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Rugby Matches and Spider Sightings in Brisbane

When we walked down the jetway after more than 24 hours in transit, we were hit by a wall of warm, humid air. It smelled like life. Like green, living things. I always describe leaving Minnesota’s desolate winter for warmer climates as like Dorothy landing in OZ. The slumber of winter is in such stark contrast to the vibrancy and technicolor of the sub-tropics. It’s a little bit like the Twilight Zone. But, an excited Twilight Zone. We had arrived in Australia.

Rugby for Day One

With no rest for the jet-lagged, our friend Tanya arranged for us to attend the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens with her and her boyfriend, Adam. We showered, grabbed some conveyor belt sushi for lunch (yay!) and headed to Sun Corp Stadium. The Global Rugby Tens is a multi-day tournament that featured teams from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. They played twenty-minute games with ten players per side, as opposed to the normal fifteen member roster.

Even though I’m still learning the game, it ended up being such a fantastic way to spend our first day in Australia. We drank beer, watched men and womens teams play and had a blast with Tanya and Adam. If I’m being honest, the womens teams were way more fun to watch. Those girls are tough! The best part was that we were out and about until 10:00 p.m. With a full night of sleep, we got on to a normal schedule pretty quickly, despite the massive time difference.

Job Interviewing Begins

Chris has the benefit of a work history in Australia and so I figured he would beat me in the job search race. Even before we left Minnesota, Chris had an interview arranged. On Super Bowl Sunday he took a phone call from an Australian phone number, which ended up turning into a phone interview. The company he interviewed with arranged for him to have a “face-to-face” interview using WebEx while we were in Brisbane. So, Chris suited up and I left him in the hotel room to prepare for his online interview.

While Chris interviewed, I wandered into Brisbane’s CBD (central business district) to get a pedicure. Technically, I was on vacation still, right? I returned to find out Chris had no reason to dress up for his interview at all. The interviewers ended up calling him from two separate cars and so he had his second interview over the phone. Spoiler alert! Chris ended up getting hired by Nalco Water, an Ecolab Compay. I’m not at all surprised he got snapped up so quickly.

Exploring the City

After Chris’s interview, we spent the afternoon walking around the city to take in some of Brisbane’s local parks and gardens. Our first stop was Roma City Parkland right near our hotel. We had our first spider sighting here — what I think (after consulting the Google machine) is a juvenile, female Golden Orb Weaver. Fun fact? These spiders weave webs that are so strong they could be used for bulletproof clothing. Even if you’re spider averse, Roma City Parkland is worth a stop. The gardens were lovely and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.


From there, we made our way on a series of walking and shared biking paths along the riverfront to Southbank. We didn’t have enough time to really do this area justice. We missed the Epicurious garden were you can learn how to grow your own produce and Streets Beach, a man-made lagoon with white sandy beaches in the middle of the city. I absolutely loved the riverfront trails in this city. My body was not having the best time adjusting to the heat, so we headed back to the hotel (and to the pool).

Later that night, Tanya picked us up for a drive across the iconic Story Bridge and up to Mount Coot-tha for a view of the city. We didn’t bring the camera with us, which means we just have to go back to capture (and experience) Brisbane for a second time.

Up next, the Gold Coast!


  1. Larry Kramka Larry Kramka

    Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into life in Australia! Keep it up and wish you both health, safety, and joy on the journey!

    • Emily Haley Emily Haley

      So nice to hear from you, Larry! Thanks for the note. We’re having fun and soaking it all in. Hope all is well with you in Minnesota!

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