30 May Our Trip down the East Coast of Australia – Part 2
After snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, sailing the Whitsundays and driving 430 miles down the East Coast, we were eager to see what else was in store for us during the second half of our Australian road trip. If you haven’t read about the first half of our road trip you can check it out here.
Driving the East Coast of Australia
We started the next leg of our trip in Rockhampton. We hadn’t heard particularly exciting reviews about this city and associated it mainly with the devastating floods that occurred there a few years ago. We would have skipped it entirely had the drive between Airlie Beach and 1770 not been so long; instead we scheduled a brief overnight stop here before heading onwards.
Named after the year Captain Cook landed there, 1770 is a worthwhile diversion off the main tourist trail. One of Andrew’s relatives who we met during our week in Sydney raved about this sleepy beach haven so we were excited to check it out. We found acres of rugged shoreline and sandy beaches with fierce waves to explore and had a peaceful time staying in a backpackers retreat in the middle of nowhere. 1770 was a great place to relax; the nights were surprisingly cold, the sky riddled with stars and buzzing with hungry mosquitoes.
For some reason, even though we didn’t do a lot and had a horrid brush with bedbugs while we were there, we loved our stay in Hervey Bay. Unlike many of the places we visited in Australia, in Hervey Bay the locals seemed to outnumber the tourists; we could wander down to the beach from our hostel and see people fishing off the pier, walking their dogs along the sand and even competing in a triathlon. Our hostel offered free bikes so we spent one afternoon riding them around the whole bay, whizzing around the harbour and along the esplanade towards the sun setting over the sea – it was one of my favourite days in Australia.
We didn’t exactly hit it off with Brisbane; in fact, after getting hopelessly lost driving around confusing one-way systems looking for a Tourist Information Centre we were considering just driving straight out the other side. Eventually though, once we’d found a place to stay and had some food in our bellies we started to make friends with Brisbane. We wandered down to the South Bank in time to see the sun set spectacularly over the futuristic skyline – it reminded me a bit of Canary Wharf in London (except for the palm trees). We didn’t have time to explore much more of Brisbane as the next day we set off to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where we had a great time meeting all sorts of cute and weird Australian animals.
Our stay in Surfers’ Paradise was doomed from the moment we arrived to a leaden-grey sky which quickly gave way to a heavy downpour. Over the next couple of days, every time we stepped out of our hotel it seemed to start raining again – this was definitely not the sunny Australia we’d envisioned. Added to the miserable weather we didn’t like the feel of Surfers’ Paradise with its shiny glass buildings and plush apartment blocks – everything seemed very soulless and flashy; exactly what I imagine LA to be like.
On the last day of our road trip down the East Coast we took a trip to Byron Bay. We made it down to the beach in time for the rain to start lashing down on us again; from there we sloshed back to the car and drove up to the famous lighthouse, which looked pretty atmospheric actually against the moody sky. We thought Byron Bay looked like a pretty nice, bohemian place; full of coffee shops, book stores and vegan restaurants but it’s also quite expensive and I’m glad we didn’t opt to spend more time there.
So that concludes our three-week Australian road trip; next up – a brand new adventure in a totally different country – Indonesia.
AnnPosted at 10:38h, 31 May
Your trip around the east coast of Australia has gone by in a whirl. What a range of experiences it’s been, from the Neighbours tour to bedbugs! We’ve enjoyed reading & seeing (brilliant photos) every aspect of it. Especially meeting up with Graham & Janet. Looking forward to the next installment. Love to you both & take care xxx
AndrewPosted at 12:46h, 31 May
Thanks mum, we really enjoyed Australia, especially looking back on it from Java. It was so nice to stay with Graham and Janet, really felt like home. Glad you got to see Graham too. There were some places where it was really difficult to take a bad photo too. See you soon! 🙂
louisa klimentosPosted at 22:00h, 13 January
You are one amazing mum.You must have missed Andrew and Amy when they were travelling.
northierthanthouPosted at 19:51h, 04 June
Looks like fun. the free bike rides would be a particularly cool benefit.
AmyPosted at 05:29h, 05 June
Yep, the free bikes were a great added extra!
HarrietPosted at 19:22h, 14 May
hey, how much did your road trip cost, roundabout?! trying to decided whether to rent a car or take one of the oz experience greyhound buses down the same route?!
AmyPosted at 01:44h, 15 May
Hi Harriet, it cost around £2,000 for two people. I think the Greyhound might be cheaper and better if you’re on your own so you can meet people but a car definitely gives you more flexibility to stop off in places whereas you need to get public transport in each destination on top of the Greyhound, which increases the cost. If you want any more info about our trip let me know 🙂
PaulPosted at 07:37h, 05 June
What time of the year did you do this? As I read about the rain storms etc in your blog
AmyPosted at 12:22h, 05 June
Hi Paul, it was in April and the weather wasn’t too bad, especially when compared to England 🙂
louisa klimentosPosted at 14:08h, 07 January
Hi,Amy,the rain storms is due to the monsoons which happen between November and April..It is also cyclone season ,which can devastate Queensland.The best time to go is between May and October.The weather is either warm or hot and more stable.that time of year.It is great to escape the winter weather of Sydney and Melbourne,while visiting north of Queensland.Did you know that NSW has more national parks than Queensland.My cousin John from England visited Australia and as we took him everywhere,he felt that NSW had more scenic drives and beautful National parks than Queensland.i always found that our inland national parks are more spectacular than the ones on the coast.If you like go on you tube and look up Australian Geographics,Oxley Wild River National Park.It is really ruggard.Sorry i keep writing on your travel blog.i hope you don’t mind.My home made yummy lamb and vegitable pies go down pretty well on a cold rainy ,stormy day.Too bad I couldn’t send you both any.
AmyPosted at 06:06h, 09 January
Hi Louisa, the National Parks sound incredible! I enjoy reading your comments and I’m sure other readers can get some valuable information from them about visiting Australia. Your pies sound lovely 🙂
louisa klimentosPosted at 14:15h, 11 January
You are so sweet ,Amy.By the way ,i loved your travel blog on New Zealand.I have done a lot of reading and watch alot of documentries on New Zealand .I love watching the stunning scenery of New Zealand on TV.It is very relaxing and i wish i was there..It is only a three hour flight from Sydney to Christ Church .Christ Church is closer to Sydney than Perth.It is a 5 hour flight from Sydney to Perth.If you can check out Tasmania ,it will be good because i have been told that Tasmania has some beautiful coastal drives where you have scenery on both sides of the road.I hope to be visiting the UK in the next two years.Our cousins who visited Australia,two years ago were overwhelmed by the way we treated them.We took them to alot of places in NSW.and then they travelled to Queensland.They really want us to visit them in the Uk .I have to be saving all my money,if i want to visit Both New zealand and the UK.I hope you and Andrew have a wonderful week,love louisa
AmyPosted at 04:04h, 12 January
Yes, it’s a shame that the UK, Australia and New Zealand are such expensive countries because they are great ones to explore. I’d love to one day come back and see more of both NZ and Oz, I felt we barely scratched the surface. I hope you make it to the UK for a visit! Have a great week too.
louisa klimentosPosted at 22:05h, 13 January
i hope you do make it down this part of the world.You are my favourite Travel blog writer and always will be .Remember the old saying a friend in need is a friend in deed.love always louisa
AmyPosted at 15:47h, 14 January
Thanks so much Louisa 🙂