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East Coast Adventures

Noosa to Surfers Paradise


The weather took a serious turn when we arrived in Noosa, it rained for 3 days! Steve Irwin’s famous Australia Zoo the reason for our trip here. They have a cool crocodile and bird show that draws huge crowds. The crocodiles were a favourite of the late Steve Irwin and reminders of his work for conservation are throughout. Their new Africa exhibition was disappointing, probably due to the fact that it wasn’t finished but there is not much to see there. Their tiger temple was interesting and informative. The handlers have great relationships with these furry animals as they have been raised by them since they were cubs. It makes them look quite tame!
Celebrated Fiona’s birthday on our last day in Noosa with a trip to a spa for the morning where we indulged in thermal baths, spas and steam room. A real treat for our weary backpacker bodies!!!

Caught up with friends in Brisbane and there certianly isn’t a shortage of nightlife here – the casino still buzzing at 5am when we found ourselves there on Thursday morning! Caught up with my 5th brother here (aka Patrick Coen) who kindly put us up for a few nights. Randomly bumped into a large proportion of our Fraser Island tour gang here also so that made for a great laugh!

From Brisbane we moved onto Surfer’s Paradise, apparently not in the literal sense with much better surf elsewhere along the coast. It’s more of a shoppers paradise with the added benefit of beautiful sandy beaches and nearby theme parks but better to avail of these if you have a few days to spend there as the multipass is pretty much the same price as the day pass! The hostel here is the first with a christmas tree and lights and it is a very chilled place to spend your time here. A very homely feeling.

Posted by elisasdiary 15:30 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

East Coast Adventures

Follow the Rainbow to Fraser Island


Rainbow Beach
Our starting point for our trip to Fraser Island. Arrived the day before for our safety briefing and for a meet and greet with our group. There were 8 to a 4x4 and the 4 of us were paired with 3 German lads and their Taiwanese friend. We got along instantly mostly thanks to Fiona’s 20 questions the 1st morning! A short ferry ride and we were driving on the white sands of this all-sand island, created by years and years of drifting sands. It’s strange you would think nothing could grow on this type of surface but a lot of the island is covered by rainforest. We visit Lake Wabby on Day 1 which is surrounded on 3 sides by eucalyptus forest and a massive sandblow on the other side. It’s 13m deep at the centre but you would never think it just by looking at it. We dove straight in to cool off after the drive here – driving in the soft sand is slow and there’s a lot of it especially after high winds which greeted us at our campsite on the first night! Cue lots of tent pinning down for the night! We woke finding ourselves in a flattened tent and surrounded by a lot more flattened tents! Slept through 95km winds that night! Day 2 was a bit of a washout as one of the cars broke down (aka ran out of fuel) and the rest of us kept getting stuck in the soft sands that had gotten so much worse after the storms. We did manage to reach Eli Creek, the Maheno Shipwreck and Indian Head however, each of which were a treat!
Day 3 we headed to Lake Mackenzie which was absolutely beautiful with its crystal clear blue freshwater and white sands. I got to drive the track on the way out and it was great fun, the 4x4 bumping its way up and down sand hills, almost burnt out the clutch at one point (oops!) but our lead driver came to the rescue! We headed back to the ferry that afternoon after an amazing few days. I’d really recommend this place to everyone!
Went on a bushwalk from the hostel the next day which was cool. It was to a massive sandblow although smaller than that one on Fraser where the guide taught us how to throw a boomerang and to sandboard down a really steep sanddune! Great fun! Our time in Rainbow beach was well spent!

Posted by elisasdiary 15:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

East Coast Adventures

Magnetic Island to Airlie Beach


Magnetic Island
Two days to relax on this small island off the coast at Townsville. A short hop on the ferry and we’re surrounded by bays and crystal blue waters. We chill out by the pool on day one having noticed no one on the beach – its jellyfish season so no one is in the water so the pool is a safe alternative! Day two we visitied the Koala Sanctuary at Bungalow Bay where we got to hold a small crocodile, lizards, a snake and the very cute and cuddly koala which was the highlight for me! Maria went to do the dive down to the Ungala shipwreck which she said was really cool – she’s clocking up several dives in her log book now!

Airlie Beach
One word – Schoolies! They’re everywhere here! Seems to be the done thing to go on a mad party at the end of our secondary school equivalent for anything up to a month. Luckily it’s only a week in Airlie Beach as it’s a small town and probably couldn’t take much more! Here is our starting point for the Whitsundays, an area of 74+ islands most of which are uninhabited but if you have a wad of cash you can take up residence on one of them. There were 26 of us on board Wings, the catarmaran that would be our home for the next 2 nights. We spent the time snorkelling in different bays which was really good as there were so many fish and coral so close to the shores. I even tried my first scuba dive which was interesting. Takes time to get used to the breathing and equalising the pressure on your ears but it was fun.
After Airlie Beach we headed to the tiny town of Agnes Water which was an overnight bus journey away. It’s a bit of the beaten track but draws a sizeable amount of backpackers to its doors in particular for the Scooteroo tour – basically you tour around the area on small motorbikes weather your leather jackets, looking like a biker for a few hours! We also tried out the surfing here and at $17 a lesson it was no wonder there were 25 in our class! Cheapest place to get a lesson on the east coast. It was great fun but tough going as the waves were pretty strong for us beginners. Managed to get standing a few times so well proud of that!

Posted by elisasdiary 15:25 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

East Coast Adventures


sunny 30 °C

A backpacker mecca! Stayed in a place called Gilligans and boy do they know how to party! Not the place to stay if you need sleep unless you've got a mighty good pair of earplugs! From here we visited the Great Barrier Reef on a day trip and I got to do my first scuba dive (I liked it that much that I went for a second dive!), sunbathed on a coral cay (a beach in the middle of the ocean) and ate like a king! We also took a trip up north to Cape Tribulation which is in the middle of the rainforest. The weather wasn't so good - yes we got rain in the rainforest! Hired a car for the day to visit the tablelands so got to drive in another country for the first time! Got to see the Curtain and Cathedral Figs -huge (and I mean HUGE!) trees that have grown so big in size that even with 24 people joining hands around them, it still wouldn't be wide enough. I'm not sure if even the photos do them justice! Visited countless waterfalls throughout the day, including the famous Milla Milla falls where Peter Andre's 'Mysterious Girl' video was shot along with several Timotei ads - you remember the hair flick??? Stopped for afternoon tea at the Whistlestop cafe in Yungaburra at the recommendation of Catty (cheers!) where we tucked into the most delicious baked cheesecake - these ladies would give the cheesecake factory a run for their money! Our last night out in Cairns followed this little road trip and we had to say goodbye to Tara, who we met on the West Coast. A fun night definitely one to remember!

Posted by elisasdiary 19:19 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

West Coast Odyssey - Part 4

Karanjini to Broome to Perth

sunny 30 °C

Karanjini National Park:

Arrived to Karanjini Thursday afternoon, a flat tyre our only excitement of the drive which started at 5am! We stayed in the EcoRetreat – a very cool campsite thats pretty much in the middle of nowhere but very well organised - they have a fantastic chef onsite and everything is solar powered. We spent he next few days exploring the various gorges, climbing up rocks,down again and to refresh going for a dip at several watering holes! The sun was very hot so we were up early every morning and it was amazing to have so much done by midday. A break for lunch and we were back out exploring again. Have some amazing photos of an incredible landscape. We were treated to a unique sight of aboriginal artwork dating back to 10,000 years on the rockfaces. This however is restricted now due to vandalism.

Parabadoo Roadhouse:
The creepiest place we stayed so far - arrived after dark to a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere, slept under the stars and under the watchful eyes of the mossies! Not very happy to hear of snake sightings on the camp grounds or the murder of 7 tourists a few years previously but we slept nonetheless (that might have had something to do with the alcohol consumed-a necessity), a few of the group retreating to the safety of the tent our guide had so kindly erected just in case!!!I think we were all glad it was just an overnight stopover.

Rolled into Broome and treated Amy to her first ever McDonalds - she's 24! She was back again within 2 days! Took some time to relax after our packed schedule of the tour. Our guide also took time out of his rest days to show us around Broome, which is a kinda quirky beach town. Took a camel ride at Cable beach just before the sunset which was an experience! Brought back memories of the elephant ride in Chiang Mai! This one was certainly more official! Went to my first outdoor cinema with Edel, Brendo, Amy, Maria and Nadine to see a film called 'Red Dog' which is set not too far from Broome on the Dampier Peninsula. A very apt choice considering the trip we'd just done! Weird to be eating popcorn, sitting on deck chairs, under the stars, with planes flying into the airport that was located behind the screen!

So the west coast adventure ended here as we flew back to Perth for a few days. Took a boat to Rottnest, an island just off the coast where we hired bikes to ride around the island for the day. We visited various beaches and bays but left the snorkelling today as Edel was under the weather. Maria and Fiona attempted it but we frightened out of the water by reports of shark sightings. There had been a shark attack in recent weeks just off the island so their fears weren't unfounded! Visited Kings Park which has great views of the city below. The park was actually the setting for the memorial day celebrations that day so there was lots of wreaths laid at the monuments there. Met up with Rachel again and Tim (who we met in New Zealand) for a few drinks before we had to leave.

Posted by elisasdiary 22:50 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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