The Lumineers at The Tivoli in Brisbane
"Heritage", 99 sculpted animals (not taxidermy) drinking from one pool of water
"Headlong" 99 sculpted wolves leaping into a glass wall and tumbling to the ground
Happy baby Benji and Daddy Davey at Brunch
I picked up my Jucy campervan on Tuesday Jan 21st and hit the road heading north towards Brisbane. Before I forget to mention it, I have enjoyed some Australian company on all my drives in the form of my GPS voice "Adam". Adam is a charming Aussie bloke who is very helpful when it comes to navigating and he is never judgemental. If I take a wrong turn he tells me in his Aussie accent "Alright mate, when you get a chance turn around, and if those backseat drivers don't keep it down, drop 'em off at the next servo". I ignored his advice once and kept driving the wrong way because I wanted to do the tourist drive and he eventually said "It's allright mate, chuck a U-ey". Whenever I arrive somewhere I've planned to go he says "You have reached your destination, grab your sunnies, roll up the windows, and don't let the seagulls eat your chips". Adam got me safely from Sydney to Brisbane and when I picked up my new campervan and GPS I thought I would try out the British fellow on the GPS. He was very droll, spoke too slowly, and had nothing on Adam so I switched back.
I spent the first night near Noosa at a Scouts Camp beside a lake which was fully equipped with hot and cold showers, a kitchen area, powered sites for $12/night (WOW!). I got up early to drive to Noosa for a surf lesson. I've done one before in Hawaii and it just didn't stick. I was able to get up on the board a few times but it was really hard work and resulted in full-on exhaustion after 2 hours, a bruised chest, and a sunburnt face. But I'm glad I had another try!
Scout Camp campsite
The next day I headed up to the Town of 1770 (Seventeen Seventy on maps) because I had heard that Mantas frequent the waters offshore which marks the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. I spent the night in a campsite near town and signed up to do a cruise to Lady Musgrave Island (80km offshore) for first thing in the morning to do two dives. The boat held 130 people and made it out to the island quickly and smoothly. Upon reaching the coral-fringed Lady Musgrave Island the water changed from dark blue to a very light blue with greenish patterns visible where the corals were very close to the surface. There were only 5 divers and the rest of the tourists were there to snorkel and to go for a walk on the island. Sadly we did not see any Mantas but the reef was colorful and the coral was relatively healthy... but no t the best I've seen. Visibility was pretty poor with only 3m visibility on our second dive.
Corals of all shapes, sizes, and colors. This view reminds me of a birds next in tree branches
This Giant Clam was the most beautiful shade of blue. Note the moray eel photobombing from the upper left
After my dives I drove about an hour north to a free campsite which is a rest area that allows overnight guests. There were even showers there and a friendly cat who showed up conveniently as I cooked my steak dinner ;) The following day I had a long drive (6 hours) to Airlie Beach. This is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and I wanted to spend Australia Day there (Jan 26) and do a tour of some of the islands, hence the long drive. At one point of the drive I could see by my GPS that I was very close to the coast so I pulled over to have a look and found the most eerily beautiful wide sandy beach fringed by mangroves which were high and dry at low tide and beyond that desert-like scene was the most blue water you could imagine.
Path to the beach
Bush Stone Curlew
In the morning, a 10 minute drive took me to another beach within Cape Hillsborough National Park which had a number of walking tracks and a huge beach. I did a 5km loop to a lookout and saw even more wildlife!
Wallaby...This type is called a "Pretty Face Wallaby"... no joke
Signs advising caution due to marine stingers with Vinegar for first aid
At low tide this causeway can be used to walk across to Wedge Island which is inaccessible at high tide. If you time your hike badly you could get stranded on the island!
Beautiful patterns were formed on the beach by some creature rolling balls (probably of poo)...likely a small crab or shrimp
This rock formation looked like a wave or a serpents head
Driving in Queensland has been beautiful with big skies, long shadows, and a very "Saskatchewan" like quality of light that makes me nostalgic
TOMORROW IS AUSTRALIA DAY!