A day in the bush (Wombat Forest)

About an hour outside of Melbourne is a place called Wombat state forest, Blackwood.

We had the privilege of being guided around by a good family friend, Anne.

Anne picked us up from Fitzroy early am and we drove to her family farm house out in the bush. We were hoping for an early viewing of a mob of kangaroos but it wasn’t meant to be so we went to explore nearby village, Trentham, and had amazing coffee and cake and then Anne treated us to a delightful pub lunch in the Blackwood arms. We then headed back to the house and enjoyed a summers day swinging in the hammock! Well that was me; Anne was weaving rocks and Danielle went exploring the nature- Anne and I devised a snake bite evacuation plan but no worries she just came back with tales of saccadas and ‘yabbies’.

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On the recommendation of the public house patron we drove to Golden point at dusk and were lucky enough to spot two mobs of kangaroos, felt like a kid at Christmas! The way they move is incredible, boinging around.

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We then met with Anne’s husband Tony and went to another pub for a quick JD and coke before getting back to the city. Where stopped in at their beautifully (newly) renovated house and had the best tomato scrambled eggs and bacon we’ve ever had. Anne has a very unique way of making scrambled eggs. Maybe if your ever in Melbourne she might pass on her method :). Thank you for a wonderful day Anne and hubby Tony!

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Sydney

We spent four days here and packed a lot in but would advise longer if you can, there’s so much to do here its a great place.

On day 1 We had pre – booked a day trip to the blue mountains. Our tour was with ‘Loka’; we really liked this tour as it fitted a lot in and the driver gave a lot of extra info. There was quite a bit of hiking included so make sure you’re prepared for some exercise in the heat :). We sure stopped at a shop on the way but it was slightly expensive so bring your own snacks if you can. Bring water, there is a fountain on the way to fill up.  As well as as the beautiful blue mountains we stopped to see kangaroos,  have a swim in in a rock pool and saw the three sisters.

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Day 2 As is was Sunday we took advantage (as well as the rest of Sydney) of the cheaper transport prices and took the ferry to Manly. This is a really cool place; nice beaches and walks. It’s also worth the trip over just for the ferry journey; stunning views of the Opera house,  harbour bridge and sydney coast line.

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Day 3: Got the train and one bus to bondi beach (really simple journey*). After chilling out on the beach for a while we did the Bondi to Coodgee coastal walk. This took us about two-three hours which is more than it said but we were taking our time with lots of photo stops. The walk is a must! It’s so beautiful.  Loads of different beaches along the way. We got the bus back from Coodgee to Sydney(easy).

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*Tip

The transport in Sydney is great, its all run off FREE ‘opal’ cards and it’s pretty inexpensive to top up.

Day 4 The hostel recommend a free walking tour which leaves from Circular Quay every day at 1400. We stayed with the tour for about 90 mins (it goes for 3 hours). The guy running it was really informative and gave a lot of info mainly about the history of Australia.

Spot x: surf camp With mojosurf

We arrived off the coach at 0410 and scrambled into the mojosurf shuttle bus to get the hostel. We were then chucked into the tv room where we would be until breakfast was served. Managing to find a couch we crashed for a couple hours until the light and noise flooded in as everyone started getting up to surf. We found ourselves some breakfast (don’t expect much) and then checked in when reception was open at 0900. A little foolishly the hostel had arranged our (and everyone else just checking in) surf lesson for 0900. So needless to say this did not actually start until 0930. We were also told there was no luggage store so had to leave our bags in the tv room as our bedrooms weren’t ready yet.  Luckily the surf school offered to keep our valuables in the office. ***
After having run for several years with similar bus times, mojosurf acommodation  could be so much better. The camp isn’t cheap and what you get isn’t reflected in the price.  We were also misold the trip by peterpans travel agents. We were sold it on the basis of x1 surf lesson each day and unlimited board usage, this was not the case.  Outside of lesson times we had to pay for surfboard usage. So just be careful when you book this trip.  Get your agent to go through all the details with you.

Other than that the surfing was great and all the instructors were really good :). Sounds like a lot of complaints but we had a really good time surfing, it’s just a shame the accommodation doesn’t match up.

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Byron Bay 

The premier bus picked us up at 0410 and got us into byron about 0900. There was a shuttle bus from the hostel ‘Backpackers inn’ waiting to collect everyone to drive to the hostel.  The lady driver was really nice and pointed things out to us along the way. Byron is pretty small so everything is close by which was really nice: all in walking distance.  The hostel was good, probably the best we’ve stayed in. There was a big garden out the back with a small pool and through the back gate you can walk to the beach (2 mins). We would definitely recommend this hostel :).

We had a chilled couple of days in Byron just going to the beach and pottering around. On Saturday there was a market on that we’d recommend having a mooch around if you’re there. Other than that just enjoy this lovely little hippie surfing town.  We didn’t actually do any surfing or swimming when we were there because there were too many jelly fish so just be careful !

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Brisbane 

This is where we were reunited with Abbie aka shabba/normy/abu. Abbie was at the Australia zoo (see her blog for details) when we arrived so we had a little walk around and then the torential rain drove us inside where we seeked refuge at the state library. This was a bit of a blessing as we managed to get some work done; Danielles currently applying for a PhD and I like to keep up with my Physiotherapy CPD.

That night we went to the base hostel bar for some drinks ($5 spirit and mixer) and met some of the girls abbie got to know at the zoo, hey Devon:).

The next day we dropped Danielle off at the library so she could carry on with her application and Abbie walked me to some of the sights she had found in Brisbane as she arrived the day before. Recommendations; the brisbane sign go and take some selfies and the man made lagoon is a good place for a swim on a hot day. We had to leave about 1300 but a morning was plenty.  You really don’t need very long to appreciate Brisbane,  unless you want to go to the zoo as that takes a whole day.

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Noosa 

We arrived off the premier bus into Noosa Junction at about 1620; after just over a two hour journey. We had to then wait until 1700 to get the Halse Lodge shuttle bus to the hostel. *Why they don’t match up with the bus times I don’t know, on the way back they also drop you 50mins early so it doesn’t seem to make sense. Maybe they will read this and let us know their logic!

Anyway, on arrival they had a welcome meeting where they told us about all the fun stuff to do in noosa and gave us a free glass of wine so it’s not all bad! The hostel was actually really nice and had a decent Bar and restaurant attached.  If you go for the deal of the night prices weren’t too bad. The night we arrived they had (margarita) pizza and a drink for $10. I think they do this because the hostel kitchen is so awful to cook in; it’s tiny with no air con and hardly any cutlery.  The hostel is really big so they need to re-design the kitchen to reflect the number of customers they have.

The hostel was just a short walk away from a really nice beach where we went on the first day. Halse lodge also have a system where u can use a surfboard for free if you can give a $100 deposit. The surfboards are in the condition you might expect for a hostel so bare that in mind!

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The next day we went for a beautiful walk through the national park (this is a coastal walk). It took us about 3.5 hours return to Alexandra beach, including a nice swim at one of the stops.  We also got to see two gorgeous Koalas hiding in the trees.  Very cute creatures :).

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Next stop Rainbow beach!

Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays 

After 14 hrs on the coach, we arrived into airlie beach at 0900 feeling pretty fresh. We didn’t fancy the 25min walk to nomads hostel so shared a taxi with a few others; it was only a couple dollars each with the local taxi company*

We stayed at Nomads which was a pretty nice hostel; decent clean rooms and a nice pool. We had one night at airlie beach before our Whitsundays trip so went for some drinks at ‘beaches’  bar and hostel right next door, we got lucky as it was a Tuesday and that means ladies night; free sparkling wine! So if you’re in airlie on a Tuesday make sure you go. They will also give boys the drinks if they dress as a girl 🙂 so don’t be shy lads.

The next day our Whitsundays boat wasn’t leaving until 1430 so we had a wonder round in the morning and got some lunch (treated ourselves to macccies). There isnt a massive amount to do in airlie beach but its big enough to have a good walk and lots of lunch places. We just enjoyed this time to relax from our hectic travelling lives :p.

Our Whitsundays tour was called ride to paradise,  we stayed in a ‘millionaires mansion’ a boat ride away from airlie. It took about an hour to get there,  we arrived about 1600 and were greeted by cheese and crackers. We then spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the house and relaxing by the pool. If you’re doing this trip the house is amazing and the grounds are huge. You can play tennis, table tennis, SUP, kayak or swim in the pool. Unless you pay for an upgrade you still sleep in a dorm room so bare that in mind, we thought we were in a big private room! I think our travel agent sold us a bit. The dorm rooms are nicer than your average but still the trip is really pricey so we were expecting a bit more in terms of accommodation.

In the morning we had an early start and the speed boat took us to a snorkeling spot on the reef. The guide brought some bread and chucked it in the water when we were swimming, this was very cool as there were so many fish they were bouncing off your head to try and get the food. After this we had lunch on the boat; salad type stuffs and  cold pasta, cold meats. We then drove onto Whitehaven beach which really speaks for itself. Stunning! The whole trip is centred around rhis and if your not sure about doing it Google some pics of this beach or look at hours and think again :). It’s really worth it. Its such a nice beach that Danielle even dropped my phone in the sea and it still works, miracle! There are also some stingrays which we saw woop.

That night after dinner we all had some drinks (mostly goon) and had a little pool party to celebrate the end of the stay and Australia day, although the guides (the only ozzies) didn’t seem to care about Australia day. It was a good night, pretty fun to be able to drink and party in the pool felt like your own house.

We went to another snorkeling spot the next morning before returning back to airlie. At this place we saw a massive turtle :).

We got back to airlie about lunch time, that night we met up with the group in base bar as there was like a Whitsundays after party. Base is pretty good for decent cheap food if your tired of cook!

Next stop magnetic island.