Australian East Coast – Week 2

A whole load of Australian wildlife, including Koalas, Kangaroos and many more…

In this post I detail what I got up to in my second week in Brisbane, Noosa & Rainbow Beach.

Day 1

I only booked one day in the Gold Coast so it was back on the Greyhound bus for me this morning, unfortunately it was 45 minutes late so I had a little wait before getting to Brisbane.

When I did eventually get to Brisbane I thought it would be nice to do some sightseeing. I had a few spots in the city that I wanted to visit so began ticking them off.

I walked around the city as that’s my favourite way to take in a new place – there are many rental electric bikes and scooters dotted around that you can pay to use to get around quicker or even use the free ferry that travels between the north quay and Chinatown every 30 minutes.

I decided to make the South Bank Parklands my first stop as that was the closest place from my hostel. The South Bank seems to be where lots of stuff is going on in Brisbane; it’s got the cultural side with the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), a museum, library and theatre as well as lush gardens/parks and of course Streets beach.

I did have a quick little stroll through the gallery and museum which were free to enter but I was more interested in other spots of Brisbane so Ididn’t stay for long.

‘When in Brisbane, you’ve got to get a picture of the Brisbane sign!’ is what I imagine every backpacker says as that’s all I ever see when people visit… and I was no exception to the rule. The sign can be found slightly down river from the gallery and museum just south of Victoria Bridge.

‘Brisbane’ sign on the South Bank.

After snapping a picture I passed the Wheel of Brisbane as I followed along a path of pink flowers on metal arches. This path lasts the length of the South Bank parkland and it also runs by Streets beach so you shouldn’t be able to miss it. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t favourable to spend time at Streets beach today but I could see the appeal of it when it is a hot day, especially because there’s no regular beaches in Brisbane.

Pink flower path in South Bank Parklands.

The ANZAC Memorial, the Shrine of Remembrance in ANZAC Square were really cool to see – It had an ‘eternal flame’ in the middle of it too which I thought was really neat. I would definitely recommend checking especially given its significance to Australian history.

The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The memorial was built to honour those who served in WW1 but now functions as a memorial to all Australians who have served in any war.

Shrine of Remembrance in ANZAC Square.

I did also walk to and across Story Bridge as I had seen some cool pictures of it on Instagram. However I wouldn’t recommend making your way to it as it’s a little further out than the rest of the spots and isn’t really that special, it was just like any other bridge, nothing cool or spectacular to see.

Day 2

The weather still hasn’t been on my side, today it was tipping it down so it wasn’t a fun day to go out and sightsee. However I braved the rain as I didn’t want to miss the koala sanctuary whilst I was here.

I caught the 430 bus from the Cultural Centre Station, Platform 2 – the bus times weren’t clear but 430 did eventually turn up 15 minutes later than I expected. A bus ticket to the Koala Sanctuary cost $6AUD cash or $4.11AUD by Translink card – if you are only staying in Brisbane for a couple days I would recommend just paying by cash as the Translink card cost $10AUD to buy before putting any money on it.

When I arrived at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary the weather was still terrible; the place is on a slope and because of the rain there was a sort of river running straight through the middle of the Sanctuary. That didn’t stop me seeing the wildlife there though. I was able to see the Tasmanian Devil, Duck Billed Platypus, Koalas and Kangaroos along with a whole host of other animals that don’t get the limelight as their not generally seen as cute.

Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Kangaroos at Lone Pine Kola Sanctuary.

I opted not to but many visitors like to get a picture holding a Koala, you’re able to do this from 11AM-12PM and 1PM-2PM if you pay an additional $27AUD. If you don’t want to pay like I decided you can still get up close and personal with the Koalas, you can touch one for a few seconds at any other point during the day.

At just after midday I left the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and made my way back into the city centre. I was straight back onto another bus as soon as I was in the city so that I could get a panoramic view of it from Mount Coo-Tha Lookout. The bus that took me there was number 471 and it cost $4.90AUD to get to the lookout from the city.

The weather definitely wasn’t on my side when I got to the lookout! The conditions were so poor that when I got there that I just took a quick picture and went straight back to the bus, luckily the bus driver was still there and offered me a free ride back as he knew I didn’t see anything and got soaked for nothing.

View, or lack there of from Mount Coo-Tha Lookout.

Once I got back to the hostel and had a nice shower to warm me up I had a message from the Swedish girls I met in Nimbin. They had just arrived in Brisbane so we met up at their hostel, cooked some food and played some cards games. It wasn’t a super late night though as once again I had an early morning tomorrow.

If you are looking to catch public transport in Brisbane I wouldn’t advise using the official ‘My Translink’ app as it isn’t very helpful, instead I would recommend using the ‘Moovit’ app as it is more accurate, user friendly and has a map which is extremely useful.

Day 3

This morning I had an early cab ride to the ferry pier at 5:45AM so that I could catch the earliest boat across to Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world. The island doesn’t look very far away on the map but the ferry journey took about an hour or so, so I passed the time by watching ‘The Chase’ on the boats communal TV.

When I got to the island there was a lady waiting to greet me and take me to get all of my gear. I was provided with a kayak, paddle, scuba mask, snorkel and fins. Seeing as I had woke up and got to the island super early I had made my way onto the water without even seeing more than two people.

I got onto the water in my kayak about a kilometre away from the Tangalooma shipwreck. Luckily the current was on my side, it was super strong so I managed to paddle my way to the wrecks within a couple of minutes. As soon as I got onto the water I realised that I had forgot my GoPro but it wasn’t as bad as first thought as the water wasn’t as clear as I thought it would be. I paddled my way around the shipwreck a little bit being extra cautious not to drop my phone into the sea whilst I was taking pictures.

Tangalooma Shipwreck at Moreton Island.

I then paddled my way back to the closest point of shore so that I could snorkel around the wreck. I didn’t forget about the strong current so I decided to head into the water a bit further up the beach so I wouldn’t be dragged away although I strongly underestimated it and it swept me away anyway. By the time I swam out to the shipwreck I was already halfway along it so I missed the southernmost point. However the water at the southern point was the murkiest anyway so I didn’t miss a lot apparently. Snorkelling around I did see many fish got a sighting of a few starfish and a stingray burying itself under some sand. I spent a good while under the water looking at all of the marine life before making my way back to shore. It was a real struggle though, the current had picked up and meant swimming back to shore took me a long while and also meant that I was a couple 100 metres away from where I first entered the water.

After that long swim I had to endure some more exercise, a nice one kilometre paddle back to where I started against the current. Rather than the couple minutes it took me to get from there to the wrecks it was more of a 30 minute strain getting back. When I did eventually get back I thought I deserved an ice cream and some chill time in the sun – that’s what the rest of my day on the island entailed.

By the time I got back to my hostel it had gone 6PM but luckily I was just in time for the free BBQ which was on offer. At least this meant I didn’t have to cook something for myself after the long day.

Day 4

It has become a usual occurrence now so rather than waking up early I just woke up at the standard time to catch the 7:30AM greyhound bus to Noosa.

The bus was only a short two hour ride so it wasn’t so bad however because it was so quick I was too early to check in to my next hostel, Nomads.

To pass the time until I could check in I made my way to the main beach with Eleanor, a girl I met on the bus. We met up with a couple of her friends that she had met as she had made her way up the east coast, Ellie & Gaea. We spent a short amount time tanning & chatting on the beach before it started to rain so we decided to find somewhere to eat.

We went to Betty’s Burgers where I ordered a Classic Burger ($10.50AUD) & Fries ($5AUD) – I had been craving Five Guys for a while so this was a welcome treat. I didn’t get it but Betty’s Burgers have a signature dessert called concrete which is apparently delicious so you may want to give that a try if/when you go.

Classic Burger and Fries from Betty’s Burgers.

Once the rain had cleared and we had refuelled, Eleanor and I made our way along the coastal walk path from the main beach towards Fairy Pools. It took around 30-40 minutes to get to the fairy pools passing Dolphin Point, Boiling Point and Tea Tree Bay along the way. The walk was really nice and we had the sea to our left the whole way which was a bonus.

When we got to Fairy Pools we got lucky as there weren’t very many people there. Eleanor got a picture of the pools on her phone however as she uses an Android the picture quality wasn’t very good when she sent it across to me. Nonetheless the pools themselves were really cool, the waves were crashing in over the sides creating a kind of natural jacuzzi.

Please note there is not a lot of information on the Fairy Pools being promoted as the authorities do not want to promote them as part of their tourism campaign as they can be dangerous. If you want to make you own way there it is just off the coastal path before you get to Hells Gate – go at your own risk, low tide is the safest time to go.

Day 5

Today I was making my way to one of the only two Everglades in the world, Noosa Everglades (the lesser known one). As such I made my way from my hostel to a pickup spot just around the corner to be taken to the Everglades, we got picked up at 8:10AM and it was a 40 minute bus ride.

The place we arrived at was a glamping site for all those people who are on a bigger budget than me. It was a lovely place and was also a sort of Kangaroo Sanctuary, there were many wild Kangaroos around the site most of which were chilling in the sun at the end of the field.

We met our guide Trevor, and made our way down a little path towards Lake Cootharaba where we boarded a boat which would take us around for the day. Trevor said that the weather conditions we had were perfect as it had been raining a couple days beforehand so many of the small channels we wouldn’t usually be able to go down had been flooded and today was really sunny.

There was an absurd amount of wildlife to see as we made our way down many of the channels including: Pelicans, Black Swans and 3 of the 4 species of Cormorant found in the glades which was amazing. And even better there were no crocs – they’re only at the ones in Florida.

Lake Coothabara is also known as the lake of mirrors/reflections and it was easy to see why as the water was so still that the sky reflected in it whichever way you looked. Forgetting my sunglasses for this day trip was not a good idea as the reflections of the suns didn’t do anything to help my eyes.

The lake of reflections, Noosa Everglades.
A rainbow reflecting in the water on the Everglades.

An everglade is defined as a tract of low, swampy land characterized by tall grass and branching waterways. In Noosa it is characterized by Tea Trees, of which give the water a dark black/brown colour.

We stopped off about an hour into our boat ride for morning breakfast which was very welcomed. It was there that I first tried an ANZAC biscuit, the kind which were made in Australia & New Zealand and then sent to troops serving in the war back in the day. They were lush and reminded me of biscuits that my Gran makes back home – not better than the usual ones back home though Gran so you’ve got nothing to worry about!

We continued through lots of different channels before parking the boat up so that we could kayak for an hour. I was in a three man with two girls from the group which meant I was doing all the work for the next hour even though I was already spent out after paddling the kayak at Moreton Island a couple days ago.

Photo taken of Amy from Essex (Left), Eleanor from Leeds (Middle) and me whilst kayaking on the Everglades.

After what seemed much longer than an hour we got back on the boat and made our way back to the glamping site to what Trevor told us was an Australian Roast dinner. I was dreaming of all the goodness of an English roast but sadly it wasn’t to be. A plate came out with a roasted chicken wing, boiled potatoes, corn on the cob, coleslaw, bread and salad – very poor, very poor indeed!

Day 6

Today was a little bit of a catch up, kind of chill day. The main aim of today was to complete a few errands as I felt as though I had done all I wanted to do in Noosa.

I was advised by a girl at the hostel reception that there are no supermarkets in Rainbow Beach and that it would be a good idea to bring snacks for the Fraser Island Tour so I went to the nearby Coles to stock up. Once stocked up I decided to head out for a little walk to the forest to get to Hells Gate and the Fairy Pools again. It took a good hour and a half to get there but the walk was really nice although really hot. I did see a number of huge iguanas along the path as well as Sunshine Beach and Hells Gate before getting back to Fairy Pools. I did much of the same as I did the other day at Fairy Pools which meant just chilling and swimming but I did take a picture on my phone this time so I knew I had a good one.

View of Sunshine Beach from Coastal Walk.
Fairy Pools.

I didn’t spend too long at the Fairy Pools as I knew I had some stuff to do when I got back to the hostel. Luckily I think I must’ve spent the right amount of time at the pools as on the way back I saw my first Koala in the wild, apparently only one of two in that whole forest of Noosa. Unfortunately though when they’re in the wild up in the trees they’re a lot harder to get a good picture of than the ones I got at the Koala Sanctuary.

When I got back to the hostel I spent my time doing laundry and cooking up a nice dinner of two minute noodles.

Day 7

Today was another travel day, this time it was a 3 hour bus from Noosa to Rainbow Beach. The bus departure time was slightly awkward as I couldn’t spend a day doing stuff at Noosa and likewise at Rainbow Beach, so I didn’t really get up to much.

I did bump into Ellie & Gaea as they were in my room at Rainbow Beach. They had already completed their island tour which I was due to do in the coming days and we spent a while just chatting about that.

If you missed my post about my first week travelling the east coast of Australia be sure to check it out.

Next week I’ll be heading to Fraser Island & the Town of 1770; follow my blog to be notified of when I post my next instalment of my East Coast trip. And if you want to stay even more up-to-date with where I am and what I’m doing be sure to check out my Instagram @chadkirby_ and maybe even give me a follow.