It's been WAY too long since I have had the chance to blog about my travel adventures, but that seems to be changing!
Last month I returned from a 2 week whirlwind trip through Queensland Australia where I took on every adventure that I could and captured every moment that I could!
READ ON TO SEE WHERE I WENT AND WHY!
While my trip was amazing, it was exhausting and at times stressful because we tried to put so many things into such a short time span. However, it was entirely possible and given the weather we had, we pretty much did everything we set out to do- but an extra week and some extra cash would have been nice (visiting the islands off of mainland Australia are very expensive)
The trip started off as a disaster. As we made our way to the airport, oblivious of way too many things and running too late for an international flight, we were greeted with a not so friendly welcome by Hawaiian Airlines. "Where is your DPD?" We were asked. We had never heard of such a thing. "ok well where is your visa?" My travel partner handed over his Visa credit card, "you mean the card I booked with?" he asked. "no your visa for Australia."
I remember the panicked look on both of our faces. How could we get visas, was there enough time? why didnt we know about this? why hadn't there been any notifications from the airline to remind us?! We were told it could take up to a month to get the visa and it was a very long application. She was sorry because there was no way we could get it in time and she would be booking us on the same flight tomorrow for no extra charge.
We. were. crushed.
Returning back to my house we set about to fill out the 20 something pages and page the $120 something fee for the visa. We sat there waiting, wondering when it would be issued. We filled out the DPD through the app. Just then my friend sent a message asking if we had gotten our visas yet, she had gotten hers instantly upon filling out the application ON THE APP. App? what app? The airline had told us no such thing. She said it was under $30 and instant and was so surprised we didnt just fill out both forms on the apps at the airport and get on the plane.....
UGH. We were pissed.
We had to change the date of van pick up, our flight to Brisbane, and our hotel- it was no small feat. But somehow we only lost money of the non refundable hotel we booked for the first night- so not too bad. To give ourselves some extra time on our first full day, we booked the earliest flight we could out of Sydney to Brisbane- we just wanted to start our vacation!
But tried to make the best of it and arrived extra early the next day to see a line of AUSTRALIANS panicking about filling out the DPD, a form they had never heard of or filled out before.
We got to the front of the line at last and were not asked for our visa.... perhaps when we arrived in Australia.... nope not here either. We were also served HORRIBLE food. The only perk of this flight was the free international luggage, otherwise I would not recommend flying Hawaiian after this experience with their staff and the bad food. (sometimes there are great airplane meals, I've had them!!).
We chose to fly from Honolulu to Sydney on a round trip. We arrived the first evening and thought it would be our only night in Sydney and we wanted to make the best of it, even tho we had a 7am flight the next morning! We stayed downtown at Little National Hotel which was perfect for one night. Our first plan was to stay at The Old Clare but it was booked on the day we ended up ultimately making it to Australia- but boy did it look cool. In any event, we had no time at our hotel anyway. That night we went to Bungalow 8 which is on the waterfront. There was a great DJ and it was such a fun vibe. There aren't really spots like that in Hawaii so it was a nice change of pace! We then walked to the base of the bridge to see it as well as the opera house and then walked back to the hotel. It was a lot of walking, but we had done a lot of sitting!
The next morning we flew from Sydney to Brisbane where we took an Uber to pick up our van from GoCheap Campervans Australia and made our way up the Sunshine Coast in search of a surfboard and some waves!
The remainder of the trip was action packed with running, surfing, sleeping in the van, exploring and a lot of podcasts! Here was the full itinerary and some links to recommendations!
Day 1: fly to Brisbane, pick up van, buy surf board, find some spots to surf close by, travel to Coolum Beach area to camp
Day 2: Run and surf Coolum beach and head up to Noosa for more surfing and exploration, drive to Rainbow Beach to camp
Day 3: pick up 4WD from Rainbow Beach and get on ferry to Fraser Island. Explore Beach activities, go to campsite at Central camp.
Day 4: early to Lake McKenzie (AMAZING), check out Lake Birrabeen, head back to ferry, Rainbow beach, return 4WD
Day 5: Begin drive to Arlie Beach. Stop at Seventeen Seventy for a run and Agnes Water to surf, drive a few more hours and find a place to sleep
Day 6: wake up early to finish drive and get on boat to Whitsunday Island at 9am. spend rest of the day there
Day 7: get on 12pm boat back to Arlie and spend the rest of the day and night there
Day 8: Drive to Townsville. Get laundry done. relax. more trip planning. get ferry tickets
Day 9: ferry to Magnetic Island. rent motorbike, bike all over and see koalas, rock wallabies, and ferry back at 5pm. Sleep around Townsville
Day 10: Drive to Daintree and stop along the way at Milllaa Millaa falls park. Booked last tour on Solar Whisper boat. AMAZING
Day 11: Cross the river to explore more of Daintree Discovery centre and hike. Drive back to Cairns and explore town at night. Amazing Trivia night at Irish pub
Day 12: return van in the morning, fly to Sydney. Explore a bit, relax at Macleay Hotel Dinner at House (amazing). Our hotel was simple but had a great staff and was central to lots of fun bars, restaurants, and public transport. We also went to Holey Moley Golf Club, which was SO fun as well as some super cool bars in the immediate area.
Day 13: work out at gym, take our Covid tests, go to Bondi Beach to get more surf boards and see the beach. Early dinner near hotel at Cafe Roma, to the airport we went!
Here are some of my favorite images from the trip!