Next up : Spring Break !
Our second major roadtrip had us travelling all the way from Cairns to Brisbane (and beyond). One thing that has become very, and I mean VERY apparent throughout our trips, is how god damn large Australia really is. And how god damn long it takes to get from one place to another. I mean it’s the size of Europe…that’s approximately 50 countries (yes I did just google that). So traveling this distance – over 2000 kms – was covering a trip from France down to Greece (yes according to google maps). And all that in just two weeks!
Well that’s not all we managed to do. We somehow had quite the gang with us, that gang being twenty-five people representing eight countries from Europe and North America – nope no sight nor sound of an Australian, packed into five campervans. It was an adventure to say the least! Somehow Kris and I found ourselves organising a lot of the activities and trips. Soon, (and I really don’t know how this came about) we became known as the ‘Mommy and Daddy’ of the group. The nicknames have stuck with us, for better or for worse, ever since.
And these are the highlights we came up with…
Prep and Booking :
The only time I found myself in an actual project meeting room at our library, was for planning our trips. Seriously though, we had like a projected map of Australia and all. It was hard work. Anyways…before you start calculating the distance from Adelaide to Cairns, and what that is in European measurement I’ll let you know that we flew up to Cairns and back from Brisbane. Phew. Flight bookings were with Jetstar and Tiger air, two of the cheapest airlines going in Australia. Although we went peak season and had to put in a few extra bob, off peak you can get around Australia between $10-$50 one way.
I then took the quest upon me to find the best value for money deals on transport vehicles. This was by no means easy and somewhat time consuming. I initially found our campervans and requested a quote here. But given that we were hiring several vans I decided to contact the rental company – camperman – directly. They were very helpful with all of our enquiries and booking requests. On a whole we were extremely happy with them and I would definitely recommend them. We also got discounts simply by asking, so if you’re going in a large group or you get a better offer make sure to bargain your way to the best prices and free extras. That rule stuck with us for pretty much everything and everywhere.
To keep the immense suspense, I won’t mention what tours & activities we booked until further down in the post. As we were trying to keep budgets low we didn’t partake in many tours. But I do genuinely recommend shopping around online and booking tours and activities prior to a trip, so you won’t be disappointed on the day and it saves you a few penneys too 😉
Upon arrival we immediately picked up our vans and headed to the nearest shopping complex to stock up on food and essentials big time. Although we were all expert campers by the end of the trip, other groups only stocked for about 2 days and had to refill asap. A safe bet is buying almost all dry ingredients upon arrival, we had enough room and repurchased fresh goods regularly. Cause I think we’d all rather spend the day chilling on the beach or surfing a wave rather than hanging out in a grocery store isle… if you get my drift.
Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation:
Having spent a night in Cairns we made our way up to Daintree Rainforest early morning. On our way we stopped off to do the crocodile tour…if you squint real hard you can see a baby one in the pic below 😉
A gang of about ten of us decided to do a guided walking tour through the rainforest at cooper creek. Already driving through the tropical back roads got me excited and walking through the mystical forest didn’t disappoint.
I think the highlight for all of us was taking a dip in the creek to cool off. We had it all to ourselves, the nature scene that surrounded us like something out of a picture book (bad translation of a great german phrase – ‘Wie aus dem Bilderbuch’). Bilingual problems. The guide then showed us around the forest and helped us discover animals and vegetation we would never have seen or noticed had she not pointed it out to us. The tour finished off with some unexpected, ant butt licking. Yeah you heard me…and they taste like lemon too 😀
In the evening we ran into some difficulties trying to track the other vans. Good insider tip: there is no cell phone reception past the ferry point at the Daintree Rainforest. Knowing that could have saved us a heck of a lot of time ……. and french curse words.
Anywho…we camped at the cape tribulation campsite which serves top notch stone oven pizzas 😉 I rose early morning the next day and decided to go for a quick run along the beautiful cape trib promenade. No soul in sight. Bliss.
Once everyone got up we had a cosy breakfast under the palm trees on the beach. We then drove a couple of kms up to the cape trib lookout where we spent a couple of hours, swimming, strolling along the beach and taking in the view.
Cape trib was truly spectacular and I wish we could have spent more time in this paradise!
Airlie Beach / Whitsunday Island Sailing Tour:
Another big thing we booked in advance was the Habibi sailing tour through the Whitsunday Islands.This was the ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHT of the entire trip. It was an out of this world experience, felt much like a long lasting day dream I didn’t want to wake up from. For three days, we were living it up on a boat – sailing amongst the sandy whitsunday islands, snorkeling the colourful great barrier reef, enjoying the sunsets, getting tipsy, partying til dawn (lol jk, we were asleep by 9pm) and enjoying the crew’s funny company and great food.
I remember having a ten minute – appreciate this moment and remember it forever – experience. And so I will.
Not a care in the world – happiness defined.
Here we had an awesome day surfing, or attempting to 😉 Book your $17 lessons here.
Also make sure to check out the 1770 look out point – it’s gorgeous !
This is the hippie beach of the goald coast, with the hottest surfer dudes and the cutest coffee shops. It was love at first sight. Us girls enjoyed strolling around town browsing the stores whilst the boys surfed and kicked soccer balls around the bay.
We joined them later for some hot-surfer-eyeing.
This too was a place I would have loved to stay at for a longer period. Definitely one to come back to.
‘Mom, just to let you know…I jumped out of a plane yesterday…it was awesome’ was the text I sent back to Ireland from Brisbane. I thought I wouldn’t worry my parents prior to taking the leap 😉
As you may have guessed, ten members of our gang decided to do a skydive (Groupon) , from 4267m above the ground to be precise. This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The excitement. The views of Brisbane’s magnificent bay out of the plane. Rising above the clouds. The nerve wracking image of my co-jumpers disappearing under the plane. The adrenaline rush when you actually JUMP OUT OF A FREAKING PLANE. The gliding. And the perfect landing upon the beach, hands still tremoring with excitement. ‘Let’s go again!’ we all proclaimed.
So this post won’t go on forever, I’ve put together other important pitstops:
– Cairns, wouldn’t bother spending much time here, the beach isn’t nice and not much to see in the town area.
– Magnetic Island a beautiful island day trip !
– Surfers paradise, beautiful beach by a big party city – had a fun night out !
… and some memories I’ll never forget:
– Mark calling 911 cause of insane ‘wild’ fires, turns out it was farmers burning cane sugar 😀
– iiiiii reckon
– getting tipsy on the back seats of vans
– sky high fines (buckle up and don’t speed !)
– cooking cozy dinners and bbqs with the fam, sitting around the tables in camping chairs with sleeping bags wrapped around us, sipping on goon.
– Getting shot at with goon-guns
– van theme dress up night: the mothership, girly van, french aka army van, the captains van and the one van that broke down
– literally thinking I spotted a whale in my hungover-I’m-on-a-boat-delirium…well… it was a rock…a big one that is 😀 Good news is everyone laughed and we actually did spot dolphins a few minutes later.
– & many many more !
….thanks for the memories guys, you’re the best and i miss ye all heaps!