Our trip to the Brisbane airport was super quick and easy with my dad giving us a lift in. We check in easily and after a quick drink at the airport with dad we hoped on our quick two hour flight north to Cairns. My dad arranged for us to be met at the airport by one of his contacts and friends who drove us in to town and gave us a quick tour of the town. We then checked in to our hostel Giligan’s, our party hostel for the trip as it has a massive club attached to it. The girls in our room ended up being lovely so we all decided to grab dinner together that night at the hostel. Our meals were not the most impressive but ten dollars for dinner and a drink is pretty hard to pass up in this country. Thursday night at Giligan’s happened to be ladies’ night which meant we all got five free glasses of champagne served to us by shirtless waiters in bow ties, hilarious. After the champagne service there was a volunteer pole dance competition aka 18 year old backpacker girls trying their hardest to shake it in front of a pretty big crowd, also hilarious and our favourite actually ended up winning. We tried to keep dancing for as long as we could but exhaustion finally won out so we hit the hay still fairly early. Friday morning we decided to take our local guide’s breakfast suggestion and checked out The Lilypad cafe for one of the best breakfasts on our trip to date (pancakes, ice cream, hashbrowns and bacon yuuum). The rest of the day was pretty chill, we just napped and caught up on the internet. That evening some of the girls from our room came with us to check out the nearby night market. That night we called it an early night despite the thumping bass from the club downstairs. We woke up bright an early the next day to hop on our boat headed out to the great barrier reef with Down Under Cruise and Dive. We checked out two different sites and got to snorkel at both of them, Grace’s first time ever trying it! We son tons of funky coloured fish and even managed to spot a great big sea turtle! At the second location we hopped on a glass bottom boat tour and found nemo 🙂 On the way home one of the hilarious crew members preformed some songs and improve with a bit of musical trivia thrown in (I even got a question right and one a drink score!). Even though we were super tired and sunburnt we got dressed for a big night on the town with the Ultimate Party bus bar crawl. We hit up four different bars and were ferried between them on a massive double decker bus. At each stop there were some scandalous games which were super funny to watch. It was a pretty fun night and we had a great time dancing with two fellow Canadian girls. The next morning we got off to a pretty slow start but eventually made our way down to the Cairns swimming lagoon with our new friends for a relaxing afternoon in the lovely water and sun. Since we were leaving the next morning we had another quiet night and hit up the local movie theatre to check out Thor 2 which was just as great as the first Thor (plus lots of yummy Chris Hemsworth and sassy Kat Dennings my faves). Next morning we were up nice and early to head to our last new destination and the most northern location of our trip, Port Douglas.
So the night of my last post in Byron Bay ended with a massive thunderstorm that raged for two hours and gave us a pretty dramatic light show. We were supposed to go out that night but when the power went out because of the storm we changed our minds, that didn’t stop the schoolies kids though (basically australian grade 12 grad trip). The next morning we packed our bags and said a tearful goodbye to byron’s lovely beach and hopped on the Greyhound to Brisbane. The 4 hour bus ride wasn’t too bad and provided some cool views of the gold coast. Upon arrival in Brisbane we were greeted at the bus terminal by my dad which was really really awesome, so good to see him again after all this years. We quickly checked in to our room at the Brisbane City YHA and then my dad whisked us off to the best meal we have had in Australia! The next morning we made ghetto pancakes in a shake bottle at the hostel which turned out ok (despite some interesting cooking equipment). We spent the day road tripping around Brisbane with my dad who took us to the biggest mall in Australia (pretty sure yorkdale and sherway could fit inside), for a sushi lunch, and a few drinks at his favourite spots. We also stopped for a visit with my nana who is still up and moving at 98 (!!), it was so lovely to see her again. That night Grace and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood of our hostel and made a yummy pasta dinner (cause we are old ladies and never party lol). Next morning after epically failing at making pancakes we discovered that the cafe in the hostel makes amazing breakfast (we will be going back for the waffles next time!). Dad then picked us up and drove us up the Sunshine coast towards Noosa, stopping at a cool pub that has a car on its roof!! Upon arriving in Noosa we discovered that our hostel had lied to us and was actually in the middle of nowhere so luckly my father came to the rescue and switch us into a hotel right in the centre of town and two minutes walk to the beach. We had a delicious lunch at the beach club overlooking the ocean where I bought my dad his first drink from me. That night we took advantage of the tv in our room and curled up watching The Great Gatsby. We spent our full day in Noosa checking out the nearby shops and then hitting the beach and hotel pool, such a perfectly relaxing day. That evening we decided to hike out to a view point in the nearby national park to get some amazing sunset views. After reaching Hell’s Gates and taking a billion photos we started to head back towards town when Grace realized that she might have lost her passport. With the sun rapidly setting we ran back out to the viewpoint to look but found nothing. We walked back through the very dark park arm in arm with my phone out as a flashlight terrified that we were in some horror movie. Returning to the room we discovered that Grace’s brain was smart and left her passport safely in the room, phew! That night we pigged out on pizza hut and had an early night before heading to the airport in the am for our flights to Cairns (where we are now but I will update later with a full post about that).
When I last left off we had been stuck in the rain for three days in Sydney but held out hope for a sunny last day, which didn’t happen. Monday was just as rainy as the rest of the weekend had been so we hit the shops instead for some window shopping in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. So after an afternoon of doing what grace and I do best we met up with our tour guide from the weekend for so goodbye beverages at Scubar, the greasy club in the basement of our hostel. The club was packed with super drunk backpackers all crowding around to watch mini crabs race, so strange. After the races were over they actually played some good music so we hit the dance floor to bust a few moves. Tuesday morning was a rush to get packed and organize for our flights out to Byron Bay. Of course the sun was out just in time for us to chill inside the airport, gotta love mother nature. Virgin airways was fantastic and our flight only took an hour, win! Upon arriving in Byron the first thing we did after checking into the Cape Byron YHA was to hit the beach fiiiiiiiinally. Being super exhausted that day from traveling all we had the energy to do was to hit up the local cinema and check out the film About Time (which was suuuuper cute). Wednesday morning we had a very yummy breakfast at the hotel cafe around the corner where we met George the local celebrity lizard. The rest of the day was spent on the beach and at the hostel’s lovely pool just relaxing. Thursday was a pretty chill day as well but in the evening we decided we were ready for a hike. The best hike in town takes you along the coast to a couple amazing view points including the most Eastern point in Australia and ends at a very picturesque lighthouse. Friday we ventured out into the country side on the Happy Bus to a little hippy town called Nimbin. The town had a few cute shops and a very interesting museum about the town’s history. After a yummy lunch made by our fantastically eccentric guide we headed back to Byron. We decided that night to check out the local sleazy bar Cheeky Monkey’s, which had no dance floor but instead has tables that are meant to be danced on. We did some dancing but eventually decided to hit the hay fairly early. Today so far has been a pretty chill day with the highlight being getting laundry done (so thrilling). Tomorrow we head off for two days in Brisbane before we start the real trek northwards.
After so many months of dreaming and planning I have finally made it to Australia. All three flights to Sydney were relatively uneventful (minus the window seat mix up in San Francisco, eastern USA why do you not like me?) and both us and our luggage made it across the world in one piece. The airport in San Francisco was pretty crap, we ate bad sushi and overpaid for crap hot chocolate plus there was just not that much around in general. On the other hand I must say that I was quite impressed with the Auckland airport, lots of shopping and pretty good food options plus I got to share my breakfast with a pretty cute bird. Arriving in Sydney was a breeze thanks to my father’s associate who met us at the arrivals gate and drove us into the city to our hostel. It was so nice to see the sun and be warm but unfortunately that was not to last. After checking in and getting settled at the Sydney Central YHA we were supposed to meet up with our tour guide for the weekend (grace’s cousin’s bf) for what we thought was to be a casual pizza dinner. So we get to this place Frankies and it turns out to be a really hip bar/club/pizza place complete with a bouncer. Pretty cool place all in all but our stamina was just not keeping up so after being awake since 4am we gave in and went home and to bed pathetically before ten pm, fail. Saturday morning we got up and moving to have breakfast at a very trendy hipster breakfast place with our tour guide. After breakfast we wandered up through Hyde Park, stopping through the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and ending up at the best view point of the Sydney Harbour and bridge. After getting a closer look at the botanical gardens and the Sydney Opera House we hopped in the ferry with some beverages and jettied out to Watson’s Bay for a picturesque view of downtown and some yummy fish and chips. Saturday night we were invited over to grace’s cousin’s for a lovely home cooked meal. Sunday so far had been suuuper rainy and cold so we have just sought refuge indoors and booked the rest of our vacation yay! Now if the sun could just come out tomorrow!!