Hi ya! So Andy left you in Hervey Bay after just watching the amazing whales around Fraser Island.
We carried on south (as usual) heading towards Maryborough, where the writer of Mary Poppins was born and so making this small town famous. Unlike most little Aussie towns we’d driven through, this had lots going on so we stopped for a look around. They had a good selection of shops, cafes, a market and maybe the odd hotel (pubs are called hotels in Australia, I literally have no idea why, it’s stupid). We walked around the streets sampling the food from the market stalls and watching the Lorikeets bath themselves in the water fountain. We were just about to jump into the van to drive away when we noticed they had a Specsavers. Now, I don’t know if you guys remember, but Andy broke his prescription sunglasses back in Halong Bay, Vietnam, after a freak kayaking incident. Trust Andy! We went into the shop to see if they could replace the frames expecting to pay a fortune for the mend. So we were amazed when the manager told us they were under warranty and Andy was given new sunglasses for free! Aussies are super friendly, super helpful people. We wouldn’t have received this sort of service back in the UK. Within 5 minutes Andy was walking down the road looking as happy as Stevie Wonder, dodging all the lamp posts 🙂
We drove on through heavy wind and rain, through stunning pine forests and back towards the coast. We visited Tin Can Bay and then stopped off at Rainbow beach which we could barely see from the view point it was so misty. We got ourselves some permits to stay on Inskip Point, part of the Cooloola National Park, opposite Fraser Island. We found a spot in the muddy forest and settled in for the night. Man did it rain! All night long which is pretty loud when you’re sleeping in a tin can! We woke to a sunny yet very windy morning and sat eating our breakfast watching the traffic of 4×4’s cruise along the beach at the southern tip of Fraser Island. It was so packed, it looked like a motorway! We felt pretty smug with ourselves since we’d done 4×4 driving on our own secluded beaches and white sand dunes in Perth with our friend Paul, and didn’t pay £100’s to do it. With my track record of beaching cars it was probably best I stayed away from Fraser Island too 🙂
Since the sun was now out, we went back to Rainbow beach for a long walk. Wow the sand and cliffs were colourful! I could see why it was named Rainbow beach now, so beautiful. We saw kids sand surfing, people cruising in their big cars and a little wedding. Don’t be fooled by the pictures, it was sunny here but oh my god it was freeeeeezing!!! This relentless wind Australia was currently experiencing was worse than Andy on Christmas day after a brussel sprout eating competition with his cousin Joe! We drove away from the coast, out of the pine forests and towards a town called Gympie (I’ve only mentioned it because the name makes me laugh!). By the afternoon we were rocking up to a crazy cool town called Noosaville.
After being recommended Noosa by my pal Clare, we were eager to explore it ourselves. We parked up and sat on the beach sunning ourselves on the warm sand (so different from Rainbow beach earlier, I began to thaw out!). We ended up spending the next 4 days staying in the ‘Badgers Sea Scouts’ camp right in town which was really cheap and one of the strangest locations I’ve ever stayed. We went for walks by the canals, we drove around the islands (that all connect by bridges forming the town), fished off some secluded mangroves and on our last day we hired a little tin boat (fit for 6 people) and went sea fishing. It was really fun rubbing shoulders with the millionaires in their huge yachts, well at least trying not to dent their boats! We tried our best to catch something but had no luck. Either the fish of Noosaville were fussy eaters and didn’t like prawns or there weren’t any!
After a few weeks of being by the coast, battered by the strong winds and being too cold for us wetsuit-less POMES to swim (pussies!), we were now ready for a change of scenery. So we decided to go inland and see what we could find in the Hinterlands. I’m so pleased we did! Firstly it was warmer and less windy. It was hilly and so had fun winding roads to drive up and down. It also had the best views of the land and coast beneath us too. After a few days driving through green farmland very much like Yorkshire and little villages that were celebrating Halloween by decorating their streets with scarecrows, we found ourselves eating Cornish cream teas in a place called Montville. I absolutely loved this place! Mainly a small tourist town selling arts and crafts, it was just so different from the beer vests and stubby holders (beer bottle coolers) sold in sea towns. It was refreshing to be here.
While in the Hinterlands we did a 2 hour hike through the rainforest to Kondalilla Falls – a big waterfall with different sized pools housing Duck-Billed Platypus on the side of a mountain. We didn’t spot the strange creature, just it’s nest hidden between the rocks. The birds sounded amazing above us in the canopy and every now and then you’d hear a little Wallaby dash off into a bush. Thankfully there were no signs of the dreaded c#nt fly (horsefly) here 🙂 On another day we drove to the Mary Cairncross park, a section of preserved woodland featuring ancient trees and giant fig stranglers, something of a rarity here apparently. When the first Europeans moved here, most of Australia’s forests were cleared to make way for farmland and cattle grazing or to make houses etc. In just a few years, acres upon acres had been devastated and so a few people put their foot down, spent a lot of money and made sanctuaries for the trees and wildlife just like the Mary Cairncross park. Thank goodness! We roamed the forest for what seemed like hours enjoying the sounds of the Bower bird and the rare Pademelon Wallaby. A truly magical place!
We finished off our last day in the Hinterlands (for now as we would return after visiting Australia Zoo), cooking bangers and mash with onion gravy (my fav!) next to the rainforest with kangaroos and wild Aussie turkeys all around us. The Hinterlands you rock! See you again soon. I’m off to grab myself a croc…crikey!