On Saturday it was Australia Day which meant yesterday (Monday) was a public holiday. The net result was a fantastic 4-day weekend for me!

We decided to partake in Australia Day celebrations by visiting South Bank. Before that however, we took a train into the city and had a walk up Queen St Mall. Queen St Mall is an open air shopping arcade and pretty much the centre of Brisbane. Like many other cities, as a central pedestrian area there's always the odd sideshow (or freak show), busker and human statue to entertain the passing public. Surprisingly, Queen St Mall was the quietest I've ever seen it. Whenever I'm there during my lunch break at work it's always heaving with people. It's really strange to find a city centre shopping area that's busier during the week than at the weekends. Maybe most people had sense and decided to head to the beach for Australia Day?

After getting some lunch in the Myer Centre (after finally deciding what to have from the endless selection of food outlets in the food court) we walked over the Victoria Bridge to South Bank.

South Bank is always a hub of activity when there's public events to celebrate and Saturday was no exception. However, having seen most of the stuff before (it seems like Brisbane is celebrating something nearly every weekend) we headed to the newly refurbished lagoons to cool off.

More photo's on flickr.

The beach in the city should be a must for all cities I reckon. It would be nice to work that side of the river, with the option of taking a dip during lunch or straight after work. A large section of the lagoons is pretty deep (out of my depth anyway, which is not hard) so good for swimming. It was hard getting Lauren out when it was time to head back home.

We could have hung around for the obligatory fireworks but instead we headed home and went next door for a BBQ and a few glasses of vino.

On Sunday we thought we'd try out another beach. This time we headed down to Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast, which is south of Surfer's Paradise. As soon as we arrived though we realised that we should have checked the conditions before we left. There was heavy wind on the beach, which was weird because as soon as you walked off the beach the wind died to a light breeze. The ocean was pretty rough too.

Not wishing to miss an opportunity I braved the conditions and went in to jump a few waves. I didn't last long. The ocean was lovely and warm but the continuous rush of fast incoming waves made it dangerous to venture in too far. Similarly, there was a strong under-current (rip) that was pushing northwards. I reckon if I'd have picked my feet up for too long I would have been at Surfer's Paradise within a matter of minutes!

Conditions weren't much easier lying on the beach. The wind was picking up the fine white sand and blasting it against our skin. You have to be a committed beach God/Queen to put up with that level of discomfort. We soon left the beach and headed back home. The elements had beaten us so we retired to the comfort of the complex swimming pool.

On Monday we did have plans to go to an expats meetup at a British pub in the city. It was such a lovely hot day however that we couldn't bring ourselves to spend the afternoon in a pub. Instead, a good few trips were made between the sun longer, pool and beer fridge. Particularly as it was touching 34 degrees inside the house!

The weekend wasn't all play though, I did manage to get a few hours in on Monday working on my business (mainly trying to coerce developers in India to actually do the work I'm paying them for!).