Hi Travel Fans!
I’m so excited to write about the 3 months I spent in Australia – specifically on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It’s been 2 years since I lived there and I still think about it every day. There’s too much to write in one post, so I’m hoping to put up some more! Also, if you’re interested, here’s a travel video I made of my time there. It’s my first *official* GoPro Adobe edited video so don’t judge it too harshly… So, let’s go!
How Did I End Up In Australia?
2 years ago I made the decision to take some time off from school and join Y.W.A.M (Youth With A Mission) for 5 months. The missions organization has bases worldwide, but the one I chose to live at was on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. There, I had daily lessons from and on the Bible, prepared for my time in India and Myanmar, made some amazing friends, and went to the beach as much as I possibly could. When I came back from India and Myanmar, I was able to take some time traveling to a few places I wanted to go in Australia that I hadn’t yet and hop over to New Zealand as well. The entire time was absolutely unreal.
Where I Was
Australia is massive. To put it in perspective, here’s a size comparison of Australia to Europe and the U.S.A:
Because of its’ size and the fact that I was in “missionary school”, I wasn’t able to see everything that I wanted to in 3 months. I lived about an hour away from one of the major cities, Brisbane, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Brisbane is in another state – New South Wales, but on the border with Queensland. So, my visits consisted of places on the east coast of Australia.
Things To Do: Car Ride Away from Brisbane
In light of where I was living, here are a some things I’d recommend going to while there!
- Byron Bay: Originally a whaling station, Byron Bay has turned into a major travel destination in NSW. You could easily stay here for as long as you want and never get bored. The ocean is gorgeous and is home to dolphins, whales, sea turtles…and so much more! It’s known as a “hippie destination” so you’ll see a lot of camper vans parked there with people giving off those hippie vibes. Besides swimming and soaking up sun on one of the several beaches, you can hike, grab some really good food, and visit the beautiful lighthouse. Unfortunately, we went on an overcast day, but it was still stunning – here are some pictures below.
- Noosa Heads: Noosa is another beautiful town…this is a theme for all of Australia. It’s about 2 hours away from Brisbane. You can do a lot of fun activities in Noosa like hike in the National Park, swim (of course), and shop around in the town. I made a Quik editor of body surfing (kinda) at Noosa that you can see here. While you’re at Noosa, take the hike to Hell’s Gate. No idea why it’s called that as it’s the farthest thing from that! On your walk, you might catch some Koalas hanging out in the trees. Below are some pictures of the beach and the view from the hike – my featured photo is also from Hell’s Gate.
- Brisbane: If you want to take a break from the beach, head over to Brisbane. It’s one of the major cities in Australia. Just like any city, there are plenty of things to do there, but with an Australian twist. You can go to South Bank located in the middle of the city where you can swim and lounge on the public lawns – kid friendly as well, visit the koala sanctuary, or take a cruise on the Brisbane River. You might even see a snake on one of the paths. One of the pictures below is a man explaining the size of the snake we saw while there by comparing how large it was to my friends arm. There’s plenty to do here, but sadly I was only there for an evening.
- Maroochydore: This was the biggest town I was close to while there. It has, you guessed it, a beautiful beach! It’s a kid friendly destination that local families will stay at for vacation. The town isn’t as touristy as Noosa or Byron, but if you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation that’s more lowkey, it’s a great place to go. Picture below of my friend and I overlooking the beach.
Things to Do: Plane Ride Away from Brisbane
Obviously the plane ride away/car ride away depends on where you are in Australia. This one is a plane ride away from Brisbane!
- Sydney: Go, go, go… I cannot emphasis this enough! It lives up to its hype. Once again, I was only there for about two days. You can walk around and find so many things to do. If you enjoy concerts, I HIGHLY recommend enjoying a show at the Sydney Opera House. It was probably my favorite thing that I did while there.
- The Great Barrier Reef and Cairns: I was lucky enough to go scuba diving in the reef. It was an unreal experience. Fortunately, you don’t have to have your scuba license to go! They offer private and public diving experiences with a guide to take you through the reef. If you can, go on a private tour as you have more freedom to explore. I saw a giant jellyfish and passed by a reef shark! To get to The Great Barrier Reef, my Dad and I flew up to Cairns and took a trip out that was based there. In Cairns, we visited a wildlife sanctuary and we saw kangaroos, wallabies, exotic birds, and koalas.
There’s so much to do in Australia. I’m going through all my pictures and I could spend even more time writing about a lot of the other smaller things to do while there. I tried to hit the highlights for people who are spending a shorter amount of time on the east coast so hopefully you find it helpful! Next time I go, I want to spend more time in Sydney and make my way to Perth as well as the bush. However, I’m so glad for the experiences I did have on the east coast and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
See you on the next blog!