We were feeling really excited about our road trip, armed with snacks and road trip playlists. We were ready!
We started the day nice and early, leaving Yorkeys Knob at 6.00am.
We arrived at Mission Beach within about two hours and had a gorgeous walk along the beach, which was one of the best we had seen so far on our travels.
We were gutted we were only there for a short time, which became a popular theme on the road trip, passing so many places we wanted to stop at but not having the time. We enjoyed a nice big breakfast before hitting the road again.
We made one other stop at a rest stop park area and then continued on to Bowen, where we were staying in a cabin for the night at Queens Beach Tourist Village.
After driving all day, we fancied a walk and went to the beach to try and find somewhere to eat, but didn’t have much luck. So, as we weren’t actually feeling that hungry we decided instead to grab a few bits from Woolworths (a supermarket in Australia) and head back to our place – not the most exciting evening, but we were knackered from travelling for nearly nine hours!
Views from a lookout point we found near where we were staying.
All in all we covered approximately 566km.
Again, we hit the road nice and early and didn’t stop until we saw a cafe for lunch near somewhere called Clairview.
After lunch, we kept driving all the way to Rockhampton. We finally arrived in need of somewhere to stretch our legs, and went to Rockingham Botanical Gardens – most places in Australia seem to have a botanical garden we were discovering! It was nice to walk around and we noticed they also had a zoo, which had already closed, so we decided to stop there in the morning before leaving.
We ended the evening with a delicious Chinese meal for dinner.
This part of the journey was approximately 524km.
Another early start, but this time to visit Rockhampton Zoo before hitting the road. We really enjoyed wandering around and seeing all the wildlife – chimpanzees, kangaroos, birds, crocodiles, otters…
Before leaving we grabbed breakfast, where we were joined by two cheeky Rainbow Lorikeets trying to steal our food and Lauren’s milkshake. After surrendering the last of her milkshake, the two birds kept taking it in turns to dunk their heads in, with one getting too impatient when it wasn’t his turn and yanking the other one out, which was really funny to watch!
Once we finished breakfast with the birds, we made a quick stop at the Tropic of Capricorn Spire which is a marker along the latitude of the Tropic of Capricorn.
Afterwards, we began making our way to Bargara, which is a seaside town with a wonderful beach we walked along once we arrived. We then had some very tasty fish and chips whilst enjoying the sea breeze and views that evening.
We went back to our hotel in Bargara, which was small with only had a few rooms. The hosts were so nice and another set of people we met originally from the UK, which happened more often than you’d think! The hotel was so homely and cosy and we had a great stay there for two nights.
We covered 301km on this leg of the journey.
We were super excited about this day, because we were going to visit and explore Lady Elliot Island.
It had been planned soon after our first trip to the Great Barrier Reef and we were not only really excited about swimming on the reef again, but flying over it to the island.
We arrived at the airport, which was really small and gave our names to be ticked off a sheet and told to wait for the pilot to collect us (no ID check or anything!) – very different to the usual flying experience. There were about 12 people on the flight in total and the plane was tiny.
We set off and into the clouds and within 10 minutes we were flying over the ocean. The view of Lady Elliot Island, as we started to approach, was spectacular.
The island is only 0.45km squared with the runway strip down the middle. It is an eco resort with snorkelling and diving facilities, a reef education centre and gorgeous beach areas.
Firstly, we went out on a glass bottom boat and saw two turtles mating on the surface of the water near the boat, which isn’t something you see everyday. We also saw leopard sharks and black tip reef sharks.
Then the boat was stopped and we had the opportunity to jump in and snorkel, which we obviously did! This was in the ‘Coral Gardens’ area and as the tide was low the amount of fish you could see, and so close to you, was amazing. We set off a bit further away to some deeper areas and managed to swim with two manta rays and quite a few sea turtles. We also caught a school of Big Eye Trevaly, which was breathtaking to see and be so close to.
We had an amazing day snorkelling around – there were so many areas around the island to go to, we didn’t manage to fit them all in!
The day was incredible and we were so glad we booked the experience. The only thing we were disappointed about was not deciding to spend the night on the island, which was an option… maybe at another point!
We had a lovely breakfast with our hosts before leaving and headed straight for Maryborough.
We walked around a gorgeous park with war memorials around and then ventured further into the old fashioned town.
We spotted a Mary Poppins statue, as the writer P.L. Travers was from Maryborough, which we didn’t realise, presuming the writer was English. We did our best Mary Poppins impressions and then were back on the road for the final leg of our journey.
Finally, we arrived in Brisbane late that afternoon.
We walked into our apartment and instantly loved it. It was so spacious and it felt homely. We settled in ready to see what Brisbane had to offer over the next month.
On the final day we covered 357km.
Something that really surprised us driving was the big, straight open roads, but low maximum speeds, with most being 100km, which is just over 62mph. The fastest roads we found (not very often) were 110km, which is still only just over 68mph.
During our journey we passed many creeks all purposefully named, our favourites: Christmas Creek, which had decorated christmas trees on both sides (beginning to get us into the festive spirit!), and what we thought was a well named, Deacons Creek. A lot of the roads we were driving had wonderful views and we did spot a Cassowary standing at the side of a road and had to slow down for a Monitor Lizard while it made its way across the road, which we luckily spotted in time! There were also trivia questions on the side of the highway, which we thought was an interesting idea, and gave us the chance to learn some random Australian facts that may come in useful at a pub quiz.
Overall a tiring but fun experience, which gave us the opportunity to see a lot of Australia!
Lauren and Daniel’s favourite thing – Lady Elliot Island