Port Macquarie

This was used as a stop over on the way to Sydney as Byron bay to Sydney is a huge journey!

We arrived mid afternoon and it was drizzling but as we were only there for a night we soldiered on and went to find the arboretum. There were koala bears, snakes and hundreds of bats residing along the board walk.

We then walked down to the beach. There are some really cool painted rocks here which random people who have visited the area have painted… Sadly we didn’t have the time or the resources to paint one ourselves.

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After we jumped onto the free tour to see the kangaroos that the hostel offered. For some reason every night at dusk lots of kangaroos jump on over to a local golf course to feed. Sadly we got there just after the sun had gone down and we could just about see the outline of the roos!

To cheer us up little France treated us all the dominoes (which is amazing and so much better than England!) and we got some other naughty treats of cookies and chocolate.

After eating pizza we lounged in the hostels TV room making friends with people from all over the world… That’s been one of the best things about traveling, the people you meet and the stories and advice you share. Without realising we managed to stay chatting for about 4 hours, waaay past my bedtime.

The following morning we were packed up and away early to head to Sydney… In the rain!

Byron bay

The whole way along the coast people had been raving about Byron Bay and how laid back it was. We arrived late with the rain and the gloomiest looking clouds. However, after our terrible experience at bunk we had made sure we had lovely, private accommodation! Well worth the extra money.

After doing our expert unpacking routine (that Fran, probably, rightly so doesn’t participate in as we’re always leaving again in a couple of days but it makes Fergal and I feel better) we headed out to look at the huge stretch of beach. It looked pretty dramatic with the weather.

After we ventured into the small but really cute town to do a shop before heading back and cooking a feast! We had been warned that Byron bay was quite a hippy chilled place but I wasn’t prepared to see so many people in net flared trousers and no shoes! No one wore shoes anywhere, very strange.

We had the luxury of our own telly in our room so after our feast we headed back with cookies and feasted in front of the telly… I know not a very traveler thing to do but it’s the small luxuries you need sometimes. We also spent sometime this night trying to sort out CV’s and looking up jobs as Melbourne and the prospect of working was looming ever closer!

The following morning we were up early for breakfast and a big long walk along the huge beach. As we were up early we were able to take out the free bikes! We cycled through the town to the coastal path where we dismounted our bikes and hiked up to the most easterly point on the east coast and the lighthouse. It was a beautiful walk but not at a leisurely pace as the bikes had to be back within 2 hours of riding them off! Along the walk Fran was lucky enough to see a dolphin! I was very jealous. The views from along the walk we’re stunning as much of the east coast scenery is.

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After returning the bikes from our mammoth cycle hike up, hike down and cycle back we chilled out on the beach. It was a great surfer beach with huge waves! We then had a wander around the cute town.

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That night we treated ourselves to tea out in a cute local restaurant… Though being off chips for lent narrowed my decision down to one choice! We then walked round the very quiet and closed up town… Or so we thought until we bumped into a group of hippie people having a party/dance off on the corner of the street.

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Surfers paradise

Along the coast we had only heard bad things about surfers paradise so we decided that we would only stay the 1 night. The drive from Brisbane was only short luckily but on the way we stopped off at the huge water park!

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The clouds parted and the sun did come out. We had lots of fun and went on all the rides after having a picnic in the sun.

We continued our journey onto surfers paradise.

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Wearily we had booked into a hostel but we didn’t need to worry as it was lovely (Gold Coast backpackers). After leaving our bags we went to explore around surfers paradise.

It was high raised like people had said but it was brilliant! So clean, big and bright!

After wandering around we went back cooked tea and took a “short” walk around the bay to another resort. The walk seemed to go on for miles and miles… And after a quick drink in a very quiet bay we got a taxi home.

The next morning we were up early to look around before heading on a cruise around surfers paradise looking at the millionaires houses!

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The cruise was really good with lovely mid morning cake and tea.

After we ventured to the beach… Until it got cloudy we then headed off to our next stop byron bay!

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Brisbane

It was only a short drive Noosa to Brisbane but on the way we stopped at Australia zoo. This is the zoo Steve Irwin and family set up. It was a huge zoo but brilliant we saw lots of animals…

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A crocodile show…

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We got to feed the kangaroos…

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And cuddle (stroke) kuala bears.

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Fantastic day out and worth the $60 bucks. From here we drove into Brisbane our first big city. We were all excited to be in a city and nothing prepared us for what awaited us when we arrived at our hostel.

A rude lady checked us into the hostel come CLUB. A very loud already buzzing club at 4pm. She curtly told us there was no parking and to go and find some. Which we did after dumping our stuff in a smelly 8 dorm room. We were sharing this dorm with 3 boys who currently lived in the hostel and weren’t expecting to have to share their room.

After finding parking we reluctantly went back to the hostel to shower…. In the wee ridden shower… Homely to the boys living there.

As we didn’t overly like the hostel we headed to china town for a huge feed. It was a BYO so it would have been rude not too and since the club was in full flow back at the hostel we decided to stay out and try some of the very unique bars in Brisbane.
There was a rock come hunters bars and an upper class something bar…

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We then tried to get into another bar but our card ran out of juice and we decided it was a alternative/gay bar and headed “home” instead. The boys were back… When snoring like a bear, another had brought someone home with him… Alongside the music pumping until 6am I don’t think we slept very well.

We slept in late and at about midday finally made it into the city. South bank was in the glorious sunshine with lots of to do people and families enjoying it. There was lots of restaurants to choice from, a huge lagoon to swim in and a unique market going along the river side. It was a brilliant afternoon and it soon changed are negative opinion of Brisbane.

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That evening we cooked yummy teas and wandered the streets of Brisbane in search of milkshakes and cakes!

Noosa – Sunshine Coast

Arriving late and tired into Noosa we more or less unpacked and went to bed.

Waking up fresh the next morning we had breakfast, made a pack lunch and headed off in search of the National park. Much to Fran’s dismay we chose the longest route taking us all the way around the coast then heading back through the rainforest.

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It was a lovely walk with many different view spots.

We sat on another deserted beach and ate lunch… This turned out to be a nudist beach… Luckily we were all pretty tired and slept through the naked people.

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Once back at the car in the mid afternoon sun we decided to have a walk around Noosa town. Hands down one of the most beautiful towns we’ve seen but very well off. We had drinks and cakes watching a wedding before going back to base.

After cooking that evening we went back into Noosa to see it at night. There was a very lively bar full of your older and much richer people having a wild time with a pianist. The little town was just as lovely at night as in the day.

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Hervey Bay

It was a long drive Airlie to Hervey bay so we had a one night stop over in Rockhampton but as we didn’t see much I’ll just add the picture below.

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Arriving mid afternoon in Hervey Bay we checked into our dorm (it was nice woo!) then we headed off to do a quick shop before exploring the beach.

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It was very quiet along the shops and restaurants. Fran and I decided to try somewhere yummy for tea instead of cooking.

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The following day we chilled out on the deserted beach.

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Then had a picnic lunch before walking along the beach to the pier. The longest pier on the east coast at 800m long. The sunset from the pier was gorgeous.

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On the way back we decided to detour to see the botanical gardens, however as it was getting dark we couldn’t really see much past the entrance and were afraid of standing on the mass of frogs hopping around. This turned out to be a long detour and walking back to the hostel we were all tired and hungry. Tea was a mix up of whatever we had left over. Then we chilled out/fell asleep in the movie area.

We were up early the following day to go over to Fraser Island for the day. Possible my favouritist outting of Australia. This beast picked us up at 7:15am and took us over to the ferry.

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Fraser Island is a national park, the whole island is made of sand, one of, if not the, biggest natural sand island. To get around it you have to travel on a huge bus/truck thing or 4×4. For some miraculous reason many trees and plants have been able to grow in the sand. Our first stop on our day tour of Fraser Island was the natural lake made from rain water. It was pretty chilly but absolutely gorgeous…

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From here we drove across the island to central station. This use to be the area where they would mine the trees before the island was protected. Here we walked through a jungle vegetation…

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After was an amazing spread for lunch before touring up and down the 75 mile beach! Here we saw coloured sand …

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A ship wreck…

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Another creek, which we walked all the way down…

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And we even went in a tiny TINY plane and flew over the island seeing hidden lakes, butterfly lakes, Hervey Bay coast line, the ship wreck, sharks, rays and the trip previous to us had even saw a whale.

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I have to admit that I hardly saw any of this as I am terrified of flying and felt it was such an achievement just to sit in a tiny plane for 15 minutes.

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By the end of the day we were all shattered but our day didn’t end there as we were straight on the road to Noosa a little bit further south.

Airlie – Whitsundays

This was to be a weekend of drinking as Fergals friends were heading up to stay with us in a gorgeous fully kitted out apartment!

It was another 4 hour journey from Townsville to Airlie beach but completely worth it once we saw the beauty of the little town and the amazing apartment (wooooo no dorms for 2 nights) we were staying in.

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Whilst Fergal was picking his friends up from the airport Fran and I were domestic goddesses putting washes on, putting everything away and then lounging by the pool.

Once everyone was assembled we headed into the town to book a cruise to see some of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays with a stop off at Whitehaven beach (one of the worlds top 5 beaches!). After booking we did a shop to feed the 5 thousand for the weekend and enough alcohol for a party of 10 (not complaining as we got to take the leftovers with us!).

The rest of the afternoon was spent chatting, drinking and eating until it got into the late evening when we all got ready and drank even more before heading off to see what Airlie had to offer.

Being with 2 Irish boys meant that the first stop was to an Irish bar that had cheap drinks and a really good live band on. We then headed to mama Africa’s which is a club with statues of wild animals about the place. The night ended with a not needed but had to be done stop at the pie shop and McDonald’s.

Feeling strangely refreshed the next morning we headed for our trip to the Whitsundays and Whitehaven beach. The beach was gorgeous different to any of the beaches we had been to and the island was completely uninhibited making it quiet and feel special. The sand was so fine it was like walking in flour and it squeaked when you walked over it. It was on this beach that my favourite photo of the trip was very cleverly taken…

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After wading waist height through the clear water back on to the boat they fed us a yummy cream tea. We were all pretty silent for the trip home trying not to fall asleep.

A huge dominoes order was bought in for tea and our second night out was cancelled due to all of us being close to sleeping on the table.

Before heading off on our 7 hour journey to Rockhampton the next day we chilled out by the pool soaking up some last rays.

Townsville

Townsville was our first stop on our journey down south. It was a long 4 hour journey which was actually going to end up being one of our shorter journeys.

Arriving in the pouring rain we checked in and found out what there was to do. We hopped back into the car and headed to the waterside to feed the turtles and go for a walk to stretch our legs.

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hat evening we cooked a huge spaghetti bologense with garlic bread and an apple crumble for pudding! If the weather picked up, which it didn’t look likely to do, we were hoping to go over to magnetic island the following day so we had an early night in the freezing cold dorm… Freezing as when we first arrived the room of sweltering and we asked them to turn it down to 16degrees (all done at their main office we have no control) … The aircon goes on at 6pm and off at 8am…. I slept in trousers, Tshirt and a hoody and I still froze!

The following morning didn’t look promising to go over to magnetic island so instead we venture around the town centre, very cute and clean but also very quiet. We also looked around the marina then headed back to the strand. As we got there and to the beach the sun burst out making it a very hot day! Fran and I went and played on the free kiddies water park before joining Fergal on the very very quiet beach (we were the only ones there except the life guard!).

Just as the day was getting to it’s hottest point Fergal and I decided it was time to drag Fran up this monster…

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After lots of huffing and complaining we all made it to the top to look out at the beautiful scenes of Townsville.

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After making our way back down we were all very hot, bothered, sweaty and sunburnt so we hopped in the car back to the riverside where there was a hugeee free swimming pool we could jump into.

After all that sun Fran wasn’t very well so leaving her with a dominoes Fergal and I went out for a lovely burger tea and a wander around Townsville. Townsville is a quiet town but with lots of amenities and vibrance about it. We both decided it was a hidden gem and somewhere we could stay if it hadn’t of been so far away from home.

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Cairns

After two flights from Singapore to Oz we landed in a very dull and rainy Cairns. Our excitement for finding my little sister and being in Oz wasn’t dampened though and after dumping our stuff in our new surrounds (a dorm as Australia was far too expensive to carry on staying in hotels and there was the added person which hotels don’t always cater for) we headed off in our water proofs to find the little chicken egg!

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After a happy reunion we went to find food as the silly little sister hadn’t eaten since arriving in Oz over 24 hours ago. We sat in the pouring rain eating pizza and deciding what our plan would be. After, we picked up her huge rucksack and took her to see her new home.

We spent the afternoon planning and sorting before going out for our FREE tea (drink had to bought prior). After, we walked along the strand (pathway by the beach full of parks, BBQ areas, swimming pools, gyms and lots of cool free stuff) back to the hostel for a well needed early night in our bunk beds.

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The following day we had booked to go out to see the amazing Great Barrier Reef. Me being the sensible sister took some sea sickness before leaving… Those little sisters that didn’t found the boat journey out a very big sicky journey.

Under the water was amazing! It was so clear, peaceful and colourful. I’ve snorkelled before in Egypt and Fergal and I have done our own bits in Thailand but this was like nothing we’d ever seen before. There were huge clams, lots of nemos, bright blue starfish, huge strange fish, massive rainbow fish, tiny electric blue fish so much to see under the water. Seeing the reef was definitely a highlight of the whole trip…maybe not for Fran though as all she will always remember it for feeling extremely sick!

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Again that evening we had our free yummy tea before heading to bed super early again at about 9pm!

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On the Wednesday we picked our new wheels…

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And headed off to find some of the natural beauty spots in Cairns. Our first stop was crystal cascades a huge beautiful waterfall. We stopped half way up to play in the waterfall pools until we saw a water snake. We then hurriedly carried on up until the top of the waterfall where we sat and had our first of many picnic lunches. We then carried on in the car to the rainforest in cairns. We wandered around the botanical gardens finding huge spiders, snakes and turtles. We then took a trail to the top of a mountain. We looked out at the view point onto the airport and watched as a couple quickly ran away after finding a snake slithering into their bag!

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That evening we finally cooked our first home cooked food in 10 weeks! We had a chicken and bacon pasta salad and it was worth the wait. After we treated ourselves to ice cream whilst wandering around the very small, and completely different to Thailand, night market.

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The following morning we were up early to start our 1800mile journey to Melbourne.

Singapore

The airport is Singapore is huge and amazing so much to do!
After arriving very early from Bali we headed to the MRT (trams/under ground) to found our accommodation for the night. We were staying in dorms for the first time in the whole time traveling it was smelly dorms, but Singapore is so expensive even a dorm room was over budget!

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The city is so clean and the transport so cheap and easy (defiantly get a tourist pass for the MRT lots cheaper) we found our hostel no problem. The concept of the beds was cool, double bed in your own capsule thing, but the whole sharing a room that size (26 beds!!) is a bit of a smelly nightmare.

After dropping our stuff off and getting a map we headed out to explore the city very tired tho. First stop was a huge shopping mall to find breakfast and for the first time in Asia we had to have a proper rice meal for breakfast!

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We then wandered around the shops before heading out to the botanical gardens where we fell asleep. We did eventually, slowly wander around the gardens before heading back the dorm to sleep.

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That evening we stayed in little India for some tasty Indian food. We then took the MRT out to the bay where we watched a really cool light show on the water. This is totally free and in a brilliant setting right on the bay amongst individual caf├ęs, pubs and shops.

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After a strange sleep in our dorm room we had a free traditional Indian breakfast of pancake with coconut and red sugar random but quite nice. We then took ourselves back out to the bay to see it by day light. After wandering around we treated ourselves to some retail therapy with the last of my birthday money. Not a very traveler thing to do but put a smile on our faces.

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After managing to stuff everything into our rucksacks we took the looong MRT rideS back to the airport ready for our flight over to Oz!

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