After taking on board some helpful suggestions we decided to put our trip to Cairns forward (due to the wet season ahead). This also meant we would return back to the Gold Coast in prime time to get jobs. We allocated a short 17 day trip from the 2nd September to the 18th, stopping at a few destinations along the way. We also thought this would be a great introduction to travelling.
Three things we did in…
MADE A ROOKIE MISTAKE
We didn’t realize most hostels offer a free pick up from the bus station. Beth and I arrived in Noosa and wandered around carrying our full rucksacks questioning “why had we brought so many unnecessary things”, this was only supposed to be a short trip (you can tell we aren’t experienced backpackers)
Stuck in a room with two ‘smelly’ boys who weren’t welcoming, we felt rather awkward (especially when one of them came out of the bathroom in just his towel). Maybe we felt more uncomfortable because we haven’t done anything like this before. We needed time to adjust to this traveling malarkey.
HID AT THE PUB
We didn’t feel very relaxed with our new ‘smelly’ room buddies, so we decided to explore our new surroundings. After a a stroll around Noosa, pub for some grub and drinks was in order. After that we went back and booked our next stop (we weren’t very organized).
CELEBRATED OUR 3 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
While away on our bite sized adventure Beth and I celebrated our three-year anniversary at Hervey Bay. It was lovely that we got to spend it together on the other side of the world. I wonder where we will be and what we will be doing in a year’s time on our 4th. Crazy.
WATCHED BATS FLY OVERHEAD
Hervey bay is full of bats (literally chocker blocker). There’s an information trail that we strolled along. We watched them hang on the trees and squabble with each other (over food, I bet). They amazed Beth, but I was more concerned I might catch rabies.
WALKED ALONG THE BEACH
You can’t travel up the East Coast of Australia without visiting some of the beautiful beaches along the way. I’m not a huge fan of sunbathing (I get way too bored easily) so a nice stroll on the beach suited me perfectly.
WALKED THROUGH A FRESH WATER CREEK
After driving up the beach in a 4 by 4, we arrived at the fresh water creek. Once we braved the cold, it was a really lovely experience. This was definitely my favourite part of the day. The only thing missing was a rubber ring for us to relax in (oh and a nice cold beer).
WALKED THROUGH THE RAINFOREST
While the walk through the rainforest was shorter than anticipated, it was actually really interesting. The tour guide was genuinely passionate about all the trees and wildlife. He explained how loggers destroyed some of the forest on Fraser Island, subsequently killing a 1000-year-old tree.
SWAM IN LAKE MCKENZIE
Our last stop on the Island was Lake McKenzie, a ‘perched’ lake, formed by rain water accumulating on top of a layer of decaying twigs and leaves. This means the water is completely pure and believed to be great for your skin. So Beth and I jumped in hoping to be instantly soft and silky (instead we were instantly FREEZING).
MET LOTS OF LOVELY NEW PEOPLE
The Hostel at Agnes Water was the most welcoming of them all. We arrived at night and even though the Hostel was only a 5 minute walk away the staff came and greeted us and showed us the way. The owner had bear feet and dreadlocks (we loved him already). They even offered to drive us to pick up a few beers. Afterwards we got to know our new friends, drank and played beer pong (it was like being back at uni).
BECAME A BIKER
We had heard a lot of people mention how great the Scooteroo Tour was, so we decided to give it ago. I have never driven, let alone driven a motorbike, so I was really nervous (secretly). But the instructors were very helpful. We dressed up in biker gear and had a practice run. Then it was off to drive through the hills of Agnes Water and Town of 1770. I thought I was driving fast and Beth thought it wasn’t fast enough (guess who’s the thrill seeker).
WATCHED THE SUNSET
The staff at the Hostel mentioned that there is a great lookout spot near the area to watch the sunset. We drove up to the spot with one of our new friends and perched ourselves waiting for the sun to set. I have seen so many lovely sunsets since being in Australia, but it never gets boring.
SHOPPING AT THE MARKET
After a 10-hour (uncomfortable) coach journey we arrived at Airlie Beach and crashed at the hostel. We then gained the energy to get up and out to explore. We stumbled upon a Market taking place and decided it must be a sign we need to do a little spot of shopping. We bought some bracelets and hippie pants (the essentials).
VISITED THE LAGOON
Airlie Beach has an amazing Lagoon, deadly creatures such as jellyfish means it’s unsafe to swim in the sea. For safety they created the Lagoon so everyone can still enjoy days out to the beach without danger. We sunbathed and enjoyed the sun while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
DRANK BEER AT THE HARBOUR
I’ve noticed we both love to just wander and see where the path takes us (a mooch we call it). After relaxing at the Lagoon we went on one of our little walks. We ended up at the harbour where we found a nice bar. We met a few of the locals and started speaking to a couple that lived on a boat (what a life they must lead). They were really friendly and gave us plenty of advice on trips we could take from Airlie Beach.
HIT BY WAVES
A trip to the Whitsunday Islands is a must, so we booked a trip on the Thundercat, which is basically a boat that is extraordinarily fast (two 300 horse power engines to be exact). After being given rain ponchos and dry bags to protect ourselves and our things, I should have known this was a bad idea. Waves hit us from every direction; it was scary (Beth loved it).
WALKED ALONG WHITEHAVEN BEACH
The sand on Whitehaven Beach was so soft and white, nothing like any other beach I have ever been on. It’s actually thought to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world (I can definitely see why). This was my favourite part of the day, I just wish we could of stayed on it for longer.
I was very nervous about snorkelling at first, I’ve never done it before (plus I’m not the most confident swimmer). The boat stopped at the first snorkelling site. We got into our gear and jumped into the freezing cold water. We swam around for a while looking at some of the fish and reef. It was more fun than I expected.
We visited The Billabong Sanctuary in Townsvillle. It’s a lovely zoo with lots of different Australian animals. There were Kangaroos hopping around everywhere and little Joeys too. You are given food to feed them when you arrive, at first I was quite nervous, but they turned out to be really friendly. They were so cute and they even hold your hands (aww).
SQUEEZED A KOALA BEAR
There were lots of other animals to meet at the Sanctuary, including cassowaries, crocodiles, snakes, dingos and some beautiful Koala bears. The Koalas are very lazy and most were sleeping, but I had the pleasure of cuddling one. Since I am missing my doggies at home, this was a much needed warm cuddle with a furry animal.
PROTECTED MY TOES FROM TURTLES
Beth was especially excited about this part, she has an obsession with turtles (nothing to do with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I promise). We were given some pieces of fish, knelt down and the little turtles popped out from the lake for a bite to eat. The instructor told us, “be careful if you are wearing thongs (flip-flops) they might try and nibble your feet”, so I was very cautious I didn’t loose any toes.
VISITED THE LAGOON
We packed some sun-cream, beach towels, sunnies and a book and headed for the Lagoon. We spent the day sunbathing and pretended we were at the beach.
ATE LUNCH BY THE SEA
After a day wandering around Cairns, taking in the sights and visiting lots of the stores and markets we stopped for some lunch. We picked a nice spot looking out to the sea. I had calamari as usual and washed it down with a nice cold beer.
DRINKS AND PIZZA
The Hostel we stayed at in Cairns was also quite friendly. The guys invited us to a drinks and pizza night. We had a few drinks with everybody at the Hostel first and then headed out to fill our bellies. There was plenty of dancing before heading back, overall a great night.
SNORKELLED THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
From Cairns we took a boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. This time the snorkelling experience was much better (plus I was feeling more confident). There was more to see, more fish and more reef. Instructors guided everyone and showed us the best parts. They would snorkel down to the bottom of the Reef showing us the sea life bellow. I even held a starfish.
SUNBATHED ON THE SANDBANK
The boat stopped off at a wonderful sandbank. It was beautiful; it was in the middle of nowhere and only comes to the surface at certain times of the day. The longer we stayed on the sandbank the bigger it grew. Some people snorkelled around the bank, others sunbathed and we even played football.
SAW THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TURTLE
Everyone was determined to see a turtle, earlier we spotted one while snorkelling but he wasn’t very close. But while we lay on the sandbank someone shouted, “over here” Beth and I grabbed our snorkelling gear and jumped into the sea. When we dunked our heads he was there, he was beautiful and orange (I think he was a Loggerhead sea turtle). Because we had swam off the sandbank he was really close, close enough to touch. He was looking up at us thinking, “what the hell are you guys looking at”. He didn’t look real, he was postcard worthy.
(Beth scuba dived)
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our introductory trip away. It certainly gave us a little snippet of what’s in-store for the rest of the year. Now we are back on the Gold Coast ready to work hard so we can fund the rest of our big adventure.