. They walked around the town carrying their boards like we would carry handbags, it was amazing. They seemed to have no fear for sharks either, heading really far out to catch some decent waves.
We left noosa later that day to head south towards Steve Irwin zoo, stopping at a "rest stop" just down the road for free rather than paying thirty dollars each for a proper campsite. This was the first we had heard of rest stops, apparently they were all the way down the Bruce highway from cairns but we just never noticed them, which would've saved us a few dollars or a couple of nights in a macdonalds carpark.
We woke up in the rest stop at the side of the highway, Snellers raring to go for the zoo which he'd been looking forward to for ages. It was a pretty impressive zoo, although not as many different animals as Singapore zoo, it mainly had native Australian animals and obviously a lot of crocs. We went to watch the croc show at lunchtime, which was a bit shorter than I had expected but still we got to see the guy teasing the croc which is essentially what everyone goes there for. It was really interesting to see steve irwin's passion, and all the work he has done for crocs and other creatures. after the zoo we went to have a look inside the adjoined animal hospital, where injured Australian animals, mainly koalas hit by cars or mauled by dogs, were taken to recover. It was quite interesting to read about some of the hospitals work, but we didn't really get to see very much, I was expecting to get front row seats to the operating theatre, ha.
After the zoo we headed for Brisbane, arriving there early evening as it wasn't far from the zoo. The hostel we stayed at was a good one, it had a big tv room with free DVD rental, and a big bookcase full of books for exchanging. While we were in Brisbane we got into an Australian cookery show called My Kitchen Rules, and tried to follow it the rest of the way down the coast
. We had only planned to stay one day in Brisbane as we hadn't heard great things. When we woke up, it was pouring with rain so we had to dig out our trainers for the first time since Vietnam! We took the courtesy bus to the city centre and wandered around for a few hours, it soon becoming apparent that other than shop there was basically nothing to do in Brisbane city centre! We bought a few souvenirs and went back to the hostel, where we were accosted by some Swedish guys in the campervan next to us and forced to drink beer with them! In the morning we left early as we wanted to go to a koala sanctuary called Lone Pine which was just outside Brisbane. When we got there however, the entry fee was almost as much as we had paid to go to the zoo a couple of days earlier, and the place was pretty much the same! So, we decided to move on and save the money for something more worthwhile, and headed to Surfers Paradise. We weren't looking forward to this place as much, as the Swedish guys warned us that it was quite dodgy, and their van had been broken into and their passports stolen (they seemed pretty jolly about the whole situation though). When we arrived, it seemed quite grey and really busy, so we stopped long enough for Snellers to have a quick dip in the sea (in the rain ) and had a wander through the main street, then got back in the car to go somewhere we knew would be decent - Byron bay.
Our hostel in Byron was another Jucy deal hostel, it was called Arts Factory and was literally hippy paradise
. The hostel activities included yoga and meditation, everywhere was painted with bright swirly patterns and men played the didgeridoo in the bar at nights. In fact the whole of Byron was really the same, a lot of hippies wandering around, both old and young, people playing the keyboard outside the supermarket for change, and a lot of shops selling beads and friendship bracelets! I loved it there, so Snellers loved calling me a hippy or a weirdo. We decided that because the following day was st. Patrick's day, we would pick up some barbecue stuff and a load of beers and chill out all day eating and drinking. In the morning we went to the beach, which was a gorgeous beach with massive waves for Snellers to play in and nice sand for me to lie on! Around lunchtime we left and went back to our camper, where we ate lots of burgers and drank a few beers. Because beers were so expensive, we had treated ourselves to six and then had to move on to the goon! By this time it was getting dark and the mozzies were coming out, so we got in the front of the car and sat there, telling ourselves that we would have a few glasses of goon and then go into the hostel bar to socialise. In the end, about six hours went by and we were still in the car, the goon still hadn't ran out despite Snellers losing repeatedly at rock paper scissors and having to neck glass after glass which as you can imagine did not go down well (the losing or the wine). Some ranger guys even came round to tell us we couldn't drink there, but we somehow ended up staying there all night then falling asleep
! Least sociable people ever, but we had great fun!
The next day we went to spend the day by the beach, where Snellers was in the water for around four hours straight and i got really worried and had to go and search for him! That afternoon we filled up the van and regretfully left Byron to make our way further down the coast, our next big destination being Sydney but unsure where we would be stopping on the way.
Noosa was the first place we were able to actually swim in the sea properly, as there are no stingers south of Queensland (just sharks instead!) When we arrived there it was evening, so we checked straight into a hostel campervan park which we got for cheap as part of the Jucy deal. Next morning we went to check out the beach as Snellers was desperate to swim in the sea after weeks of putting up with stinger nets. He hired a bodyboard and went off into the massive waves while I chilled out on the beach but it wasn't long before I had been dragged in as well for a go on the board. The waves were huge, and once they hit you it was like being thrown around in a washing machine which I wasn't a massive fan of so I left him to it. That afternoon we headed to the national park to do a coastal walk that had been recommended to us by some people on Fraser island. The walk took us right around the headland where we watched people surf properly. There were surfers everywhere in noosa, even young kids and some quite old people were loving it