Byron Bay, Australia

Every traveler that I spoke to raved about Byron Bay, but to me its just another nice beach town with not much to do.

Lacey and I did a hike up to the lighthouse which was a heck of a work out. The views were amazing up there.

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The beaches do have really pretty sun sets.

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I went out to Woody’s shack with an Irish guy and his friends that I met at my hostel. One of his friends won a surf board and he doesn’t even surf.

Off to Sydney!

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Brisbane, Australia

Absolutely loved Brisbane. Such a great little city.

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I was happy to meet a dorm roommie, Katrina from Denmark. She’s well traveled and speaks perfect English.  Lacey’s back was hurting so Katrina and I went out. We prepartied at Francisco’s (A Brazilian I met in Whit Sundays) house. Then we walked to the Valley where there are a ton of bars. It kinda had a San Diego gas lamp feel. We met some Kiwis and hung out with them. Next thing we realized was the dawn light was slowly peaking through the sky.

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Katrina and me

Instead of sleeping I decided to check out the art museums with Lacey. The Galley of Modern Art was a 10 minute walk from the Base Embassy hostel. I absolutely enjoyed it.

I really liked the white forest exhibit. It felt colder in the room because the trees looked like they were covered in snow. Walking through it felt like a Doctor Seuss movie set. 

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I loved this piece made of road signs. The reflective material really catches the eyes.

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There was a really good interactive exhibit where there are spiked clubs hanging from the ceiling and notes on the floor from patrons to those who have been lost or who are suffering.

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Another piece was sectioned off due to the explicit material. It was super disturbing and I was disgusted.  Why would someone paint a mural of child sexual abuse. The artist was trying to bring awareness.  This piece made me realized how much this kind of abuse can be swept under the rug because of the horrible dirty stigma. People don’t want to talk about it. The abused don’t want to come forward and others don’t want to hear it.

After this we went to the kids gallery. Lacey and I colored kangaroo masks and with a computer app put our face on a kangaroo poster.

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We're being silly

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We then went to the contemporary museum across the way.  Beautiful set up.

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I read that in the seventeenth century the Netherlands was a center of art production. Go dutch peeps! I wonder if a Disselkoen ever put down the plow and painted something. I would like to think so.

Here are some paintings I liked:

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Next day my lovely Katrina and Lacey left and I stayed to check out Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I met an Italian, Chilian and a Dutch person on the bus to the sanctuary.

Of course I had to hold a koala and take a picture. Mine was hungry and didn’t want to rest itself on me. Oh well.

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Koala Bear

Koalas are low metabolism animals and have a diet of eucalyptus tree leaves which have near to no nutrition. They sleep about 18-20 hours per day to be able to save energy on this diet. They only live to about 10 years on average, but the ones in the sanctuary lice longer due to the great care.

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Feeding the kangaroos was so much fun! They are so sweet.

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Mum and joey (baby kangaroo)

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There was an Emu too. I was a little scared of it because I was bit by a huge goose as a child. Lol

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Emu

We also got to feed domesticated Lorikeets. Watery oatmeal was their meal and it would splash all over you because they are messy eatters. All at once they flew away when they were all done. It scared me.

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There were also Tasmanian devils, wombats, platypuses, snakes, lizards, cockatoos, and tons of other birds.

My favorite animal has to be the cassowary. It was behind a gate because they can be quite dangerous. They are very territorial and if they feel threatened they can attack. Look at those colors and horn on the head!

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Noosa, Australia

Noosa was pretty but I was ready to get away from the beach.

Lacey and I did a 16 km hike from Sunshine Beach to the town. We went through the tea tree looking for sleepy koalas. We didn’t see any, but that’s OK.

Of course there were beautiful beaches.

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I’m really excited for Brisbane!

Hervey Bay/ Fraser Island, Australia

When I arrived to Hervey Bay my ankle was super stiff, I could barely walk since the sprain was super swollen. Thankfully the Fraser Roving Hostel shuttle was waiting for me. The driver gave me crutches right when we arrived. They really helped because I needed to get an ice pack and some breakfast. Man, it is such a great workout. My abs, arms, back, shoulders, legs were all getting worked as I hobbled along.

Australians would strike up a funny convo about the crutches and other backpackers just stared at me uncomfortably. It is as if they are thinking, “Damn, I’m glad that’s not me!” I smiled as much as possible yet there were times I wanted to yell, “WTH are you looking at, someone carry me, please!!” Haha jk!!

I postponed my 4wheeling trip on Fraser Island, because I wanted to wait and see if my ankle was really bad or not. I rested for 3 days and was finally able to walk with an ankle brace. I walked around Hervey Bay on the Esplanade.  The strong winds sent a bunch of white cockatoos flying out of control, which made them squawk like crazy. They were being a little dramatic. Then I walked by a tree full of huge fruit bats hanging upside down on the branches. I saw some kite surfers and wind boarders and further down the Esplanade was a bowl for skateboarding.

That night a possum came into the hostel and an Australian fed him almonds. They are much cuter and friendlier than the ones back at home.

Cooldingo Frasher Island Trip 3 days 2 nights

Fraser Island is a World Heritage Park and is the largest sand island in the world. It is incredible that forests were able to grow on sand. Being that the roads were all sand it was a bumpy ride throughout the island. Cooldingo was the tour company I picked. This has been my favorite thing I’ve done in Australia so far! My group was small and they were over booked in the hostel, so we all got upgraded with our own room at the Kingfisher Resort.

Day One
Hopped on the ferry to the island and met a British guy and girl (Lacey and Rob) who were also traveling alone. Our tour guide, Jess, picked us up and took us to Lake McKenzie. Normally this lake has crystal blue clear waters, but about a couple of months ago they received record breaking amounts of rain and the lake engulfed surrounding trees thus the green tint in the water.

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After that we headed to central station where we did a hike through the forest. There’s a creek where you can actually drink the water because the sand purifies it. Aboriginal women used to give birth in this creek and aboriginal men are not allowed to enter this creek to this day.

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Sip of water 😉

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Day Two
First we went to a ship wreck on the beach. The Maheno was a cruise liner ship which did the u shape route from Auckland to Sydney. It was used in WW1 in the battle of Gallipoli because it was so fast. Once it was retired they sold it to Japan and on route there was a freak Cyclone and the ship ended up on Frasers shore and it has been there since. A bomb hit it in WW2.

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Next we went to Indian Head to check out the beautiful view of the ocean and to see if we could spot some whales, turtles and sting rays.

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We did see tons of turtles a sting ray and whales way off in the distance.

Here’s our tour group 🙂

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Lacey, Federico, Joe squared (2 Canadian sisters with same nickname) Rob, me and two German peeps holding Jess

We then went to the Champagne pools.

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Then we went to freshwater Eli Creek to going tubing down it.

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Day Three
Stand up paddle boarding in the morning on Lake Garawongera then 45 minute hike to Lake Wabby, which has a sand dune right next to it. There are nibble fish in the water that will give you a natural pedicure. It tickled.

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Lake Garawongera

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Lake Wabby

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Cat fish in Lake Wabby

On the hike to Lake Wabby we spotted a Goanna, an Australian Monitor Lizard.

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Goanna

Then we headed back to Hervey Bay on the ferry.

The three of us all headed to Noosa on the greyhound bus which has WiFi!!

Airlie Beach/ Whitsundays, Australia

My first greyhound bus ride was a success. I made it to Airlie Beach at around 8pm. I didn’t see my hostel’s shuttle waiting, so I decided to get some exercise and walk. Nomads had comfortable beds and it was pretty clean. Bush turkeys were wondering around the camp sites. They are super ugly.

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Bush Turkey on the move

The next morning I sailed on the Camira Catamaran. We went around a lot of islands. Which were pretty, but I’ve seen better! A Welcoming Swallow perched right where I was sitting on the side of the boat. It was there for a good 3 minutes chirping at me. I felt like Snow White.

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Welcoming Swallow

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Sail view from net

We stopped at Whitehaven Beach, which has pure white silica sand; the softest I have ever felt.  None of the rocks are made of silica, so it suggested the currents brought the sand there over the past million years. The sand doesn’t retain heat, so you can walk barefoot all day long. 
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I was told not to go far because it was a long beach and who knows if I’d make it back in time. Rebellion struck and I took off running right after I went for a quick swim in my sweet stinger suit.

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Stinger suit to prevent stingers, Jelly fish the size of a thumbnail can send you to the hospital

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It was incredible all the sea life I got to see from the shore. At first I saw a huge school of snappers. They stopped me in my tracks because at first I thought it was something bigger.

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Snappers going after some other fish

I also saw a big sting ray. I tried to swim out to it, but it was fast and swam away.

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While I was in the water trying to swim after the ray, I saw a barracuda cruise on by. It was a little one, but it was quite large to see from the shore.

Sometimes my leg would sink in to mid calve when I would run. It was such a nice day on the beach.

After Whitehaven Beach we had a pretty good BBQ on the boat. Then we sailed to a snorkeling spot. There were tons of fish, I’ve never seen so many fish while snorkeling. I saw tons of parrot fish. I even saw an angel fish. I teamed up with a lovely French girl I had met on the boat. We stayed away from the crowd, so I think we saw the most!

With champagne in my hand once I got back on the boat, we headed back to Airlie Beach.

That night, I went out with some girls that were in my dorm, we pre-partied at another dorm. We had some Goon, a cheap box wine that’s popular among backpackers because it is the cheapest alcohol you can find. One of the girls was from Minniesoda and of course she was a sweet heart and super easy to talk to.

The next day I went to the book store and traded in my illegal copy of The Beach that I purchased in Malaysia. The lady still gave me $2 to exchange for it. I laid out by the lagoon and saw a bat ray jump out of the water. I was lucky to see it because it was for a split second. I went to eat with my friend Kyle that I met in Bali.

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A flubber

Worst part of that day was I sprained my ankle. I kicked a croc in the head too hard. No no, that’d be too cool of a story. I was rushing to catch my bus and I had my big backpack with wet flip flops on because I just took a quick shower.  Not smart I know. Anyways, a friend grabbed my arm as I was stepping down the steps and I turned in mid air to see who it was and I landed wrong and slipped a little.

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Waiting for my bus with a swollen ankle

Good part was I caught my bus to Hervey Bay and there was a shuttle available, so I didn’t have to walk.  In fact, they haven’t had a shuttle for months, but that night they had the first one in a long time.

Off to Hervey Bay to go check out Fraser Island. I can’t wait because everyone was telling me how much better it was compared to the Whitsundays. Hope my ankle heals quickly!!

Cairns, Australia part 2

After cold, rainy Perth, I decided to head back to Cairns on the east coast and get my endless summer back in order.

My hostel dorm had two sweeds that were super nice. The only thing is their bags smelled like poop and sweat.  Once they brought them in I tried not puking. Oh the joys of sharing a room with a couple of strangers. 

Last time I was in Cairns, I made friends with my diving guide, Casey. He’s Australian, yet sounds British. We went for a swim at a waterfall in the Wooroonooran National Park. On the way there and back we checked out the pyramid.

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1st level of the water fall

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Climbing up to jump

Casey had a birthday get together at a local hangout, the Green Ant Cantina, so I crashed it. Jk I was invited. They had street artist tagging out front and a really good DJ. It is a cool local hangout. We also got drinks during the day.

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Oh, forgot to mention Snoop Dogg was there. He was painted on the wall. Yeeeee!

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We also took a trip up to the Daintree Rainforest in Cape Tribulation. We stayed at the Cape Trib Beach House, which was located on the beach side. It was super nice and what made it even better they double booked our dorm beds so we got upgraded to the best room at the resort, which was super close to the beach.

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We went for a walk on the beach early in the morning. The beaches have a beautiful mangroves on the shores. At one area of the mangroves we spotted 3 baby reef sharks, little fish and a sting ray in super shallow water. I scared the sharks away when I whipped my head around forcing my ponytail to swing around. At least we got to see them while they were there.

Since we were in the rainforest we thought it be a good idea to go in a bush walk (hike). We chose Mt. Sorrow trail because it was near by and we read it had a great view. Now I understand why its called Mount Sorrow, because you are in a world of sorrow during and after. It is the gnarliest hike I’ve ever done. It knocks Laguna Beach’s top of the world hike off the charts.  Not only was steep the trail was loose and you had to use woody vines and trees to help you scale the mountain. At one point it was so steep there was a rope.

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I'm crying it was so gnarly

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Rope was very useful!

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Mushrooms

680 meters high (2,230 ft) revealed an excellent view.

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If I did it again, I’d do the following:
1. Bring more water
2. Wear pants and long sleeves
3. Prepare myself mentally
4. Go early in the morning when it is cooler.

I purchased a Greyhound mini traveler pass that will take me anywhere I want south down till Melbourne for the next 90 days. I can’t back track, so I will be full steam ahead. I planed my stops and found that I’ll save about $ 150 with the pass rather than purchasing individual tickets. Hopefully I will make more stops than anticipated to get more bang for my buck.

The train was another option, but it is too difficult to book your tickets and it takes longer than the bus.

Next stop is Airlie Beach, which is one of the gateways to the Whitsundays. I booked a day sailing trip with Camera to Whitehaven Beach the next day because the bus ride will be all day.

Yallingup, Dunsborough, Lancelin, Cervantes and Jurien Bay, Australia

Due to the weather we decided to head back up north and not to pursue  Permberton. 

Yallingup had beautiful beaches. From Yallingup we did the Cape to Cape hiking trail which is 135 km located in the Leewin-Naturaliste National Park. We didn’t do the whole thing because we weren’t prepared.

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Wild asparagus

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Super green and lush

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We stayed in Dunsborough after checking that yet again there was no surf. There was this fat dog that kept wanting to play fetch. Of course we humored her she needs exercise.

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Kick the ball, kick the ball!!


Then we decided to go up north past Perth to Cervantes to see the pinnacles. We were getting tired so we stopped off in Lancelin to stay the night. They had a nice kitchen where we made a really good meal.

In the morning, I went for a walk on the beach in Lancelin after the storm and there were all sorts of things washed up on shore. Check out these purple blue something’s:

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The pinnacles were probably the highlight of the trip. They are limestone formations from crushed up shell that were blown from local sand dunes. We were lucky to see some cockatoos.

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Cockatoo hanging out on a pinnacle


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Before heading back to Perth we checked out Jurien Bay as the clouds rolled in.
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