Byron Bay - Surfers Paradise - Brisbane - Noosa - Rainbow Beach - Hervey Bay..., Queensland
We had about 3 days in Byron Bay, it was a really nice little surfers town, just all along one street, all of our surfing group from the last week stuck together which was nice, we had a picnic in the park one afternoon and then spent the afternoon catching some rays on the beach, it was a beautiful setting, the sun was shining and the water was so clear, you could swim out to a wreck just off the shore and the lighthouse was standing over us.
In the evening we went to the others hostel and had a few drinks, tequila shots in the eye cropped up again which seemed to be a theme of the surfing week, and once we had to leave the hostel we wandered down to the beach at about midnight and just sat together chatting and Aaron was showing me and Antonia all the stars and what it all meant, it was a pretty amazing feeling.
I also bumped into Dave from Thailand in Byron, just wandering down the street so had a quick catch up but he was moving on to meet Abby (from Thailand too) to do Fraser Island, I would have really liked to do it with them but they were moving a bit too fast and I didn't really want to miss anything. I spent a few days just getting myself sorted, I booked my Fraser Island and Whitsunday Island trips and we cooked in our hostel most of the time which felt very homely.
Good news!! I'm no longer a lonely traveller :o) Patrick who i met first in Sydney and Beth from Surf School are coming with me up the coast so we booked all our buses together so I'm very happy, although your never alone out here it's nice to have a group to do everything with.
On the last night I moved to The Arts Factory Hostel, it was really cool, was out of the town a bit in the forest and felt like a little community, they had didgeridoo lessons (no idea how to spell that sorry!) meditation, massages and yoga classes in their tents it was very hippy, it would have been nice to stay a bit longer. Although I say I stayed there I didn't actually sleep in there at all, for that evening we booked a restaurant as quite a few of us were leaving in the morning, me, Beth, Patrick and Lauren got there first not having seen it and realised how posh it was - not a backpackers restaurant so there was the table laid for about 15 people, we'd been served water and given menus and we had to get up and do a runner! Very embarrassing but we found a pub type thing next door which did theee best food ever so we were happy, proper comfort food. We went back to the others hostel again and we think the security guard was on something as he was very laid back and looked a little bit out of it so we had quite a bit of time drinking out there, we planned to go to the lighthouse to see the sunrise so at about 2 i walked back to the arts factory and didn't really see much point in sleeping as i would have to get up at 5 so stayed up and we got a taxi up to the lighthouse after waking Aaron up from a very deep drunken sleep! ...It was dark, cold and raining! Aand the sun never came hehe, we were sat there and it just went from dark to light with no sun appearing so that definitely wasn't worth staying up the whole night for but at least we tried!
I got on my first Oz Experience bus the next day to start the next bit of travelling up the east coast, we got to Surfers Paradise which was quite a big city, we stayed in a YHA right on the marina side so it was beautiful, we met Filly and Jim who had done the Thailand experience with Beth a few months ago so went to get some tea with them and they were lovely!
We visited Dreamworld which was a theme park, the gold coast was famous for, we got there and there were absolutely no queues which was such a change from England, but i think I've got a bit bigger now so the rides didn't seem as exciting as when i was younger but it was still a really good day, we met some nice Irish guys on "The Big Drop" to which i pretty much had to carry Beth off as she was in so much shock :o) But it was a good day, really should have got the picture of that ride, her face was amazing!
Our next stop was Brisbane, we left that same day so got there in the evening, a lot of people had said that it wasn't really worth staying in Brisbane unless you had family there as there's not a whole lot to do so we just moved into our hostel 'Chill' cooked some dinner, went to bed and woke up at 5 to get on the next bus straight away, me managing to miss the step on my bunk so ended up pretty much falling off it face first and getting a huuuuge bruise on my knee, I'm not too sure how i managed to end up on my feet in the end but that was quite an amusing start to the day!
After Brisbane, was Noosa, this was an absolutely beautiful place, we met 2 people Emily and Beccy from the bus so shared a room with them and in the afternoon got a bus to a secluded beach called "Sunshine Beach" and spent the afternoon there chilling out and then we had a BBQ in the evening on the beachside, it was a really good day, felt like a true Australian!
The next day we had booked a camel ride over the beach so we got picked up and taken to Tewantin across the river, we signed papers in an office (which was a shed in the middle of a field!!) and then hopped on! There was only the 4 of us and the guide so it was really good, we had a walk through the bush first which was beautiful and then we went along the beach for about an hour, it was soo good, so much sturdier than a horse!
In the afternoon Patrick and Beccy went to a little cove and me and Beth went for a walk in the National Park, it was about 3 hours long along the coastline and then through the bush on the way back, we saw a wild koala tucked up in his tree and turtles off the coastline, it was beautiful and felt good to do some exercise! We all thought we could have stayed a few more days in Noosa as it was so beautiful but had to get going for our Fraser Island Trip.
Our next stop was Rainbow Beach and guess what we found there, a category 5 cyclone, we'd heard of it developing over the sea but it was forecasted to hit right where we were, everybody's Fraser Island trips were being cancelled and people were being evacuated from the island, we still had 1 week till our trip so were hoping but our Rainbow stay wasn't very exciting as it was torrential rain and gale force winds for most of it! We got along with the people in our room really well so went for some drinks under the cover of a terrace by the beach the first night, we had the next day doing aabsolutley nothing but staying in and reading and then the sun attempted to come out the next day so the other 3 (Beccy's now travelling with us too!) went to the beach for some surfing, but seeing as there was a cyclone not too far from us the waves weren't really great for beginners!
The next day was absolute torrential rain, the other three had met a local surfing the day before who said he'd take them for some better waves but i thought this was a little bit dodgy so we ended up just have brunch with him and his friend which was nice, something a bit different, on the way back we nearly got interviewed by a journalist about tourists being stuck by the cyclone as we looked suitably dressed in our raincoats and no shoes as they'd just get soaked but she found pictures to take of the bus loads of people leaving the area and we didn't really want to wait in the rain!! Rainbow wasn't the most exciting of weeks for us, it was a tiny street and I'm sure it would have been lovely in the sunshine but definitely not in torrential rain which was a bit of a shame.
We actually left to travel up to where the cyclone was! People thinking we were a little crazy but we were determined, we didn't want to go back south and backtrack. Hervey Bay was where we were supposed to go for our Fraser Trip, but everyone had had to be evacuated and so ours was cancelled, it was a real shame and there were no buses to get out of it so we were stuck in an industrial estate type place for about 4 days. One day when the rain had stopped we found some lunch and then took a wander down to the beach, you could see the damage that the cyclone had done to it, the sea was completely washed out exposing all the rocks and the sand had been taken away, it kind of hit us that we were right next to a cyclone out to the sea. It was pretty windy walking back so we took shelter in our nice little house of a hostel, we were sharing with some good people and it was nice to have a house situation rather than the bog standard hostels we were used to. The next day we decided to go to the cinema, it was amazing how we just decided to go and then in the day through talking to people at bus stops, in our house and all over the place it ended up about 12 of us going, formed a big group quite easily! We saw The International which was ok; our Israeli friend started snoring through it so that probably summed it up better :-P The next day we stayed indoors the whole day, i read a lot that day!
I went for a run along the beach the next day in the rain which was surprisingly relaxing and we were moving on north that day giving up on Fraser, but the cyclone was forecasted to move with us so we weren't having much luck! We were wishing we were back in Noosa with the sunshine! Xx