Byron Bay

Byron Bay was described to me as an old hippy town. As someone who would not describe herself in that way was I was  slightly cautious about visiting. However, I had also heard that the beach was really nice and there was a beautiful walk to the town’s lighthouse.

As we drove into Byron Bay, on the Greyhound bus, my first impression of the town was that it was very cute and the hostel we were staying at, Aquarius, was very beachy with an open reception, a cool bar and pool area and a roomy kitchen. Our room was a spacious dorm with 8 beds. Once we were settled in, we headed out to explore Byron Bay. 

Walking round Byron Bay, I was very surprised about the feel of the town because of the things I had heard I was expecting it to be dirty and grungy. It was nothing like that, like the hostel, Byron Bay was a bohemian style beach town with cute shops, boutiques and cafes on every street. I loved wandering into the shops and looking at all the things I couldn’t buy because it would never fit in my suitcase. We ended up at the beach lying on a grass verge watching the world go by. 

One of the reasons we had chosen the Aquarius hostel was they offered a free dinner every night which was great. It meant that we didn’t have to shop or cook while we were there and made our days a lot easier.  As we headed back for dinner we met a few of our dorm mates and enjoyed the evening entertainment; karaoke. It was fun to watch people let loose and sing their hearts out! I wasn’t brave enough to have a go but I though everyone who got up were great and some really got into it adding dance moves to their performance.

The next day we kept it simple and went to the beach. It was such a hot day we didn’t want to do much so lying out on the beach was perfect. When we got too hot we took a dip in the sea and ended up spending 6 hours at the beach! 

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After relaxing on the beach all day it, we took a content walk back to the hostel. We met up with a few our our dorm mates and took the 45 minute walk, with stunning views of the local bays, to the lighthouse. We got to the lighthouse just before sunset allowing us to see the beautiful colours of the sun as it dipped below the horizon.


While at the lighthouse, we walked a little further to the most easterly point of Australia. It was strange to think that looking out there was no more Australia only New Zealand. 

After seeing the sunset we walked back to the hostel in time for dinner. We then grabbed a drink and spent the evening in the bar chatting, playing cards and having a good time. When the bar closed we moved the games, drinks and fun to our dorm room. We had such a laugh playing a very fast game of speed, with 5 people it definitely got interesting. Harriet also taught one of our dorm mates, who had never heard of snap, how to play, he loved it and it got very tense towards the end!

The next morning we headed down for breakfast, we had put our cool bag with our food in the communal fridge, however, it wasn’t there. We spoke to reception and they asked us to check a second and a third time, but it was nowhere to be seen.

In the end the hostel manager explained that a new girl had cleaned the fridge and she may have moved things around. However, as we hadn’t managed to have breakfast as we didn’t have any food the manager took us to The Rocks Cafe next door and part of the hostel and told us to order what we wanted on them! 

We had an amazing breakfast, I had pancakes ozzzing with maple syrup and covered in a berry compote. Harriet had a fresh fruit salad, with granola and yogart. I also had a strawberry milkshake, I haven’t had a milkshake since before I started travelling. It was lovely! Harriet got a passionfruit smoothie. It was all delicious and we were so full we knew that we wouldn’t need lunch. 

We were also surprised when the hostel manager also gave us $20 compensation for the food we had lost. We were not expecting it but it was a really nice gesture, I find it’s little things that make a hostel and Aquarius got the little things right. 

I loved Byron Bay, I didn’t expect to but it’s cuteness and beach feel was my kind of style. If I get the chance I will definitely be returning and would recommend a visit if everyone is in the area. 

Surfers Paradise 

Surfers Paridise, where the skyscrapers meet the sea and the next stop on our East Coast adventure.  When we reached our hostel we couldn’t check in for a few hours so we relaxed in the communal area and got on with a few ‘admin jobs’.  When it came to checking in, we were given a nice surprise of a free upgrade! So instead of staying in an 8 bed dorm to a 4 person apartment complete with its own kitchen and balcony.  Even better, when we were shown the apartment we were the only ones staying there.  What a luxury!!

Once we were settled in the apartment, we made our way down to the beach.  It was a beautiful stretch of sand with skyscrapers towering over it.  As, we got there at about 3 o’clock it was amazingly hot and the water was so cool and refreshing. As the afternoon came to a close and the sun began to set, tall shadows from the skyscrapers covered the beach creating some much welcomed shade. Even in the shade however, we were warm and relaxed on the beach until about 6 o’clock; stopping off at the supermarket we picked up a few bits for a delicious meal back at the apartment.

It was lovely to cook in a fully equipped kitchen and sit at a dinning table for dinner, we felt truly spoilt and it made me think of all the things I take for granted, not just the basics of food, bed and a roof over your head but your own space and privacy.

After dinner we went out for cocktails, we expected to find Surfer Paradise to be busy, with the clubs and bars full of people drinking and having a good time.  We were surprised to find that it was not like that at all; we ended up in a very cute bar looking out onto the Main Street and watching the world go by.

The next day we had a chilled morning before checking out of the apartment and moving on to our next stop.  Surfers Paradise was a beautiful spot and the beach was amazing. I was expecting more of a livelier atmosphere however the city had a great vibe to it.

Brisbane 

After our amazing day at Australia Zoo, we jumped on the Greyhound bus to Brisbane arriving about 6pm.  After a short walk to the hostel, we were checked in and made dinner.  After dinner we did all our washing from the last few trips, we hadn’t had time to wash any of our clothes, it was lovely to have clean clothes after 2 weeks of constant travelling.  

The next day we were up and out the hostel, ready to explore Brisbane.  We wandered down to the river bank and crossed the bridge to South Bank. From there we took a leisurely walk along the river bank to Kangaroo Point.  As we walked we passed a really colourful Brisbane sign, it was against the Brisbane skyline which made for a really nice photo. 




A little further on, we came to the lagoon it was a beautiful spot and clearly a favourite for the locals as it was very busy which created a family friendly and relaxed atmosphere. There were lots of places to sit around and relax, something that caught my eye was a beautiful flower covered walkway.  It covered the length of the path that ran along the back of the lagoon it was really pretty.


 At the end of this floral tunnel we came across a small market, we had a wander and realised that they were all handmade crafts, some of them were exquisite and totally up our street.  My favourite was the foiled prints stall, the quotes, saying and images were all to cleverly designed and printed, Harriet and I could have brought several but unfortunately space in our suitcases is becoming limited.

Continuing our walk along the river and loved seeing the contrast of the skyscrapers of the city on one side of the river and green of the parks.  We finally reached Kangaroo Point and the view was great, the bridge was definitely incredible.  We then got the City Hopper Ferry back to North Quay, the City Hopper Ferry was a free ferry that ran up and down the river stopping at the main terminals.


Once back closer to the city, we headed on up to Queens Street well known for its shopping, on the way we found a square with loads of people sitting around with suitcases and clothes everywhere, going to investigate we discovered that it was a mini market where locals could sell their old clothes.  We wandered round and found some gorgeous things, I ended up buying a pair of Billabong striped shorts for only $3! BARGIN!! After perusing the clothes market we made it to Queens Street, it was lovely to window shop and enjoy the buzz of the city.

We returned to our hostel exhausted but happy with our day in Brisbane we enjoyed the walk we took and it gave us a great view of the city.

We’re going to the zoo

I love animals from house pets to wild animals. I have already cuddled a Koala and held a snake but I was eager to see other animals that Australia was famous for, particularly a crocodile.  So it was an easy decision to go to the Australia Zoo; home of the crocodile hunter!

As a Christmas present our Aunt, Uncle and cousins gave Harriet and I a gift voucher to spend on an experience day.  After looking through the options this was the one we chose and it was lovely going knowing that this was their Christmas present to us.

We left Noosa early morning and we were at the Australia Zoo by 9:30am.  We had all our suitcases with us as we were planning to move straight onto Brisbane that evening.  Australia Zoo had lockers that we thought we could use to store out bags but unfortunately our bags were too big for the lockers, we went to the gift shop and explained our predicament and they very kindly allowed us to store our suitcases in the back store cupboard.  


Now bag free we entered the zoo and began to enjoy the day. It was incredible to see all the different animals, within minutes of each other we saw koalas, giant tortoises, pythons, cassowarys, dingos, turtles and so many more!



At 12 o’clock we headed to the crocacium to watch the Wildlife Warrior Show.  At first we thought it would be a show with only the small animals but within minutes our expectations changed as birds flew around the crocacium, staff who worked with these animals told us about them and helped the animals show off.  They brought snakes and other birds through the audience, then the big birds came out, the hunters, one of the birds had a wing span of over 1.5 metres!! 



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Then the main event came out, Al the croc, who was an impressive 14ft long. Al was reluctant to say ‘hi’ so Dave who looks after him was stamping his feet both on the ground and in the water!  He explained that crocodiles use mainly vibrations to navigate where food may be and right now Dave was food.  Slowly but surly Al came out and in the water he did look as big as I was expecting.  Dave then brought Al out of the water with more stamping, it was only then that we saw Al’s full size and he was huge!!  Dave and Dan, another keeper, always worked in pairs with another team around the edge of the enclosure, they took every procaustion to ensure that everyone was safe, the main lesson was that crocodiles were unpredictable no matter how long you worked with them. 


After the Wildlife Worries Show, we continued to wander around the zoo; we headed to the kangaroo and wallaby enclosure where you could feed the kangaroos!!  We stopped off at the gift shops to get some “Roo Food” and went on over.  I loved it! The kangaroos were so gentle and were not spooked when we came close to feed them, with flat hands we inched closer and closer until they were eating right out of our hands! We also managed to get selfies with the kangaroos too which was awesome!

The Croc feeding show was next, the staff fed another of the crocodiles; we learnt more about them, their hunting patterns and how they breath, see, and hunt. Did you know that a crocodile can go for 12 months without eating!!!


We then moved on to see Harriet’s favourite animal, the tigers, unfortunately we missed the tiger show but they were still so playful with each other. It was lovely to see, it was also sad to fully understand the threat that these beautiful animals are under, many are hunted for their fur but also as pets, where they are maltreated. 


We finished the day seeing the camels, zebras, rhinos and giraffes we were lucky enough to arrive just as the keepers were feeling them, they came so close to the fence and even though they had ‘bambie’ legs their walk was majestic and strong. They loved the camera and I got loads of photos of them.


After all that, we had walked miles and were ready to head to our next destination, Brisbane, so we collected our suitcases and got the 5 o’clock Greyhound bus to Brisbane.

The Australia Zoo was incredible, the animals were something I hadn’t seen before and the care that their keepers showed toward the animals was beautiful.  If you ever get the chance to visit the Australia Zoo I would certainly recommend it,  it is a great day out and a chance to see some amazing animals!

Everglades 

From a gentle cruise at the beginning of the Noosa River and a charging sprint brought us to the Everglades. Along the way we’re were given a great insight to the river and the surrounding area. 

After about an hour of crusing we reached our morning tea spot. There was a lovely and welcoming aray of tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits. 

We were split into 2 groups, group 1 canoed up to the place we were having lunch and group 2 canoed back. Harriet and I we in group 1, we were in a canoe of 3 people and were joined by a lovely Irish lady. We had such a giggle in the canoe. 

So with tea and biscuits finished, we got canoeing 🛶 it was a lot of fun and a beautiful way to see the Everglades, however we could not stay in straight line. We were zig zagging all over the place and bumping into the river bank and over head branches. The river was very picturesque and I wanted to take so many pictures but because of the ore in my hand I only managed to take a couple photos. 

We canoed up to Harry’s Hut where we had a lovely barbecue of steak, fish, potato salad and mixed left salad 🥗 a welcoming sight after paddling for an hour. 

While eating we saw a very large lizard (I don’t know the name of) at first it was under a picnic bench but it then went to a nearby tree. 

After lunch we took a lazy cruise back down the river to meet the group that were canoeing. Picking up the other group we then headed back to Noosa, taking it easy and admiring the scenery. 

5km along the coast

Noosa; a very cute town on the east coast and the next stop on our adventure.  When we arrived I instantly fell in love with the place, everything was very seaside-ish, with cute tea shops, restaurants and cafes dotted all over the place. I wish we had more time to spend explore and window shopping. As we were only in Noosa for two nights we wanted to make the most of our time.  

We had heard of a coastal walk from the Main Beach in Noosa Head through the National Park to Sunshine Bay. It was a 5km walk, we didn’t think it would be too hard however, our walk turned into about 12km due to where our hostel was and where the walk began and ended.

We got a lift to the Main Beach at Noosa Head from a shuttle bus that the hostel ran.  From there it was a short board walk to the National Park and into our coastal walk.  The trail took us past about 7 different bays, each one was a glimp of beauty.  We set out late afternoon as the sun was setting making the walk a lot cooler; it was also beautiful to arrive at Sunshine Bay as the sun dropped below the horizon. 




Once we reached Sunshine Bay we began to walk back to the town, this was another 5km, we stopped at the supermarket to pick up a few things and rest a while, we were tired from our walk.  We continued the walk back to the hostel but we got another couple of kilometres before we became too tired and so we jumped in a taxi for the last part of our walk home.  



It was a beautiful walk and I am so glad that we did it, but I would have loved more time to explore the town and the area. Noosa is definitely a place I would love to come back to.

Going off Road 

Frasier Island was a place that I didn’t know much about but everyone raved about it. So we thought we would go and see what it was all about. We booked a 4 wheel drive tag a-long trip with Dingos, based in Rainbow Beach.

We had to attend a briefing the night before our trip. The briefing covered everything to what Frasier Island was known for, the places we were going to visit and the rules, tips and safety of driving on the island.

On our trip there were 4 cars, each car had 8 people in it. A couple of Canadian guys we had met on our Whitsundays trip were also part of the Frasier Island trip; so we asked that we were in the same car. We were also joined by 2 English couples and that was our team for the next few days.

That evening we packed a small bag and got an early night ready for the adventure.

The next day we were up early and those who were driving were given another mini briefing on tips when driving.

All packed, ready to go and a 10 minute ferry ride; we arrived on Frasier Island.

Straight off our ferry the lead car (the car we were in) got bogged down in the soft sand and was stuck. After a little bit of to-ing and-fro-ing, we were free and off on our Frasier Island Experience.

The ride was so much fun. Being in the lead car, a little disappointing as only our guide, Joel, could drive but you did get to see Frasier Island without the worries of who was driving, which was nice. Our first stop was Eurong for lunch. Dingos had prepared eskies (cool boxes for those who don’t speak Australian) for each meal. Inside was a bag with the team numbers on and as a group, you prepared your own meals as a team. It was a simple lunch of wraps but it filled you up and fueled you for an afternoon of driving. 

Back in the cars we drove down a 12km track, which was made longer due to the speed we traveled at to avoid the tree stumps and manage the soft sand, to Lake Mackenzie.

Oh my gosh! Lake Mackenzie was unbelievably beautiful! Leaving the cars you walked a short way through the trees and were met with the sight that takes your breath away! White sand and a two toned fresh water lake. The first few metres were a beautiful turquoise colour and was quite shallow, where the water changed colour, to a rich dark blue, the ground disappeared in a steep slope.
The water was unbelievably refreshing and it was nice not to have a mouthful of salt water everytime you duck under the water. We spent a few hours in the beautiful water and when it was time to go we didn’t want to leave but we picked up our things and headed back to the cars.

This time we had our own car and it was great to roll down the windows, plug in a playlist and drive. We had a very bumpy ride back to the beach and were being constantly thrown about but once on the beach Joel gave the shout to change drivers and it was my turn in the drivers seat.

It took me a couple of 100 meters to get back into the swing of driving and it was strange driving in the sand but I was loving it! After about 30 minutes of driving we swapped over again and it was Harriet’s turn in the drivers seat. We continued along the beach and finally pulled into our campsite.

The campsite was simple, we were staying in 4 man tents in 2 rows of 4, with an additional canvas over the top to create a covered walkway. Although each tent could sleep 4 people there were enough tents for 2 people per tent, so Harriet and I shared a tent and had plenty of room.

The communal area had several gas hobs, sinks and a large seating area; as well as a BBQ and a fire pit.  As soon as we had picked out our tents, our team hit the kitchen and together we made a delicious chicken stir fry.  Our team were one of the first teams to begin cooking which was a good thing because as the other teams began cooking the kitchen area became very busy, lucky we had finished cooking and were eating by then. We spent the evening relaxing, chatting and getting to know the rest of the group; we toasted marshmallows, played drinking games and then went onto the beach to star gaze.  The stars were amazing, there were hundreds upon, thousands of stars, I didn’t know any of the constellations but they were magnificent!

The next morning, the tent became very hot and so we were up and dressed early. After a leisurely breakfast, we jumped in the cars and began the drive to our first stop of the day, Indian Head, a hill top that gave you a spectacular view of the beaches either side of it, we also saw a couple of sting rays and a small Reef shark.




After the hill top, we went to the Champagne Pools; a great pool surrounded by rocks, as the waves crashed into the rocks they splashed over the rocks and into the pool.  It was lovely to sit and relax in the pool, watching the waves crashing over the rocks.  After a few hours at the pools we headed back to the cars and onto our next stop for lunch; a cute campsite a little way inland surrounded by woodland.


Our afternoon consisted of floating down a beautiful natural fresh water creek.  Eli Creek was a beautiful spot where you could float lazily down the creek, we didn’t stay very long, maybe only an hour, but I found it a really relaxing and calm place.






On our way back to camp we stopped off at the Maheno Wreck, it was very special watching the sunset behind the wreck. We took some great pictures including a group photo which was a great momento.

Back at camp, we prepared a dinner of honey mustard potatos, veg and steak, I am not normally a fan of steak but combined with the veg and potatoes it was lovely.  We had another social evening of games and laughter it was so much fun!

Our final day we were up early again and after another chilled morning and packing up. Before we left Frasier Island we made one last stop on our tour, Lake Wabby. To get there we had to walk through a wooded area, it was such a hard hike; the final stretch was up a sand dune, by the time we reached the top my legs were burning really badly.  The lake was enclosed by the dune and a forest edge, in the lake were little fish that would nibble at you skin. At first it felt strange but after a while I got used to it, not everyone liked it though they felt it hurt a little.

After, chilling out in the water we then took the long hike back to the cars.  On the way back the sand was so hot you struggled to walk without burning your feet! Once we had made it back to the cars we headed back to Eurong for our final picnic spot.  As we headed back towards the mainland, we pulled up to wait for the ferry and took our last chance to jump in the water and take a few snaps.

Once back on the main land and back at Dingos hostel, we checked in and jumped straight into the shower to cool off and rid ourselves of all the sand, believe me it gets everywhere!

That evening some of our group met up in the Dingos bar for drinks, also our tour leader was playing some of his covers.  He was really good, and it was a great way to finish the trip! Dingos was a great company, their set up and running of the Frasier tour was efficient and fun. A great way to see Frasier Island.