Destination #3: Australia
Our third destination on our journey around the world was to beautiful Australia. The first stop was amazing Sydney. We could see the spectacular Sydney Opera House on our approach to the airport.
We then flew north up the coast to Brisbane. That’s “bris’-bin” as we were informed by the Australians we met on the plane. They were wonderful about helping us with “Australia speak” and giving us guidance for experiencing their wonderful country. I’ll share more of this below.
Why We Chose Australia
Australia is often seen as a country that is so similar to England or the United States that their cultural origins and uniqueness are often overlooked. Passport500 wants to be the source to shares these nuances with the Passport500 Community and the world. Australia has had hundreds of indigenous tribes and today, numerous artisans work to incorporate indigenous art into their products sold at markets. Australia also has environmental problems that even some artisans are working hard to reverse in a variety of ways. These things made us think Australia is a special place to share with the world through stories of our visit and the unique Australian products we bring home for our Australia box.
Lay of the Land
Brisbane is a major Australian city with everything from a metropolitan downtown, performing arts district, river, parks, historical districts, giant Ferris wheel, markets and beautiful majestic homes and landscapes along the river as you head away from the city center.
What’s the first thing you think about when you think about Australia? Koala bears, right? Did you know they are not even bears. They are marsupials. Since we had time before the evening Brisbane Market opened, we took a trip of the Brisbane River to a Koala sanctuary. The boat left from a dock in downtown Brisbane and headed to the edge of the city where we met Milton, this adorable Koala bear. They eat eucalyptus leaves which made the sanctuary smell like a spa. We also saw kangaroos, wallabies, emu, and many local birds.
Brisbane is just about in the center of the east coast of the continent-country, Australia. We visited during winter which really means nothing since the temperatures and weather are always about the same year-round. It was 80 degrees during the day and usually sunny except for a stray shower occasionally. The Brisbane River is a major commercial and water sport waterway and has numerous unique bridges.
The Culture / The History
The indigenous people of Australia are often referred to as Aborigines, which means “The Originals”. This is what the British named the indigenous people when they landed in Australia. The indigenous people used to have hundreds of tribes, each having their own language. The name of the language was how the tribes preferred to be named.
Indigenous designs and artistic techniques are widely shared and promoted by all members of the current Australia culture. We found items at every market made by indigenous people or with classic indigenous designs using their common technique. They use a series of repeated dots or lines generally making them into animals.
Brisbane night market was just across the Brisbane River from downtown. The Brisbane Wheel could be seen a few blocks away and the vendors came from all over the area to share a variety of handmade products. There was everything from jewelry, clothing, bath bombs, and some wonderful fudge made from flavors you would never expect. Have you ever seen black licorice fudge? It was all very inviting, and the music was fun and lively as well. You could forget you are on another continent until the vendors start talking to you with their strong Aussie accents. Of course, we were the ones that they thought had the accent.
After checking out the Brisbane markets, we headed north to Eumundi. I was impressed at how big this market was. The market is actually bigger in numbers than people that live in the small town hosting it. At least it felt like. It was huge and they had everything from every country and in every size. Authentic hand-carved boomerangs and didgeridoos hand painted by local indigenous people were amazing to see and learn about. The didgeridoos are historic musical instruments of the horn family that are still used today.
The Eumundi market even had some small livestock for sale or at least for petting. Another treat of this market was all the food options. You could get just about any kind of sandwich or drink that you could think up. I like my BLTs, so I ordered one and the bacon was like a yummy slice of ham and the Chai tea had ice cream rather than creamer. It was quite the treat and one I practice occasionally at home now.
One day we followed our noses and found these amazing sausage rolls. We had to wait until they were done baking, but they were worth it. The wonderful flaky crust is wrapped around homemade sausage and seems to be a normal lunch food around Australia. Maybe this is the Australian version of the corndog. They are quite easy to make because I found a similar recipe as soon as I got home.
MUM’S SAUSAGE ROLLS
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, finely minced
250g minced sausage (pork and/or beef)
12 leaves flat leaf parsley, minced
1 puff pastry sheet
1 egg yolk, whisked
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan then add the shallots, cook until transparent.
Add the sausage, mince and sprinkle with parsley. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add the egg to the mince mixture then mix well. Form 4 sausages with the meat mixture.
Cut the puff pastry sheet into four rectangles. Add a sausage to the lower part of a puff pastry rectangle and then fold the puff pastry over the meat and pinch the pastry edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining sausages and puff pastry.
Brush the pastry with whisked egg yolk.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Since Brisbane is right on the ocean, seafood is common. The prawns (not called shrimp here) are huge and just a few will fill you up. However, we opted for the crab cakes on salad with a sweet glaze. They were so yummy.
We saw a significant portion of the east coast from Sydney up to Eumundi where the “world’s largest market” is hosted on Saturdays. The land is pristine from the classic Glass House Mountains to the Gold Coast beaches and people everywhere were inviting and enlightening. A common thread of Australians is that they are so comfortable with their world because they know what an amazing place they call home.
Thank you for your interest in our journey to Australia! It was truly a wonderful experience and we met so many amazing people, we can’t wait to go back some day.
We are excited to share all our travel experiences with you so check back after each new destination. After all, we are on this journey together!