A Travellerspoint blog

A 12 hour drive, Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays

Who was complaining about the weather?!

sunny 30 °C
View Brisbane to Cairns on LaurenSho's travel map.

12 hours is a looooooooong time to get to somewhere, but doing it in a car is so much better than on the bus!
We left at 8.15am, and drove all day to arrive in Airlie Beach at the hostel pretty much exactly 12 hours after we left, it was a mostly uneventful drive (extremely uneventful - these are such long and boring roads, one lane each way) and we had to survive on greasy trucker food, the only stops were garages and such along the way. It makes you realise how huge this country is though, everything is few and far between!

The last few hours in the dark were the least fun, we got a whole bunch of rain and it made the roads quite hard to see, but on the up side we stuck religiously to the speed limit so no more speeding tickets!
The only place open for food when we arrived was Dominoes pizza, so we finished the day with some more greasy food, yum...

The next day all we had to do was check in for our sailing trip, so we spend some time exploring the town (it's pretty small, and definitely seems like a but of a party town even during the day), and you can't swim in the sea because of stingers (jellyfish) and sharks so they have a man made lagoon you can swim in. We lazed about at the lagoon for a bit as the weather had definitely got a LOT better, and did a little shopping (new bag, yasss!).
In the evening we had some tasty thai food then some drinks in the backpacker bar Beaches where we made friends with some locals and got the offer to go on a boat in pyjamas on Saturday for the annual fun boat race. Gutted, but we had to turn that offer down because of our tight time schedule. Next time though!

Next day we were up bright and early to catch our sailing maxi yacht that was going to take us round the Whitsunday islands, the Siska, and our crew of Tane, Nelson and Sobi. The Whitsundays are absolutely amazing - and we were super lucky that the weather just got better and better over the next 2 days, goodbye rain!

Day 1 started at Abel Point Marina, and we went straight out to a snorkelling site, Luncheon Bay, and snorkelled around the coral reefs there - we saw hundreds of fish, and the coral is the most amazing colours, it even comes in bright blue and purple!
After some lunch back on the Siska, we were taken to Langford Reef, a sandback that just seems to pop out of nowhere in the middle of the sea, and surrounded by all the islands. We had a walk along, and did some more snorkelling - there's turtles around there but we didn't see any under water, just from the boat, boo!
We spent quite a while there, then sailed over to our mooring for the evening, Nara Inlet beside Hook Island - it's pretty weird sleeping on a boat, we had tiny little cabin holes in the sides to sleep in (but we'll be staying in a similar style bunk in Japan, so it was good practice.

Next day we were woken up really early (early mornings seem to be a theme of this trip!) by the anchor being lifted and the boat moving off, and the first stop was Whitehaven Beach - AMAZING!!!
I want to say it was like a tropical desert island, but that's exactly what it is! And by this point, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, it was just incredible. Very very hot though! There's also stingrays here, so we saw a couple float by us in the water which was pretty cool, and loads of fish again. We spent the whole morning there, and could've spent longer it was so gorgeous.
The rest of the day we just hung out on the boat as it takes a while to get back to the marina, and we didn't had much wind so spent a while trying to sail - Shona was even steering the boat for a while!
It was so hot and sunny, google tells me the temperature while we were at Whitehaven and sailing back was 27 degrees, but it didn't feel like that on the boat because of the wind, so we both got a little pink, but Shona's suffering a little more (because I'm so pale I panic and always overload on suncream!).

We're also now one team member down, Shona'a camera had an accident in the waterproof bag when we were trying to get stingray pics...the bag stopped being so waterproof for a while and the camera died - but we did manage to save the pictures!

We headed off to Townsville after the boat, our overnight stop on the way to Mission Beach AND WE RAN OVER A SNAKE ON THE ROAD! It was pretty big, but because of the low sun we didn't see it until it was too late, eeek.
Shona's never gonna get to come back here, with all the traffic offences and killing of wildlife! Luckily we've seen no Kangoroos jumping in front of the car yet, despite all the warnings about that from the Aussies.

We're now in Mission Beach, at our amazing treehouse hostel in the middle of the rainforest, it's really really really really really hot here - around 30 degrees, wow!
Rafting on the Tully tomorrow morning, can't wait, and I'm being bitten to pieces by a weird fly right now so off to drown myself in some bug spray!

No more pics yet either, for some reason the last few computers haven't liked trying to upload them, sorry, but you'll just have to wait till we get home.

- Lauren

Posted by LaurenSho 21:47 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Hervey Bay and Fraser Island

overcast 21 °C
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Sorry for the delay in updates - but we're been super duper busy the past few days!

So we left off when we were leaving Bli Bli, we went to Noosa to the beach and main shopping street for an hour or so, was hard to find parking because of a jazz festival that was on and we had to get driving to make it to Hervey Bay before dark (it gets dark pretty quickly here). Kinda wish we coulda spent more time there - but that's been the same everywhere we've been - it's a pretty quick trip for the size of the country, so I'll just have to come back again soon!

Next stop after Noosa was Rainbow Beach. It was pretty far away, and in the middle of nowhere, but definitely worth a stop (although we kinda wish now we had gone to see the whales, boo!). The main attraction here is the coloured cliffs on the beach, and the waves were crazy, it was a good stop to break up the drive to Hervey Bay. We didn't arrive in Hervey until dusk, but the hostel was really nice. Instead of being one big building it's lots of small huts. Along with the warm evening and all the noisy wildlife (I think it was crickets and frogs) it really felt like we were out of the cities, which is a good thing.

We left super early the next morning for Fraser Island, we had a few beers with our roommates the night before so luckily we managed to get up on time! Had to get the bus for a ferry at about 8am - the SLOWEST ferry in the world over to Fraser Island...and unfortunately this is when the weather started to let us down!

Fraser Island is all sand (except 3 points of rock) and there's no roads - so we were driven everywhere in a 4WD bus down the extremely bumpy, sandy clearings in the trees, definitely the most fun bus I've ever been on! Day 1 on the Island took us to Basin Lake, a huge, perfectly circular lake sitting on top of the sand, with weird red carnivorous flowers all around (they eat flies, not humans though!) which was pretty cool to see. Then we went off to Lake Birrabeen to try and get in some swimming before the clouds completely blocked out the sun. Now this lake was amazing, I've never seen such clear water, and such white sand ever - and because the lake was a bit more acidic than the last there was no algae or other gross things growing in it, it was perfect.

After some lunch, we had a walk through some of the rainforest on the island, and that's even more impressive when you know all these palms, trees and plants are growing in sand. We finished off the day with some dinner, then a lot of drinking, and a lot of Flip Cup (drinking game - I'm an expert now so I challenge you all to a game when we get back!). We also go some pretty heavy rain that night, eek!

So Day 2 - this was beach day, we drove across the island and onto the beach (still in the 4WD bus) and drove along the beach all day, which is pretty cool. I'll try and tell you about the day quickly, we did a lot!
We saw Dingoes on the beach (Fraser Island is famous for it's Dingoes, apparently they're pretty much all pure breed which is rare as in other places they breed with domestic dogs), took a flight over the island on a tiny little 6 seater plane (if you know me, you'll know I'm not a fan of flying, so this was an achievement, and totally worth it for the amazing views!) and climbed up Indian Head point, and as the water is so clear we saw sharks, stingrays, a shoal of fish and 2 humpback whles in the water right at the bottom of the cliffs. We went to the Champagne Pools (so called as when the waves crash over into the rock pools all the foamy white surf gets stuck and it's like natural bubbles), saw the Maheno shipwreck (made from Scottish steel!) that's been there now for 75 years on the beach, and walked along in the water down Eli creek. How's that for a lot in a day?!
The weather was a bit rubbish, we seemed to have brought some drizzly rain from Scotland so we didn't do a lot of swimming but still had an amazing time, so it didn't really matter, and the other guys on our tour were really nice and we had loads of fun (especially Flip cup!).

We spent the night in Hervey Bay again that night, and left super early for the longest drive ever to Airlie Beach, so we'll tell you more about that soon, but I can tell you that we did finally arrive in Airlie Beach, and we're there now - keep your fingers crossed for some better weather over the next few days!

- Lauren

Posted by LaurenSho 22:54 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Shona Intervention...

Oops!

sunny 20 °C

Well the excitment for the day...flashing lights on a country road pulled us over to issue a speeding ticket. Our super friendly policeman then laughed at us and told Lauren, in a very stern voice, to get her camera out and take a picture of him giving me the ticket. He stood in front of the car and posed giving me a telling off, then told me to frame the ticket when I got home as a momento!
Very random afternoon. Have a look at the photos...hilarious!

-Shona

Posted by LaurenSho 03:46 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Life's a journey, not a destination...

The roadtrip begins!

sunny 22 °C
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Turns out that Travellers Auto Barn is just that, a barn in Brisbane with some Campervans and Stationwagons...and it's also where we were introduced to WALL·E, our transport for the next two weeks. Shona had some trouble bonding at first, but after driving for the past few days they're friends now and we're looking forward to the roadtrip!

We arrived in Brisbane 2 days ago, quite late in the afternoon, so after picking up WALL·E, we just headed out into town to explore, and have a few drinks at the open air bars in the middle of the streets, pretty cool!

Brisbane is cut in half by a river (a bit like Newcastle in the UK) and it has loads of bridges crossing it, but also catamaran (CityCat) ferries that take you up and down and across the sides. First stop in the morning was Streets Beach on Southbank - this is a fake beach in the middle of the city, made to look like a lagoon, it's pretty awesome, and because it was so hot we managed to even sunbathe there!
After burning for a wee while, and paddling in the lagoon, we took the CityCat up and down the river for a bit of sightseeing.

We left the city at about 3.30 to head up to Bli Bli before it got dark - took a while to get out of the city, but after that it was an easy ride until we arrived in beautiful Bli Bli (the i is pronounced 'eye', not 'ee' like we thought) at Rodney's house, and saw some of Mooloolaba when we went for food and drinks. Friday was what we were really looking forward to though, Australia Zoo! We managed to cuddle a Koala, and feed Elephants and Kangaroos, and saw the famous crocs. In the evening we had fish and chips in Maroochydore (I had Shark, it tastes like tuna for anyone interested!) then went to Alex's surf club for some drinks (we also met a crazy couple, but that's a story for another time!).

We're just packing up to leave now, but we've had some top class service while we're been here, with the BBQ breakfasts from chef Rodney, and Vegas (the dog, Shona's new best friend!).

We're heading up towards Hervey Bay today, we were going to go Whale watching, but it's pretty expensive so we're going to stop at Noosa and Rainbow Beach instead, will let you know about that soon! This is a short-ish post as we're rushing away now, too many things to do, so little time! I've also uploaded a few more photos for a wee look.

Lauren

Posted by LaurenSho 16:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Katoomba with added pictures!

sunny 0 °C

Finally got the website to upload some more pictures, so we've got some up now of the Blue Mountains and the conference dinner at The Carrington...conference is now over, and we're about to try and get everything back into our backpacks to get on the plane to Brisbane tomorrow. We arrive in Bris at about 2.30 Aus time, and then we can pick up our car for the roadtrip!

Blue Mountains look like this, amazing:
The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters

More pictures on the right hand side --->

- Lauren

Posted by LaurenSho 00:03 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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