It has been about 3 weeks since I got back from this epic journey. However, I returned home to an ever growing pile in the in-tray and never-ending emails, it feels like punishment for enjoying life. Anyway, I’ve finally graduated and part of the celebrations (or lackthereof), my university mates planned a trip to Australia, with my man tagging along.
The planning stage (including relevant bookings) took about 2 months, for a 9 days road trip from Gold Coast, all the way to Cairns. As there might be too many photos, I decided to break this into 3 parts.
Day 1: Singapore ->Gold Coast, Currumbin, Yatala, Hervey Bay
We took a night flight from Singapore to Gold Coast. As I was working the day of the flight, I did a mad rush back home, had a quick dinner, and had a mad rush to the airport. So to be honest, I was really tired by the time I check in.
But the beauty of night flights are that you get to sleep on board, and it wasn’t all that full. So yes, I manage to stretch out over 3 seats to sleep. Although not the most peaceful due to the turbulence and the constant “ding!”, asking passengers to wear on their seat belts.
Upon landing, we had to grab our rental car, and our adventure starts! We needed to eat as there wasn’t any meals on the plane (woes of budget travel), so we just stopped at a random bakery just outside the airport. My first meal in Australia was a meat pie which something new to me as the gravy was so watery. Homegirl was expecting Shepard’s pie dryness. It didn’t take long before I was making a mess and decide to just give up on it aka my man to finish it.
First stop of the trip, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. To be completely honest, my travelling party and I thought that this place was a park which was free entry to anyone and not a zoo (pictures are so darn deceiving). Even so, we paid for the admission, which was around Aud$50/pax. To me, it was so worth it though!
There was so much to see, that I wasn’t expecting to walk so damn much. Remember when I said that we thought this was a park, well, our initial plan was to stay here for about 2hours and then head to rainbow beach, but what fools we were. We stayed from 9AM till about 4PM before deciding to leave, since we had a 4 hours drive to Hervey Bay.
One of the reasons why I love this place is that they have free roaming Kangaroos! I know, there are other zoos in Australia that might have the same concept, butthe guides here are so friendly too, they kept dishing out so many interesting facts to us; such as: did you know that the female Kangaroo can choose when they intend to give birth? Talk about convenience.
Next stop before Hervey Bay, is the famous Yatala Pie Shop! Located in between Gold Coast and Brisbane, I had to stop for this as my dad could not stop raving about it ever since he knew I was going to Australia.
What my dad failed to tell me was how big the serving was. I personally, could not finish it, and my travelling party was by the end, struggling to finish it. As with the first pie I had in Currumbin, this pie turned into a goopy mess after I was 1/4 way through with it. Worst part was, we had this to go (eating it in the car) as we were in a rush to be at Hervey Bay. Overall, it was really good, there’s something about a steaming hot pie on a windy day.
By the time we reached Hervey Bay Motel, its was about 9:30PM. We got a shock however, when we saw a sign at the receptionist that say “Close at 9:00PM”. We tried our luck pressing the door bell, and thank heavens, a guy came out to receive it. Weirdly enough, it seems like he was waiting for us, as I did not even need to say my name, he knew who I was and handed us the key. The exterior of the hotel reminded me of the Bates Motel, but it seemed like the guys really liked the place as the rooms were clean and comfy.
Had a walk to the beach just across the road, and out to the pier, and there was this strange wailing sound. One of my mates actually thinks it might be whale song!
Day 2: Hervey Bay -> Childers, Cordalba, Rockhampton, Arlie Beach
Woke up bright and early the next day as we had a 9 hours drive ahead of us. Had a quick breakfast of toasted bread and Vegemite (acquired taste much), had a short walk to the beach just opposite the hotel, and we were off!
There was a lot to see on the roads, of course we depended on the GPS a lot. Luckily we rented a portable wifi from Changi Airport so we had unlimited wifi throughout the trip.
We drove past Rockhampton, Beef capital of Australia. Much as I wanted to try a steak here, there wasn’t much time. We do however had time for some photo taking.
Lucky there were rest stops along the way ( not all with toilets though) to allow change of drivers and rest, so the drive was not all that bad. There were even road signs advising you to take a break from the drive.
Driving at night was quite scary at first, since there were no street lamps on the highway, and my wild imagination does not help one bit. However, we soon got used to it, and it turns out, the 3 guys much prefer driving at night!
Heck, it was so dark that you cannot even make out what was beyond the sides of the road! But just looking at the stars, *sigh* , so beautiful.
By the time we reach Arlie beach, it was close to midnight and we were looking forward to much needed rest. To our dismay, our AirBnB was in a really disgusting state. Empty bottles of wine in the kitchen, cooked food in the rubbish bin, bed was clearly not made, and towels were on the floor.
I quickly contacted the owner, letting her know the state of the house, along with pictorial evidence, while 2 of our mates went out on the road again to hopefully find an motel that we can crash in for the night since it will be impossible to get the cleaner in past midnight.
When finding a motel with vacancy proved futile, we decided to just crash for the night with some towels spread out on the bed, as we had an exciting activity to do the next day!
Day 3: Arlie Beach
Woke up early to go for a heart stopping activity. Yes, I went skydiving! Another one off the bucket list!
One of my travelling mates recommended we dive with Skydive Australia since his friend survived *laughing morbidly*. I got one of the funnier instructors, who told me just before the dive that he has jumped a grand total of: 14 times. He kept making jokes, some of which were kind of lame, but it worked to ease of the tension. Taking the plane ( which was about 20 minutes) still didn’t strike my anxiety, I thought I might be braver than I thought I was. After the first guy jumped off, my heart stopped.
What was I thinking? Signing up to jump off a friggin’ plane 14,000ft up in the air?! The paranoia in me kicked in and a thousand ‘what ifs’ flew through my mind. The only way I could calm myself was to chant the Risk Assessment: Real risk VS Perceived risk. As I was the last to jump, I had to see my friends one by one jump off the plane. Before I protest, the instructor pushed me off the plane, and I was free falling.
I can’t really describe the feeling, and I honestly do not know what I was thinking at that point of time. All I could think about was ‘smile for the camera’ since the instructor had a GoPro strapped to his hand. Maybe it was a mixture of shock and all the expletives coming out of my mouth.
Anyway, the instructor told me towards the end that he dived for 14,ooo times.
But the view, oh Lord, was amazing! This is probably one of the best ways to see Whitsunday islands. The hang time (after the parachute was deployed) was about 5-10mins, during which I had a short Geography lesson from the instructor. I was thankful that I did not throw up midflight (if you remember what happened in Boracay during Parasailing), as that would have been a disaster for people below us. Imagine having a romantic walk on the beach and vomit just rains all over you.
When we finally reach the ground (I cannot stop thanking God for land), I gave my man a hug, seeing how we both survived this. Aftermath, my legs couldn’t stop shaking, and nausea hit me bad.
When we got back to our AirBnb, the cleaner was here, and was so nice to leave a box of chocolates and a card to apologise for the mess. Even the owner offered to refund us for the stay which was awesome!
After resting my heart for a while while lounging around our AirBnb, we decided to go take a walk around the place.
So that concludes the first part of the Aussie series.