Your guide to a night of Christmas carols and reflection

Lord Mayor's carols

QUEENSLAND SPIRIT: This year’s Lord Mayor’s Carols in the City will remember those who lost everything in the Queensland floods.Pic Jono Searle Source: The Courier-Mail

THE producer of this year’s Lord Mayor’s Carols in the City refuses to check for rain despite last year’s drenching.

Leisa Barry-Smith, 41, of Keperra, who has pulled together the December 10 concert, says everyone hopes Queenslanders will be able to enjoy the annual event without getting wet this year.

“I’m ignoring the weather report for that day,” Barry-Smith says. “It’ll either get my hopes up or make me cranky.”

This year’s Christmas carols at Brisbane’s Riverstage will have something for everyone, with dance performances and entertainers including Paulini, Marina Prior, Tenorissimo, Justice Crew, The Idea of North and Colin Buchanan.

A special tribute to the summer of disaster will be acknowledged during the concert when country singer Troy Cassar-Daly and his wife, Laurel Edwards, of Brisbane, perform River Runs.


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Stupid Backpackers in Brisbane

Stupid Stupid Stupid, this is one way to wear out your welcome quick smart

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Backpacker Storm

Even when the skies are angry,
God smiles on Brisbane Backpackers.
When the storms come to Brisbane its a sight to see.

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Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is located about 100 km south of Brisbane in Queensland and is spectacular! Any and every backpacker should not miss out spending at least one day exploring this wonder that took millions of years to create.
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Look up any one of these approved Tour operators and take a trip of your lifetime.

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Brissie targets nation’s largest beer fest

Oktoberfest at RNA

Oktoberfest celebrations in Brisbane at the RNA showgrounds. Picture: Peter Wallis Source: The Courier-Mail

Brisbane Backpackers !!!! get to this…..
ORGANIZERS of Brisbane’s annual Oktoberfest festivities on the national map, by making this year’s event the largest beer fest in the country.

The target comes as the original Munich Oktoberfest – which the Brisbane festival is loosely taken from – celebrates its 201st anniversary.

In a bid to become the country’s number one beer festival, Oktoberfest Brisbane 2011 will this year be held in massive 80m tent, holding more tables and benches, and offering better stage views.

The event’s Bavarian Corner has also been enlarged, as has the beer garden.

Oktoberfest Brisbane 2011 takes place over two long weekends in October and honours the traditions, entertainment and distinctive food and beverages that personify a classic German folk festival.

It aims to celebrate the best of German and Australian culture with food outlets, stalls, rides and kids’ activities.

WHEN: Friday October 7 to Sunday October 9 and Friday October 14 to Sunday October 16.

WHERE: RNA Showgrounds, Bowen Hills, Brisbane. (Please note that entry can only be made via the Gregory Terrace gates.)

COST: $16 to $22


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Brisbane – Gold Coast Hinterland Backpacker trips

Backpackers and Nature at its best

Within 30 minutes beyond the bustling coastal strip lies the Brisbane – Gold Coast hinterland where the city gives way to farmland, vineyards, quaint villages, sprawling National Parks and rainforest reserves.

The Hinterland is a change of pace where the variety of attractions allows visitors to be as active – hiking, horse riding, hot air ballooning & champagne breakfast, 4WD tours, hang gliding and abseiling – oridlequaffing local wines, browsing handmade art and crafts, perusing market stalls, soaking up the natural scenery – as you like.

With so much to see and do the trick to choosing Hinterland accommodation is deciding which attractions interest you most to determine where you are best based during your stay.

To narrow it down, the areas of most interest are Canungra township, Springbrook National Park – including the Natural Bridge, Tamborine Mountain’s Gallery Walk, Tamborine National Park, the wineries trail and Lamington National Park, home to Binna Burra and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.

Those keen on bushwalking are best based in one of the national parks or a nearby B&B to get an early start on longer walks and remain within close range of a hot shower and hearty meal at the end of the day. Forsightseeing types, Mount Tamborine is a popular base from which to explore the best of the region while remaining in close proximity to shops and restaurants. Accommodation is dotted throughout the Hinterland, so when making inquiries be sure to ask how accessible the various attractions are.

Book your Hinterland accommodation

When to visit

Each season offers its own charms in the Hinterland – summer is safer for campers as rainforest temperatures tend to be a deal cooler than the Coast. The rainforest canopy and cool mountain streams are a delightful respite during the hot and humid Queensland summers and a quieter alternative when beaches get busy. Crisp mountain air and clear blue skies prevail in winter when open fires and rich local reds in cosy mountain lodgings really come into their own.

What to do

The Gold Coast hinterland is bestowed with some of the best bushwalking trails in Australia – hundreds of kilometres of well-maintained tracks through some of the most beautiful country you could hope to see. The greatest collection of tracks is at Lamington – a total of 160km built in the 1930s – offering a variety of routes catering for those who may want a leisurely stroll or for super-fit trekkers who think nothing of a 22km walk through difficult country. Grab a map and make your own way or book onto a ranger guided tour to learn about local history, flora and fauna.

There are literally oodles of walking tracks throughout the Hinterland, but’s pick of the bunch include:

  • The canopy walkway suspended high among the trees at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
  • The Border Track bushwalk between Binna Burra and O’Reilly’s (experienced trekkers only)
  • Another high-rise thrill at the Adventure Parc at Cedar Creek with a whole series of treetop walks
  • The bushwalk through Joalah at Mt Tamborine, only a short distance from the tourist shopping hub of Gallery Walk
  • The Best of All Lookouts at Springbrook (the name says it all)

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is a major attraction set deep in the heart of Lamington National Park. Established more than 90 years ago, the once humble guesthouse has steadily expanded under several generations of the O’Reilly family. O’Reilly’s is famous for Bernard O’Reilly’s amazing rescue mission of two survivors whose Stinson airliner crashed in dense rainforest in the McPherson Range in February 1937.

O’Reillys has a superb range of accommodation – from mountain villas through to camping for as little as $4.95 per adult per night. Sites are limited so it’s wise to check availability and book online before you go. In 2008 O’Reilly’s opened the Lost World Spa, with a swag of rejuvenating therapies on offer for guests and visitors.

Gallery Walk at Tamborine Mountain is a must-do on any Hinterland itinerary. As its name suggests, every inch along this street is jam-packed with galleries and craft shops selling everything from fine art through to kitsch clutter. Cafes, restaurants and coffee stops abound. Depending on your level of interest and appetite, Gallery Walk can take an hour or a day. Our tip for a happy visit? Leave the lads to sample local beers and demolish a cheese platter at Mount Tamborine Brewery and Witches Chase Cheese Factory, found at the top of Gallery Walk, and let the ladies take their sweet time exploring the shops below.

Mount Tamborine is also home to Adventure Parc, Australia’s first and largest ropes and adventure park, and Thunderbird Park where families can fossick for treasures in the World’s largest mine of Thundereggs.

Enjoying a drop or several of local wine is made easy by following the Gold Coast Wine Trail map. The wine and food circuit is in an area basically bounded by Nerang, Canungra, Tamborine and Oxenford. You can join and leave the tour at any convenient point.

The Tamborine Mountain Visitor Information Centre is a useful place to collect maps, tips and more information on attractions.

Types of Hinterland accommodation

  • Bed and breakfast
  • Mountain villas
  • Rainforest lodges
  • Camping and campervan sites
  • Self-contained
  • Resorts
  • Hotels and motels
  • Farm stays
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Backpackers and the Rainforest

Backpackers get back to nature. Your in the city and you need a break. get out and get lost in the Brisbane – Gold Coast hinterland.

Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Skywalk

Just 30 min from Brisbane you can walk amongst the tree tops

A 300m-long elevated walkway which allows visitors to explore the middle and upper reaches of the rainforest canopy. At its lowest points the walkway skirts Cedar Creek, rockpools and a butterfly lookout and ascends to the Cantilever – a 40m span hovering 30m above the valley below, providing awesome views. Sheltered rest areas along the way.

  • How far: 300m of elevated walkway. Total of 1.5km of rainforest pathways
  • Clock it: Allow 1 hour
  • The pinch: It doesn’t get much easier
  • Cost: Adults $18.50; Kids (6-16 years) $9.50; Family (2 adults + 2 kids) $47; seniors $15.50
  • Open: 9.30am-4pm daily (Closed Christmas Day)

For more information,

Tree Tops Walk – O’Reilly’s

Walk amongst the rainforest canopy on our Tree Top Walk

A good one to do while visiting O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, found in the Green Mountain section of Lamington National Park, this walk
involves nine suspension bridges up to 15m off the ground in the rainforest canopy.

Kids will jump at the chance to climb the 30m high tower for even better views.

There are loads of other walking tracks that set out from O’Reillys, plus daily lorikeet feeding and guided rainforest tours.

Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk links the Lamington and Springbrook national parks via the scenic Numinbah Valley. The three-day hike promises a hikers’ delight of rushing streams, plummeting waterfalls, lush rainforest, abundant flora and fauna as you traverse the rim of the Tweed Volcano.

Allow three days to complete the entire 54kms. It is recommended that you walk west to east, setting out along the Border Track at O’Reilly’s (in the Green Mountain section of Lamington National Park) and ending at The Settlement campground in Springbrook National Park. A temporary walkers camp has been constructed in Numinbah Forest Reserve while the planned Woonoongoora walkers camp, to be located on the Springbrook Conservation Area, is being approved. For a few home comforts, investigate hinterland B&Bs and guesthouses in the area.

The best time to tackle the Great Walk is between March and October. Temperatures on Lamington and Springbrook plateaus are generally around five degrees cooler than the Coast up to 36C in summer and minus 0C in winter. COnditions are notoriously changeable up here, so be prepared for wet and cool weather at all times. Expect damp to wet track conditions between December and March the plateaus wet season. The Numinbah Valley gets most of its rain during the summer when temps can hit 38C in summer. Expect no lower than 4C in winter when days are clear and crisp.

Tamborine Mountain

TAMBORINE Mountain has 12 walking tracks, but none of them extend much more than 3km and most are suitable for those who like an easy stroll.

The tracks are well maintained, and there is plenty to see. For birdwatchers in particular, Tamborine probably has the best offerings of all the rainforest and open country tracks around the Gold Coast.

Here’s a quick guide to Tamborine National Park tracks and what you can see near them:

The Knoll walking track (off Knoll Road) is a 3km circuit, includes huge fallen trees, Cameron Falls, a palm forests alongside Sandy Creek. A good area to see lyrebirds.

Joalah section includes Curtis Falls (1.5km), and a loop track to The Pool (2.3km), both easy walks. See the giant fig tree, estimated to be 500 years old. For night walkers, glow worms abundant around Curtis Falls.

Palm Grove has five different tracks, none more than 2.5km. Good chance of seeing lyrebirds and pademelons (wallabies). Includes another 500-year-old fig, a huge stand of hoop pines and beautiful Jenyn’s Falls. Burrawang lookout is breathtaking.

Witches Falls circuit is 3km, interesting and safe. Look for lagoons (good for barred and brown-striped marsh frogs), a grove of cycads (lepidozamia) estimated at 1500 years old and giant stinging trees.

Cedar Creek circuit (3.5km) is an underrated open forest track including unusual rock scree slopes. Watch for giant land mullets (Australia’s largest skink). This track requires a moderate degree of fitness and care.

MacDonald Park (1.4km) has massive fig trees that make this stroll worthwhile. Birdwatchers should keep their eyes and ears ready for a colony of noisy pittas, those remarkably coloured snail-eating birds.

Tamborine tracks are not for heavy-duty walkers, but feature more natural attractions per metre than possibly any other track. They’re great for family outings.

Travelling north from the Gold Coast, Tamborine Mountain is 36km from Surfers Paradise via the Pacific Highway and the Oxenford-Tamborine Road or 28km from Nerang via the Nerang-Beaudesert Road. From Canungra, take the Tamborine Mountain Road for 4km. The steep, narrow roads from Nerang and Canungra are unsuitable for buses, trailers, caravans and trucks.

Natural Bridge, Numinbah Valley

An easy drive from the Coast past the suburb of Nerang will see you in the Numinbah Valley, home to the Natural Bridge. The timber boardwalk makes this a low effort track for big rewards – water flows down through a natural rock arch and into a cave where glow worms radiate at night. You can’t swim under the bridge anymore but there are guided tours to peak the glow worms.


From Surfers Paradise take the Pacific Motorway at Nerang (exit 69) and follow the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road for 30km. Natural Bridge can also be reached from Murwillumbah by taking the Numinbah Road for 36km. The scenic access roads are winding and should be travelled with care and are unsuitable for caravans, buses, trailers and trucks.



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Day tripper

Take a one or two day trip and experience the outer parts of Brisbane’s lifestyle

With so many natural wonders on Brisbane’s door step, the only real problem is fitting everything in!

  • North Stradbroke Island
    Here Brisbane Backpackers can see some of the worlds most beautiful beaches and one of Australia’s most famous pubs. There are 3 townships to stay at, with most visitors choosing the eastern township of Point Lookout where dolphins and other marine life are regularly seen. The north facing patrolled beach of Cylinder is usually calm and family friendly with several cafes and eateries within walking distance.

‘Straddie’ is only a 50 minutes ride from Cleveland on the car ferry or a 20 minute ride by water taxi.

  • Moreton Island
    So much to see and do for Brisbane Backpackers- hand feeding dolphins, sand tobagganing, whale watching, swimming, snorkelling, fishing – and only a short boat trip from Brisbane!
  • Mt Mee National
    A picturesque one hour drive north of the city centre this is one of Australia’s best kept backpacking secrets. Beautiful rainforest, gorgeous waterfalls and wateringholes and some great camping and picnic grounds. The nearby rural villages of Dayboro and Samford are also steeped in history and worth a visit along the way.

A perfect backpackers day out which ever park you choose to visit, only an hour south of Brisbane.

Consistently ranked among the top things to do in Australia by backpackers, Steve Irwin’s legacy lives on in this amazing zoo.

The world’s largest sand island and a stunning sight to behold. An absolute must on the backpacker circuit or anyone looking for natural beauty.

A wide range of animals including red pandas, lemurs and all of the usual Australian crowd.

So much to do so much to see Brisbane is just plain Fun in the Sun.

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7 things to do just for fun

There are hundreds of things to Do & See in Brisbane, a backpacker could stay for a year and still not get to see everything there is to do. So Brisbane backpackers hostel Somewhere to Stay give you the top things not to miss out on while you pass through or hang around Brisbane.

1. Visiting South Bank Parklands is a must!

This place is absolutely stunning, hectares and hectares of shops, gardens, rain forests, cafes, restaurants and even a beach built facing Brisbane’s spectacular City centre all in one place you have to see in Brisbane. Located a short hop skip and jump from Brisbane backpacker hostel Somewhere to Stay. It’s easy to spend a full day wandering around and enjoy the Brisbane life, Brisbane views and Brisbane sun. Lose yourself right here at South Bank.

2. See Brisbane and Cruise the River

The Brisbane river winds through Brisbane like a big snake taking its time on its way to the sea. Take a cruise on the river and see Brisbane on a number of different types of boats, from simply using the public transport system called the CityCat; or enjoying a seafood buffet at sunset aboard the paddle wheeler Kookaburra Queen; to cozying up with someone special in a unique Gondola. There’s also general sightseeing tours as well as lunch cruises – definitely the only way to see the city. Once you’ve seen the city cruise to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and see what only Australia has to offer, Koalas!

For Great Adventures you can’t go past Riverlife Adventure Centre or Tangalooma Island Resort both are a must do while in Brisbane.

3. Cuddle a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

The world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary , has hundreds of koalas for you to cuddle. Cuddling is a national pastime, there is not a single home in Australia without a photo of someone cuddling a koala. But it’s not just Koalas you can feed lorrikeets, kangaroos, and even hold a snake! See wombats, echidnas, tasmanian devils, dingoes and every Australian animal there is to see.


4. Enjoy the view from Mt Coot-tha

Mt Coot-tha (pronounced Mount Cootha), is another great Brisbane pastime, every visitor to Brisbane has been taken to Mt Coot-tha for coffee and ice cream by their relatives, its just a must do thing with it’s breathtaking panoramic views of Brisbane city, views out to Moreton Bay by day. Enjoy a meal or just a coffee looking out over the city and its surrounds.

5. Expand your horizons in the Cultural Precinct

Back at South Bank, Brisbane host it’s cultural centre, with all our cultural spaces grouped together at South Bank in an area called the Cultural Precinct. Just across the river from the CBD, 10 minutes from Brisbane Backpackers Hostel Somewhere to Stay, this area features the largest gallery of modern art in Australia (Gallery of Modern Art), the Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland College of Art, Queensland Conservatorium, Queensland Museum (incorporating the kids’ favourite -Sciencentre), Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the State Library of Queensland. There’s always something new and exciting to see and most of it’s free!

6. Revisit Brisbane’s History

Brisbane is young by world standards, but it still has a lot of history in its streets. Visit Cit Hall (a view from the Clock Tower observation deck is a must), the Museum of Brisbane, the Old Windmill, Newstead House or a Ghost Tour of Brisbane’s streets. Did you know Brisbane is the 2nd most haunted city in the world as voted by National Geographic.

7. Go native in the Gardens

Brisbane has an number parklands and gardens to enjoy, South Bank is just one of them, so whether you want to enjoy the flora, have a family BBQ or simply to relax and enjoy your surroundings, the City Botanic Gardens and Roma Street Parkland are both within walking distance of the city centre. Then Roma Street Parkland is the world’s largest subtropical garden in a city centre.
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Join in and help the Leukaemia

Light up the night in support of the Leukaemia Foundation

Leukaemia Foundation "Light the Night"

Brisbane Backpackers can join in to help one of Brisbane’s charities just by being at South Bank on Wednesday night.

Thousands of people are set to Light the Night and create a beautiful sea of glowing lights along South Bank on Wednesday as part of the Leukaemia Foundation’s annual Light the Night walk.

Walkers will carry coloured lanterns to support blood cancer patients and their families.

Each coloured lantern contains a tiny light and has a special meaning – white lanterns for patients, blue lanterns for supporters and gold lanterns for those remembering a loved one lost.

Prior to the walk, be inspired by speaker’s personal stories, enjoy family entertainment and share a message of compassion, hope and support.


WHERE: Cultural Forecourt, South Bank

WHEN: Wednesday, October 5, from 5pm


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