Exploring – Australia (part 1)

Twelve Apostles

Beach walks, iconic cities, and one massive cyclone.

We set off on the first day of our trip along the Great Ocean Road. We had done this drive before, but as we were heading that way we thought we’d to do it again to start our trip. We stopped at the Twelve Apostles to have another quick look. However, we’ve been spoiled so much the west coast of New Zealand’s south island that even on a beautiful sunny day the Great Ocean Road can no longer match it. We got in late to Anglesea, set up camp and had dinner.

The Great Ocean Road

The next day we drove to Albury for a few days, where we caught up with one of Jules’ friends.

Albury Sunset

As we were on our way to the east coast we stopped in the Aussie capital Canberra. We visited the parliament buildings, which I really enjoyed. It’s a very modern place that you can actually have a good look around.

Aussie Parlimant

Aussie parliament flag

Early the next day we set off and finally made it to Sydney, a place I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. We had two days there staying in Bondi Beach. We did all the usual tourist things – it was Sydney after all – you can’t go there and not see the opera house and the harbour bridge. We ended our last day there in a random bar trying different beers from around Australia. Good times.

Sydney

Sydeny Opra House

Next, we drove the short distance to Katoomba in the blue mountains. There we did some walking tracks, had some afternoon tea and went caving in the Jenolan caves. The weather was very cold and we were glad to be moving up and along the coast to the warmer climate.

Blue Mountains

We booked our next campsite for 5 nights as we wanted a nice long break to chill and do nothing. The place we stayed was called Lemon Pree Passage, a quiet little town with its own beach. The weather was really sunny and hot, a perfect time to chilled out for awhile. We also went for walks, swam in the sea and generally caught up on some much-needed rest and recovery.

Port Stephens

The next day the weather changed big time. During the drive to Coffs Harbour we had to stop and pull over as we actually couldn’t see the road in front of us. By the time we got there the place had had 270mm of rain. We set up our tent in the rain. Lucky, the next day the sun came back and we went to visit the CBD and then drove to the nearby forest to do some walking. We only made it half way, as deep into the track we got absolutely attacked by leeches.

Leeched

The next day was the big drive to Byron Bay. As soon as we got there we were both surprised by how touristy it is. We chilled out the first day then set off early the next day to visit Nimbin, at hippie town about 1-hour in-land. We really liked the small town, it was strange but also very chilled out. During the last day in Byron Bay I had a surf lesson – you can’t go to the surf capital of the world and not do some surfing. I surfed for 4 hours and managed to stand up quite often. I really enjoyed it and if I lived by a beach with waves I’d definitely consider taking it up regularly.

The beach at Byron Bay

After Byron we had a was the short drive to the Gold Coast. The rain had set in again so we decided to upgrade to a cabin to have a break from the rain. Once it stopped, though, we had the pool all to ourselves, so we went for a dip before heading into the centre. It was still cloudy so the beach didn’t look like it does in the tourist pictures. We walked around the CBD and watched a few short 7D movies.

Cloudy Gold Coast

Next was Brisbane. It was a nice enough city but seemed really empty. We walked around the centre and had a look at the science exhibition in the museum.

Brisbane

After the city, we drove to Noosa, a small town known for its great surf. The weather was cloudy and we’d seen on the news that there was a cyclone forming off the north east coast. We made a note to keep and eye on it. In Noosa, we went for a walk along the coast through the national park, where I finally saw a snake in the wild.

My first snake…at last!

Next, it was Harvey Bay. Another small town by the beach. The sun finally came out and we went from cloud and rain to sun and humidity. We weren’t used to the heat up north yet as it had basically been overcast since we got to Queensland. So to cool down we had another dip in the pool in the afternoon. Again we had to whole pool, including spa pool to ourselves.

Noosa

Our next stop was Bundaberg. The only thing we had planned to do here was to visit the Bundaberg Rum Distillery.

Bundaberg Rum Distillery

As we were driving to our next stop in Yeppoon, the cyclone (named Debbie) further up north, had grown larger and was about to hit Airlie Beach the day that we were due to arrive. We decided to stay away for an extra night in Yeppoon. We upgraded to a cabin as we were getting the high winds and heavy rain even this far south. And that’s where I’m currently writing this blog post. Sat in a cabin as the heavy rain continues to fall outside.

Calm before the cyclone…

The first half of our east coast trip has been amazing. Australia is so big, as you drive up, the different places can sometimes seem like completely different countries.

Part 2 of our trip will be coming next month as we venture further into northern Queensland.

Some Useful Info:

Country – Australia

Language – English

Currency – Australian Doller

£1 GBP – 1.6 Dollers

Accommodation – Anglesey Holiday Park, Albury Borderlands Big4, Canberra Brassey Hotel, Bondi Beachhouse, Katoonba Falls Caraven Park, Port Stephens Koala Shores, Byron Bay Big4, Gold Coast Biggera Waters, Brisbane Metropolitan Hotel, Noosa Ingenia Holiday Park, Harvey Bay Big4, Bundaberg Cane Village, Yeppoon Capricorn Palms

Main Activities – Coastal drives, beach walks, city exploring, forest walks, chilling in the pool.

Time Spent Exploring – 30 days

Date Explored: – March 2017

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