In Life, its not where you go, it’s who you travel with. We leave the drama and attention seekers to their own little groups and enjoy life with people with goals and an appetite for adventure.

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This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

May 31, 2018


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If you own a dog, you’ll know the places you can go and things you can do are limited, especially without your best friend mortally embarrassing you by spontaneously dropping one at the worst possible moment. If you don’t own a dog, there’s a good chance you wish you did, and want to go somewhere you can pretend you own a dog, without the hassle of knowing you’re literally responsible for an animal’s excrement.

So, for dog-owners and dog-lusters, searching for a place to take your pooch for a fab day out or, alternatively, annoy the crap out of dog owners by stopping every time you see a cute doggy and asking for a picture… This one’s for you. We’ve rounded up our best dog-friendly spots on the Gold Coast and Brisbane, so you’ll know where to head for a coffee or swim with your four-legged pal.

Gold Coast

The Spit is a glorious land where dogs rule supreme and  feeble humans can do nothing about it. Currumbin Estuary is a not-so-little treasure just about perfect for dog owners on the southern end of the Coast. Connected to Palm Beach at the river mouth, the Currumbin Estuary meets up with the beach for calm, relaxing chill-out spot with your pooch, with the still water ideal for vertically-challenged pups.  Another gem among Gold Coast’s dog beaches is Tallebudgera Beach, north of the Tallebudgera bathing reserve to the Tallebudgera Creek entrance. Feel the buzz of GC athleticism by taking your pooch to Pizzey Park’s off-leash dog area. Part of Miami’s massive Pizzey Park sporting complex, with just about every sport available to play and train, you’ll be surrounded by active Gold Coasters and best of all: their doggies! 

Gold Coast consists of some excellent dog friendly cafes, so if you are looking to take your puppy out for a treat, then this is it. The fantastic Parc-Bah Espresso in Southport is a must visit as it offers a menu designed primarily for dogs. Although you will enjoy their sweet treats such as peanut butter, walnut cake, and yoghurt, it's actually the top-selling dishes for dogs. 

Other cafes also worth-visiting in Gold Coast are All-Time Coffee in Mermaid Beach, Le Vintage Boutique Cafe in Worongary, Burleigh Social in North Burleigh, Alfred's in Mermaid Beach, Hidden Perk in Burleigh Heads, Paleo Cafe in Burleigh Heads, Cafe Nineteen in Sanctuary Cove, Crema in Harbour Town and  Elephant Rock Cafe in Currumbin.
All-Time Coffee in Mermaid Beach we usually drop into this little gem of a cafe when we venutre down the coast. The coffee is always excellent. The food is excellent and consistent and Elle makes the best vegan toasties and donuts made with love. 

 Parc- Bah espresso is Kim’s absolute favourite cafe on the Gold Coast! The service is always amazing and the  staff are friendly and always do more than expected. The coffee and food are made to perfection every time and we love coming here! Truly the best cafe on the Gold Coast. They even have Ice-cream for the dogs.  


Another great Aussie city for dog owners is Brisbane. With more than 120 excellent off-leash parks and dog friendly beaches for your dog to enjoy,  it actually shines when it comes to walkies. Most notable best dog parks in Brisbane include: Kroll Gardens, Colmslie Recreation Reserve, Downfall Creek, Schuster Park, Green Hill Reservoir, Kedron Brook Floodway, Sunset Park, Buddina Offleash Dog Park, Aquatic Paradise and GJ Walter.

If you are looking to find the Brisbane cafes to bring your dog to, make your way to any of these popular cafes: Brown Dog Cafe in Woolloongabba, Sassafrass in Paddington, Nana and Da's in Kedron, Todd & Pup in Moorooka, Alcove Café and Deli in Wilston, Saabi on Manson in Hendra, Bunker in Milton and Carte Blanche Espresso in Camp Hill. At the Yatala Drive-in, dogs on leaches can also have a fabulous night with the family.

Brekkie @ Brown Dog Cafe, Wooloongabba

One of our favourite Cafes to visit would be Brown Dog Café. With a sunny corner outlook and simple facade, Brown Dog Cafe is an unassuming, hole-in-the-wall style cafe. Popular with cyclists, dog walkers and nonchalant wanderers, the cafe offers a footpath dining area and for pooches and their walkers to relax. Red-hued high-school lockers, pop art and colourful stools add a splash of colour to the interior, while the glowing cake cabinet is full of fresh takeaway options for breakfast and lunch  on the run. On that note, one of the standout dishes happens to be the Dog breakfast – scrambled eggs, haloumi, avocado, roma tomato and spinach.

Todd & Pup

Moorooka may be the go-to suburb to buy a second-hand car, but it’s also becoming the place to find quality brunches thanks to a burgeoning café scene in the winding streets behind the “magic mile”. One such café to have popped up is Todd & Pup. As the cute name suggests, dogs are welcome here. So are Todds. For those of us on the other side of town who aren’t in the market for a new SUV, is it worth the drive to this café?

April 27, 2018


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Queenslanders have a proud tradition of volunteering to support major events and there is none bigger in Australia this decade than the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. The 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast needed 15,000 volunteers with diverse skills and life experiences for crucial roles at multiple locations including Games venues, the Games Village and the Uniform and Accreditation Centre. Specialist training for GC2018 was provided by TAFE Queensland at no cost to Games volunteers. The contribution of GC2018 volunteers helped promote the Gold Coast to athletes, officials and spectators who attended the Games from across the Commonwealth. Volunteering at the Games provided so many people with an opportunity to share the dream, which has been at the heart of the event since the Commonwealth Games began.

Everyone knew that when the Commonwealth Games was in town in April there’d be an Arts and Culture Program. What everyone didn’t know was that it would be the biggest cultural festival the city has ever seen. Festival 2018 ran from 4th till 15th April, alongside the Commonwealth Games, spilling out onto beaches and waterways, taking over streets and outdoor spaces, delivering roving performances and entertaining outside stadiums. The 12 day program included some 160 events, with more than 1000 performances across 28 venues with 35 world premieres, 15 Australian premieres and 20 Indigenous works. The program included a full Children’s’ Festival in Kurrawa Park, Broadbeach; a world-class line-up of music across stages in Broadbeach and Surfers as well as contemporary dance, Indigenous art, visual and public art installations, theatre and circus as well as film and food.

Kim started her first shift at Surfers Paradise which played host to the Australian premiere of ‘Holoscene’, fresh from mesmerising crowds in New York City’s Times Square. Each five hour show sees a lone performer in an aquarium-like tank that unpredictably floods. Submerged for up to three minutes at a time, performers are forced to adapt to the rapid rise and fall of water as they carry out everyday tasks. 

On the beach children of all ages loved ‘Impulse’ – 15 illuminated musical see-saws forming an interactive art playground on Surfers Paradise Beach. Everyone become musicians and artists as they took a ride and used their movement and rhythm to activate lights and sounds of the see-saw. 

Another highlight was the biggest karaoke event of the year; Giant Sing Along came to the Gold Coast as part of Festival 2018. Everyone was invited to come and sing their heart out in a field of microphones on Surfers Paradise beach to celebrate the Games. Giant Sing Along featured a huge screen with the words of your favourite songs, as voted by the people of the Gold Coast, as well as auto-tune to make you sound great.

Broadbeach was Kim’s destination for the rest of the Festival.  Broadbeach had two distinct activated spaces, Kurrawa Park and Surf Parade (between Victoria and Queensland Avenues), providing audiences with arts experiences and entertainment from 9am to late every day. Internationally-renowned Gold Coast musician Amy Shark was just one of the headliners on a stage dedicated to Queensland music talent, supported by a line-up of local music artists including Lasting’s, Ella Fence and Eliza and The Delusionals. For extreme action, everyone headed to the open air 360-degree Roundabout Stage. There you could see a cutting-edge global line-up of dance, urban circus and physical theatre. All performances were short, sharp and energetic – 20 to 40 minutes of adrenaline-fuelled wonder.

Kim did a few shifts at Jarjums Learning Space. When inside the interactive space designed, created and built for Jarjums by Jarjums (children) and Inspired by their everyday lives.  Jarjums Learning Space offered engaging and culturally exciting ways for visitors to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. 

In her downtime she checked out Arboria, which was a journey through the dazzling maze of winding paths and soaring domes, and awakens your sense of wonder. Since 1992 over three million visitors in more than 40 countries across five continents have immersed themselves in the spectacular, luminous world of Arboria - Architects of Air. For the first time, the Gold Coast experienced this special installation. Kim also helped out The Whale's Tale, which was a children play with a sick whale, a lost navigator, and ridiculous doctor.

The second week of the Commonwealth Games I started my shift as a Supports Service Basketball Volunteer. There were 16 basketball teams that competed at GC2018 and faced off in the opening matches in Townsville and Cairns, with the Semi and Finals held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. Basketball Queensland in conjunction with FIBA coordinated the running and it was great to catch up with some old faces.  

On the first night my duties were marshalling athletes, checking accreditation, assisting in the training/warm-up area, transporting team equipment throughout the venue, aiding liaison officers to escort teams and technical officials around the venue and field of play. I spent most time in the training/warm-up area which all four women’s teams used for warming up, stretching and cooling down. Canada vs England were up first, then Australia vs New Zealand.  Some great banter between club players Australia and New Zealand made warm-up extremely funny.

While I was enjoying mingling with the players Kim was helping out at the Roundabout stage where Yes, We Dance, made up of ten everyday Gold Coasters, each with extraordinary ways of expressing themselves through dance, are matched with two choreographers and an ensemble of hundreds of community dancers. This then followed up with the BLOCK, which was a powerful fusion of dance and circus that pushes the limits of both art forms. With its daring physicality, split-second timing and thrilling feats, BLOCK left audiences gasping.

The next night I was lucky to be working Field Of Play for the Women’s Bronze and Gold medal games. I was stationed in the lead up corridor that brought the teams out to the court. Then while the game was active I had to prevent everyone coming onto the court. The great part was I got to see the whole two games and because the angle of the TV cameras, didn’t have to worry about getting on TV. Bonus I could take a couple of photos without being seen.  It was a great night with the Aussie girls winning easily. Quick turnaround helping get the podiums out for the medal ceremony I headed into Broadbeach to catch up with Kim. 

Kim was helping backstage with Kate Miller-Heidke, Ella Fence and Regurgitator, yes Regurgitator!.  Regurgitator started in 1994 and quickly established themselves as an articulate and witty purveyor of the Australian music scene. They assembled a mishmash of funk, punk, pop, electronics and any other style that stuck to the sides, with unmitigated irony and a geekish nature.  Kim loved more multi-award-winning singer songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke, who is renowned for a style that crosses contemporary pop, folk and opera. She has released four critically acclaimed studio albums, and produced the multi-platinum hit singles 'The Last Day On Earth' and 'Caught in the Crowd'.

A huge shout-out goes to Ridgeview Retreat, which was an outstanding luxury dog boarding retreat located in Bonogin, just above The Observatory at Reedy. The guys did a great job looking after our Pup, Shari for a couple of days while we volunteered.

The outstanding efforts of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games’ Games Shapers were recognised at a celebration event. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined the Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove, Minister for the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones, GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie and the Acting Mayor of City of Gold Coast Donna Gates at the Broadwater Parklands.

April 20, 2018


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Australia’s biggest event this decade came to Queensland April 2018. Everyone had a chance to get involved in a once in a lifetime opportunity through volunteering at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as they were in need of 15,000 volunteers.
The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games started on 4 April and went through until 15 April. The event was a sporting spectacle across multiple venues in the state; whilst it does say Gold Coast; events were also held in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, ensuring that even if you don’t live at or near the Gold Coast, you can join in too.

Where did the Commonwealth Games Start? It all began in 1930 where Ontario, Canada hosted 11 nations in six sports with women only being allowed to take part in swimming. Since then, Australia has hosted four times, with the Gold Coast being our fifth event. At the Gold Coast Games we got see 70 nations under the Commonwealth Empire compete in 10 core sports and 15 optional or recognised sports by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Another important aspect for the athletes is some sports like lawn bowls and netball are not recognised in the Olympics, so the Commonwealth Games is their only chance to compete for a gold medal.
So the venture started at the Commonwealth Games website to start our applications which were due by the end of March 2017.  Some of the positions that you could apply for were operational support, officiating or recording at a sport/venue, press and media or hospitality to name a few. It is also important to know that you had be available to undertake training and be available either pre, during or post games to assist. I put myself down for the sport of Basketball, due to playing and coaching for quite a few years, with Kim put down Basketball first and Gymnastics second. Kim coached at YMCA and Kindy Gym at PCYC. Why would you just sit at home and watch it on TV? Why would you not get out and live it, breathe it, smell it and grow with it?
We love learning about different cultures and we had athletes, officials and visitors from 70 different countries here at the one time. You'd be crazy to miss it!

Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones in late April 2017 officially opened the first operational venue of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Burleigh Heads which hosted interviews of up to 25,000 volunteer applicants over the following four months.
Both successful and unsuccessful application notifications began to roll out from the 27 June 2017. We were both successful, and needed to go to the Volunteer Selection Centre (VSC), Burleigh Heads for a formal interview. Inside the VSC, applicants moved through an ‘excite and educate’ zone which features an overview of GC2018 Vision, Sports and Venues, the Gold Coast, the GC2018 Ambassadors and Local Indigenous Culture.
Games officials were overwhelmed with volunteer applications, with more than 47,000 submissions received from around the state, Australia and World. After going through the formal selection process at Burleigh Heads, up to 15,000 of volunteers would receive customised training, specific to individual roles and venues, delivered by TAFE Queensland.
By end of September we both were successful in being awarded roles of Festivals for Kim and Basketball for me. 

In October the Games workforce (volunteers, staff and contractors), to be known as Games Shapers, joined forces for the first time with just 144 days until the Opening Ceremony. About 4500 members of the Games workforce packed the Convention Centre that housed the main media centre, basketball finals and netball at GC2018, for the first of three ‘full house’ sessions. The event also marked the six-year anniversary of the Gold Coast being announced as the host city of the 21st Commonwealth Games. The Games Shaper uniform, developed by Hard Yakka, was unveiled during the first session. Star of the show Borobi the Official GC2018 Mascot was also given his own bespoke polo shirt to match that of the workforce. 

The entire Game's workforce walked away with a real insight into the scale of the Games, what training to expect over the next five months, what we expect of us and an idea of what we could expect at Games time. Games Shapers make a massive commitment to the success of the Games and sincerely appreciate the time and energy they put in to ensure athletes, spectators, media and other key stakeholders have a memorable Games experience.
With only 70 days until the opening ceremony, we picked up our uniforms and were told “Games Shapers” would be among the first in the world to see the Opening Ceremony with each volunteer to be gifted exclusive invitations to two dress rehearsals of the event. So they could be prepared to kick off the biggest sporting event in Queensland’s history, GOLDOC will ran two dress rehearsal events at Carrara Stadium, on March 31 and April 2. While the main purpose of the dress rehearsals was to test the creative and operational elements of the show in front of a live audience, it was a great way to experience before the Games officially kick off.
Lead up training took place at TAFE Queensland’s Southport campus and was part of an effort to provide specialist training alongside Gold Coast 2018. More than 1.8 million pieces of paper have been saved by providing volunteer training online instead of printed workbooks for the orientation and role specific training. It is claimed that 360,000 training hours would have been given the volunteers prior to the Games. In total the 15,000 Games Shapers have over 200 exciting and varied roles during the Games.

Following the completion of role specific training, Games Shapers underwent venue specific training in both online and face to face environments leading up to the Games. Kim caught up with her Festival volunteers at Broadbeach Surf Club to find out her role, training and events participating in the Festival. 

I underwent venue training at the Gold Coast Convention Centre and recognized some faces from my time at Auchenflower Basketball Courts. We were taken back stage to see the court and practice warm-up area with team locker rooms, showers and ice baths. We were then split into two groups; Support Services were shown the back of house areas. The Field of Play volunteers were shown areas of the court they were patrolling. There are so many things to remember on the Field of Play because being televised there were rules and regulations that Basketball Queensland had to follow.

One of the highlights pre - games was being able to view a dress rehearsal to the opening ceremony. Australia’s indigenous culture, beach lifestyle and famous music played starring roles. More than 4000 performers entertained volunteers and family, with indigenous culture, which dates back at least 65,000 years, a constant theme of the night amid a series of performances, dances and a didgeridoo orchestra. The conclusion of the Queen’s Baton relay, promoting diversity and inclusion, were key themes to the spectacular event. An iconic Kombi van and Migaloo the whale also featured. Christine Anu, Ricki-Lee Coulter and Delta Goodrem all sang but, with the exception of Anu, were outshone by a local group who provided orchestral interpretations of dozens of classic Aussie songs. Anu’s version of My Island Home, featuring contributions from Torres Strait rapper Mau Power, was perhaps the musical highlight. Coulter sang Technicolour Love on a traditional Gold Coast beach scene, while Goodrem helped draw the night to a close with a rendition of her new single Welcome to Earth. And despite the wishes of many in the crowd, John Farnham did not appear during a lengthy version of his classic You’re The Voice.

Games Experience to Follow







Adventures Achieved

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Our Journey

We started our blog “tony&”, in 2015 after our great 5 week adventure in Europe. We’ve had so many adventures, we decided to start a blog to capture and show our family and close friends in Australia and many Overseas on what we get up to. On our sometimes long work days we realized most of the travel blogs we were reading were people who had quit their jobs, sold all of their belongings and travel full-time. While this way of life is admirable, it’s not reality for a lot of people so we created this space on the internet as a way to show others you can have the best of both worlds. We are happily married for 10+ years and both of us have great challenging and rewarding jobs and a house almost paid off. Plus in 2016 we added our Kelpie pup Shari to our Adventures.