Brisbane – Surrounding areas

During our time in Brisbane there were quite a few places we wanted to visit on the coast, most of which we hired a car to drive to in our final week. They were between one and three hours away from the city.

North Stradbroke Island or as the locals call it ‘Straddie’

We set off on the train to Cleveland to then board the ferry there for North Stradbroke Island. It was a short 25 minute journey across the water before we arrived!

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First, we got a bus to Point Lookout and were instantly stunned by the gorgeous views. We looked out to the sea and had a pod of dolphins pointed out to us, so that was something ticked off the ‘to see list’ pretty quickly! 

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After fish and chips for lunch, we set off on the North Gorge Walk and around the beaches.

As soon as we started we saw our first wild kangaroo relaxing in the shade. We went quite near him, and he made it very clear that he was not looking for company looking at us very grumpily and growling a little, so we quickly got a photo and moved on! 

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The Gorge Walk was absolutely amazing! The views were spectacular and the walk took you right up to the tops of the coastline. We saw a family of turtles in the waters but unfortunately no whales (having missed their yearly mitigation by a few weeks). We then ventured onto the beaches – Main Beach and Frenchman’s Beach – both equally as beautiful.

We were staying in an area called Amity Point, which was on the other side of the island at the top – a much less popular area to stay, resulting it being more difficult to get to without a car, which we didn’t realise before arriving.

We got there just before sunset and did the very British thing of making a cup of tea before heading out to have a look at the sea, which was under 100m from our cabin and the jetty, which was a few minute walk.

We arrived and within a few minutes spotted a few dolphins swimming by right up to the jetty, which was a wonderful experience. We saw a few more and then witnessed the wonderful sunset.

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Now came the issue of dinner. Not realising how small the area we were staying in was we thought it would be easy to find somewhere to eat – this was not the case. There were only two restaurants even in our area, and as one was closed on Tuesdays we walked to the other, to be met by a notice saying they only served food Friday and Saturday nights until further notice. Plan two was to see if there was a supermarket or store open to buy some food to cook, which we discovered closed at 6.00pm (it was now 7.30pm). We knew there were no buses running at this time so decided to call a taxi firm on the island and couldn’t believe the quote of AUS$60-70 one way to get to the busier area where we could get food. We were hungry but couldn’t justify over AUS$100 just to get to somewhere we could get food. So stuck with no way of getting anywhere without forking out a stupid amount of money, we ‘luckily’ remembered we had a couple of apples and a cereal bar each (snacks that we hadn’t eaten during the day) to have for dinner – not exactly the nice evening meal on the island we had planned.

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The next day we awoke with grumbling stomachs at 4.30am to catch the sunrise at 4:45am and try to spot some dolphins around the jetty, which we did. It was lovely to see the dolphins again so close and with no one else around too.

Then as soon as we could, we headed in search of a big full English breakfast, which was the best breakfast I think we’d ever had because of how hungry we were. 

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Despite our unexpected events of the evening, we had a great couple of days on Straddie.

The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is 57km long and is made up of many beautiful beaches and suburbs with skyscrapers scattered along it. 

We visited Burleigh Heads and headed to the National Park, heading to the lookouts and completing the ocean track walk.

Another beautiful place and the first time we’d ever seen a beach, and well sea, with a road in the middle.

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We also went to Surfers Paradise, the most popular area of the Gold Coast and it felt what we would imagine California or Miami to feel like. It was very metropolitan, cool and trendy, full of surfers and people with very tanned and good looking beach bodies.

Noosa National Park

We were up at the crack of dawn (4.30am) to make the early drive to Noosa. We knew it was a couple of hours drive and wanted to avoid the traffic. We had also read that parking could be quite difficult so thought being there really early would be a good idea. What is really early to us, 7am, is apparently not for the residents and visitors of Noosa National Park as the place was already packed and there were only a few spaces left at this early hour. So feeling very lucky we had arrived so early, we set off for the coastal track. It was another beautiful walk with stunning views.

Afterwards, we grabbed a smoothie in the town and enjoyed walking around. It was one of (if not the) favourite place of ours in Australia so far.

The Sunshine Coast

Caloundra

We arrived in Caloundra after a very early start and busy morning around Noosa National Park. Caloundra has four beaches and we headed straight for Kings Beach and a dip in the sea. It was a gorgeous beach and having a swim in the sea was lots of fun. Then with what was becoming a bit of a tradition with our beach days, we grabbed some fish and chips and ate them by the coast – another beautiful day.

We also visited Coolangatta (part of the Gold Coast) on the journey down to Byron Bay, which will be in the next blog.

Final thoughts

Both the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast were full of great places to see, including a lot of lively coastal towns. Everywhere we visited we loved and there were so many more we didn’t get to see. A nice contrast to our few weeks in the city.

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Lauren’s favourite thing – Swimming in the sea at Kings Beach, Caloundra

Daniel’s favourite thing – Visiting Noosa Heads

So that’s it for Queensland and hitting the road for New South Wales and Sydney…

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4 thoughts on “Brisbane – Surrounding areas

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