The Oz experience experience commences...
It been ages..sorry..blah blah..you know what i'm like now so i'm giving up saying sorry!!! Here's anopther mamouth catch up for you allt o enjoy at your leisure!!!
What now feels like a billion years ago, Carrie and I finally left Sydney (sadly...i WILL be back!) and caught our first 'Oz Experience' bus to head up the coast. Our pass is a hop-on-hop-off thing that will take us all the way to Cairns with a few compulsory stops on the way which they organise activities for us. Our first compulsory over night stop was a tiny surfing spot 9 hours north of Sydney called ‘Spot X’. Luckily there were plenty of breaks and a few bits of on bus entertainment on the nine hour journey! At spot x we got a free surfing lesson – which i was rather nervous about but ended up loving! I perfected the kneeling surf...and stood for about half a second, while Carrie took to it like a pro and whizzed past me every other minute standing proudly!
The next morning we headed off to our next stop Byron Bay another 3 hours north...where we stayed for 10 days. It was the most chilled place ever, and we took to the vibe rather successfully! There wasn't a huge amount to do other than relax by the hostels pool, spending days on the beach and wandering around the amazing shops trying to resist buying everything. We did manage a days activity near the end of our stay – walking up to the local lighthouse to enjoy some amazing views and standing on Australia’s most easterly point. Our one drama staying here was our room being hit by the dreaded 'Bed bug'. My bed was fine but this poor girl in our room out of no-where got eaten alive over night...so we had to wash and tumble dry all our clothes and move rooms. The hostel were great though and paid for everything.
We are meeting some great people along the way and have had some great nights out with them – including st paddy's day where I celebrated the news of the arrival of my cousins baby – whoop!!
Our next stop was ‘Surfers Paradise’...described as Australia’s benidorm/magaluf by various people i've met along the way so our expectations weren't exactly high!!
We were pleasantly surprised though – and a good job too as we had four full days there before heading up to Brisbane to meet up with Carries sister Sam who would be flying in then.
Our four days were happily filled on the beach and wandering around the city. We had a bit of a tour guide which was great as a girl (Amy) we met in our room in Sydney had been staying there for a good few weeks so we hung out with her a lot too!
Sam was in the hostel reception when we arrived in Brisbane – it was so great to see her!! We wasted no time after we got there, dumped our bags and went straight for a walk around the city and got a boat up the river. Stopped for a wander around Queensland University and got the boat back! The next day we wanted to go on a free city guided tour but the guide had to cancel so instead we headed to a weird fake beach thing! As Brisbane is in land – but seriously HOT – they built a lagoon and fake beach...it was actually quite cool! That night we met up with a guy from Brisbane who I met a few years ago through a friend when I visited her in New York (tenuous link!!). He showed us the nightlife - which was rather dead on a thursday! - but it was great to catch up!
Next, I left Sam and Carrie behind in Brisbane for a few days and went of the beaten track for a few days to visit a guy who used to be in my tutor group at uni. He moved out to Oz a few years ago with his wife and 2 gorgeous children! They very kindly offered to put me up for as long as I wanted...
I ended up staying with them for 3 nights and they showed my their local area which was lovely. Hit the beach and various lakes and things, had a go at fishing (unsuccessful) and another go at surfing (even less successful... and embarrassing due to a bikini malfunction and flashing incident!). I wouldn't say that me an Ben were that good friends at Uni (plus he left in 2nd year), but him and his family were SO kind and generous while I stayed with them. It was really lovely to be able to catch up (after 6 years!) and get to know each other properly.
On my last night we had dinner at Leah's parents with the whole family - it was so lovely! Also discovered Leah's sister was a hairdresser and she offered to do my highlight roots for cheap the next day – hurrah!!!
After having my hair done in Leahs kitchen, Ben drove me to Where Carrie and Sam now were – the next stop.. 'Noosa'. A very popular holiday destination with Aussies, Noosa is a beautiful spot with really cute beaches, a national park forest and some more great shops to try and resist! Ben and I went for a walk through the park (saw a wild koala!!), to a little beach for a bit then we said goodbye and I met up with Sam and Carrie who'd arrived a bit earlier.
Weather wasnt great the next day – but it didnt matter we were going to Australia Zoo (the one set up by Steve Irwin)!! It was awesome! I got to feed an elephant and a kangeroo and got to hold a Koala...possibly the CUTEST thing in the world.
After another day wandering around Noosa we got an afternoon bus to the next stop Rainbow Beach. The less said about that overnight stop the better – there was just nothing to do!! But we were only there for the night so it wasn't a big problem. Arrived in time for a quick walk to the beach...and back again. Rainbow Beach...DONE.
Next adventure was our Fraser Island trip - one of 2 of the most bigged up things to do on the east coast so we all had our fingers crossed that it lived up to expectations...!