We arrived in Brisbane after a relaxing few days in hervey bay and it seemed weird being back to a big city again! We explored the area and settled at southbank where they had a huge man made lagoon with sand, a wheel like the London Eye, public bbqs and stunning views over the city. The first night we had a bit of a wild one, keen to enjoy the end of "Movember" we headed down to our hostels club and had moustaches drawn on which entitled us to cheap drinks!
The next morning was one we had been waiting for; The Boyces had arrived!...
We spent the morning catching up on stories and showing photos on out past few months adventures. Tim was keen to embrace the backpacker lifestyle and Mum and Dad were keen to explore Australia.
The first day together we spent around the lagoon and Mum and Dad treated us to a lovely meal in Queens St Mall. This was a luxury we weren't used to. We finished the night at the hostel club where a live male stripper performed, what a sight!
The next day we picked up our hire car and the first of many boyce car journeys began! We went up to Mount Cootha, a huge hill that over looks the city, and we decided to show our new guests a taster of one of our new favourite past times... Trekking! We went on a mission in search of a waterfall forgetting Brisbane is currently going through a drought so we didn't quite what we were looking for but we still had a good energetic 45 minute walk.
Our day ended perfectly with a BBQ at the southbank and some goon to wash it down which didn't impress the parents too much.
As usual Paul couldn't sit still and threw his ball up a tree and proceeded to climb up to try and shake it down but it didn't work an instead awoke a bat who then wee'd on my head!
Another car journey driving the wrong way, incurring a toll fine and ending up the wrong side of town we eventually left Brisbane and arrived in Noosa, thanks mainly to MY map reading skill!
We stayed in a lovely apartment each with our own bedroom ensuite and balconies right in the centre of town. Our 1st afternoon we visited the nearest beach which was just 100m away and we built a 3 man sofa in the sand.
Fraser island: We took a day trip over to the beautiful 74 mile sand island! On ferry ride over from rainbow beach we saw dolphins in the sea and once we had reached the island our beasty truck drove us along the beach and our adventure began. We took the old mining road 18km inland through the rainforest (Fraser island is the only island in the world where the rainforest grows straight out of the sand) the island is pretty amazing with only a handful of people living there and everyone having to drive 4X4 vehicles as there are no made roads.
We visited various freshwater lakes including Lake Mackenzie and Eli Creek which is a beautiful freshwater natural lazy river only about 2 foot deep with Rainforest views all around. We also reached a wreck (SS Maheno) which sank in 1935 and is now a permanent fixture here in the beach.
We then drove 57km along the beach back to the ferry pick up and our driver detoured to drive us along a long stretch rainbow beach back to our apt in Noosa!
The next few days we spent with Mum's cousin and her family who live out here. We had a fantastic time and they showed us some of the local sites of Queensland. We went to a market, watched kite boarders at Noosa beach and had a lovely BBQ. We visited their local beach in Mooloolaba where we all went out and had a chance to drive a speed boat and nose at luxury houses that back onto the river.
We stayed in a chalet at a lovely holiday park on a river and this is where Tims love of sofa beds began! It was this or sleep on a dangerously positioned single bunk bed nailed to the wall above me and Paul. Me and Tim surprised Paul one afternoon by hiring a 4 dearer bike and we all tool turns to drive it around the lake and had a right laught! (even the oldies got involved!) we went on a a coastal woodland walk in search of local animals, then we watched paddle boarders and speedy kayakers along the river. The last night we treated ourselves and got dressed up for a lovely posh meal with oysters and expensive wine! It was totally worth it and a nice chance to catch up on what we had already done in such a short time.
One day from Burleigh heads we visited Byron Bay. This beautiful low rise surfer town is certainly popular with travellers however, retains an innocent local feel and we just loved it! Definitely a place to go back to. We spent most of our time on the beach and also had a look around the shops in search of Billabong shorts for Paul which is now a regular quest at new towns! Here we visited Cape Byron light house and on our walk around the grounds we saw quite a lot of wildlife. A mountain goat was chilling on a gradient of about 50degrees! A rock wallaby sat infront of us just off the pathway and looking down out to sea we spotted dolphins, stingrays and turtles. We all wished we could have stayed here for longer and embraced the hippie vibe!
Every traveller talks about or has heard about surfers paradise and how it's a great place to go for surfing and a good time. We were quite shocked as we arrived there. Admittedly it was a dull cloudy day but it wasn't what any of us expected. High rise hotels and apartment blocks were not positioned in a flattering way such as the strip at Vegas but it was more like standing in the centre of benidorm overlooked by encroaching tall buildings in no real order. We struggled to relate to the town and think it struggles with it's own identity, having suffered a rushed manic boom without direction because of increased popularity.
Without weather on our side, the beach was a no go zone with only a strip of around 25 feet wide of icy cold waters to swim in so we headed for the shops!
This was one of a few stop off on our journey south to Sydney. We stayed a nice hotel on the beach and took advantage of their amenities; giant chess, table tennis, air hockey and hot tub. We stopped at an opal stone shop and Paul bought me and Tim an amethyst stone, supposed to promote soberness and purity! We'll see!
We hired kayaks (with special foot pedals for steering) at this lovely fishing village. We had a laugh because Dad and I were in a double and had to figure out how to steer it together. After a stroll around the town and a drink by the marina (and a bit sunburnt) we hit the road to continue our journey south.
We stayed at another holiday park set in a forest on a lake and we were pleasantly surprised. Our villa had a nice 4 bed dorm inside which reminded us of the hostels. We ate pizza whilst watching the sunset over the lake on our terrace and spotting kangaroos hopping on the other side of the lake.
We stayed right in the centre of the city in a hostel with very cheap drinks which pleased us! Mum and dad went for the flasher option and stayed in an apartment in Darling Harbour. The weather was slightly disappointing so we had to wrap up warm, apparently it was the worst start to winter they had seen for 50years!! We explored the city, visiting the Aquarium which was filled with so many amazing fish, huge turtles, sharks, and stingrays, it felt like being back on the great barrier reef! Wildlife was our next stop, Darling Harbour's very own zoo. There we saw all creatures Australian, a huge crocodile, wombat, wallabys, kangaroos, emus, and by far mums best sight were the koalas! Although it wasn't quite the same as seeing them in the wild, it was still pretty cool, and we sat up on the roof terrace with a hot chocolate with them surrounding us. After hearing so much about the Cassowary in Mission Beach and how they can kill a human with one claw we were very eager to see one, and they didn't disappoint looking even scarier in the flesh!
We decided to be a bit daring whilst in Sydney, Dad and Tim took the adventurous route and decided to climb the Harbour Bridge! They said it was an amazing experience with 360 degree views over the city. Mum, Paul and I took the more laid back route around the city and went on a helicopter flight! Very flashpacker we know! We flew over Bondi and Coogee beaches, the Harbour Bridge, Opera house and the city, it was an amazing experience and what a way to see Sydney!
Then the time came for the Boyce's to go home. After spending nearly 3weeks together it was really hard to say goodbye, but we have brilliant
memories of our trip and the reality is we only have 7weeks left of travelling!
Now we are heading to Melbourne to begin our tour of the Great Ocean Road in a campervan.