The East Coast
Technically we had been traveling up the east coast for a while but the last two weeks before we got to Cairns, had been very busy.
After leaving Brisbane and heading back to the Gold Coast and spending some time at a family friend’s house we headed to Australia Zoo.
I had bought Laurent tickets for Christmas and it was finally time to use them. We arrived at the zoo when it opened and spent the entire day there. We went to different shows, giant turtles, otters, crocodiles and tigers. There were a lot of crocodiles at the zoo, but as Australia Zoo is the Steve Irwin Zoo, the crocodile hunter, it made sense. We had an amazing day at the zoo seeing so many different animals. Laurent’s favourite were the Meerkats. I didn’t have a particular favourite I just loved the entire day.
After the zoo we headed back to the Gold Coast as I had left something at the friend’s house.
We headed back towards the zoo as Mount Tibrogargan was near there. When we arrived we found a couple who had got the van stuck in a rut. After helping them out we
did the hike together. The hike was a simple circular walk around the middle of the mountain. It wasn’t overly challenging. After the hike the four of us decided to have dinner together. The couple would cook if we bought plates. We met at park near Noosa and had a lovely curry while watching the sunset next to the river.
Over the next couple of days we visited a few places; Noosa Beach, Marybourgh and Hervey Bay. We looked around the towns and explored.
We got woken up at half 6 in the morning by a security guy banging on the side of the van; apparently we weren’t aloud to stay were we were. Even though it’s a free campsite, we had to be self contained which we weren’t! The man said if we left in the next five minutes he wouldn’t fine us $250. We left very quickly and went to the next destination - Agnes Water. We planned to do a few walks there so at 9a.m. after a long drive, we did the first walk. It was through a swamp on a boardwalk and part of it was on stepping logs. The next walk we did was
mainly through a wooded area. One part of it went right by the cliff edge. It was beautiful. After Agnes Water we went to 1770 a small town not that far away. There we walked across the beach and then back along a track. It was a beautiful quiet area.
We then headed to Rockhampton where we found a free zoo in the Botanical Gardens. It wasn’t a big zoo but it had Australian wildlife, monkeys and birds. It was a lovely place to spend a few hours. We strolled through the Botanical Gardens and enjoyed the sunset while watching ducks and turtles swim.
The next day was another early morning with long drives and lots to do. It started with an hour drive to Mount Archer where after having breakfast at the summit we did a walk half way down the mountain and then back up. We then went to the viewing platform which gave an amazing view over all of Rockhampton and the country side.
After Mount Archer we drove to Yeppoon where we did a circuit walk through a wooded area and then up to a cliff. The view over the ocean was amazing. We even saw
sea turtles swimming but they were to far away for pictures.
The longest part of that day was driving to Mackay and out to Broken River.
The next day we did what we came to Broken River to do - see a platypus. We didn’t see any for over five minutes which worried us at first. Luckily we ended up seeing quite a few. After the Platypus sighting we went to Finch Hatton Gorge. On the road towards the Gorge there was a dead snake someone e had run over. Then somehow we got stuck in a ditch. Luckily we were able to get ourselves out. Laurent put a rock under the back tyres and pushed while I reversed. We drove back to a small cafe and left the van there while we did the walk. It led us to a wonderful little waterfall. We saw more turtles in the water there. We then decided to do the drive to Arlie Beach. We had tickets to the Whitsundays Islands the next day and wanted an early night. On the drive to Arlie we stopped at a waterfall, unfortunately there hadn’t been much rain recently and this waterfall wasn’t as impressive
as others we’d seen.
We got up at 5a.m. the next day to get to our ferry on time. When we reached check in we were told there had been a malfunction in their website and the island we had booked was actually shut after a cyclone. We decided to look around Arlie and do two days at the next island destination - Magnetic Island, instead of choosing a different Whitsundays island for that day. That afternoon we did a long drive to Townsville. We walked along the water front enjoying the view. We found a market in the evening and after looking around and having dinner we headed to our campsite. Next morning we were packed and ready for Magnetic Island. We had an early ferry, a hotel for the night and a late ferry the next day all booked. Once we reached the island we didn’t really do much at all. We spent most of the first day at Alma Bay reading, swimming and sun bathing. We had sausages and sweet potato while watching the royal wedding. The next day we walked to Horse Shoe Bay and again spent the day on the beach. It was such a
relaxing weekend away.
We had heard of a swimming hole named Spa pool and we drove up there the next morning. We were hoping it was a natural spa; unfortunately it wasn’t but we had a lovely dip before heading to the next place - Mission Beach. We walked along Mission beach and through the town before heading to a near by campsite. We had ferry tickets for Dunk Island the next day and in the morning started getting ready for our trip. Unfortunately we received a phone call saying the trip had been cancelled because of the weather. That was now 2 out of 3 boat trips that had been cancelled on us. At the time we didn’t know it, but it turned out to be a very good thing.
We decided to head straight to our next destination, Innot Hot Springs. On the way we passed Paronella Park. We both wanted the bathroom so stopped there and ended up staying. Paronella Park is an old castle that a Spaniard had built himself. There was a waterfall and he had designed it so the water was drinkable and allowed the area to have power. The ruins were beautiful. We
did a guided tour and then looked around more by ourselves. We had arrived at the park at 9a.m. so we were finished rather early. We carried on to Innot Hot Springs and they definitely were hot! The temperatures ranged between 23-25 degrees, 33-34 degrees, 34 - 36 degrees (that’s the one we spent most of the day in reading and relaxing),38 - 40 degrees (we went in that one a few times but for about 10 minutes only - it was too hot). The hottest one I could only managed to go knee deep before it was to much for me! The temperature of that one was 41-45 degrees! After spending most of the day at Innot we headed back to Paronella where we did a night tour and saw the castle and water fall all light up. It was beautiful. Our entrance ticket had also included a camping space so we spent the night there.
The next morning we looked around the grounds again - it really was beautiful. We then drove to our next destination - Cairns!
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