The route I took to travel from the Sunshine Coast up to Cairns was Noosa > Fraser Island > Whitsundays > Magnetic Island > Cairns. This leg as a whole was my favourite of my trip- Sydney and Melbourne were more liveable but this part was more fun to travel. This was the part where I made the most friends, had the most nights out, drunk the most goon, did the coolest things and had the most fun! They all just happened to be beautiful places too. We’ll start with Noosa!
Noosa National Park
I arrived at my hostel in Noosa around midday, and on recommendation from the hostel staff, walked straight down to the beach in the direction of Noosa National Park. I found the pathway at the end of the beach, and walked along as far as I could but unfortunately half of the park walk was closed for maintenance. However what was left open was a coastal walk along the cliff edge, which is the path I would have chosen anyway, with absolutely stunning views out to the ocean and passing various protected beaches. The weather was gorgeous, and apparently on certain times of the year on clear days you can spot dolphins and whales out to sea but I wasn’t that lucky.
The following day I was booked onto one of the many excursions to see the Everglades; one of the main things Noosa is famous for. It is only one of two Everglade systems on Earth- the other is in Florida. The day started with a bus ride to a jetty and then I boarded a large speedboat, driven by a very entertaining and sarcastic Aussie tour guide. The journey to the Everglades was over an hour long in the boat and whilst listening to his funny commentary, we drove both full-speed across flat stretches of water (all convinced the boat would snap) and then very slowly down the shallow, windy water-ways through the wetlands.
The Everglades are famous for their gorgeous mirror reflections in the water when the water is still so occasionally we would slow right down and stop, taking in the scenery and the incredible reflections. Halfway down a large waterway, we pulled up to the river edge, got off the boat and explored our woodland surroundings before eating a delicious aussie-style lunch of a huge barbecued steak and salad. Shortly after, in pairs or threes we then kayaked all the way back up the water (upstream, AGAINST the wind) back to the boat. Naturally I got competitive, tried too hard and gave myself blisters on both hands.
Again I was booked onto another trip on the following day, this time to the famous Australia Zoo in Beerwah, an hour and a half coach ride away towards Brisbane. This is Steve Irwin’s family zoo, and ever since I had found out about it I had wanted to visit and for good reason; it was really incredible. You can see that all of the staff there had the same enthusiasm and love for animals as he did and are carrying on his amazing work, as are his family. One thing I loved is that all of the signposts are written how he would have described the animal- lots of ‘crikey mate’s etc! At midday, at the ‘Crocoseum’ which is a large outdoor theatre area which was SO good; birds of all sizes flew around and snakes were carried, but the star of the show was a huge croc, that is teased and tempted out the water by a keeper with some meat. Crocodiles amaze me, I learnt so much about them in Australia; they are scarily and dangerously clever!
I had the most amazing day at the zoo and saw so many animals: huge tortoises, Tasmanian devils, exotic birds, giraffes and rhinos in the Africa section, and of course a lot of crocodiles, being Steve’s favourite. Some highlights of the day for me were getting up close with kangaroos lazing around in a huge pen and feeding them by hand and then also holding a koala- something I have always wanted to do! It was like holding an overgrown, sleepy furry baby; this particular koala was called Milo and he had just been woken up for this photoshoot, he clearly wanted nothing more than to cling on to something and fall back asleep. He was so gorgeous! Also included in the zoo admission fee, is entry to a fully-working animal hospital, where I saw both a snake and a bat being operated on which was very cool- a good end of a perfect day!