The familiar smell of chlorine washes into my nostrils, only this time combined with a fresh breeze off the ocean and the sound of the waves breaking as I stare up at the sky, which is fringed by the fronds of palm trees. I’m warmed by the sun rather than the oppressive heat that usually is present when I can smell pool water. I’m reminded of childhood holidays to Lanzarote, outdoor swimming pools and sunshine.
Sunshine, finally after three days of constant rain in the dubiously named Sunshine State of Queensland. I am quite clearly not ready to return to England’s oppressive grey and still crave the blue skies of warmer climates. This is all beside the point. The adventures of little and large have begun. Tomorrow we will have managed two weeks together, with only two minor grievances.
We started in Brisbane, before heading slightly north to the Glasshouse Mountains where we started our trip with a day of rain. Australia Zoo was the nearest attraction that seemed worthwhile. We had a great first day examining animals and watching the Irwin family trying not to get eaten by crocs. The next day the sun appeared and we hiked around a couple of mountains, producing some spectacular views. Onwards to Noosa. Where the ocean was behaving like a lake so the next day we headed north again. Next stop. Inskip Point via Rainbow Beach.
Since Australia Zoo we have both been terrified of finding snakes anywhere, especially in some of the more remote locations we’ve camped! Inskip Point was one such spot! Inskip Point is the access point to Fraser Island. The beach off our campsite was nearly deserted and with no light pollution the shows the sky put on from dust ‘til dawn were something I’ve only ever dreamt of.
Our next off highway experience was 1770. We’d been recommended to go on a day cruise to Lady Muscgrave Island and 1770 is where the boat leaves from. However we arrived to discover the cruises were not running due to unforeseen issues with the operator. We had a wander around and watched yet again another unbelievable sunset, however realising there’s nothing much to do in the 1770/Agnes Water region, if there’s no surf and no day cruise, we headed north yet again to Airlie Beach.
We loved the Whitsundays, adored the Great Barrier Reef and were won over by the winter warmth. WE both opted to take the day trip to Reef World. We went to Knuckle Reef with Cruise Whitsundays. I thought it was worth every cent for the amount of marine life you saw. The food not so much. We saw humpback whales, giant groper fish and thousands of tropical multi-coloured fishes. I personally have never been far enough off shore that you can no longer see the land, especially whilst snorkelling! So poking my head above the water and realising I’d got too absorbed and lost my snorkel buddy (my trusty brother) and all other snorkelers and the safety boat was a pretty insane experience.
Jamie decided he didn’t want to come sailing in the Whitsundays so I ventured out on my own. On a day tour of course. The tour with Illusions was great however I was disappointed there wasn’t more hands on sailing. Although it was lovely to meet the crew of Naomi and Joseph who were so passionate about the reef and their work. I would say the first snorkel spot we went to off Haymans Island was the best. It was where we saw the most variety in coral and marine life. We didn’t see any turtles though. And the trip did remind me how much I love sailing and being out on the water so I may have to investigate ways to get back into that scene when I’m home.
Then began the journey south. And it rained, and rained and rained. I don’t really remember where we stopped only that it was grey and wet, WE GOT SPLENDOUR TICKETS, and went out for an average dinner at a sailing club – apparently the busiest place isn’t always best! Onwards to Noosa.
Worst day of the trip so far was on the way to Noosa. And hopefully the worst day all trip!
#1 A pebble zoomed out of the wheels of a truck and chipped Stella’s windscreen.
#2 Stella threw a tantrum and wouldn’t start at a rest stop. We were rescued by a nice French couple.
#3 The GPS took us on a 100km detour 20km of which was on a gravel road through someone’s property only to bring us back to the same highway we’d been on for the past 5 hours.
#4 The scout camp was closed when we got there and we were nearly without anywhere to stay.
And the last and final straw #5 the peanut butter had leaked all over the eski.
After 7 hours of driving through the rain I was not emotionally ready to deal with all of this. However a good sleep and some dinner later and I could smile at the ridiculousness of it all.
The next day the rain continued, AND our tent held! The worry our little portable home isn’t waterproof is no longer an issue. Being good English folks we decided the rain wasn’t going to stop us and I headed out for a surf. Steph and Rowan from Sydney happened to be in Noosa too, so we met up with them. Then went out for lunch and a lovely walk. After much deliberation, lunch was had at a restaurant called Maisie’s, a fish restaurant. I thought $20 for a massive steak, onion rings, chips and a salad was a pretty good deal. Yes, I am the heathen who goes to a fish restaurant and eats steak! Deal with it. I had to satisfy my cravings! Steph and Rowan treated us to lunch which was absolutely lovely of them and I’m very grateful.
Then we walked in the wind and the rain. It was a very British afternoon! The whole way round the headland was hugely shelter until we popped round the edge towards a place named Hell’s Gates. At which point we realised we could probably fly if we had big enough jackets given the strength of the wind. After a good windy play we headed back to Noosa and split to our respective accommodation.
And this morning the rain had stopped! And now it’s sunny! Such a lovely change. And soon enough we’ll be on our way back to the farm where Kathy has kindly offered us accommodation for the next week! I cannot wait to show Jamie New South Wales which has been my home for 2 years now. The adventure continues…