Adventures in Cairns

My three days in Cairns were certainly action packed! Day one involved a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef. I’d already snorkelled on the Reef once before down at the Whitsundays, and on this trip there was almost no wind and as result the views in the water were incredible, it felt like you could see for miles. It was incredible just how close the fish would come up to you, it truly felt like being in an aquarium. Of course since it was Paddys Day a night out was in order!

Great Barrier Reef – so blue!
Practising our fish face

Hanging on deck
The next day, very tired and slightly hungover I headed out to the Atherton Tablelands on a trip organised by Barefoot tours, the last inclusion in my Oz Experience package. The first stop on this trip was Devils Pools were a quick dip was in order to properly wake us up. The next stop was my favourite on the tour, Josephine Falls. Here were able to slide down a natural waterfall – which was a first for most of us on the tour. Following this we headed to Mila Mila Falls, were they film the Herbal Essensces adverts. ​
Milla Milla Falls
Happy faces!
Devils Pools
Sliding down those natural water slides at Josephine Falls

My final day in Cairns was spent up at Cape Tribualtaion and the Daintree were in true rainforest fashion it bucketed it down! Nevertheless we had a great day, travelling independently this time in a hire car through the rainforest and seeing our first Cassowary! 

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Treehouses in Mission Beach

Following on from Magnetic Island I made a quick stopover in Misson Beach before heading up to Cairns the following day. The hostel I was staying at was located up amongst the trees in a beautiful location. Along with a couple of others staying at my hostel we headed out to Lacey Creek for a swim following a jungle walk. The river was beautifully refreshing following the hot walk. – and there were no crocs! Although my time in Mission Beach was short and sweet I can definitely recommend it as a place to stop and soak in the atmosphere!

Lacey Creek
Perfect hostel view

4WDing on Magnetic Island

Following on from Airlie Beach what should have been a short hop to Townsville was stretched out due to a broken air con on the Greyhound. When we finally made to Townsville the Greyhound convienently dropped us right outside the ferry terminal for Magnetic Island, an underrated spot in Australia. The first day was spent lounging around the pool and chilling at the hostel which had a perfect location right on the beach!

First glimpse of Maggie Island

Many people come to Magnetic Island to hire a 4 wheel drive and explore the island. And this is exactly what we did on day two! Our first stop was Alma Bay for some snorkelling and spoting some rock wallabies! Following on from this we headed to Horsehoe Bay for lunch and a stinger suit free swim! Following this we did our first spot of off-roading as we headed down to one of the most beautiful spots on the island – Radical Bay. The journey was full of potholes and we were careful not to scratch the car! Radical Bay was one of the most perfect spots on a beautiful island.  One of the reasons many people hire a 4WD on Magnetic Isalnd is so they can head down to West Point and watch the stunning sunset, and that’s what we did. Following on from this we headed out for dinner as after travelling together for a week (that’s a long time in traveller terms) it was our last night together!

Ninja suits were back!
Snorkel time!
Hitting up Radical Bay
Fraser Girls hit Maggie Island
Radical Bay was pretty beautiful
All new Top Gear presenting team!
West Point was also pretty stunning
Cars and sunsets
What a view – West Point at Sunset

The next morning we returned the car before chilling out by the pool and then saying goodbye to this island Paradise and heading back to the mainland.

See ya Maggie Island

Dingos and lots of sand on Fraser Island

As part of my Oz Experience package I was booked onto the Cool Dingo Fraser Island tour including a pre-nights accommodation on the island. I was picked up mid-morning for the ferry ride over to Fraser Island were I first meet some of my fellow tour buddies. That afternoon we were free to explore the island and the resort ourselves and my fellow pre-nighters undertook a short walk out to a lookout and along the beach to watch the sunset and enjoy a few cocktails beachside.

Beachside drinks!

We were up bright and early the next morning to meet our fellow travellers before heading out to one of the most famous sites on Fraser Island – Lake McKenzie. The freshwater lane is almost crystal clear and beautiful to swim in and relax next too. Following lunch the next stop was a walk out to Central Station through the Wanggoolva Creek, a previous hub of the island, where in true wet season style we were all soaked by a passing shower. Following the walk, we had afternoon tea and the Fraser Island cookie tradition was born, it became so that cookies were consumed before and after any activity or bus ride. Fraser evenings were mainly spent chilling out in our lodge, playing drinking games and having emotional sing-a-longs thanks to one of our group who’d brought his guitar.

Getting ready for the first full day on Fraser
Lake Mackenzie with the Lodge 4 girls
Lake Mackenzie was pretty close to perfection

The second day on Fraser stated with a drive along the sand highway, out to the Chamange Pools stopping at the Maheno shipwreck along the way – of course more cookie were consumed! In the afternoon we walked out to Indian Head, the highest point on Fraser Island, for spectacular views of the island. Our final stop was Eli creek for more swimming, and tubing down the river – of course I was the one who fell out the stationary rubber ring! It was here that the intense volleyball completions begun as we tried to get 10 hits in a row!

Maheno shipwreck
On 75 mile beach – an official road!
View from Indian Head
Indian Head is the highest point on Fraser Island

The final day of the tour started with stand-up paddle boarding, or sit down in my case at Lake Birrabben before an all you can eat lunch, not made the most of as we were all stuffed from the cookies! After lunch we trekked over the Hammerstone Sandblow to our final lake of the trip,  Lake Wabby. The final part of the trip involved the ferry back to Hervey Bay from where I caught the night bus to a Airlie Beach.

Tour Group selfie stick outing
Human pyramids on the beach
Wonderful group
Contemplating how great Fraser was

Hikes and Beaches in Noosa

After being dropped off in Noosa following three days of pure relaxing and luxury I wasted no time heading back down to the beach, where I was able catch up with both Rebeeca and Rhiannon – that evening resulted in many hilarious sunset Boomerangs (part of Instagram) being created on the spit.​

Main beach at Noosa Heads

Noosa sunsets
The next day, I undertook one of the many hikes available in Noosa National Park out to Hells Gate along the coast path, which was full of stunning views and scenery; including a wild koala! The walk itself was around 7km return, and well worth it. I would recommend to anyone in the Noosa area.
Hiking to Hells Gate
Made it out to Hells Gates
Tea Tree Bay

On my final day in Noosa, I found time for a final hike up to the Leguna lookout for great views of Noosa Heads and the surrounding areas, before spending my final few hours exploring the Noosa spit area further and being treated to more awesome views.

View from the lookout
Noosa river

City loving Brisbane style 

An early start and a slightly hungover Sophie boarded the Greyhound to Brisbane bright and early in the morning! On arriving into Brisbane I was greeted by Rhiannon, a Southeast Asia travel buddy for a catch up! After dumping my bags in the hostel we wandered down to the Southbank, where there are free pools for swimming amongst other things. At one point we were mistaken for students at the university of technology – probably not best to tell them we were English students! Later on in the afternoon, I meet up once again with Rebecca and we took the free ferry along the city, before hanging out once more in Southbank.

Brisbane sign
Views over the river

Day two in Brisbane, and I meet up with Elspeth, an old school friend from the STAGS days for brunch, as she is living in Brisbane currently. That afternoon, I headed up to the Mount Coot-tha for outstanding views of the city.

Catching up with Elspeth after all these years!
Made it to the top of Mount Coot-tha
View over Brisbane from the lookout
Striking a pose once again!

My final morning in Brisbane, was spent at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where I managed to get my photo taken with and cuddle a Koala as well as selfie with many wallabies and emus. The sanctuary provided a great opportunity to get up close with many native Australian animals.

My new furry friend
Wallaby selfie
Emu friend
Koala!
I think she liked me

That afternoon, I caught the train out of Brisbane to Mooloolabah to spend some relaxing time a family friend in their home.

Views for days

Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast was my next stop following Byron Bay, I arrived early on Sunday evening and wasted no time heading out for a drink with one of my roommates. My first full day in Surfers was spent exploring the area alongside catching up with some of the people I met on the High Country Tour. I was lucky as during my time in Surfers the area was holding a Sand Art Festival, featuring many different sand sculptures.

Obligatory snap of the Surfers Paradise sign
Sitting on some sand
One of the sand sculptures
My favourite seat in Surfers
Surfers Paradise skyline
Most beautiful sunset!

On my second day in Surfers I ventured out of the city and into the hinterland – an Australian word for the area just inland from the coast. Mount Tamborine was a largely rainforest area, and I was lucky enough to be able to walk through the trees on a tree top walkway. Tamborine itself was a very cute town with a parade of shops similar to what would be found in the UK which made me feel very at home. That evening, back in Surfers, I meet up with Rickie, another from the Melbourne – Sydney tour as we attempted the hostel trivia quiz. Unfortunately our team was just too good at the Trivia and we were not given the free goon!

Up in the trees on the rainforest skywalk
Chasing waterfalls
Inside the trees!
Heart shaped tree

My final day in Surfers was a relaxed one, spent mostly hanging around the swimming pool; before heading out on a famous Surfers Paradise bar crawl in the evening!