Skip to content

Wallaman Falls, Broadwater NP, and Mission Beach, Australia

August 10, 2009

Day 91

Woke up from the rest stop at dawn and continued heading north. Our first stop was Jouroma Falls.

A little bit further down the road was Wallaman Falls:

Back in the car, we drove to Broadwater NP. We did a short walk which included a really large fig tree along the walk.

We drove on to Mission Beach so that we would have less driving to do tomorrow (our last day with the campervan).

Advertisements

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

August 5, 2009

Day 89

We’re taking a two day sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands. We met up with our boat around 8AM. Pretty soon we were off for our first destination, Whitehaven Beach:

On board the sailboat. There was almost no wind the first day, so there was little sailing. The boat ran off the motor almost the whole day.

On board the sailboat. There was almost no wind the first day, so there was little sailing. The boat ran off the motor almost the whole day.

Before going to Whitehaven Beach, we stopped at a smaller island with and overlook of the beach. You cant see them in the picture, but the water was so clear that we could see reef sharks and stingrays swimming in the water below from all the way up here.

We stopped at a smaller island with an overlook of the Whitehaven Beach. If you look closely, there are small dark spots in the water below. Those are sting rays and reef sharks. The water is so clear that you can see them from all the way up here.

Here's me swimming from the sailboat to Whitehaven Beach, "the most beautiful beach in the world" according to some books. I don't know about that, but its about the best I've seen.

I dare you to find better reading material for the beach than Stephen Kings The Tommyknockers.  Allright, allright, but I bet you cant come up with more than 20.

The beach and Stephen King's The Tommyknockers...what a combo. Yikes, I'm pale. I guess I haven't learned anything since we were in Fiji.

After a couple of hours on the beach, we sailed to Cateran Bay where we ate dinner and anchored for the night. This is the sunset from the sailboat.

After a couple of hours on the beach, we sailed to Cateran Bay where we ate dinner and anchored for the night. This is the sunset from the sailboat.

Day 90

In the wetsuits before we go snorkeling. No where to hide in these babies.

In the wetsuits before we go snorkeling. No where to hide in these babies.

We woke up around 7AM and went snorkeling in Cateran Bay. The coral and fish were really beautiful, but unfortunately our camera doesn’t work under water, so there’s no pictures of the fish.

After snorkeling, the boat moved to Dumbbell Island where we stopped for lunch and a swim. There are some eagles that live on the island and the crew were able to attract them by whistling. As the eagles did a loop of the boat, one of the crew would throw some food into the air and the eagle would swoop in and grab it in its talons.

A picture of the eagle swooping down to grab the food that the crew threw out to it.

The eagle swooping down to grab the food that the crew threw out to it.

We had lunch before staring back to the harbor. There was finally enough wind in the afternoon, so we were able to sail most of the way back. At times the boat was practically sideways and we were really moving fast.

After getting back to the harbor, we drove a couple hours down the road and stopped in a rest area for the night – gotta love free roadside camping in Australia.

Eungella National Park and Cape Hillsborough, Australia

August 2, 2009

Day 86

We woke up early and drove the entire day from Hervey Bay to the entrance of Eungella National Park. It was dark by the time we arrived so we couldn’t do much. We parked the campervan in the visitor center by the park entrance, made some instant noodles on the gas cooker, and went to bed.

Day 87

Today turned out to be an eventful day…which was good because it is our 6 year dating anniversary.

Since we woke up at the entrance to Eungella National Park we were able to get an early start. After a quick breakfast from the back of the camper van, we went to the platypus viewing area.  Eungella NP is one of the few places where platypus (platypii?) exist in the wild.  In addition to some platypus (platyppi? I’m convinced that platypusses is not correct but whatever), we also saw some turtles and a kingfisher bird:

One of the turtles at the platypus viewing area.

One of the turtles at the platypus viewing area.

The kingfisher birds at the viewing platform. They would dive into the water and spear small fish with their beaks, then eat them at their leisure on a branch.

The kingfisher birds at the viewing platform. They would dive into the water and spear small fish with their beaks, then eat them at their leisure on a branch.

The platypiipusses were really difficult to catch on camera since they only come up for short periods. All of our pictures of them are a bit blurry.

The platypiipusses were really difficult to catch on camera since they only come up for short periods. All of our pictures of them are a bit blurry.

After watching the platypiipusses we went for a three hour walk in the tropical rain forest that is part of the national park.  The walk was really pretty, but by far the most memorable part of today was…. THE LEACHES!!:

So, they weren’t nearly the size of the ones in Stand by Me, but there were really tons of them crawling all over our pant legs. Good thing we both wore long pants that day.

On anniversaries, some men take their wives to fancy restaurants and buy them flowers or jewelery. I took my wife on a three hour trek through a tropical rain forest where literally dozens of leaches drew blood from her legs.

After our trek through the Leach Pit of Eungella National Park, we got back in the camper van and headed towards to coast. We decided to stop for the night in a place called Cape Hillsborough, as they advertised that they had kangaroos and wallabies in the campsite and on the beach in the morning. They weren’t lying. We had a few in the campsite that night and woke up the next morning to watch them as well…

Day 88

We woke up this morning and went down to the beach to see the kangaroos and wallabies. Most of them were semi-tame, so you could get close to them and pet them:

This creepy looking stingray was also washed up on the beach that morning:

After breakfast we drove to Airlie Beach where we booked a trip to the Whitsunday Islands for the next day. We also went to an Indian Restaurant for dinner (to celebrate our 6 year dating anniversary. Our first date in a restaurant was to an Indian place.). The food was terrible, but at least we got to have Indian food for our annivesary.

Frasier Island, Australia

July 31, 2009

Day 84

Inside a hollow tree on Frasier Island

Inside a hollow tree on Frasier Island

We took a ferry to Frasier Island this morning.  Once there, we got into a large truck that drove us around the island. We went first through a large rain forest which was really beautiful.

After the rain forest, we had a quick lunch and then drove along 75 mile beach to Indian Head. Here, we climbed out to get some views.

By the time we reached the top it had started to rain and it didn’t really stop for the rest of the day, so there wasn’t much else to see or do.

Atop Indian Head on Frasier Island

Day 85

The weather was much better today, so we really got to see a lot of Frasier Island. We visted two different inland lakes on the island. Today really made the trip to Frasier Island worth it after the rainy first day. In the evening. we took the ferry back to Hervey Bay where we camped for the night.

Byron Bay, Sunshine Coast, Glass Mountains, and Noosa National Park, Australia

July 26, 2009

Day 82

Sunset at Byron Bay

Sunset at Byron Bay

We left Port Macquarie in the morning and arrived in Coffs Harbor in time to have lunch by the sea. It was a short stop as we wanted to cover more ground today. We arrived in Byron Bay and had a chance to watch the sunset on the beach.

Byron bay though is infested with hippies, and we couldn’t find a cheap place to camp out, so we decided to move on. We drove at night and ended up in the Gold Coast around 9 o’clock.  We found what we thought was a good place to park (there’s lots of places to camp for free around Australia) but the cop that knocked on the van door an hour later didn’t agree with us. He told us we had to move.  We got back in the car and continued north.

Around midnight, we made our way to Glass Mountain National Park.  It’s dark so we’ll have to see what it looks like in the morning….

Day 83

….we woke up at the Glass Mountain Lookout point to a nice view of the Glass Mountains:

We ate breakfast out of the back of the van and drove on to Noosa Heads where we got out and did a two hour walk along the coast. During the walk, we saw one koala and several spectacular views:

After our walk in Noosa NP we drove on to Hervey Bay. We were really disappointed to find out that the whale watching boats weren’t going out yet since the whales were still further south. This was something we were really looking forward to. We camped in Hervey Bay and booked our trip out to Frasier Island for the next couple of days.

Sugarloaf Point and Port Macquarie, Australia

July 19, 2009

Day 81

We woke up at Fraser Beach and started making our way north towards Port Macquarie. Along the way, we made a slight detour to Sugarloaf Point and the Seal Rocks. This was a really picturesque lighthouse that overlooked the Seal Rocks. In their day, the Seal Rocks were apparently the cause of quite a few shipwrecks.  It was very pretty, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but one of the highlights ended up being the whales that we say out in the bay:

The hump and spray in the middle of the picture is a whale. I promise they looked more impressive through the binoculars.

After the lighthouse, we went to a short walk through a coastal rainforest, but it ended up not being anything too special, so we pushed on to Port Macquarie.

We made it to Port Macquarie just in time to get to the Koala Hospital for the afternoon feeding and tour. We were really happy we did, as there were several Koalas moving around to see.  To quote the Poet, “Koalas are the friggin’ cutest animals ever. Cuter than puppies even.”

After the Koala Hospital, we went on to our campsite right on the water’s edge. One of the things Port Macquarie is known for is the breakwall, a stone wall along the harbor which people have been painting and writing on for who knows how long.

Blue Mountains and Frazier Beach, Australia

July 12, 2009

Day 79

We left Sydney today in our Wicked campervan.  Since all of Wicked’s vans have outlandish (and sometimes offensive) things painted on them, we were wondering what would be pained on our van. In the end, it was nothing to  special, but at least it wasn’t obscene:

We drove most of the day to get to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. There were definitely a few tense moments as I got used to driving on the left side of the road.  One thing that it took awhile to get used to was that all of the controls are on the opposite hand as well, so during that first day, you can imagine my surprise when I would try to use my turn indicator, only to have the windshield wipers start moving in response.

Along the way to our campsite, we stopped at one lookout point, which had a view of a rock formation called the Three Sisters:

We drove on to a campsite and made a quick dinner before going to bed.

Day 80

From our campsite this morning, we drove to Evans lookout point, which was also the start of the Grand Canyon walking track. The walk was about 3.5 hours, and althrough it doesn’t look like the Grand Canyon in the U.S., it was still a pretty walk:

After doing the Grand Canyone walk, it started raining a little, so we decided to go ahead and drive out of the Blue Mountains towards the Coast. Along the way, we made our first, of what would turn out to be many, stops at the tourist information centers. These are really good in Australia, and we left with some excellent free maps, suggestions on what to do and how to get there. We continued on to Frazier Beach, using Wiseman’s Ferry as we went. We arrived at Frazier Beach after dark and parked in the camping area next to the beach. Some pictures from the drive: