun activities for the little guys - craft, jumping castle, face painting, live shows, market stalls - you can even have some free morning tea! Plus you get the chance to socialise with other parents while the little guys are having fun! Yay!
Where is it: 97 Boundary Street, West End
What's it all about: A festival to celebrate everyone's favourite dessert - ice cream!
Tell me more: Although only having started in 2017, this festival is already one of the most anticipated and awaited festivals in Brisbane! The (free) tickets for this event get snapped up in few minutes and the lucky ones that pick them up are not left disappointed! Over twenty stalls of the yummiest ice cream you can imagine - there was no way that we were going to miss this one! But it's not just ice cream, there are food trucks that have some super yummy choices, live music and crafts and games for the kids! Definitely Brisbane's yummiest festival!
Where is it: All over Australia!
What's it all about: A day set aside specifically for cleaning up our Australia!
How can I join in: Check out the website for more details on what has been organised near you! Or simply help clean up your local area!
Tell me more: Clean up Australia Day (it's actually a few different days - there are specific days set aside for schools and businesses) has been going on for 27 years now and happens on the first Sunday of March each year! The aim is simple - get everyone out to clean up their local area and also raise awareness of how much rubbish ends up in our environment, which has the added impact of hopefully reducing the amount of waste that we produce! We've previously taken our little guys along to Bunyaville Conservation Park to help clean up the park - it's a great way to get them in the spirit and hopefully they can grow up maintaining their respect for the environment and their community!
Brisbane Family Explorers