After our camper van adventures we spent the holidays at my dad’s friend’s house in a southern suburb of Brisbane. It was weird celebrating Christmas while it was 30 degrees outside and we spent the better part of every day in the pool. For my birthday we went in to the city to Southbank to see the new Hobbit movie and have a yummy dinner. Just before New Years we switched locations and headed up North of Brisbane to stay with another one of my dad’s friends and his family for a few days. We had a lovely time with them and their dogs and had a fun time partying with everyone on NYE. After the holidays it was time to get down to business and we began our house hunting search back in downtown Brisbane.
We managed to find a place in Fortitude Valley, the heart of Brisbane’s entertainment district. It was great to have a home base again and regular internet but we couldn’t just settled down and relax for ever so it was time to find a job. Finding a job ended up being the hard part, Braden tried out a few jobs including telemarketing and moving which didn’t quite pan out and I had a long streak of nothing till a local Italian restaurant finally called me back in mid-February. Not long after I scored my job Braden switched up his resume tactics (going for more humour) and landed a job by the end of February at a small Mexican take away place. During February we did manage to hit up a water park, Seaworld, check out Surfers Paradise for a day, spend a few days down in Byron Bay catching waves (and sunburns), cuddle a koala and check out the wildlife at the Lone Pine’s Koala Sanctuary, as well as exploring more of Brisbane.
Once we started working we realized that our part time jobs just weren’t going to be enough to sustain us in the long term so we made the decision to start planning our route back to Canada a little earlier than we had planned. Australia is just quite an expensive place to live. March did consist of a lot of planning but we also managed to have some fun. We caught some awesome live performances by Macklemore, Deadmau5 and more at Future Music Festival. For our final big trip in Australia we decided to check out Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands since we had heard so much about it. Most people choose to see the islands by taking a multi-night sailing trip out to them but I am not the biggest fan of being on a boat for too long so we opted to take two day trips out from Airlie instead. The day we arrived in Airlie it was super hot and sunny out but that would be the last time we would see the sun during our time there. Our first day trip took us out to the tail end of the Great Barrier Reef (I figured Braden couldn’t leave Oz without seeing it) but due to the bad weather we encountered some pretty crazy waves out on the open ocean making me feel pretty sea sick for most of the day. After spending our whole second day hiding inside from the rain (well more like drinking inside the hostel’s bar) we were starting to feel less enthusiastic about spending another day out on the rain and wavy ocean. In the end our ocean rafting day trip out to see more of the islands, including the famous Whitehaven Beach, was rainy and a little chilly but we still managed to have a good time. Another unique Australian experience that we simply couldn’t leave without checking out was an AFL game and boy was it a lot of fun. During our last weekend in Brisbane we hopped down to the Gold Coast to attend Supernova (a mini comic convention) where Braden got to see a live LOL finals match and I got to see some of the unreleased Black Milk pieces (win win for both of us). Finally after some sad goodbyes to new friends we departed Brisbane for South East Asia to continue our adventures (in much cheaper countries).
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.