I was fortunate to have two of my friends from Ottawa visit me the end of November. Shannon, my roommate of 2 years and Chase, a fellow nurse and friend of Shannon and I made the long journey from Ottawa to Brisbane.
They spent the first week and a half of their 3 week Australia trip with me touring about nearby cities. We started our travels touring around Brisbane and seeing all the city had to offer. Both Shannon and Chase immediately enjoyed the warm weather and beach scenery- much different than the cold Ottawa weather they had left behind.
After much discussion we decided to rent a camper van for the next 5 days. The van was rented through a company called “Wicked”, famous for its graffiti vehicles. After our first van broke down only 3 blocks from my house, we were given a new van who became known as “Lizzie”. The name came from the giant lizard spray painted on either side of our van along with the words “King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard”. We later found out this was the name of a popular band from Melbourne Australia. Our large van was equipped with 3 seats, a table which transformed into a bed and a sink and kitchen in the trunk. The main challenge was adjusting to having the driver on the right side of the car. While I was only brave enough to drive in parking lots, Shannon and Chase did a great job adjusting to driving on the opposite side of the road. Our van became a great conversation starter with fellow travelers and helped us get several honks and waves from others driving by.
Our first stop was three hours away to Byron Bay. Byron Bay was one of the first and one of my favourite places I had visited when arriving in Australia. I wanted to make sure Shannon and Chase could see it too. We spent the next three days hiking, surfing, and camping in the small hippy town. Shannon and I were lucky enough to get personal surf lessons from a local instructor Gaz where we both stood up on our first try!
Our next stop was to the Sunshine Coast, located an hour north of Brisbane. Here we climbed Mt Ngungun, one of eleven mountains making up the Glasshouse Mountains. The hike to the top took about 30 minutes with incredible views of surrounding fields and towns below. Following our hike we went to nearby Gardner’s Falls swimming hole. Here were cliffs which you could jump or rope swing off. The three of us spent several hours swimming and using the rope swing here.
The following day we visited the nearby Australia Zoo, home of the late Steve Irwin. The zoo continues to be run by Steve’s wife Terri. Everyone at the zoo was excited as Bindi, Steve Irwin’s daughter, had just won the Dancing with the Stars contest earlier that week and was due to arrive back to the Zoo the following day. During our day at the zoo we took selfies with kangaroos, watched a crocodile eat an entire chicken in one bite, saw a one eyed owl, as well as tigers, birds, emus, koalas, snakes, lizards, and many more !
Our final stop was to Noosa, another popular surfing town roughly 2 hours north from Brisbane. We spent two days in Noosa, touring around the small touristy and posh town. Despite the rain on the second day, we managed to fit in plenty of surfing and swimming on the main beach. We discovered some very yummy local smoothies and went for a beautiful coastal walk along the beach one afternoon.
After 9 days together it was time for Shannon and Chase to fly north to Cairns and time for me to go back to work. It was so great to have friends visit. I had such a wonderful time catching up with them and making so many new memories.
Windy weather made taking nice pictures a challenge