East Coast Road Trip - Sept 2016


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Oceania » Australia » Queensland
September 24th 2016
Published: September 29th 2016
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So I finally made it to the East Coast...everybody knows this side has adventure, soul and surfing!
I flew into Brisbane 27th August and was greeted with a familiar face- my friend Tim from the Clare Valley!
We dropped off our bags and explored some of the city - we found the Story Bridge and ate burritos for lunch. We walked around a bit more and found a restaurant we were booked into capped Green Tea - we over ordered, couldn't eat HALF of the food so we doggy-bagged it for lunch the following day!
The next day we jumped into the car Tim had hired for a couple of days, drove to Mount Coot-tha to the lookout over Brisbane, we then hiked up to the Simpson's Falls. We chilled by the water and then headed to Streets Beach and sunbathed for a bit, people watched and had a cider. For dinner we went to an Italian place and a fellow English backpacker served us! After dinner, we walked along Southbank and then headed back to the apartment, had a little swim in the rooftop pool and then fell into a sweet slumber.
We went to the GOMA (gallery of modern art) we didn't take it too seriously, in the fact that one art piece looked weird... So Tim thought he would go RIGHT UP to it and sniff it. He got told off. I laughed my ass off. Popped to the art gallery after, I don't think it's our thing. We drove to the Gold Coast for the afternoon and Tim showed me a few places, beautiful beaches with huge waves!! We had a very typical English lunch consisting of fish and chips. Then came the part where Tim left me to go back to Adelaide... I was dropped at my hostel and said our goodbyes... I checked into my room and as it was late afternoon grabbed some food and slept!

I awoke in a city I didn't know, I didn't know anybody and I just wanted to go for a swim! I found the swimming pool that my friend Hana used to work at so I set off on a long hike... I didn't realise quite how far it was going to be. It was 50m each way and I walked from the city to Fortitude Valley. I eventually made it to The Valley Pool and it was wonderful.. After my long swim of a few kms, I walked all the way back and sunbathed at Streets Beach. I headed back to the hostel (Brisbane City YHA) and made friends with a German girl called Julia over a cup of tea. We decided to both do the free walking tour the following day together.
The free walking tour gives to a, wait for it, FREE TOUR around the city by a volunteer company called Brisbane Greeters. We met the other people in our group and set off, we saw heaps around the city and learned a lot. Myself, Julia and an Israelian couple went to the market and bought our lunches. I wanted to go to the city museum so I went there and got chatting to the security guard there, seemed nice. I learned about the growth of the city and also had a free clock tower tour!
The security guard gave me directions back to the hostel (let's be honest here, I knew the way, I just wanted to chat to him as he was hot). I arrived back at the hostel and met some other backpackers so we all had dinner together, it was burger night at the hostel for $6 each so we all tucked in. I sat with Matt(uk), Joe(uk), Fabian(swiss), Franzi, Nadine and Julia (all german) and we spent a few hours chatting away, it was a lovely night.. Such a shame I was leaving the next day for my East Coast road trip!

This day marks the 1st September and the day my friend Chris Wright was picking me up from the hostel to do the trip up to Cairns, stopping along the way to see and do the various sights!
I had brekkie with Julia and then everyone from the night before came down to say goodbye to me! It was lovely, lots of hugs and then I was off, checked out of the hostel and waited outside for Chris, with Julia.

Chris arrived at 11am ish, I dumped my bags in his car and off we went!
So how I know Chris is a funny story... We actually met through the Australian Backpackers group on Facebook, we started chatting, offering advice where needed about travelling and it so happened that we were both at Bondi Beach the same day so we met up, along with my friend Taylor and Ben and we were all given free ciders and beers as it was close to Christmas 2015 and this drunk group were in high spirits so we shared beers. We chatted on and off for a while, helping eachother get through our farm work and jobs, I was nice to have someone going through the same experience as me even thoughh we were in different states at that time. One day we decided we both wanted to do the East Coast around the same time so thought, ah we may as well go up together! At least we both then had something to look forward to at the end of our farm work, a light at the end of the tunnel!

Anyway, so we left Brisbane and headed North and found a free campsite fitted with long drop toilets and a camp ground. We were camping the whole way up to Cairns as it's a lot cheaper than staying in hostels the whole way!
This campsite was good although it was next to a lake so got bitten to death by sand flies and mozzies - my worst enemies by the time the whole trip finished! We met a couple of older guys who camped next to us and so we had a few drinks around a camp fire and Chris and one of the other guys sand and played acoustic guitar together!

The next morning we packed up early ish and headed to the Glass Mountains, they are all old volcanoes in weird formations that formed a hell of a long time ago, it's so stunning! We decided to do a hike up the largest mountain called Mt. Beerwah, we got half way and it changed from large steps, to rock climbing. We just looked at eachother at was like "yeah nah, let's head back"!
We drove to Noosa, I was really looking forward to getting to Noosa, it sounds like a relaxing surfer place. As we got there we found a Sea Scout camp ground, good price, showers and good toilets. Also a bonus when the owners are volunteers and are the kindest people you could meet. Chris and I sat with them for a while chatting away and petted their new 6 week old puppy. It started to get dark so we set up the tent, ate some food and went for a walk around Noosa, then slept!
Waking up the next day, we decided to so a hike in Noosa National Park which has a track along the top of the cliffs overlooking the ocean. It was wonderful and a fairly easy walk albeit getting lost and walking part of the trail twice (we only realised when we walked past the same bush turkeys twice)!
We sat on some rocks on the beach and whilst Chris was learning a new song (Lauren Aquilina - Fools) I watched the surfers catching the waves like pros. I wish I could surf. We then drove straight to the Sunshine Coast so I could pick up a waterproof camera off of Gumtree... Then drove back to Noosa, got some beers and met up with my friend Fabian (Swiss guy from Brissy - he pops up in random places the whole journey up to Cairns, you'll see)! We sat on the beach with the beers and chatted the night away.
The morning after, we always seemed to wake up early so we went to the Noosa Market and bought a lot of fruit for a very cheap price!

We went on the Noosa Everglades tour and it was amazing.. We could see how dark the water got from all of the tanin from the trees, they provided us with a savoury afternoon tea and champagne - I wasn't feeling too great so didn't drink much champers at all! Got chatting to a couple of aussie girls and they told us what to see and do up north if we had the time!
Back on land, back at the Sea Scout camp ground, Ena, Chris's German friend turned up so we chatted away whilst sitting around charging points, and an aussie guy named Ben joined us. He was travelling alone down the east coast in his 4x4 and swag. Now that is the life!
The following day was a Monday and we both thought we deserved a relaxing day of the beach, naps and food before driving up to Hervey Bay. I went for a quick swim in the sea which felt amazing... Then we had to drive. We got to Hervey Bay and camped at the YHA (Colonial Village) it had great facilities, showers, kitchen, real loos, TV room, electricity... I chatted to an older lady who gave us advice on what bush walks to do when we arrived in 1770/Agnes Water.

Fraser Island!!!
We got up ready to go to the Fraser Island briefing, where the guy basically told us where to go and when, when we got there. Our 4x4 we were renting for a couple days looks awesome, she was called 'Little Miss Sunshine' pretty apt seeing as she was bright yellow!
We caught the 10.15am ferry across to Fraser, our first stop was Lake Wabby which we had to hike uphill and downhill for 4.6km to get to it! We got to the top and weren't sure whether we had made it as it looked like a desert and no other footprints were in the sand! We walked to the left about 1km and found a lovely lake, there was a tour group chilling out and a couple of guys drinking beers and sandboarding into the water, apparently it was one of theirs birthday, and the water was freezing, apparently!
Next stop was Eli Creek and it was stunning, the water was crystal clear you could see everything, it was a bit chilly but made a great photo backdrop!
We were on a bit of a time limit because the tides were going to turn within the next couple of hours and as we were driving on the hard sand, we needed to beat the tides! Next stop was the Maheno Shipwreck. It was huge! It's situated on the edge of the water at low tide, it's amazing to think that back years ago, men work on this magnificent ship, they crashed and ended up on Fraser Islands east side! I was obviously extremely rusty and parts missing.. But we quickly got photos each of us IN the wreck (not supposed to) but it shows how massive it was!
We then sped off to The Pinnacles - they aren't as amazing as the Pinnacles in WA, but all the same, they were pretty colours!
We then drove back to the campsite where we needed to camp, we fished off the beach edge, didn't catch anything... There's heaps of sharks here so didn't want to go in too far! We couldn't be bothered to set the tent up, especially in sand so we slept in the car, reclined the seats and slept (pretty badly but at least it was less sandy). Having to go for a wee in the middle of the night is a bit of a worry as Fraser Island has their famous dingoes. They can be aggressive to people, attack you and generally nasty wild dogs! So when I went, I ran out, did my business then ran back to the car!
We woke to the sunrise coming up from the sea, it was gorgeous! We left the beach at 830am and were aiming to get to the Basin Lake quickly, it was a 5km hike and the lake was as clear as anything, just magical. The birds sung loudly, a slight breeze around us, we lay down to rest as it was fairly humid! There were a couple of nudists hiding in the bushes so we napped and left after a little while.
I then drove us to the famous Lake McKenzie. WOW is what went through my head. There's no words to describe this place. I'd seen so many photos of this place and it was like I was starstruck. I think I was quiet for about a minute. And for those who know me-that's really difficult for me to do unless I'm sleeping.
I knew my friend Fabian would be on the island at the same time but never expected to bump into him there. Anyway, we saw eachother and we chilled, mucked around in the lake and took videos and photos of eachother swimming underwater, where I lost my two hairbands.. The only two I took to the island with me!!
We left after a few hours of hanging around and got on the 5pm barge back to Hervey Bay, we cleaned the 4x4 out and dropped it back at the rental place. We stayed at the same YHA and stayed in a dorm room and I looked up tours for the Whitsundays! Met a guy in our dorm room called Scott from Canada with whom I chatted to for ages and then we all slept soundly!
Woke up the next day with an extremely bad throat, I had had it a while but nothing was helping. I booked myself in for a doctors appointment whilst Chris went on a whale watching tour (I did an amazing one in New Zealand last Christmas so didn't feel I needed to do another)! Anyway I went to the doctors and was told I had tonsillitis, I knew I had that!! Antibiotics prescribed, brekkie eaten at the local cafe and off I went on a little adventure myself! I went to 'The Pines' and walked along the beach, toes in the water and feeling very relaxed. I went to my friend Brian's house for a cuppa and catch up for half hour with his dog, Tasman.
I headed off and picked Chris up from Hervey Bay Marina and set off for Rainbow Beach where we camped and went fishing (caught nothing).
Woke and headed to Carlo Sandblow, an extensive amount of sand that had been blown across a forest, the tops of trees just visible poking through the sand, it looked like a desert, I literally look like an ant in the photos!
We had to drive up past Hervey Bay again to get to Childers where Chris was staying with old work friends so I stayed at Brian's that evening, I did my washing and we chatted all evening over dinner!
Next day, Brian dropped me in Childers to meet up with Chris who was busking along the street, then we drove to Agnes Water after driving through Bundaberg, unfortunately the rum factory was closed so we didn't get a chance to taste all the famous rums!!

As soon as I arrived in Agnes Water, I knew I was going to love it. Very chilled atmosphere, everyone was so happy and loved life! We did a spot of fishing, we headed to 1770 and did a couple of hikes, one in particular was called the Butterfly Walk. It was beautiful... Hundreds of thousands of butterflies fluttering around your head and body. We got to the lookout which was on the edge of a cliff and got chatting to a lovely older aussie couple whilst watching a pod of dolphins play in the waves.
That afternoon after we hydrated and ate, we drove to Airlie Beach! We checked in at Nomads which is down the main street. Chris and I became friends with a guy named Bob, who I found was on the same Whitsundays tour as me which we were going on the following day!
Ena then checked in to our same dorm room where we met more friends! We went for food and drinks at the Down Under bar just past Nomads, so we had with us, myself, Chris, Bob (UK), Chau (Finland), Ena (German), Ivy (US) and Fabian (Swiss). It was a great evening making new friends!

WHITSUNDAYS
So this day I was extremely excited to go on this tour, our yacht was called Mandrake and it was used as a competition boat years before and I think I remember them it used to win!
Our crew were Cam, Charlie and Laura and they were all lovely. Cam was aussie, Charlie from UK and Laura from NZ. And everyone on the boat was... Myself, Bob(uk), Emily and Austin (us), Natasha, Lena, Lisa, Josie, Anja and Madelena (german), Danne (italy) Cedric (france), Giorgia and her friend (uk) so there was a lot of us!
We boarded the boat and sat on deck chatting happily away, getting to know each other, eating snacks and sunbathing! In the evening we anchored and had a few drinks and played card games..
The next morning we awoke around 6am, had a quick breakfast of bread, jams, cereals, fruit, tea coffees... And we're on the dingy in no time! You were the first people on Whitsundays soil that day! We walked through the bush about 2km and came to Hill Inlet, this is where all of those famous photos of the Whitsundays are taken from above. And my, it was just like the photos! And totally unspoiled by travellers on the sand, it was our little haven that we had to ourselves. We walked down to the beach and the sand is so fine, it felt like you were floating! It was amazing.
We went into the ocean and swum around and saw stingrays, fish... We took heaps of photos with the group. Everyone was in high spirits.
We even took that famous photo where the girls are topless behind the Whitsundays sign, we covered ourselves up don't worry.... BUT it made it a lot more difficult to do because as soon as we took our bikini tops off, a tour group of about 50 (no joke) came around the corner and we're watching us!! Not embarrassed in the slightest...
Bumped into my friend Fabian on Whitehaven beach, surprise surprise! Got a few great photos of eachother.
Back to the boat we went and we were taken to Hook Island where we could snorkel, this had lovely coral and brightly coloured fish! The water was warm and I was nice to just be in the water again after being so scared of sharks.
We went to another reef to snorkel with the fish, saw a big Groper (I think) called George... He was pretty damn big! That evening we had dinner and sat around top deck and played games with our crew too! Games such as... Tea is good coffee is bad, black magic, talking with no teeth, singing... The list is endless but hilarious. That evening we were put on the dingy to a sand bank as the sun set with drinks to chill out... We saw turtles up close!
Our last day on tour (sad face), although I was feeling a bit queasy being rocked on the boat. We got up early again to snorkel with the turtles at the same place as the night before... Ahh they are so graceful when they swim! I've never felt so alive!
We all hopped back on the boat, sunbathed on the way back to Airlie Beach. When we neared Airlie, the boat was stopped and we had a chance to jump/dive/flip off the boat to cool off, which most of us did!
We arrived back at Airlie about half hour after that, Chris picked me up, I showered and then headed on our way to Townsville!

We stayed in a place called Rowes Bay for two nights, it had good shade, good kitchen and great showers and toilets! The first day we went to the Reef HQ Aquarium which was a bit of a rip off. It was much smaller than advertised but it was okay. We attended a talk about the animals which included stingrays, starfish and crabs.. We left there a bit deflated. We then visited the North Queensland Army Museum which was wicked although it was closing in 20mins, so we rushed in and read as much info as possible! We learned about Australias involvement in WW1 & 2 and the Korean War. We did a walk up to the top where they used to fight from, Kissing Point and Jezzine Barracks.
It was extremely hot so we headed back to the campsite and went for a swim to cool off, I helped Chris get a bit better with his technique for a couple of strokes and we also played tennis bare foot... We both burnt under our feet. We then got back in the pool and chatted to a guy named Lucas who was there on a family holiday.
We cooked a roast in the evening in the kitchen with veggies the couple camping next to us gave us. Healthiest meal so far! It was a great night, the NRL (Nat rugby league) was on TV and it was the Cowboys v Broncos. Cowboys won by 8 points.

MAGNETIC ISLAND
The next day, Saturday 17th Sept, we ventured over to Maggie Island and it was totally different from what I had imagined. I thought it would be a natural beauty, untouched. But, it was very man made, built up and people lived there!? I never imagined that. We decided to head to Bungalow Bay Koala Village so we hopped on a bus and headed over there. We had a fantastic tour guide (about 18 of us in a group) and her name was Yana. We were able to hold a few native animals such as a turtle, baby crocodile, blue tongued lizard, shingle back lizard, KOALA, black headed python, black cockatoo (we also got to hold a nut in our mouth and the cockatoo took it from us 'kissing' us. After we finished up there, we went for a walk and it was very humid so had an ice cream and some food, we were starved and totally over ordered, I had garlic bread and salad, Chris has garlic bread and steak meal.
We then mooched along and did the Forts Walk and that took us about 2 hours of steady walking. It was great because at the top you could see all the old forts they fought from, the views were great as they had to have a good panoramic view of the bay to stop attackers coming any closer.

We headed back on the ferry and back to Townsville, we drove up to a place called Alligator Creek to camp, cooked dinner and spoke to a Latvian/Czech family in the evening until the guy bored us by chatting too much.
I was awoken at 3am by the flying fox (fruit) bats literally screeching above the tent!
In the morning, we walked up to Alligator Creek - there's no alligators there, but I didn't want to take any chances so stayed dry and updated my journal!
We left around lunchtime to head to Cairns, stopping at Mission Beach along the way. It was a lovely place to stop at for an hour. Chris went for a beer whilst I went to take photos and see part of the town. I walked on the beach and 3 guys offered me weed. Now I like to think that I'm healthy, I don't smoke anything whatsoever, I rarely drink alcohol, if I go out for a 'drink' I'll have a lemon lime bitters. Anyway, I politely said no but they seemed nice harmless people so I stopped at chatted for half hour. They bored me after 15mins so I headed off to get my photos! I then met up with Chris again and we headed off for the three hours up to Cairns!
When we arrived we checked in at Cairns City YHA, showered then we went for a walk around the marina, had a cocktail watching live music.
Next day I had my hair cut, the lady basically said my hair was a wreck so she cut off nearly 3 inches!! It felt better but then she blow-dried and straightened my hair, which destroyed it again. It's a never ending process. After that we went to Hartleys Crocodile Farm... It was interesting but I hadn't realised we went to the actual place where they farm these animals and make handbags and belts with their skin. Shame, it was a shock when I learned where we were! We drove to Innisfail and stayed at the motel there, had a cuppa soup for dinner and slept. Our motel lady was a bit wacky, she got around by roller-skates!
The next morning we set the car up for a long drive back down south, we popped into the Sugar industry museum on the way through, it was interesting but not worth the money really. (I wasn't that interested).
We set off again along the Bruce Highway and half way down saw a snake neck turtle in the middle of the highway.
We picked it up, otherwise he would've been squished in the middle! We put him in a box with a heap load of water to cool him off. He stank of swamp and we named him Bruce. We released him back into the wild in Bowen. We drove down to Airlie Beach and stayed at my friend, Cam, who was my Whitsundays tour guide! Chris and I had a sofa each that we slept on!
We left early the next morning and drove all the way to Hervey Bay where we arrived early evening and I stayed at Brian's for a few days.

This is where I had to say goodbye to my travel buddy, Chris. It was a fantastic trip and I'm glad to have spent it with a great guy! These memories on this trip will last forever.

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