Where is it: Starting from the corner of Adelaide and George Streets in Brisbane's CBD. There are also events on all over Australia and New Zealand (and various spots throughout Europe)!
What's it all about: ANZAC Day is one of the most important commemorations for Australians and New Zealanders, and these events allow everyone to show support and join in!
How can I join in: The Brisbane event is right in the City, so get in and secure your spot along the parade route! Pretty much every town in Australia will have some sort of event on, so check in you local area to see what's on!
Tell me more: Anzac Day is a very special place for most Australians. More than just a remembrance of sacrifices made, the legend of the Anzac is also seen to be a defining moment for the Australian nation. Every year we head along to the centre of Brisbane to join in with thousands of others to show our support for the current and ex- service men and women (as well as their support, families and carers) as they march through the streets. The parade starts at 10AM and there's lots of road closures, so look to come in on public transport. It's partly a sombre day and partly a celebration, however we've always come away from every Anzac Day parade feeling proud to have shown our support for those that have put in so much more of a sacrifice. And it's so lovely to see so many little kids in the crowds so we are sure that the Anzac spirit will continue to be admired for the next generation!
Brisbane City 2016
Where is it: Sometimes at Gallipoli Barracks in Enogerra, and sometimes at 7th Brigade Park, Chermside
What's it all about: An opportunity for our defence forces to show off their wears, and for the public to show their support for our armed service men and women as well as checking out their gear!
How can I join in: These are free events open to the public! The open days in the barracks are understandably subject to restrictions on entry, however the open days in the park you can simply turn up and admire!
Tell me more: Army open days for the public are usually held once a year, and it's a great opportunity to get up close to some of the awesome hardware that our army uses! It's also a great chance to show your support for our service men and women and their families! We've been along to a few of these open days - a couple inside the barracks at Enogerra and one in 7th Brigade Park, Chermside (named after the 7th Brigade, which makes up most of those posted at Gallipoli Barracks). There's lots of gear on display, and the guys are more than happy to explain what you're looking at and how it used! All of our interactions with the army personnel have been great - the guys are all very patient with the little kids and we hope that they can sense our appreciation of what they do! There are displays and demonstrations - including a mock battle where the soldiers fire off blank rounds with their weapons - we've had rides in armoured vehicles, seen Air Force fly-bys and always had lots of fun! They are really great days out - just be prepared for a bit of traffic chaos as they are very popular too!
7th Brigade Park, Chermside 2016
Gallipoli Barracks, Ennogera 2014
We love museums! We find interest in anything that makes its way into a museum, so it doesn't take much convincing for us to decide to visit any museum! The kids tell us that they like them too, which is great! When we discovered that the RAAF Amberley Air Force Base opens its doors once a month (every third Sunday) to allow visits to a museum located on the base, we couldn't resist going along for a visit!
Amberley Air Force Base is located just to the west of Ipswich, roughly about 45 minutes’ drive from Brisbane. Before heading off, you will need to know that the museum is on an operating military base, and as such access may be subject to change at short notice. There is a form (download from the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre website) that you will need to complete prior to entering the base which designates one person (usually the driver), who is responsible for the others travelling with them. You will also need some photo ID (license or passport) for the adults.
Open arrival at the base, which with a well maintained F-111 open-air, static display is very impressive in its own right, we were greeted by some very professional (but helpful and friendly) defence force personnel who checked our forms and ID and gave a brief run-down of where to go and what do. Please make sure that you complete your forms before you go! This will speed up the process and keep the traffic flowing through the entrance. There is a carpark at the entrance where we stopped to get out and have a closer look at the F-111 - these truly are impressive machines! It's very well maintained and cleaned and looks like they could fire it up straight away (although I don't think it any engines currently - this could be an issue)! The kids were suitably impressed! The area is all shaded so at this point you don't need to be prepared - simply park your car and cross the road and enjoy!
Once we thought we had soaked up enough of the first F-111 (don't worry, there are more!), we hopped back in the car and headed off to the museum. It's only a couple of minutes’ drive down the road (not walking distance) and we have some more defence personnel providing directions so that you don't inadvertently head off into a restricted area. Just remember, although you are welcome to take photos while at the museum, there is photography is not permitted between the entrance and the museum. Following further directions into the carpark, we had arrived! Luckily enough for us, there was a C-17 Globemaster taking off just as we were getting the kids and pram out of the car - very impressive! The carpark and the museum are quite close, so you don't really need to pack much as you leave the car - however we did put on a bit of sunscreen and kept a waterbottle and snacks handy as the museum is spread over a few hangers and there are some exhibits out in the open. There are toilets and some snacks available inside as well as souvenirs for sale.
The first hanger that we entered holds a couple of planes and helicopters as well as a small souvenir stand. The aircraft are very well presented and you can get really close. Outside the hanger there is a Caribou which you can climb up into, but only kids of a certain size are able to hop up into the pilots seat - not sure of the requirements as it's largely determined by the volunteer in the plane. There are two other hangers with aircraft - one houses a number of military jets while the other holds a World War 2 era medium bomber. All hangers have various other military memorabilia and exhibits. The day that we were there was also a military brass band - not sure if the band is a regular presence or if we were just lucky that day? In any case, it really added to the atmosphere of the museum and the little kids enjoyed it. A visit to the Amberley Air museum is a really nice half-day out, however there is probably not enough to keep you here for a full day unless you are a real aviation buff. It's a great size museum for the little ones and having the Caribou for them to climb into really made their day! If only we could have had a few more jets taking off from the runway - they are really impressive! The defence force personnel and volunteers staffing the museum are a credit and they are more than helpful in providing information about the exhibits and the museum.
Amenities: A working facility, plenty of shade and shelter and a toilet block 👍👍👍👍
Cost: Free to visit, donations are encouraged. 👍👍👍👍
Parking: The carpark did fill up when we visited - I am sure that they have an overflow area somewhere! 👍👍👍👍
Access: No problems whatsoever with access, however don't forget your completed form and identification! Not sure about public transport? 👍👍👍
Entertainment: The brass band provided a nice backdrop to the visit! 👍👍👍
Best for: The whole family 👍👍👍👍
Wildlife: Not really why we visited – but there is a small zoo in Ipswich if you plan a stop! 👍
Summary: Definitely one to put on the list. As it is only once a month, you will need to plan your visit and maybe plan for somewhere to stop off in Ipswich for lunch! 👍👍👍👍
Hints: Stop at the F-111 on your way into the museum as it's easier to make your way into and out of the carpark!
Most of our weekends are generally well planned, we like to do a little bit of research, find out what's going on and try our best to schedule our activities around the kids' sporting activities. Sometimes, however, we let our guard down a little, or maybe even our planned 'relaxing' weekend starts to teeter on the edge of boredom, and we just have to get out and explore! That's what happened on this weekend as we were sitting in the lounge room. It was a beautiful day outside, and it seemed a shame that it might go to waste. And so we had a very quick look around for things to do and stumbled across what looked like a very interesting place, Phoenix Sculpture Gardens at Mount Glorious. Not too far out of the way, and a little bit different from the typical!
Mount Glorious is about 40 km north west of Brisbane. It's a nice, scenic drive to get there - a few winding roads so you will need to drive with a little care. The road there passes through the nice (but sometimes busy!) little town of Samford. Samford is worthy of a visit in its own right, but for today, we will just be passing through. At the right time of year the scenery along the drive is truly magnificent! As is the case with a lot of the home businesses in these small mountain villages, Phoenix Gardens is tucked away along a narrow road. There is not too much room to manoeuvre around the area, but in saying that, there is not too much traffic to contend with in any case! As requested, we parked at the bottom of the driveway and walked up - this is so those with limited mobility have first access to the limited parking at the top of the driveway. The driveway itself is a little challenging to push a pram up - it's gravel and a good 100 meters up the hill (and quite steep in places!), so if you have a pram it may be an idea to leave it in the car, or drop off at the top of the drive before parking down the hill and returning.
At the top of the driveway there is a small shop front (part of the owners' house), and some tables and chairs that you can use to recover from the walk up if you need. The sculpture garden is essentially a number of beautiful sculptures spread throughout a well maintained rainforest garden. How the owners maintain this we have no idea - we struggle to keep our tiny garden maintained, but this is on another level! A lot of it looks just as you would imagine a rainforest to look like, however the access around is so easy there must be a lot of work going into keeping the forest floor clean and clear. The sculptures are well placed - some are seem a bit hidden while some seem to lead the way, but they all tell a story and they are all impressive!
The setting of Phoenix Gallery is really pretty and hilly rainforest, which makes it a little challenging to navigate. We didn't mind however, as it just made us wander around and explore, rather than focus on a specific route. For this reason, we were able to take our time and enjoy everything on offer. There was a little backtracking here and there, and I’m sure that we did walk around in circles a few times, but that didn't matter. The kids were not too phased by this either - they were excited about searching for the sculptures that were hidden throughout the gardens. There are well defined and maintained gravel paths everywhere which makes getting around quite easy, however it should be noted that the gardens are not really that suited for prams or wheelchairs.
This was a really nice find for us. We were lucky on the day that we decided to visit in that it was Graham's birthday celebrations! So along with the beautiful setting and sculptures, we were greeted by some live music, cake and a cup of tea! However I think the strongest recommendation for the Phoenix Gallery has to come from how our crazy-active boys managed to spend the few hours here without a playground or big open spaces and still enjoyed their visit. They were happy to walk through and 'explore' the rainforest at a leisurely pace while we could do the same. They perhaps didn't appreciate the artwork like we did, but they had fun nonetheless!
Amenities: Limited, although the owners were very accommodating with our little ones' urgent toilet requirements! 👍👍
Cost: Free to look at, but you might be tempted to purchase some of the sculptures! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Shouldn't have much trouble finding a spot to park, although there might be a bit of a walk! 👍👍
Access: A little difficult to for prams - the terrain is a little bit hilly! 👍👍
Entertainment: Finding the sculptures hidden in the gardens provided some great fun for the kids! 👍👍👍
Best for: A nice spot for a relaxing family visit! 👍👍👍
Wildlife: Plenty of forest - I'm sure that there were creatures out there, just a little difficult to find! 👍👍👍
Summary: We were surprised as to how our boys took to this one. It must have been a bit of an adventure for their little minds to go wandering through the gardens! We all enjoyed it and it was more of a relaxing visit than an exciting one! 👍👍👍
Hints: Make a day of it and explore other areas of this pleasant little mountain village!
Brisbane Family Explorers