South South South: Noosa, Brisbane, Byron Bay

Trip Start Apr 09, 2010
Trip End Sep 07, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, July 17, 2010

We stepped off the bus into Noosa - which seems to be the place where super rich Australians holiday and park their Yachts. It was particularly stunning but similarly expensive and not very Backpackery. We nevertheless enjoyed our speedy visit through taking in the beach and enjoying a really very hot day (the sun here is scarily strong - topping up our tans in a blink of an eyelid) We also treated ourselves and went up a beautiful lookout over Noosa's Lakes with free wine and cheese - this turned out to be the notorious 'Goon' meaning cheap Australian wine from a box which has printed on the side "may contain traces of fish" and essentially mini cheddars and sliced cheese! But it was free so of course in pricey Oz we loved it!

We moved quickly onwards South with everybody berating us for going south away from the sun - we in fact have had only a couple of rainy hours in the whole of Oz, a comparably dry and sunny trip it seems for this time of year. Our skin is but a shade tone lighter than on leaving Asia. We reached Brisbane and having spent a lot of time on and around beachy places, amazing though they were, we had started to crave some city life and Brisbane served this up on a plate excellently for us and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The first afternoon Jen purchased some UGG boots as she had long planned to and was delighted with them! James also bought a Wallabies Rugby shirt (I think in a a subconscious attempt to cause himself trouble when in NZ for the trinations tournament!) We also took the Ferry along the river out to the university and back again through sunset. It was a great way to view the city in all its' glory. We did a lot of mooching around in Brisbane - simply taking in the city and hunting for Havaianas for James. The next day we ventured on the train to Steve Irwin's (RIP) 'Australia Zoo' which was good but no Singapore. We did however see a lot of giant crocodiles and got to pet and feed lots of Kangaroos. We believe this may also be where Jen's obsession with finding Koalas began.

We left Brisbane and headed yet further south - the title may be boring but it was accurate. We arrived in Byron Bay and stayed at the YHA there and it was so much better than any hostel that preceded it, would definitely recommend it to anyone going in the future. We had heard a lot of hype about Byron Bay and it well and truly lived up to the bohemian descriptions with hippieish shops and cafes and a great relaxed atmosphere. We spent the day at the beach and in the evening went to see the 'A-Team' (Brilliant film!) on a $5 hostel special. The cinema was 100% psychedelic with cow print sofas, Teddies, UV lights, a Laser Show and Neon Swirls everywhere! Bizarre but an awesome experience, a bit odd to have been watching a very mainstream film there though!

Day two in Byron Bay was probably one of our favourite days in Oz. We decided to do the Lighthouse walk and this took us along the beach and up and around the headland to the most Easterly point in Australia and ultimately to the lighthouse. The best bit was spotting whales off the coast jumping in and out of the water and large pods of Dolphins playing around!! Jen literally had to be dragged away from the lighthouse binoculars watching the whales. Already on a bit of a high we bumped into some men who were all set up to go Hang-Gliding, the story is as simple as they said "would you like to go Hang-gliding, our customer canceled on us?" and we said "Yes!" and 20 mins later we were both Hang-Gliding in the strong winds above Cape Byron for 25mins and landed on the beach, James even saw a whale in the sea below him!!!! A brilliant stroke of spontaneity, good timing and luck! With sad hearts we left Byron that night on an 18hour night bus to Sydney. But Byron scored 10/10.
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