Trip Start Jan 28, 2011
25Trip End Jul 30, 2011
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We headed to Byron Bay to find that despite some decent swells (surfing lingo) there is little to do here if it rains for 95% of your stay. This in turn led George and Wells to 'drown' their sorrows about the rain and see what Byron's nightlife had to offer instead, with word of mouth in this small town leading them to the infamous bar: Cheeky Monkeys. Full to the brim with goon induced backpackers dancing on tables, this drinking establishment was only ever going to lead to an interesting night and Waking up to Leftover pizza, broken shoes, neon paint covered clothes and perhaps too many drunken photos meant this bar certainly lived up to it's crazy reputation!
Despite another goon infused hangover, the surf beckoned and we officially all prefer to be known as intermediate Surfers after another quickie with the Pacific Ocean.
We can't quite believe Surfer's Paradise is a real place name and whoever named it certainly hadn't been there in rainy season. Even so we couldn't help but be shocked at how built up things have got here. The only way to describe it is a mix of Byron and Vegas! While the rain meant we missed out on a potential sighting of a golden-bikini clad meter lady (pays for your car meter if you're lucky) we did manage to get a cheeky takeaway and take full advantage of our hostel bar's great selection of old school rock and roll (yes dad, even Deep Purple)!
Our first overnight bus (a depression inducing experience) took us to Brisbane; maybe one of the more underrated cities in Oz. We had given up hope for any sun and instead cagged up for some sightseeing. While our usually much loved Chinatown was nothing to brag about, the botanical gardens were simply gorgeous and it was really shocking to see just how much the floods had affected the city
Day two brought some slightly more agreeable weather and we all took the bus to the koala sanctuary, just outside Brisbane. The koalas are literally the most adorable creatures and Jen and Alex could not resist paying a bit extra to have a cuddle and a photo! We've all realised how much we'd actually like to be a koala since sleeping and resting takes up 75% of their day eating 20% and exercise just 5%. Now that's the life. George unfortunately encountered some additional not so friendly wildlife in the form of lovely hostel bed bugs. With a final count of 73 bites from head to toe after just one night...George was perhaps not so sad to say goodbye to this Brisbane hostel!
Our next stop up the Gold Coast was another seaside stunner called Noosa which really got our vote... may have had something to do with it being sunny! Our hostel offered free surfboards so we really couldn't say no to another sesh. After struggling against the waves somewhat we realised why there are particular 'surfing spots' in the world. This was a little toughie and we took to a good old ramble around Noosa Heads national park to stretch it off. The views mixed with seeing a wild koala really made Noosa stick out for all of us, not to mention a free cooked breakfast the morning after...
Then it was on to Rainbow Beach, the gateway to Fraser Island. A guided walk to some sand dunes and a boomerang lesson eased us into what was about to be a trip of a lifetime.