We were thinking a lot about what to do in Australia before going on our trip. The country is just so huge and there are so many things to do (e.g. Uluru, Alice Springs and Outback, Great Ocean Road, West Coast incl. Perth, etc.pp.), that it’s a really tough choice. However, since we definitely wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef, our decision soon fell on the mother of all tourist roads in Australia: the East Coast. It was confirmed after talking to Erika and deciding to do part of the trip together – cause so randomly she was there visiting some PhD friends of hers over New Years. I think this is actually the most touristy area of Australia, and it actually felt as if we were in Germany. Here is a quick summary of our route:
Sydney > Brisbane > Byron Bay > Brisbane > Noosa > Fraser Island (Erika only) > Rockhampton > Airlie Beach > Whitsunday Islands > Cairns > Great Barrier Reef > Cairns
> Erika: Asia
> Rudi & Isi: Melbourne & Tassie
The Start of our ROADTRIIIIP
We decided to skip the first leg from Sydney to Brisbane due to lack of time. Therefore the 3 of us – Erika, Rudolf, and me – took a flight together. When we arrived in Brisbane and went to pick up our car at the airport, we had our first surprise. We had booked a small SUV, but what we got was a Holden Colorado 7!!! It’s a fu***** HUGE SUV! Haha! We were pretty scared of it at first, but it turned out to be AWESOME! It was super huge, didn’t have any “beepers” and still nothing happened to it after our whole roadtrip. Even Erika was driving it (and still: nothing happened to it!) This is a total miracle car for me from now on, and I think everyone of us still feels the connection 🙂 (Btw – is Holden the local “Opel”???)
So our first drive was back down south around 160km to Byron Bay, because apparently it’s one of the best spots on the whole East Coast. Luckily Australia has – except for driving on the left, of course – the sense of using normal measurement systems like km and km/h. Byron Bay indeed was nice, even though we spend almost all of our available day there planning the rest of the trip in a local travel agency, while having the best hole-in-the-wall coffee ever just a few houses away from there. At least we still managed to do the famous beach walk in the nature reserve attached to Byron before heading back to Brisbane to stay.
The Bad Part
As I have been telling before, Rudolf and me were somehow a bit unlucky in Laos and had a little accident. But no, this was not the last of our hospital visits on this trip! So my first stop in Brisbane was the podiatrist 😀 Anyways, my foot was a bit useless for a few days, but the visit for 90 bucks was worth it after all! Brisbane is a really pleasant city, nothing special but still nice. We had a really fancy schmancy hotel with an awesome cafe downstairs, where we had the best eggs benedict, acai bowls and cuppas. Very enjoyable.
Due to my foot being impaired, Rudolf and me could unfortunately not take the tour of Fraser Island – which is covered in sand. And that’s not so good for a completely bandaged big toe. Anyways, Erika went and you can read her awesome blog post with some really helpful information (yes, really! :)) here.
Before she went though, we visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and cuddled with lots of koalas and kangaroos – weeeey, we were so in love (Erika and me, anyways)… So here are like a million pictures from this nice trip & park! Btw. Did you know that Koalas sleep up to 20 hours a day? We always called Rudolf our little Koala 🙂
So when Erika was gone to Fraser Island (read about it here), Rudolf and me chilled out in Brisbane for one more day, and then headed north to our next stop Noosa, where we would pick up Erika again after 2 days. The drive up there is just spectacular and you can stop by many nice little beach towns – including Malloolaba and Coolum Beach, recommendations from my hair dresser in Brisbane. We stayed in an Air BnB around 20 mins drive inland from Noosa, Eumundi – which is basically in the middle of freaking nowhere. And unfortunately, the next hospital visit was near.
The Worse Part
The first night we stayed there I definitely knew that I got a bladder infection, and as you need a prescription, our way led us to the nearest public hospital half an hour away in Nambour. And even though I was suffering, it turned out to be a fun night!
We arrived at around 21.30 and left the emergency room, I think at 2am in the morning. Obviously, a bladder infection is not very dangerous and therefore we had to wait a long time and let all the pregnant, kids and otherwise indisposed people pass us. The best thing was when two young guys around 18 came in at midnight. One of them had his ankled wrapped in duct tape and still something weird sticking out of it. Turned out that he thought he had been bitten by a snake in a field. When the reception nurse asked him if he felt weird/dizzy/nauseaous (the standard question), he just said quote: Well, I’m tripping a bit, but I’m not sure if it’s because of the bite or because of the ecstasy I took.
Lol, at least he’s honest. Of course, I let him pass me in the queue 😀 As I said, we returned home between 2 and 3am after having been with the doctor for 5 minutes (as I knew I would) and he gave me antibiotics prescriptions (as I knew he would). Awesome night, all in all.
The (again) Good Part
Anyways, the next day we picked up Erika and spent an evening drinking wine (not me) and reading weird stuff on the Internet (check out this dude’s fond memories of his visit to Berghain in Berlin), and the day after we started our loooong long drive to Rockhampton. On the way we drove through the Cooloola Recreation Reserve, where we took our little Colorado for a beach drive. I have to admit that I was really scared of getting stuck in the sand, but Erika and Rudolf convinced me of the yolo way of life. Generally, the drive was very long, we had to stop every hour so I could go to the toilet and we arrived in Rockhampton at 2am in the night. Which was kind of sad because we were in a nice enough hotel that night.
On the next morning we started off with our carefully chosen by Erika activity in Rockhampton. We didn’t only want to use it as a stop over but also wanted to do something useful. Rockhampton is actually Australias “beef capital” – but unfortunately we didn’t get to enjoy it very much. Erika (yes, the vegetarian…) researched and we made a visit to the local caves, the Capricorn Caves.
It was nice enough, and the tour well-guided, and for Erika this was actually the first cave to visit. Rudolf and me were a little bit less impressed but ok 😀 It had a complete dark room (the “Cathedral”) where they are holding wedding ceremonies, and the guide turned off all the light and let Hallelujah (the acoustic version) play very loudly – that was reeeeally nice and goosebumpy 🙂 Then on the way out we had to squeeze through a super tiny crack and there was one fat dude… I still marvel today at how he made it through – with his shirt completely dirty from the wet walls, but anyways!
The Best Part
Then it was only a half day’s drive to beautiful Airlie Beach, from where our next adventure shall begin – in the next blogpost: The Whitsunday Islands!