ProBlogger 2014: Part 1

Woah. Well the ProBlogger conference was last weekend at the Gold Coast, hosted again by the quirky QT Hotel. I took many photos of the conference and hotel, so I’ve divided the posts up by day to give you a visual tour of what the Gold Coast, the QT hotel and the ProBlogger Conference is like.

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 Suitcase packed and read to go!

Suitcase packed and read to go! Other bag full of food. And maybe wine. 

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 on the road

On the road!

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 QT Hallway

I love the carpet in the hallways at the QT Hotel!

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 QT Hotel Gold Coast Twin Room

Comfy twin room at the QT hotel on the Gold Coast

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 View from 14th floor QT Hotel Gold Coast

View from 14th floor QT Hotel Gold Coast

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 Under Bed Check

A couple of days before the conference I was reading a travel article that said you HAVE to check under hotel beds for dead bodies when you check in. So I checked. No dead body here.

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 DIY room service

Instead of eating out on the first night, my roomie and I did a little DIY room service.

 

ProBlogger 2014 Part 1 Sangria

Sangria from the Stingray bar within the QT Hotel.

 

And there you have it! Day one (travel day) of the 2014 ProBlogger conference in pictures. Stay tuned next week for part 2.

 

Have you ever stayed at the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast?

 

Nundah Fresh Farmers Markets

Brisbane and its suburbs have a huge selection of markets for the population. I think it’s safe to say that markets, particularly farmers markets, have been a very successful enterprise in and around South East Queensland.

 

I actually lived in Nundah years ago when these markets were introduced. They were very busy at the first one, then it tapered off quickly. Since moving away from Nundah years ago, the area has become a bit more urban and funky. I decided to go back to the markets and see what they were like these days. And you know what, they’re pretty good!

 

Nundah Fresh Farmers Markets are not huge – they are held in the train station car park. But what they lack in size, they make up for in being funky! I actually buy all my fruit & vegetables from a shop a few doors from my house, so if I go to farmers markets, it’s just to browse, enjoy being out and see what little secrets are in each place.

 

Suitcase Scribbles: Nundah Farmers Markets Entry

Flowers to welcome you to the market!

 

Suitcase Scribbles: Nundah Markets Cafe Area

Cute cafe area where you can eat any of the bits & bobs you buy at the market.

 

Fruit and Veg at Nundah Markets

Great selections of fresh fruit and vegetables.

 

Nundah Farmers Markets

I was really happy to come across a stall I’ve seen at a few markets. They sell iced tea and have a range of flavours – but it’s not always the same ones. I’m not sure what markets they are at regularly, because I’ve seen them at quite a few around Brisbane.

Iced Tea Stall Tealicious at Nundah Farmers Markets on Brisbane's northside.

Iced Tea Flavours at Nundah Farmers Markets

If you’re around the Northside of Brisbane, or stopping through, Nundah markets are a good way to get a dose of markets without spending your entire day there.

 

What makes or breaks a market for you? Have you been to Nundah Farmers Markets?

 

Seaworld, I Forgive You!

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a good, chilled out ride at a theme park. It’s nice to have a little time sitting down, preferably in the shade in the midst of a hectic day of thrill seeking. At Seaworld on the Gold Coast, this ride was the Bermuda Triangle for me. It was an old, slow boat ride with some physical special effects and a little drop into water.

 

And then, like all good things, it came to an end. The ride closed for maintenance and never reopened. This seems to be how most theme parks go about decommissioning rides. Having not held an annual pass for Seaworld in a couple of years, I was pretty disappointed that I wouldn’t get to go on the Bermuda Triangle ride again. I really like my indoor relaxation rides. I was a cross between curious and resentful toward what they had replaced it with.

 

Well, Seaworld, I forgive you! The Storm Coaster is FAN-TASTIC. (There’s a video of the ride on the Seaworld website, but it’s not 100% accurate towards the end, based on my experience.)

Storm Coaster Sea World Gold Coast

I went to SeaWorld with my husband Ben, but he can’t go on all rides, so it was on to the Storm Coaster solo for me! Gulp. It was a great day at the park – very quiet and with basically no queues anywhere. In fact, the queue was so small that I was ushered straight on to the roller coaster the second I got up to it! There was a train (boat?) nearly ready to leave and since I was on my own, I filled the spare seat at the front. Yep. At the front. Not only did I miss that waiting time that lets you feel better (or worse) about getting on a new roller coaster, I was ushered straight on and straight to the front. Well, I guess some days life doesn’t let you do things by halves.

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

The entryway to the Storm Coaster, a bridge over the ride.

I was strapped in and at the top of the chain lift before I knew it. Since Ben was down below with my iPhone, I’ll let some photos he took tell the story of my first ride on the Storm Coaster:

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

I’m in the very front row, on the way up and holding very tight!

 

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

Going around a big curve

 

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

Here I am, plunging down the big drop.

 

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

And there I am, up the front, alone, and screaming as I go down the big drop!

You spend the last part of the ride ‘blind’ – I don’t mean that you will be blinded, but once you go down the big drop your vision is obscured by darkness, mists of water and then ALL THE WATER.  Oh yeah, you’ll get slightly wet on this ride. Slightly meaning DRENCHED.

 

Ride Tip 1: Wear your swimmers!! (Togs, board shorts, bathers, whatever you call them, wear them!)

 

And I couldn’t explore a new ride without taking a few videos, now could I? Below is the coaster after it comes out of the big drop. I was standing on the entryway bridge:

 

I took full advantage of the lack of queues and went on the ride twice. The exit path actually has a little viewing area where you can watch the ride do the big splash down. Be warned: you can still get wet there! It was too wet to pull out my camera on viewing area, so I stopped on a different part of the path and captured the big splash:

 

Ride Tip 2: People who can’t go on the ride can ask the staff member to let them go in the exit path and watch from the viewing platform inside.

 

As we were walking around the park afterwards, Ben asked me if it was my new favourite roller coaster. And you know what? I couldn’t think of one I liked better. The Storm Coaster is very smooth. It has great big turns and huge heights to let you see the rest of the park. It has a great balance between fast and so fast you can’t enjoy it. And it’s also a boat ride that soaks you. That really hits all the criteria for me!

 

Have you been on the Storm Coaster? What makes a roller coaster good for you?

Cedar Creek

Mid last year, I was whisked away by my then-day-job to Mount Tamborine for two days and one night of corporate …well, I won’t talk about that part of it. Corporate retreats aren’t usually my thing. I will thank them for a gorgeous setting though.

 

If you’re curious, I haven’t been paid to write this. Work paid for my accommodation as it was a work trip. I’m not really sure where this all sits in the realm of disclosures. It’s just a place I went because of my then-day-job. 

 

I felt a little silly taking a suitcase for an overnight trip. But this did allow me to fit a bunch of warm clothes in the bag, knowing that Mt Tambourine is a cold place. And it also allowed me to put my work laptop & chargers in the one bag, rather than drag a laptop bag as well. And my work laptop was a bit bulky. So it felt silly, but was fairly practical at the same time.

Suitcase on a Bus

We checked into Cedar Creek Lodges and were given our room keys. I was located in the Frog Lodge rooms.

Cedar Creek Frog Lodge Beds

Inside Frog Lodge – two double beds with a little couch in the middle.

 

Cedar Creek Lodge Frog Lodge Room

Cedar Creek Lodges – double beds with TV and desk in the middle.

 

Cedar Creek Frog Lodge Bathroom Vanity

They even had a double vanity…it felt very decadent seeing as I was the only person in my room!

 

Cedar Creek Lodges Towels

I know this is really simple but I really like this way of having all the spare towels on hand.

 

Cedar Creek Lodges Toiletries

And because who doesn’t love miniature toiletries?! I love the simple but shaped bottles.

 

There was even a little kitchenette space with a kettle, microwave and toaster. Perfect for a bit of budget saving or late night snacks.

Cedar Creek Lodges Kitchenette

Enough supplies for four.

 

In between the wonderful usual work retreat activities and discussions I managed to get some photos of the conference surroundings.

Cedar Creek Stone Bridge

Gorgeous stone bridge on the property.

 

Cedar Creek Stream

Stream out the back of the conference centre.

 

Cedar Creek Lodge Conference Centre

View from out back of the conference centre.

Then while we had a break between wonderful retreat activities and the alcohol flowing, a few of us snuck off to see the actual Cedar Creek Falls.

Cedar Creek Falls

First glimpse of the falls.

 

Cedar Creek Falls Waterfalls

I love how round the pool is at the bottom of the first falls.

 

Cedar Creek Falls Mt Tamborine

Only just off of a road but it’s so peaceful and beautiful here.

The best part about the falls is that the main viewing platform is wheelchair/stroller friendly. So pretty much anyone can access it! I did take a further walk down the stairs to the non-wheelchair accessible parts and honestly, you get the best view from the first platform so you don’t miss anything at all. I really love it when people (governments maybe – I’m not sure where the responsibility of these things sits) make outdoor parts of our word accessible for everyone.

 

After a sadly long night of work, I woke up in the morning to some gorgeous mist and horses huddling together. It really was nice to wake up to. Living in South-East Queensland, you don’t get the chance to appreciate winter very often.

Cedar Creek Mist

A really nice view to wake up to.

 

I’ve added Mt Tamborine to my list of places to go back to :)

 

Have you ever been to Cedar Creek Falls?

 

 

One Ultimate Day Around the Gold Coast

After the ProBlogger Event, I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a participant in the Travel Bloggers Beware pop up experience, organised by Queensland Tourism. We had an incredibly FUN day, but busy! If you have one day to spend on the Gold Coast, I couldn’t recommend what we did enough.

 

I was a Guest of Queensland Tourism and the establishments listed below. I did not pay for these excursions or my food and I did not receive any money to write this post. All opinions are my own – because I don’t know how to be someone else. 

 

Bike along the beach

We picked up our funky retro bikes from the lobby of the QT Hotel and rode along the beach.

Gold Coast Beaches

A glimpse of the great beaches on the Gold Coast

 

Beach and Bike

View from my bike at Southport on the Gold Coast

Breakfast

Having worked up an appetite on the bike ride, it was time for a delicious meal at the Southport Surf Club.

 

Southport Surf Club

Lovely breezy place to eat after a bike ride!

 

Breakfast at Southport Surf Club

Eggs Benedict

Then we met up with our driver and bus for the day.

Airport Transfer Bus

The best kind of transport – one that I don’t have to drive myself!

 

Jetboating

Yep, on a full stomach of breakfast, we went jetboating. You have to be tough to be a travel blogger.

Paradise Jet Boating

Even the wall is exciting

If a picture says a thousand words, then a video must say a million. Click here if you want to watch the YouTube video of our jet boating trip. (When the camera is pointing at our faces, I’m second from the left in the second row.)

Perhaps needless to say if you watched the video and saw our driver Duffy soaking us, we were totally drenched after this! So drenched, I even blogged about How To Be Loved After Jetboating.

Now, I have jet boated before (on Sydney Harbour) and this one kicked Sydney’s ass! Maybe it’s because the Gold Coast is semi-local to me, maybe it was the smoother ride, maybe it was a driver who really should think about a career as a comedian or maybe it was the awesome company of other travel bloggers… but I would go back and do this again in a heartbeat!

 

Movie World

Once your adrenaline is up for the day, you may as well let it keep going. So we were bussed over to Movie World. I’ve already blogged about how this was my ultimate theme park experience for our ultra-VIP treatment. And more excitingly, for my birthday last month, my husband and I were given annual passes to Movie World! Woo! So as soon as my husband can beat his latest round of illness, we’re heading down there for more wild days.

 

MovieWorld

Sing it with me “I’ve been to Movie World”…

 

Green Lantern Coaster

First stop: the Green Lantern Coaster. An unnerving coaster!

 

Superman Escape

Then we headed over to the Superman Escape coaster.

 

Lunch

We finally had a chance to rest our weary stomachs as the bus took us up to Mt Tambourine for lunch. We stopped off at Spice of Life cafe.

Spice of Life Cafe

Spice of Life Cafe at Mt Tamborine

 

Pad Thai at Spice of Life

Pad Thai at Spice of Life

 

Rainforest Walk

Our day took a gentler turn with our visit to the Tamborine Mountain Skywalk.

 

Tambourine Rainforest Skywalk Entry

Tambourine Rainforest Skywalk Entry

 

Skywalk Bridge

High above the trees

 

Travel Bloggers Working Hard

Travel bloggers working hard

 

Bottom of the rainforest

At the bottom of the rainforest

 

Out to the edge

Out to the edge of the forest

 

Beer and Cheese

We would up the day with beer and cheese at  the MT Brewery.

Cheese from Witches Chase

Cheese from Witches Chase

 

Beer

Beer tasting. Yeah. I still don’t like beer.

 

Scenic Drive Home

Once we had eaten the cheese, sampled the beer and learned about the beer, it was time to head back to the QT Hotel.

Green Hills

Scenic drive back to the Gold Coast from Mt Tamborine

 

River

A river on the way back to the Gold Coast

 

Which activity would you like the best? Do you travel slow or fast?