Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays.
Time certainly flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe I’m writing this over two months into my travels, it seems like only yesterday Mum and I were having an emotional breakdown in the kitchen saying bye to each other. A lot of people come to Australia to travel the East coast and I can 100% see why. Beautiful beaches with the whitest sand, sunny weather lasting days on end and so many people with interesting stories who become your travelling companions for part of your journey.
Sophie and I started in Cairns where we of course made a day trip to The Great Barrier Reef to snorkel the corals and see sharks, turtles and lots of fish. We explored the surrounding area visiting Palm Cove Beach and went up on the Sky Rail to see the amazing views of the rainforest. Sophie then flew down to Byron Bay leaving me as a solo traveller which I have come to love.
Exploring Cairns Botanical Gardens.
From Cairns I got on my first of many Greyhound buses to take me to Mission Beach where unfortunately I had a few rainy days! I then went down to Townsville and caught the ferry over to Magnetic Island. If you’ve never been it should be a must if you ever come to Australia. The small island is 80% National Park so there are plenty of walks, lots of wildlife to see and of course many beaches to visit. After spending a couple of days exploring the island with new friends, I was invited to stay with the lovely locals Geoff and Sharon for a week. They totally spoiled me with delicious home cooked food, meals out and showing me the island through locals eyes. We went toad racing (yes toad racing), snorkelling, koala spotting, hiking and so much more. I fell in love with Magnetic and would probably still be there if I hadn’t had other activities booked down the coast!
Feeding the Rock Wallabies.
Airlie Beach was the next stop on my travels where I boarded a huge catamaran with 27 others to sail around the beautiful Whitsundays. What an amazing experience- seeing Whitehaven Beach probably being the highlight, with the sand so fine you can wash your hair with it (or so they told me). Staying on board for two nights was the best way to explore the islands and a real highlight of my time in Australia so far.
To reach my next destination I had to take the 13 hour overnight bus to Hervey Bay, where a group of 20 headed in 4x4 jeeps to Fraser Island. Two nights camping was very entertaining with one girl refusing to sleep in the tent as they didn’t zip up so thought she was going to be eaten by a snake! Driving ourselves around to see the sites was so much fun and I met some really lovely people whilst staying there.
Floating down the Creek on Fraser Island.
The gorgeous town of Noosa was next on my list where I travelled with Kate and Danni two lovely girls I met on Fraser Island. Noosa consisted of scenic coastal walks, catching up with friends, kayaking along the river and lots of eating. So far on my east coast trip the food had been ok but nothing amazing, however, Noosa offered plenty of fresh salads, smoothies and loads of cafes which had to be visited!
The Fairy Pools on Noosa National Park Coastal Walk.
Salmon Pokè Bowl.
Next was Caloundra, a town slightly further down the coast and off the tourist track which presented even more beautiful walks along the coast and my first experience of stand up paddle boarding. My advice to any newbies is avoid wind and strong currents! We spent 50 minutes hard paddling one way for it to take 5 minutes to get back to where we started - great fun but hard work. The Australia Zoo was a short trip away and I had a great day there seeing animals from all over the world as well as the famous crocodile show dedicated to Steve Irwin. I then moved onto Coolangatta which had more beautiful beaches.
The final stop on my east coast journey before reaching Sydney was Byron Bay, a town full of hippies, cafes and shops I didnt dared enter or my bank balance would have suffered. Here I caught up with Sophie and spent my mornings walking and afternoons at the beach.
The weather throughout the whole trip has been hot and sunny with a very rare shower. Solo travel has been such an adventure as well as a confidence boost. I’ve met so many interesting people and made new friends from all over the world. My next move is to go on the 13 hour overnight bus down to Sydney where I’ll be staying with some friends and hopefully getting a little job to restore my funds before the next part of my travels, beginning in Perth in the New Year. Christmas is going to be spent in Manly (Sydney) with my cousins, Tom and Sophie, and Tom’s girlfriend is joining us shortly after. The East Coast has been truely amazing and I’ve loved every minute of it.