I returned yesterday from a work/play trip to Australia’s Sunshine Coast. One of the things I love about travel—regardless of frequency or how far I go—is the way it bridges opposites: variety/routine, movement/stillness, adventure/home.
Below is a list of some of the little things I think the Aussies do better. (You’ll have to look elsewhere for thoughts on mandatory voting, etc.) And an excuse to share photos, of course.
coffee. Yes, Vancouver’s bean scene is up there with the best of ’em. But the average coffee in Australia is just better, I don’t care which way you pour it. And they get points for saturation—there are just so many more of the good spots. I also found the offerings to be much more interesting. Turmeric lattes are big there right now, as are true gourmet conconctions like the below coconut take on Vietnamese iced coffee.
muesli. They have muesli aisles, people. Aisles.
juice. I found cold pressed and healthy juices to be more abundant and, atypically, cheaper than they are here. It’s not often you see proper green juice or carrot-orange-cayenne-turmeric-ginger juices in bottles for $5 in your local supermarket.
breakfast. Aussies don’t wait until noon to start the savory train. If you do want sweet, you can always opt for Bircher muesli, “fruit toast,” or toasted banana bread, which seem to be on the menu at every cafe.
mountain biking. Maybe it was Chloe’s souped-up Giant mountain bike, or simply, finally, trails that weren’t too technical for me, but I fell in love with mountain biking in a whole new way. I even took a spill (got a little too confident!) and survived it unscathed.
beaches. We all know San Diego has some kick ass beaches. And this summer, having the Vancouver skyline as a backdrop to the west side’s beaches is one I’ve still not tired of. But two things about Australian beaches take things to a whole new level: sand softness and distance. These beaches go on forever.
prawns. I never fully realized the accuracy of the whole “shrimp on the barbie” thing, but after the plate of grilled Mooloolaba prawns I had the night before the race (and my colleagues’ teasing at how watching me devour them was entertainment in itself!), I consider my appreciation for crustaceans forever changed.
names. Towns like Mooloolaba, Beerwah, Maroochydore…need I say more? And if the actual name isn’t good enough, don’t worry, they’ll rename it. Avos, bloke, brekkie, doco, flat out, have a go, lollies, mozzie, rugged up, etc.—I find it cute.
casual. For whatever reason, Australia seems to breed really chill people. You hear the saying “Too easy!” on a regular basis, and bare feet are everywhere. For someone who’s often overly analytical and sometimes too serious for her own good, it’s a breath of fresh air.
lazy animals. Maybe being surrounded by the likes of koalas, who sleep 18-20 hours a day, or the tawny frogmouth bird (they look like old men!), creates the aforementioned phenomenon among the country’s human inhabitants.
If you’re interested, more pics from my trip are on my Instagram profile.