So we arrived very early into Rainbow Beach on the morning of my birthday, not a cool present to be waking up at 5 am for a bus!! Not a long drive however and soon we were chilling out in our hostel, the very highly recommended Pippies. Spent most of the day on the stunning beach which runs for miles in both directions from the town and at one end has huge, coloured sand dunes which are very impressive. The surf was very strong and like trying to swim in a washing machine, great fun as long as you didn’t go out too deep!! Went for a nice walk at sunset before free BBQ at the hostel for dinner, they must have known it was my birthday!!
Up early the next day for our bus down to Noosa where we arrived before lunch and checked into our next hostel, the not so nice Dolphins beach house, which would be much nicer without the bed bugs and cockraoches! Spent the afternoon at Sunshine beach which was nice, but again very strong currents in the water so not so good for swimming. Next morning we headed into the main town of Noosa early so we could do the highly recommended coastal walk around the headland and back through the forest in the hope of spotting wild koalas and echidnas! Weather was baking hot again as we wandered round the coast past stunning surfing beaches full of surfers and onto Alexandra Beach for lunch, which turned out to be a nudist beach full of naked old men! Nice place for a picnic… We didn’t hang around for long before making our way back through the nice shady forest of Noosa Headland, although we didn’t spot any koalas or any other wildlife except for a few birds! Spent the afternoon on the main beach which was much more sheltered and therefore less full of currents than most of the beaches on the Queensland Coast.
Off early the next day for our next bus down to Brisbane, where we arrived in time for lunch then set off for an explore round town. Brisbane has a very attractive city centre, although full of sky rises, but also plenty of parks and a nice meandering river and a nice big shopping mall which kept Ellie amused for a while! Spent the afternoon wandering around the South Bank where there is an artificial beach on the river bank and an arts market and yet more parkland – a really nice chilled out place and a very liveable city it seems!
Off early the next morning for our trip to Australia Zoo – home of the late Steve Irwin, both of us were very, very excited about this – seeing as though we were highly unlikely to see much wild wildlife in our short 3 weeks here! It seems thought, that the Aussies have picked up one bad habit from their British ancestors, a rubbish public transport system, they were doing works on the lines so it took us ages to get to the zoo by a combination of train and bus, but eventually we made it and were let loose amongst the animals! The nice thing about the zoo is that the staff walk about with animals for you to interact with and no sooner had we entered we were greeted by a staff member with a shingleback lizard called Homer. After seeing a few reptiles we went off to feed the elephants, a very good start to the day, Ellie went round 3 times it was so good Next we went to see the “show” in the crocoseum, an impressive 5,000 seater stadium with big screen where we were treated to displays by elephants, snakes, birds etc and best of all, Graham the saltwater crocodile who was very big and very impressive. As much as i’m not so keen on performing animals it was an incredible show!
Next we headed off to stroke and feed some kanagaroos which was pretty cool, then stroke some sleepy koalas which was even cooler! Made our way leisurely round the rest of the zoo, seeing lots of native birds, snakes, crocodiles, dingoes, tasmanian devils, wombats, reptiles and some not so native tigers, red pandas, komodo dragons and of course the elephants again! A very fun day out On the way back we drove past the glasshouse mountains at sunset which was pretty impressive, although I was expecting something a bit bigger than oversized ant-hills! When we got back we went for a wander round Brisbane in the evening to admire the cityscape and all the lights (and mainly to take lots of cool light photos!).
Spent the next day exploring more of Brisbane, spending time in the Botanical gardens and following the river round the city then across to the South Bank and up past the University and the city beach and parks to the museum – a bit of a disappointment compared to some museums we’ve been too, but interesting to learn about Australia and its history. Caught the bus down to Surfers Paradise in the evening and went for a walk through the skyscrapers and onto the beach, a very very bizarre place with high rise flats, hotels etc everywhere you can see and neon lights and dance music blaring out from all directions! The beach however is very nice and stretches all the way down the coast (which is also littered with skyscrapers all the way down) and we spent the next day at the beach then finished off with a look round town, which didn’t take long as there is very little to see (except for meter maids, girls in gold bikinis who go round topping up parking meters that have run out!). Got a bus down to Byron Bay that evening and arrived quite late so settled straight into our hostel and got up early the next day with the promise of free pancakes! Very good start to the day so Cape Byron Lodge hostel gets a big thumbs up, then off to the beach for a swim and a sunbathe and a look round town, again not a lot to see but it seems very nice and chilled out and quite hippy! The beach is absolutely stunning however and the water was nice and calm and not full of currents which made it very nice to swim in! After such a nice day we had the lovely treat of a 12 hour overnight bus to Sydney, which was not so comfortable at all….