Monday, August 30, 2010


So, every winter here there is a great big exhibition called Ekka (short for exhibition, because they shorten everything here!) at the showgrounds. It's like the PNE crossed with the night market (but daytime) crossed with all the big conventions that come through the convention centre back home. It's MASSIVE, there were so many people and so much stuff to see. It has everything. It was so awesome, truly a unique Brisbane experience.

First stop was the animal area!

Donkeys, sheep and lambs, goats, cows and calves and chickens all running around in a big petting area. It sure smelled like pee, but they were so cute! It was hard to get pictures of them because they never stood still.

Yep, it's me feeding a little white lamb. Mission accomplished.

There was a chick-cuddling area, as well. Look at how cute and and soft and tiny they are!! Eee!

On to the agricultural tent, where various companies/farms/schools compete with displays made of fruits, veggies, seeds and assorted other things. Some of them were really impressive!

There were lots of rides, but they were not included in the price of admission, so we didn't go on any. It was like $7 a ride, each. We'll just head to the amusement parks on the Gold Coast when we want to go on rides.

So many people! And it was a gorgeous day. We spent some time watching the dog shows (Pat got tons of pictures) which was really like being in an Australian version of "Best In Show". We even predicted a few of the winners!

There was the "Food Pavilion", which gave out tons of free samples. That was worth the price of admission alone! Half of the vendors were selling wine, if we'd wanted to we could have gotten drunk off the free samples. I found a cupcake place that sold a delicious slice of something that was vegan and gluten-free and pink. I ate it before I could get a picture.

We were also introduced the the bewildering concept of "showbags", which I never heard of until Ekka. They are just plastic bags filled with goodies - you can get ones filled with candy, toys, novelties, costumes or a little bit of everything. I don't really understand the appeal, but I think if I was a kid I might. They had an entire pavilion fills with stalls selling showbags. It's a big thing.

There was a cat, dog and bird area, where we got to pet a nice cat. There were show horses, bulls, llamas, alpacas and sheep-shearers (with sheep, obviously). There was a science pavilion, there was the China pavilion, there were cars and motorhomes, beads and jewelry, tourism/vacation booths (we got a few more ideas of what would be neat to explore in Queensland/Australia). There were two stages for live music and presentations (kids doing martial arts at one point) and tons and tons of fair food, including fresh-squeezed lemonade (the squeeze the lemons when you order!) and Dagwood dogs, which are just like corn dogs, I think (Pat had one). It is incredibly easy to spend a lot of money there!

I really had no idea what to expect. We spent a good 4 - 5 hours there, but we easily could have spent more. I'm glad we went early because by the time we left, it was even more packed. I'm looking forward to going next year, if we get back in time.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I just realized I hadn't posted anything from our trip to Stradbroke Island, which was on August 7 - 8. Pat's boss, James, and his wife Jackie invited us to a condo they had rented for the weekend (the resort aptly called Whalewatch). It was lovely and pretty easy to get to considering how beautiful and different it is from inner city Brisbane. We did see whales and dolphins but I didn't get any pictures of them, they were too far out to get any good ones. But it was still pretty amazing!

Patrick by the Gorge. The waves were huge that day!

This is the view from the other side of the Gorge.

A good view of Main Beach, which we ended up walking along (we did a lot of walking!)

The waves on Main Beach.

Pat in front of the cool sand/rock formation between Frenchman's Beach and Cylinder Beach. The whole island is made of sand (hence all the beaches, I guess).

Crested pigeons! I love these guys. They are such ridiculous-looking birds. I call them alfalfa pigeons, because of the little cowlick.

This was the fattest crested pigeon I'd ever seen! They're not usually neckless. He lived right by the restaurant strip. It's an easy life on Straddie.

Sunset on Sunday brought back to the Dunwich ferry, which is overlooked by the prettiest graveyard I've ever seen.

We missed the ferry and had to wait around another hour.

Can't wait to go back! Pat and I will be planning more daytrips for weekends, because the weather is starting to get really nice again and there is so much beautiful stuff to see that's just a short train ride/ferry away.