After finishing the semester at Sydney Uni we decided to go travelling around Australia. During the Easter break we went to Melbourne to drive the Great Ocean Road. The spectacular views helped us overcome the cold and we enjoyed all the picturesque villages along the coast line, as well as the Grampians National Park where we went hiking.
During the winter break we decided that we wanted to drive the east coast but due to the cold temperatures in the southern parts we decided to begin in Brisbane. Together with three other Swedish students, who we met in Sydney, we drove from Brisbane to Cairns with many stops on the way. We got to experience the Winter Festival in Brisbane, which was not that exotic for five Swedes that are used to cold temperatures from October to March. Apparently ice-skating was the main activity and there was a skating rink at the main square, which was well-visited. Due to the fact that we are used to ice skating even on lakes, we thought that this was quite funny since the temperature was around 20 degrees.
Next stop was Australia Zoo. This is definitely the best Zoo I´ve been to due to the closeness and the variety of the shows, especially the Crocodile show. This should not be missed and afterwards we had gained huge respect for those animals. It was amazing to get the chance to pat koalas and kangaroos and get close encounters with animals’ we´ve only seen before on TV. The Zoo is definitely worth a visit and it´s suitable for kids as well as adults.
Just one hour drive from the Zoo is Noosa. A beautiful village situated next to the sea. The beach must be one of the most beautiful in Australia with white sand and crystal clear water. Noosa seems like the perfect holiday destination for families due to the many restaurants, the wide stretching beach and the national park.
One of the main attractions along the east coast is Fraser Island. We decided to stay in Hervey Bay the night before the island tour. The village itself did not offer many activities and unfortunately the rain was pouring down during our stay. We got to experience a totally different Fraser Island compared to the pictures in tourism brochures that we had been provided. The rain made the 4WD cars difficult to control on the sandy roads, so we were relieved that we had decided against driving by ourselves. The world’s largest sand island did not leave us disappointed. Visiting Eli Creek, the ship wreck, champagne pools and Lake McKenzie was amazing. Make sure to book a tour that has both a driver and an aboriginal guide that can tell you all about their culture so you can enjoy the island properly.
We asked the owner of our hostel which villages along the road to Airlie Beach were worth a visit and got the answer “none”. After being told horror stories about every stop we had thought about making we decided to go straight to Airlie Beach, a 12 hour drive. We left the rain behind us and met the sun in Airlie Beach. The charming town is a hub for travellers going out to the Whitsundays and it’s a popular destination for both families and young backpackers. We stayed two nights before commencing sailing. There are several companies providing boats but due to the fact that some of us easily get seasick we were recommended a motor catamaran. The beautiful archipelago must be Australia’s main attraction and it felt like we were in paradise. Luckily the winds are mild during the winter months, which made the trip smooth. Our boat offered several activities during the days and we did a lot of snorkelling in different bays. We saw turtles, manta rays, reef sharks and several other species that made the trip an awesome adventure. The main attraction is Whitehaven beach, which is known all over the world due to the crystal clear water and pure white sand. We were completely captured by the beauty of the beach and took hundreds of photos of the area. Both evenings at sea gave us breathtaking sunsets and I don’t remember how many times we repeated, “This is life”.
Along the coast up to Cairns we decided to stop at Mission Beach, where many backpackers and people travelling in caravans decide to stay for a few nights. The deserted beach is well worth a visit.The final stop on our trip was Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Ever since I took my diving certificate a few years ago I´ve dreamt about diving in the world’s most famous reef and I was not disappointed. There are several companies providing tours to the reef and we chose to go with one of the fastest boats to get more time at the reef. The colourful corals and the many species of fish made the day unforgettable. And we found Nemo!
Cairns is a charming town with plenty of activities. There are several beaches and popular holiday destinations just north of the city centre, including Palm Cove. Further north is Port Douglas, the perfect stop on the way up to Cape Tribulation. The charming village is a popular destination for tourists due to the close proximity of the barrier reef and the rainforest.
A must do, while in the area, is to visit Cape Tribulation located within the Daintree National Park. Cape Tribulation is known to be the place where the barrier reef meets the rainforests, which creates beautiful scenery. The Captain Cook Highway from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation is situated next to the ocean and even the drive itself is spectacular. The national park provides great hiking trails and beautiful beaches, and is a must to visit.
The east coast of Australia is probably one of the world’s most beautiful areas. There are plenty of adventurous activities offered along the coast and it doesn’t matter if you´re looking for a relaxing holiday or an eventful journey, you won’t be disappointed.
We would like to thank Victoria very much for sharing both her passion for travel and her experience with us. If you would like to contribute to our blog by sharing your travel experiences with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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