Two of our three children live in Australia, so we’ve been to the Land Down Under a few times so far. On our 2018 visit we decided get a first taste of the east coast. Seeing we knew someone in Noosa, we made that our starting point. We planned a road trip from Noosa back to Sydney Airport and tried to take in as much as we could in just the few days that we had the time.
Day 1: Noosa and surrounds
Distances in Australia are huge and from where our family lives in regional New South Wales, it’s two flights to Brisbane on the east coast. A two hour drive north brings you to the picturesque seaside town of Noosa, a gem on the coast of the Coral Sea. Noosa is a popular holiday destination with canals and waterways, beautiful beaches and of course shopping and holidaying.
Noosa seems to be the ultimate holiday playground: balmy weather, beautiful nature and stunning beaches.
Day 2: Venturing into the hinterland and Tewantin National Park
Butterflies and dragonflies are unconcerned by us and know that this world is theirs.
We took off into the hinterland and spent some time at the Tinbeerwah lookout in Tewantin National Park. For a South African it’s quite amazing to see people leaving cars parked with key in the ignition to keep the airconditioning running so that the car is comfortable cool when returning from an hour’s hiking trip in the reserve. We walked up to the lookout point where we had endless views further inland west and towards Noosa and the Coral Sea in the east. It was so quiet and we could observe dragonflies and butterflies flitting around.
Day 3: Eumundi, Sunshine Coast, Glass House Mountains and Brisbane
When we left Noosa on the third day, back towards Sydney, we first traveled to the charming Eumundi Markets. Being an arty crafty person, I’m always interested in local markets and the Eumundi Markets certainly lived up to my expectations: arts, crafts, live music,… and more. (Unfortunately we were so engrossed in all things on offer we didn’t take photographs)
After browsing the market, we left for the Sunshine Coast en route to Brisbane and stopped at a million places to soak up the crystal clear and turquoise waters, the rugged coastline and beautiful sandy beaches, meeting the odd local inhabitant.
Past the Sunshine Coast, we made a detour to the Glass House Mountains. The term “Glasshouse Mountains” was given by explorer Captain James Cook on 17 May 1770. The Glass House Mountains National Landscape was added to the Australian National Heritage List on 3 August 2006. The explanation of this natural reserve is done by colourful mosaics on the wall.
A visit to the toilet was quite an experience.
A fiery birth.
Sacred peaks forged by fire.
Initially we hoped to be able to discover every beautiful nook and cranny of this beautiful coastline, but we figured we couldn’t keep up the slow pace. We walked around at the Sunshine Coast beachfront and marina, but soon realized we had to keep going to reach Brisbane by nightfall.
Our time in Brisbane was unfortunately very limited and we were only able to spend the evening at the Southbank Parklands, an area in the centre of town that is developed as an inner city beach and entertainment area for everyone to come and relax. There’s food, music, lights and entertainment and we spent the evening enjoying a live performance of guitarist while sipping a glass of wine.
There is entertainment, lights and music for all ages at the South Bank Parklands.
Day 4: Gold Coast to Byron Bay
The most easterly point of Australia: Byron Bay lighthouse.
Day 4: Our last leg … Coffs Harbour, Nelson Bay and Sydney Airport
As a South African we couldn’t resist to make our last stop at Nelson Bay. (Yeah, yeah, we know it’s not about “our” Nelson, but that didn’t matter). We bought some food at a local market and found a quiet spot on the harbour wall. The only visitors we got were the gulls making a serious attempt at stealing our food.
Day 5: going back home
We know it by heart by now: our flight goes at 11am so we prefer to overnight at one of the hotels at the airport and take the shuttle in the morning. That’s what we did and we were already counting down to our next visit to see children and grandchildren.