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I’ve started my travels right after my last exams in June, since then there was silence on Ahoi Sophie. Little time and no internet stopped me from keeping you up to date. Nevertheless, I eagerly kept my diary. Now is the time to share the first part of my trip with you. In total, there’ll be 27 days full of stories, before I’ll travel home. Below is my full itenary.
This post will cover the first twelve days which I spent on the East Coast. I already have 3 hours of video material, waiting for me to edit them, but at the moment there is no time to do so. So, please be patient :) If you have any questions or comments, I am happy to hear from you!
Love and greetings from Sydney
Day 1-2 BRISBANE
My sister Melli arrived. To fight against her jetlag, I chose the strongest method: Shopping. There is a Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) only 10 minutes away from the airport and accessible via free shuttle bus. The outlet sells brands like Ripcurl, Billabong, Levis, Volcom, Converse, Vans and many more at heavily discounted prices. On the way home we took a short walk through the Queen Street, the main shopping street in Brissi, before the fatigue finally forced Melli into bed. Thus, the tour was continued on day 2. It started with a stroll on the university campus, where we treated ourselves with a smoothie at Boost Juice. From there, we took the ferry, and drove 1.5h passing South Bank and Brisbane’s skyline over to Brett’s Wharf, a cute little harbor. From Fri-Sun you can find the Eat Street Market near this harbor, a gourmet paradise for the small purse. When entering the market we saw numerous shipping containers, each one holding true delicacies from countries all over the world. Unable to decide, everyone of us bought one dish to share, so we had Japanese Okonomiyaki, Hungarian langos, a tomato soup and churros.
- Shop: DFO Brisbane + Queen Street
- Eat: Boost Juice (Green Tea Mango Mantra) + Eat Street Markets
- Do: Ferry tour (purchase the blue Go-Card to pay the discounted price of 4$), get off at North Quay for CBD, Southbank for a stroll and Brett’s Wharf for Dinner at the Eat Street Market
- Stay: X-Base Central
Day 3-4 AIRLIE BEACH
We continued our journey with Gina and flew to Hamilton Island with Jetstar. From here we took the ferry to Airlie Beach, which was quite expensive but worth the one-hour ride. There is no better start into this region as to admire the bright turquoise-blue sea from the deck. We shortly walked through the small Airlie before we checked in into the hostel, then went grocery shopping at the nearby Woolworth and started cooking. We tried to reproduce Okonomiyakis. The following day, Malte and Katja joined our group. The day started with breakfast on the sun terrace of the hostel. We strolled around the local shops and lay on the beach getting sunkissed. A soft ice cream from McDonalds cooled us down, you can get them in Australia for unbeatable 30 cents! In the evening we returned to our hostel, Airlie Waterfront Backpackers is all in all a very nice one.
- Eat: 30 cent ice-cream von McDonalds
- Stay: Airlie Waterfront Backpackers
Day 5-7 WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS
My danish friend Stefan gave me the private number of the Captain of the Eureka II, a racing sail boat, which apart from the race seasons, offers sailing tours through the Whitsundays. The Eureka II, thus became our home for three days and two nights. We sailed with Mal, the Captain, Chris, his assistant, a three-person irish family, Oystain from Norway and Fallon from Australia. At first, I was worried about this trip, since I wasn’t sure about sleeping on a rocking boat, but quickly all my worries were gone. The time on the water was the highlight of my trip so far! Mal and Chris did their best to make the three days unforgettable for us. We had a very personal atmosphere on the boat, unlike many other boats we were not treated as tourists, but as friends. On the first day Melli and Malte were already allowed to set sail, to sail to our first snorkel spot
with temporary 16 knots. When we got into the water to discover the colourful corals and fish we were allowed to take as much time as we needed. As soon as you wanted to get back on board to take a hot shower, you just had to raise your hand to get collected. The same applied for our stays on the beach. Other boats give their guests an hour to explore the breathtaking Whitehaven beach, whereas we had the whole morning to discover the dream beach without any other tourists before once again raising our hands to get back on board. Back on the boat, Lunch was already prepared for us. In the evening Mal and Chris cooked Soy Chicken or Lasagna. We had freshly made fruit salad, cereals and the optional aussie sandwitch bread for breakfast. Snacks and tea, coffee and hot chocolate were provided all the time. Mal knows how to make his guests happy. There is a reason why he is called Captain Quality. During our trip we saw whales, dolphins, turtles and a 7:1 between Germany and Brazil (the Eureka II is the only boat in the Whitsundays with TV reception). I can strongly recommend this trip and am sure that I’ll someday return on the deck of this beautiful boat.
- Do: Invest 375$ to do this trip! I am happy to connect you with Mal, so you can save $150 agencies usually charge you. Furthermore you’ll save the hostel costs since Mal warmingly welcomes you on his boat before and after the actual journey.
Day 8 TOWNSVILLE
Back on land our ways separated. Malte flew back to Brisbane and Katja joined Rikke and Thomas from Denmark for further travels. Gina, Melli and me whereas rented a car together with Alex and her sister Isabelle to start our roadtrip. Early in the morning we hit the road to reach Townsville in the arvo. After checking in in our hostel, we drove up Castle Hill to enjoy the sunset. If you get there by time, you should hike up that hill to be rewarded with a 360 degree view. Townsville is known for its beautiful beaches and of course, Magnetic Island. Due to our time restrictions we decided to not go there, but continue our journey on the next morning. Btw, the Civic Hostel was really nice! We had a big room to ourselves with own bathroom and fridge, everything was super clean, the kitchen was perfectly equipped, there is a social room with many games and staff is nice. All this for just $23 per night.
- Stay: Civic Hostel
- Do: Sunset on Castle Hill
Day 9 JOURAMA FALLS & MISSION BEACH
On the way to Cairns, we decided to stop two times. The first stop lead us to the Jourama Falls. Apart from the “most beautiful shithouse I’ve ever seen” (citation Gina) you can find a wonderful hike to the lookout of the falls, as well as the possibility to take a bath in an ice-cold rock pool. Definitely recommended! The second stop was at Mission Beach, miles and miles of beach and palms.You should make sure to stay here for at least one night. We couldn’t, since we already booked our room in Cairns we had to continue driving, along stunning landscape views.
- Stay: If possible, one night in Mission Beach
- Do: Take a bath at Jourama Falls
Day 10-12 CAIRNS, PORT DOUGLAS & DAINTREE
The first thing we did in Cairns was leaving Cairns. We left to drive into the direction of the Daintree Rainforest. We did a hike at Mossman George. At first amazed by the diversity of the rainforest, the hike got relatively unspectacular after 30 minutes. Trees. Don’t get me wrong, I love trees, but walking two hours over ways made for tourists is less thrilling. That’s why we drove to the Daintree River, to do a Crocodile Tour. We paid $20 to get on a small boat that drove us 5m up and down the river. We indeed saw some crocodiles, but if it was really worth it, …well I don’t know. So we once again jumped into the car to drive to Port Douglas, a small but really cute city.
On the next day we decided to visit Kuranda, a small village located on a mountain. To get up that mountain we took the Skyrail, a gondola lift with a fantastic view of the rainforest underneath it. Firstly I was exposed to my fear of heights, but with the time I got more and more amazed by the view. In Kuranda we visited the shops and the markets and as it was my birthday I treated myself and bought myself a necklace with an Opal stone. We then went down by a historical train. Back in Cairns we went to the daily nightmarkets full of souvenirs, accessories, clothing and food. Melli and me bought us a Seafood box for dinner. For $14 we purchased a medium sized box, in which we could fill food on our own.
This night we directly went to the airport, to meet our next flight departing at 2am. I just want to mention that our stay at Nomads was not nice at all. It is not really clean and the staff consists only out of backpackers, who easily lose the overview. We booked our Skyrail tour with MAD Travel, but the girl who booked it was totally clueless. It took her 45 minutes to purchase 5 tickets and later on we had to wait even longer, because she purchased the wrong ones. Furthermore the Nomads we stayed at is really far away from the city. There is a free shuttle bus though.
- Stay: On our way to Cairns we saw a sign to a Treehouse Hostel. Sounds nice!
- Shop: Opal necklaces in Kuranda
- Eat: Seafood Box at the Nightmarket
- Do: Skyrail, Nightmarkets