Noosa

We’re currently writing this at our hostel in Cairns. Reflecting on our time in Noosa, over a month ago, now feels like a world away from up here in Northern Queensland. Cyclone Debbie is on the way and is currently forecast to hit land south of us tomorrow, only a week ago we were in this area. It really makes you feel quite small knowing how powerful and destructive nature can be. We just hope it’s not as bad as forecast and wish all those affected the best, including those we’ve met. 


Back to the topic in hand – Noosa. We decided to spend just over a week relaxing in this picture postcard looking coastal community. We had heard plenty of good things about it and many had told us it was like a posh Byron Bay, which turned out to be pretty true. 


It’s definitely a place where you need money, but even being on a backpackers budget we still managed to find plenty of fun things to do. 

One of our highlights was taking a walk through the national park along the coastal path. We passed beautiful bays that were draped in awesome looking pandanus palm trees, each one calling out for a swim. 
Eventually we came to Hells Gate and here we spotted an eagle and more amazingly in the water there were turtles. The waves were huge and the turtles seemed so calm in comparison, bobbing up every so often for some air and then diving back down. 



Carrying on our walk we spotted the ‘fairy pools’, which we had heard so much about. They were glorious crystal clear rock pools and were like nothing I had ever seen before. The water was alive with multi coloured fish and crabs crawling around at the bottom. One beautiful fish had horizontal yellow and black stripes. It was mesmerising to watch.


The following day Eddie had an amazing surf at Tea Tree Bay after days of eyeing up the point break and waiting for the swell to come good.

His face was beaming with excitement when he got out of the water, he’d had a really good surf. We decided to spend the rest of the day down there but whilst clambering over the rocks, I spotted a snake weaving its way across the rocks heading our way! All was okay but it was a bit of a scare. 


Our Air Bnb host we were staying with was kind enough to take us to some awesome spots. One afternoon we went kayaking down the river, which was lined with huge and expensive properties. Afterwards we climbed a nearby mountain for sunset and then had bonfire back at the house, all great fun. 


Edd read in Lonely Planet that Noosa is an expensive playground for the wealthy, but importantly the beach, sea and landscape will always be free. This fact was true and we found pleasure here by not spending much money at all. 

Apart from our everyday living costs the only money we really spent was on a coffee at nearby Eumundi, which was well worth it.

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Brisbane

After several weeks of glorious coastal towns and beaches it was awesome to spend two fun days in the city of Brisbane. 


It was a cool place and certainly didn’t seem worthy of the underrated tag many have branded it with. 

Highlights included taking a dip at the manmade beach, a ferry journey through the city and a stroll around hipster West End – where we drank many a good coffee. 

However, 2 days away from the coast was all we needed to fuel us up for more saltwater. Next stop Noosa! 

Keeping it Cooly 

Last year while camping down in Cornwall we met an Aussie guy living near Lands End. He was really interested in our upcoming trip and was kind enough to recommend a few East Coast stops. One of these was Coolangatta, or Cooly as it’s better known. 

Similar to Coffs Harbour we were pretty much the only ones to get off at this stop. Had we made the right choice to follow the advice we were given? 


After spending 10 days in Byron it was quite a shock to be in such a different environment. Byron consists of low rise buildings and plenty of vegetation, so it feels very natural, particularly when you are down the beach. In Cooly it was a very different story, high rise buildings were in abundance. Instead of mountains in the distance we could now see the sky scrapers of Surfers Paradise on the horizon. 


It took a bit of time to adjust, but the next morning we felt more comfortable and really started to enjoy it. The amazing sunsets definitely helped too.


Coolangatta is situated right next to Snapper Rocks and Kirra – both of which are world famous surf spots. We spent one afternoon watching and the standard of surfing was ridiculously high. You could sense the competitive atmosphere in the water, certainly a contrast to the laid back vibes in Byron. 


After spending the day chilling round the corner from Snapper Rocks I decided to hire a board the next day and head in for a surf at Kirra. With the board under my arm and strolling down to the shore it was quite astonishing to see how clear and turquoise the water was.  

As I jumped in the water I immediately noticed the warmth. Wearing a wetsuit now seems a distance memory. It was a glorious surf, and amazing to think I was surfing at such a famous spot. 


We’re super pleased we stopped at Cooly, it’s amazing to experience the contrast in areas as we make our way up the coast. If only we could thank the Aussie guy now living in Cornwall… you never know he might see this one day. 

Byron and beyond

Byron was proving to be our favourite stop on the East Coast so far, after a few days of hanging out in the town and on the main beaches we decided to explore it a little further.


We headed to Tallow beach which is on the other side of the headland to the main beaches. It was completely different in character, a long, curving, open bay, reminding us both of Rhossil in Wales. The waves were rough but it was beautiful, with golden sands and turquoise waters.

Best of all was watching loads of crabs scurry across the sand at super speed, dashing back to their sandy homes. We spent ages watching and giggling at the sight.


After strolling along the beach for a while we could see a rather peculiar sight. In front of us lay the strangest coloured water. We had heard about a ‘tea tree oil lake’ and by chance we had stumbled on it. It was incredible to see such a strange body of water, the lake was an array of sepia and purple tones. It reminded me of the lyrics from the Ben Howard song ‘Burgh Island’.

We headed in for a cool down and to rejuvenate our skin. While lying in the lake we realised there was a naked man doing yoga across the other side, somehow he didn’t look out of place.


After our previous attempt to see the lighthouse at sunrise (see last post), we hoped that our next one would be more successful. When the alarm went off at 5am we knew we were in for a beautiful display as the clouds were already faintly catching colour. Edd raced up the road for the next 45 minutes whilst I followed with heavy sleepy eyes. I never have been much of a morning person, but I was glad to be today.


Once we arrived so many people were around watching and waiting in anticipation. This time sunrise was amazing, the sky lit up in vivid orange and purple tones. We felt rewarded and so pleased we had tried again.

The following morning was another early start for us. The destination ‘Mount Warning’.  Whilst sun baking on the beaches we had looked at this part of the skyline from Byron for a week. Fondly discussing the striking looking peak and wondering if we would be able to climb its slopes.


I was a little bit nervous but after a bowl of cereal in the car park we laced up our walking boots and started the climb. The hike felt endless, I have never walked up so many steps in my life and the ground then became uneven and rocky. Luckily the rainforest provided a distraction and was alive with beautiful bird sounds and bugs humming. The sign at the start of the walk had said it was hard and that was definitely no overstatement.


After a two hour climb we were confronted with the final hurdle. A near vertical rock face, twisting and contorting to the summit. We hadn’t come this far to give up. After a few deep breathes we scrambled up the rocks whilst clinging onto a suspiciously weak looking metal chain. I found this quite challenging and it seemed like my legs weren’t quite long enough to reach the next footing.


Finally though, after a final push, we reached the top and the view was spectacular, more than worth the two and half hours of climbing. We could see back to Byron Bay and along the coast to Surfers Paradise. A ring of mountains surrounded and it felt strange to know this was an old volcano. The only worry now being the precarious climb down.


To take the time to explore beyond Byron was amazing, all the time reinforcing our feelings that this place was super special. We found it very hard to leave, it really had captured our hearts.


As a farewell we enjoyed our dinner and beers on the beach, the sky then lit up with the most spectatcular sunset – we felt humbled to be there, as we had done for the duration of our stay in the Bay.