We are at the Australian east coast, where you can find the whitest beaches, the Great Barrier reef and cities called Goldcoast and Sunshine coast. So, time to hit the beach!
We read that Noosa is like Australia’s Monaco, so we thought it would be a good idea to check it out and maybe do some hiking in Noosa national park. We had also read that the parking lot between the beach and the national park always fills up quickly, but when we left at 9.30am to arrive 30 minutes later, we felt confident. This was very misplaced. As soon as we started to just approach Noosa, it started to get busy. Cars, bicycles, pedestrians, busses, everyone seemed to be on the move! So it took us quite a while to even get to the parking lot, only to find it completely overrun. We tried to find a spot somewhere else, but it was just terrible. So after driving around in circles, with more standing still than actual driving going on, we decided after 1,5 hours or so that what we had seen wasn’t worth it and just go somehwere else.
Our road trip guide had a nice alternative drive, which mentioned Rainbow beach. So, we drove out there. Ou initial plan was to do some hiking over there, but by the time we arrived and had some lunch at a picnic area, it was of course midday and way too hot again. Besides, when we drove into the city this place too was completely overrun with people, and because it was high tide by now, our hikes were not accessible anyways. At that point I though fuck this shit, to we went into the liquor store, stocked up on beer, wine and champagne and just went to our hotel at the Fraser coast.
Until now this day was totally wasted and we were both frustrated with it, but there came Mary Poppins to save the day! Because on our way to Torquay beach we would drive past Maryborough and Maryborough is where Pamela Lyndon Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, was born! So we decided to make a stop and look at the house where Pamela was born and take some photos with the statue of Mary Poppins that is right beside it.
While waiting to cross the street back to the car, I noticed that the traffic lights had little Mary Poppins’ in it! Eat that, Berliner Ampelmännchen!
The next day was December 31s. There would be a food stalls, lots of fireworks, all pubs would have live music and according to the lady at the information desk, Australians like to drink and like to start early, so that sounded promising! In order to be fit, I spent most of the day just chilling at the beach and swimming in the Pacific Ocean (nice and warm!).
At about 6pm we set out to party. Things turned out to be a little bit different from what we expected. First of all: no alcohol to be found! Apparently the Aussies like to drink so much, that it is now forbidden to drink outside of licensed bars etc. The second surprise was that there was a stand where they sold poffertjes! Of course we got ourselves some.
The third surprise was that it turned out that if you want something to eat on new year’s eve, you have to make a reservation. Even if it is at the local fish and chips store or Mexican… By the time it was 8pm and the first fireworks began, we had gotten ourselves some ice cream and a nice place at the beach with a fabulous view of a large fireworks show.
After that we found a Thai that did do take out, so we ordered two portions of Pad Thai, took them back to our place and simply drank our own wine (boy was I glad we had stocked up the day before!). After dinner and a short digestion period, we took our champagne and headed for the beach again. By that time there was only half an hour left of the old year, so we lay in the sand looking at the stars for a bit, seeing if I could see anything written in it, and before I knew it there was some shouting and the second rounds of firework began. Happy New Year!
Back in the Netherlands there is a tradition of the “Nieuwjaarsduik”. People get up early in order to go swimming in the North Sea. The COLD North Sea. To keep these poor buggers from freezing to death, UNOX has taken it upon itself to provide them with knitted heads (of course with Unox written on it in huge letters) and their infamous peasoup and rookworst. This year, we decided to keep up this good old tradition. So, we made ourselves a Unox head and headed over to Fraser island – where the beaches are white, the water is clear and (most important) 23ºC.
We actually took a day tour to the island, because you need a 4wheel drive for the island (because it is completely made out of sand) and we don’t have one. We thought about going there with the ferry, but after that it is just too large to walk or even hire a bicycle. Although I must say that I am getting a bit sick of having to take a tour if I want to see any of the many islands (Kangaroo, Philip, Whitesundays, Fraser…). On the upside: there was a decent all you can eat lunch buffet!
I even found myself sunken and stranded ship and did some treasure hunting!