Driving By

On iPhoneography Oz we drive off the beaten track for you to experience every corner of Australia that is not necessarily found on Lonely Planet. And sometimes it is in a roadside snack bar, an old school restaurant without charm or glitter, that you will find authentic homemade burgers (not average burgers like here). Like in this fast food road stop in Bulahdelah (photo), somewhere between Port Macquarie and Newcastle (where they even have a free wifi hotspot!).

Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie is a small town on the east coast of Australia somewhere between Sydney and Brisbane. Some shops and restaurants. A port and a waterfront where life seems so pleasant. No extravagance, it is a simple place but still has its charms. The city is also home to the Koala Hospital, the only one of its kind worldwide, which you can visit every day. We like!

What do you think? Have you been to Port Macquarie? Which hotel or accommodation would you recommend there?

Coffs Harbour Butterfly House

Amazement guaranteed at the Butterfly House in Coffs Harbour! To spend half a day there is a unique opportunity to admire nearly 400 Australian butterflies including the largest of them, the Cairns Birdwing whose wingspan can reach 20cm (photo). The establishment does not revolutionize the genre but the owner couple's dedication to their activity makes this educational visit really enjoyable. The metamorphosis of butterflies is certainly among the greatest mysteries of nature and we were very pleased to discover the miracle of the butterfly.

What do you think? Have you seen butterflies in Australia? What's your favourite activity in Coffs Harbour? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Butterfly House.

The Big Banana

The Big Banana is a worthy attraction during a visit in Coffs Harbour where you can easily spend half a day. It is a plantation of... wait for it... bananas which has been transformed into a tourist destination similar to Tropical Fruit World. Unlike the latter, The Big Banana also has additional activities for children: a water park, a toboggan and an ice skating rink. We know we are grown ups but we had a lot of fun being kids again. Even if The Big Banana is one of the big attractions in Australia, do not expect something as big as the Gold Coast's theme parks (but you certainly can not miss the big banana at the entrance of the park). The only downside, we would have liked a guided tour of the plantation after the video presentation.

What do you think? Have you seen many of the big attractions in Australia? What's your favourite thing to do in Coffs Harbour? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of The Big Banana.

Love At First Bite At Mavis's Kitchen

Love at first bite! Mavis's Kitchen welcomed us in its family restaurant located a stone's throw away from the Gold Coast and Tropical Fruit World, at the base of World Heritage-listed Wollumbin National Park – formerly known as Mount Warning National Park. The setting is magnificent: an old style Queenslander surrounded by beautiful gardens with a magical creek flowing through the property. The food is divine. Simple dishes, but the owners, Peter and Charlie, pay a great deal of attention to the importance of the selection of ingredients. And for good reason! All dishes are cooked on site using organic ingredients from the garden (wherever possible). Even the water served at the table is taken from the creek! If some products are purchased, they all come from local producers. It is impossible to know what you eat before arriving at the restaurant, the menu is updated daily based on availability at the time. Quick tip: between the main meal and dessert, enjoy a moment to digest by visiting the gardens and cottages. Not only is the food extremely good, but you can also stay overnight or for several days. Go ahead with your eyes closed, it is impossible to be disappointed! Every self-respecting cook should spend a weekend at Mavis's Kitchen to draw inspiration from their concept. In iPhoneography Oz's opinion every restaurant should take a leaf out of their book.

What do you think? What's your favourite Australian restaurant? Have you noticed a difference eating organic food? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Mavis's Kitchen.

Tropical Fruit World

A tropical paradise is hidden in the hills of the Gold Coast. Located on the rim of the largest extinct volcano in the southern hemisphere, Tropical Fruit World is indeed a plantation containing the largest range of rare exotic fruits and tropical plants in the world. Its owners had the brilliant idea of ​​making a tourist destination of it. The tour includes a fruit tasting and a guided tour of the plantation aboard a tractor train. You can count on the passionate staff of the tropical fruit farm to be educated not only on common fruits but also on fruits that you never knew existed on the tropical fruit list. And if the tasting stimulates the appetite, the Rainforest Cafe and the fruit market located at the park entrance (both open to the public) will help to satisfy the taste buds. iPhoneography Oz gives you a tip: if you visit during weekdays (and outside of school holidays) you may be lucky enough to experience both a "private" tour and a fruit tasting which is certainly the best way to get the most out of your visit (and to sample a little more fruit!). Who wants a tropical fruit salad?

What do you think? What's your favourite tropical fruit? Do you know where are the seeds of bananas? What are your Gold Coast favourites? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Tropical Fruit World.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

The Gold Coast is renowned in Australia and Asia for its theme parks. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best things to do there. The park is much larger than the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It is host to many different animal species, some of which are quite surprising such as these blue-tongued lizards (photo). It is recommended to allow four hours to visit the park. The bird show is certainly not to be missed. The bonus: the ticket includes the Green Challenge, a tree climbing course quite spectacular (but not tested by us due to lack of time but certainly not lack of desire).

What do you think? Have you been to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary? What's your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Where To Cuddle A Koala?

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a wildlife park located a few kilometres away from Brisbane and actually it is the first and largest koala sanctuary in the world! The best way to get there, certainly the most pleasant and the most informative way, is to go for a river cruise aboard the Mirimar II. This human scale zoo seems isolated from the world: a paradise for animal lovers. On top of lazy koalas, make sure you do not miss the kangaroos, wombats and crocodiles. Having the opportunity to take a koala in your arms is undoubtedly one of the fondest memories you will have. You can check the price and opening hours here.

What do you think? Have you cuddled a koala yet? What's your favourite native Australian animal? What's your favourite thing to do in Brisbane? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

Brisbane River Cruise

Brisbane is built around the river of the same name. So it is impossible not to experience a water activity. A two and a half hour river cruise with Mirimar Cruises allows discovery of behind the scene treasures you would not necessarily see from the mainland including a wide range of Queenslander architecture. Indooroopilly Island, inhabited by fruit bats (also known as flying foxes), is also worth a glance. The audio guide will not let you miss a thing along the banks as the Mirimar II navigates its way down the Brisbane River. The experience is really worth living and the friendly staff make it even more pleasant. River boat cruises depart daily from the Cultural Centre Pontoon located really close to Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art and The Parklands at South Bank. This cruise is an ideal way to get to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which will be reviewed tomorrow...

What do you think? What's your favourite part of Brisbane? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Mirimar Cruises.

Matisse's Drawing Room

First real cultural break for iPhoneography Oz at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. The Gallery of Modern Art, which opened its doors in December 2006, completes the building of the Queensland Art Gallery. They are located in South Brisbane, Brisbane's cultural district. Anyone might be impressed before even entering them given their massive architecture. The irony is an exhibition devoted to Henri Matisse's prints and drawings who lived much of his life in Nice (iclo's hometown) before being buried there. It is the most comprehensive ever mounted, being exhibited there until 4 March 2012. It is possible to admire over 300 works on paper by the artist. Of all the activities related to Matisse: Drawing Life, note the spectacular Drawing Room (photo) which features an abundance of objects as well as live musicians and models to draw. During the visit, we especially liked the modern and interactive approach of the exhibition with the incorporation of QR codes and the possibility to sketch on iPad in the Drawing Room.

What do you think? Have you been to the QAG|GOMA? What's your favourite museum in Brisane? What are the other things to do and tourist attractions in Brisbane? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art.

Is It The Best Restaurant In South Bank, Brisbane?

Although the name sounds decidedly Italian, Vespa Pizza is not a traditional Italian pizzeria. However this does not change the fact that it is one of the best restaurants in Brisbane. The products are fresh (and palatable!). But above all the originality of the ingredients will surprise you (in a good way). Do not miss the streaky bacon and red currant with camembert pizza! The decor, rustic and rootsy urban (yes it is possible!), makes the experience even more enjoyable. David, the owner (Australian), opened this restaurant after returning from a road trip in Europe. It is also on the roads in Italy that he drew inspiration. It has two locations, one in New Farm and the other in Woolloongabba (near the Parklands of South Bank and museums). Conclusion: we love this not to be missed culinary delight! Vespa lovers will not be disappointed either.

Have you tried Vespa Pizza before? Would you say Vespa Pizza is one of the tops restaurants in Brisbane? What is your favourite restaurant in South Bank? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Vespa Pizza.

Tiny Horizon Of The Sunshine Coast

One last shot of the Sunshine Coast before beginning an indefinite road trip across Australia. We promise you much more variety in the weeks and months to come (although we think the chances are high that there will still be some pictures at the beach). The months of January and February (summer in Australia) are probably not the best time to enjoy the climate of the Sunshine Coast as the there are many gray and rainy days. But tomorrow, all that will be behind us. Heading south to Brisbane!

What do you think? Have you planned a road trip around Australia? Do you use a trip planner? What is the best east coast road trip? Do you have cheap road trips ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

This photo is part of the Weekend Hashtag Project, a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen every week by Instagram’s Community Team. The theme of the week is: #tinyhorizon.

10 Free WiFi Hotspots On The Sunshine Coast

Australia does not seem to be an advanced country with telecommunications. Thus, it is difficult to obtain public WiFi access (whether free or not). Bars and restaurants rarely, if ever, provide internet service. We happened to come across a free hotspot at a branch bank. If you want to avoid the rather low speed connection McDonald's free WiFi, note that the Sunshine Coast Libraries (ten locations) are undoubtedly a sure bet to be able to have access to a free and high speed internet connection on the Sunshine Coast. Of course you depend on the opening hours of libraries but it is better than nothing we guess.

What do you think? Do you have other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Being On The Front Page

iPhoneography Oz on the front page of a local paper, we admit that the choice of the photo of the day is somewhat subjective (a little self-promotion does not hurt). But not only. The Kawana Weekly (and its cousin the Maroochy Weekly) was an inspiration for the blog during our stay on the Sunshine Coast. This free newspaper, distributed every Thursday to over 10,000 households (because here free newspapers are delivered at home), is a great way to keep in touch with local news. You can always take a look in the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper if you want to stay informed without having to wait a week. Check iPhoneography Oz Media section to read the article.

Is It The Best Australian Meat Pie?

The local cuisine is one of our favourite discoveries when we travel. We love eating. Big ray of sunshine in our stomach when we got the chance to taste the authentic Aussie Beefy's meat pies. This Australian national dish is topped with minced meat and gravy. Sometimes it also contains potato, onions, mushrooms or cheese. This is very similar to pies that are found in many English-speaking countries such as Canada (Quebec) and its famous tourtière.

"Bigger, Better, Beefier Meat Pies ... Guaranteed Or It's Free!"

Beefy's sets the tone. The brand from the Sunshine Coast has won many gold medals for its pies in recent years. Go have a look at one of its four stores while visiting the area. You will not be disappointed!

What do you think about meat pies? Would you say meat pie is the best Aussie food? What's your favourite meat pie? Would you share your best homemade meat pie pastry recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Beefy's.

The Ray Of Sunlight

We are finally about to leave the Sunshine Coast for an indefinite road trip around Australia. This should be the real takeoff of the iPhoneography Oz project across the continent. We have often spoken of the rain that falls in this region at this time of year. Does it really rain on the Sunshine Coast? Are there storm on the Sunshine Coast? When its legendary sun does come out, the Sunshine Coast certainly lives up to its name. Just an hour's drive from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is a collection of beach resorts where life is good. Make sure you check the weather forecast first, then book your accommodation on the Sunshine Coast!

What do you think? Have you been to the Sunshine Coast? What is the best time of year to spend your holidays on the Sunshine Coast? What would you recommend to do on the Sunshine Coast? Let us know in the comments below!

Barramundi Fishing On The Sunshine Coast

Have you heard about barramundi? It seems that it is one of the most sought after fish to catch in Australia. Suncoast Barra Fishing Park is a very friendly and quiet place where you will find everything you need to spend a good time fishing including rod hire, whether with family or friends. Located close to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast, it is open every day of the year. The staff are very welcoming and deliver valuable advice on fishing techniques. Pack a lunch and a couple of ice cold beers. Find your spot. Bait your hook. Cast your line. And wait for the big bite (and tell us how to catch a barramundi please)! Is your BBQ ready? Barramundi fillets are on the way!

What do you think? What are your best barramundi fishing tips? Have you tasted barramundi? What is your best barramundi recipe? Pan fried barramundi, grilled barramundi, steamed barramundi or baked barramundi? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Suncoast Barra Fishing Park.

Team Spirit At The Rowing Competition

Since the beginning of this project in Australia, we have taken an interest in as many activities as we can to share with you on iPhoneograhy Oz. This is how we came to attend our first rowing regatta on the Sunshine Coast. As we had no knowledge about the teams competiting for this kind of university rowing championships, we found the races a bit boring to follow (meaning not really exciting). However we were pleasantly surprised and touched by the team spirit and solidarity shown by the young athletes. The war cry of every competitor before entering the water (photo), distant cousin of the All Black Haka, is quite impressive.

What do you think? How to create a good team spirit in a sport team? What is good team spirit in sports? Let us know in the comments below!

Health & Fitness Club On The Sunshine Coast

Water sports and athletics do not have the monopoly of wellbeing in Australia! You can stay fit by joining one of the many gyms you undoubtedly come across on your way (at least on the east coast). We have a feeling that sport is an institution in Australia (as well as Surf Clubs). We will tell you more about it when we have travelled a few more miles. We use Ezyfit Health & Fitness Club facilities for the duration of our stay on the Sunshine Coast. We can say without hesitation that this is the best fitness centre we have ever worked out in. The premises are huge (but also very well maintained). We are not fans of courses, but there is a wide range of them (you can check the group fitness classes on their website). Gym equipment is clean and in excellent condition. The staff are dynamic, warm and welcoming. It feels like home. For all these reasons, we recommend it to you hands down! You can always opt for a free seven-day test run if you are not totally convinced.

What do you think? How do you stay in shape while traveling? What are your ideas for working out on the road? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Ezyfit Health & Fitness Club.

Surf Rules

It is funny to see the parallel between what happens on the roads and what happens in the waves. Surfing is supposed to be a stressless activity. But there are so many surfers in Australia that the media regularly relate surf rage cases. There are even police patrols dedicated to the aggression that pollutes the popular surfing spots. Regarding the priority, let's say that those who want to keep all their teeth give way! We heard an instructor in Byron Bay say about it: "If there is a bus bearing down on you, what would you do? Well, same thing in the water!". So you are warned.

What do you think? Have you been involved in a surfing accident? Have you seen surfers fighting before? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo taken with an Olympus TG-310.

Surf Life Saving Clubs In Australia

Today we tackle a national institution in Australia: Surf Clubs. There are more than 300 of these clubs spread along Australian beaches. Uninformed foreigners might assume they are just surf schools or trendy bars. There is much more to it than that. In a nut shell, the Surf Life Saving Clubs (that is their full name!) are local associations that aim to create a safe environment on and off the beaches through the work of their volunteer lifesavers. Do you remember Mitch Buchannon and C. J. Parker in Baywatch? Well that's it, but even more! The influence of Surfs Clubs extends outside the beach in the local community. They offer various training opportunities (and even organize barbecues on weekends!). And remember: you can swim safely between the red and yellow flags!

What do you think? Would you like to become a surf lifesaver or a lifeguard? Do you know much about beach safety? Let us know in the comments below!

David And Goliath

Australian insects and spiders are one of the most unusual facts of our adventures in Australia so far (we said "unusual" and not "exciting" eh!). Every day we discover new ones or nearly. Sometimes they are not completely unknown to us, but their color or size seem to be very different from what we are used to in the northern hemisphere (remember the cockroach?). This giant wasp is a proof (photo). In your opinion, who was the winner of this battle? Ants! The spider has actually ended up giving up but the wasp was never able to carry it and therefore left its trophy. Ah! Exciting ... uh ... unusual we told you!

What do you think? What are the most fun or amazing facts about insects in Australia? Tell us all a funny anecdote about your encounter with an insect or spider in the comments below!

Moonlight Jog On The Beach

Running on a beach by moonlight is not unique to Australia. But we tried it today for the first time on the Sunshine Coast (the triathlon of yesterday has certainly given us ideas) and we found barefoot jogging on the beach interesting. Firstly because the beach belongs to you: no surfer, no kids, no ball, no dog. Then, because beach jogging allows you to observe in the front-row the race of crabs flowing into the ocean. You are now an integral part of the environment. Finally because jogging on beach at night has something quite unreal. Distances and perspectives at night seem different. So when the waves come up to get your feet, the foam in motion gives the impression that the ground is moving. We are a little disappointed with the result of this photo. The visibility was much better to the eye because it was not dark yet. The camera of the iPhone clearly shows its limits when the light decreases. In the background, you can see part of the freighters dance that sail every day to and from Brisbane.

What do you think? What are your running on sand benefits? Running shoes or barefoot? Do you wear jogging shoes for running on the beach? Have you experienced jogging barefoot? Where are your best running beaches? Let us know in the comments below!

Australia, A Triathlon Story

We are quite surprised by the number of triathlon events in Australia! It is perhaps no coincidence that the sport also became olympic in Sydney at the 2000 Olympics Games. The Caloundra Triathlon is held in early February. It is part of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series which consists of seven races distributed between October and April along the Sunshine Coast. If you wish to attend such an event, pay attention to advertisements published in local newspapers (most of which are distributed free by the way).

If we discuss this subject, it is also to explain to Tourism Queensland how @iclo would boost his "Vitamin Me" levels if he won a $5,000 holiday voucher. In collaboration with Nuffnang Australia, Tourism Queensland is organizing a contest in which you can win a $5,000 holiday in Queensland. @iclo had planned to participate in the TriStar Monaco in September with two of his best friends. Unfortunately his plans have changed and the distance ensures that it will not be possible for him to join them. So why not invite them to participate with him in a triathlon held in Queensland? In addition to that he will make sure that their stay will be as friendly and stressfree as possible. He is sure they will be able to release the pressure of their European life by having a few surf and kite-surf lessons on the Sunshine Coast beaches. Levels of Vitamin Me recharged to 110% for the three of them!

Alternative Beach In Currimundi

This is not the ocean. This is not a river. This is not a lake (despite its name). It is a bit of all three. But it is especially an excellent alternative to the beach if looking for a quieter place for the whole family (without sacrificing the beauty of the landscape). There are so many water bodies similar to this along the coast in Australia. Like many places, you just need to know where to go. Currimundi Lake (Kathleen McArthur) Conservation Park is adjacent to Currimundi Beach, between Caloundra and Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast.

What do you think? Have you been to Currimundi Lake? What are the things to see and do that you would recommend in the area? What is your favourite family holidays destination on the Sunshine Coast? Let us know in the comments below!

Reading The Waves As A Basic Rule To Surfing

Did you know there are several types of ocean surface waves? We recently learnt first hand while having our first surf lesson in Australia. What is important when starting to surf, even when you go for a swim in the ocean as well, is to recognize them. Spilling waves (photo) are the safest surfing waves (and generally the most frequent) contrary to breaking waves which can be dangerous for beginners. Unsure of the potential danger that awaits you? Watch for warning signs and flags on the beach!

What do you think? Do you know how to read waves for surfing? According to you, what are the basic rules to surfing to be safe in the surf? Let us know in the comments below!

Peter Lik Noosa Gallery

We discovered the work of Peter Lik by accident two years ago. It was in his photography gallery in Miami Beach. Over the years the self-taught Australian photographer has become one of the uncontested masters of landscape photography. The nature through his eyes is breathtaking. We came across, again by mere chance, one of his galleries (which are more like nature photography museums you can visit for free than shops where to buy posters and prints) on the Sunshine Coast. He now has over a dozen worldwide. Smaller than the one of Miami, Noosa Gallery is nevertheless a highly recommended checkpoint for photography lovers (no matter what, his fine art and luxury photography may well have been a source of inspiration for iPhoneography Oz!). For those who unfortunately do not have the chance to travel to admire his landscape pictures, visit his photography website online, you will not be disappointed!

Do you know Peter Lik's photography portfolio? According to you, who are the best landscape photographers? Do you have other nature photographers to recommend? Which photography galleries are worth a visit in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

Sunset Cruise In Noosa

Noosa, Sunshine Coast. A one hour scenic river cruise at the end of the day. A boat gliding amongst yachts and luxury homes. An absolutely amazing sunset view, even on cloudy days, if the clouds are not too low (photo). That is what you experience when you attend the Sunset Cruise offered by Noosa Ferry Cruise. The boat departs every night from the Sheraton Noosa's jetty. Even if it is not a boat party or a dinner cruise, you can bring your own drinks to top the experience off. The skipper provides the glassware and ice! After this perfect activity for relaxing in the evening, why not experiencing one of the best restaurants in Noosa?

What do you think? Have you been to Noosa? What is your favourite activity in Noosa? What is the best sunset view on the Sunshine Coast? Let us know in the comments below!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Noosa Ferry Cruise.