I've spoken to travellers in the past who've visited my city (Brisbane, Australia), and told me about all the things they loved about it. They mention the beautiful places they spent time in the outdoors and the cute little cafés they visited. It made me realise just how little do in my city. I’m always so eager to leave and explore another place but I never really do much at home. I guess home never seems as exciting.
Brisbane is no bustling city like Sydney or Melbourne, and it definitely doesn't have as much going for it. But the funny thing is when I think back on some of the best experiences I’ve had overseas they were in the most unsuspected places. So, I'm on a mission to become a tourist in my own city and really explore it like the tourists do.
1. Look up Trip Advisor reviews
I must admit, the top 10 things to do in Brisbane are pretty ordinary, but you could use Trip Advisor for finding a great restaurant or bar. I met with a friend who lives two hours away and we needed a meeting point in the middle. I decided on the Glass House Mountains (an area only one hour's drive from Brisbane), so I looked up cafés in the area and stumbled across a cute little spot.
It was randomly situated so I don’t know that I would’ve ever passed it accidentally, so I’m so glad we found it as it made our catch up so unique. The staff were lovely and the view was stunning (see pic below!), if you’re in the area and feel like to want to visit, it’s called the Lookout Café and Information Centre.
2. Read blogs
Of course I was going to say this! 😉 I remember reading an article where the writer was raving about all the things to do in Brisbane. I honestly couldn’t believe that someone would enjoy it so much here. But if they could, why couldn’t I? After reading through the post and learning about what he loved during his first visit, I became more open minded to appreciate these spots when I saw them for myself.
Look up blogs with words like Hidden Gems in city/town or Travel like a local through city/town to, ironically, find the best tourist hotspots.
3. Meet friends for coffee/lunch in a new spot every time
Just like how I met with my friend, I’ve now started doing that more frequently and meeting people in various locations whenever we catch up. My husband and I try to try a new local café when we go for breakfasts; I say 'try' because it's still a challenge to not get into the usual routine of visiting the same local spot.
Have you driven past a venue many times and kept telling yourself that you should try it one day? Well, set a date and go do it!
6 Ways To Explore Your Own Town Like a Tourist #travel #travellikealocal
4. Explore the festivals – food, music, art, film
Are there activities you’d do when you’re visiting a place but don’t at home? I can’t remember the last time I went to a museum, a film festival, an exhibition or visited a local designers market in Brisbane. But when I'm away it seems like the best idea to go out and explore these events. These festivals and events are easily taken for granted, which is such a shame because they're the small, community-run ones we should participate in and support more often.
I recently wrote a post for VisitGoldCoast.com about the cultural events on the Gold Coast. All of these activities are only 45 minutes to an hour's drive from my place. If I were in a foreign place, I wouldn't think twice about going. Nowhere is too far to travel if it means experiencing a rad new event. If you're excited about the Gold Coast culture and want to read that post, visit here - Where To Experience the Thriving Culture in the Gold Coast.
One thing I do when I go to a new location is get lost in it. When did you last walk around your city exploring all the little details? Peeking through the small hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, the street art and the boutique stores that you've never given much attention?
Go and get lost. Wander around streets you've never walked through. Go to the tourist office and ask about all the top sites you can see by foot. Think about all the questions you'd ask at an information desk if you were overseas. Then take photos of it all like you would in a foreign country.
6. Invite backpackers/travellers/visitors for a day trip
This is by far my favourite tip. The absolute best experiences I’ve had in and around Brisbane have been when I’ve taken visitors for a day trip somewhere or walked around with them to places I’d already been to many times before.
Travellers see everything through fresh, new eyes and being in the presence of someone viewing a place for the first time brings your attention to things you might usually not appreciate or take for granted. Try meeting with people on Couchsurfing or on Facebook group events. Or you could even try and visit a hostel. Meeting travellers while you're at home is an absolute guarantee to give you itchy feet, however, it's also an awesome way to gain new connections with like-minded people around the world (who may want to show you around their hometown one day). 🙂
Image source: unsplash.com
What are your best tips for seeing a new location, whether in your own town or when you travel?
I'd love to find out what works for you 🙂