Diary blog Australia: Brisbane, Fraser Island, Noosa and the fear of the coronavirus!

Oh guys … it may have been two months since I wrote a diary blog! From halfway through Malaysia to the end of Bali, I just didn’t feel it. In the meantime, I wrote dozens of travel guides, budget blogs and more. But diary blogs never came up. Anyway, I started with writing diary blogs again.

But now that we are in Australia, I suddenly feel like talking about our experiences here. And we have already experienced so much in two weeks that there is more than enough to tell. So herewith: Our first two weeks in Brisbane, Fraser Island, Noosa and the Gold Coast. But also our experiences with travelling as the coronavirus spreads at a bizarre rate.

Travel blog Byron Bay double rainbow and Charlotte

Sunny and lively Brisbane

We are in Australia! After some stress due to corona and our visa (five days before our flight, we realized we needed to apply for a visa before entering Australia), we land after a long flight at Brisbane airport. It is late, but all checks go a lot faster than we are used to from Australia!

My frame of reference remains the TV show Border Security: Australia’s Front Line and strangely enough, I am always terrified that we have something illegal with us! But no, before we know it we are in a taxi to our Airbnb. When we get there we crawl into bed tired.

Travel Guide Brisbane City view

Exploring Brisbane in just two days!

The alarm clock is set early the next morning. We only have two days to explore all of Brisbane. So a full schedule. Stop number 1 is the farmers market in the West End. We are lucky that it is Saturday because that is the only day that this pleasant market is open. Strolling around, we buy some small things and continue to the museum district of Brisbane.

What a nice surprise: most museums in Australia are free! We visit both The Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Art Gallery. One of the famous water lilies paintings by Monet is available for the public in this last museum! In the afternoon, we relax in the beautiful parks of Brisbane and take a tour in the City Hall.

Travel Guide Brisbane City Hall square

Read here our travel guide for Brisbane city!

Sunset and a hundred mosquitoes bites

We have walked over 20 kilometres today and so we decide to relax in our Airbnb before sunset. The bed is so comfortable that we stay just a little too long. We leave quickly, to get lost of course. So the sun has already set when we arrive at the picnic area where we wanted to eat something. Oh well, then eat in the dark. The next morning, 50 mosquito bumps richer, it turns out that this was not a great idea.

Travel Guide Brisbane Brisbana at night Kangaroo Point picknic

Cruise on the Brisbane River

Day two in Brisbane we start with a cruise on the Brisbane River. It is already quite hot, fortunately, being on the water provides some cooling. Afterwards, we explore the hip New Farm district, which unfortunately is very quiet on Sundays.

Fortunately, there is more stir at hotspot Felons Brewing Co. This is a brewery under the Story Bridge, and on Sunday afternoons this is the place where young and old come together to drink beers (and wine)!

Curious how much our trip through Australia cost? Then read our Australia travel budget blog!

Travel guide Brisbane Story Bridge and skyline

A bad start of our journey: an accident on the way to Fraser Island

After two days in Brisbane, our itinerary through Australia starts today. It will be a full day: first, we will pick up our Spaceships Campervan, with which we will explore Australia for the next five weeks. Then we drive towards Fraser Island where another rental car (a four-wheel drive) is waiting for us. Fraser Island is not allowed with a normal car, only four-wheel drives are allowed.

Renting two cars in one day might not be a good idea

Renting two cars, shopping for groceries, arranging permits for Fraser driving in an unknown country: planning too much in one day guarantees things that go wrong… And yes, you already feel it coming, that happens. We have a minor car accident with another car. Nobody is hurt, but both cars are severely damaged and the shock is there! A terrible start to our road-trip, but unfortunately things like this can happen while travelling. We promptly notify car rental company Spaceships, complete insurance papers and exchange contact information with the other car driver.

Fortunately, both cars are still driving and after contacting the Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire, the company from which we rent a four-wheel-drive for Fraser Island, we decide to continue and pick-up the second car for today! As you can imagine, I wouldn’t dare to drive another, much bigger car, after the accident. However, Ries stayed calm and so we continued our journey to Fraser Island with a 4wd.

Looking for a nice itinerary for the East Coast of Australia? Then read our Australia east coast itinerary blog!

Travel guide Fraser Island Australia

Camping the first night

Tired of all the excitement, we are at a campground a few hours later. We put up the tent, open a can of soup (yes, a festive meal), and pour a glass of wine. Take a break from the shock. We are still very disappointed, but we toast to the most important thing: nobody has been injured!

Sunrise at Double Island point!

Still a little tired, we pack up in the tent at 5 a.m. the next morning. We want to catch the sunrise soon before we take the ferry to Fraser Island. We are currently located near the village of Rainbow Beach and here are also some beautiful beaches where you can come with your 4wd. A bit uncomfortable and careful we drive onto the beach.

In Madagascar we have driven a four-wheel-drive on beaches before, but it always takes some time to get used to driving a big jeep and especially after yesterday’s accident we are extremely careful.

Travel blog outdoor adventure Rainbow Beach

Fortunately, driving on Fraser Island is easy. With a beautiful sunset, we drive via various beaches to Double Island Point, a kind of peninsula where a large lighthouse is located. We scramble up and as the sun warms our face the stress of yesterday begins to float away.

Read all about Fraser Island in our extensive travel guide!

On the way to Fraser Island

Once back in Rainbow Beach we quickly arrange some things with the insurance company and we already cook two meals. Now, it is time to take the ferry to Fraser Island. I have described our time on beautiful Fraser Island in detail in the blog about Fraser. Read more here! Fraser it was great!

Off we go to the fancy coast town of Noosa!

After three days on Fraser Island, we return the four-wheel drive and drive back with our Spaceships campervan south. The next few days we will explore a lovely spot on the Sunshine Coast: Noosa. Noosa is known as a beautiful beach location: the small town feels like the Australian version of Saint Tropez. There are large houses, beautiful (and too expensive) shops and restaurants and the residents seem to have stepped out of a magazine.

Okay, as I write it now Noosa may sound a bit uptight and snobbish but the relaxed atmosphere with many surfers makes it a very nice place. There are beautiful beaches and the Noosa National Park is perfect for hiking!

Travel guide Noosa National Park Hells point

Rain at the Sunshine Coast, the threat of corona and Eumundi town

We spend the following days commuting between our free campsite and Noosa. Because the weather is not great (we have rain almost every day), we often work in cosy cafes in Noosa and Eumundi. Ries kept on wondering why this region is called the sunshine coast: every day it seems to rain! Even before we got here, it has been only raining since January!

Eumundi is a small village inland, where there is a brewery, several hip cafes and a lively market. This is also close to our campground. So if we don’t want to drive too far, we just stay in Eumundi!

Worrying about the possible impact of coronavirus worldwide

During those hours in coffee shops, we keep a close eye on the news. The coronavirus is rapidly spreading in the Netherlands. In Australia, there are also the first cases, but it seems that the effect on Europe is much greater (all this took place in the first week of March, the situation is currently changing rapidly). We are particularly concerned with how our future is influenced by corona. Questions such as “will we still find a nice job” and “can we get married in a year” will blow through our minds. But it is all going to work out, we still think positively.

Curious which hotels, hostels and accommodation we like in Australia? Then read our Australia hotels east coast blog!

Hiking in Noosa National park, Sunshine Coast

In between the rain showers, we try to see as much of Noosa as possible, after all, we write a travel guide about this place! Fortunately, we manage to visit the Noosa National Park in a dry moment. This beautiful park is perfect for a lovely walk along the coast. We walk along several beautiful beaches, cliffs and look up a lot hoping to spot koalas in the trees. Unfortunately, we don’t see these cute animals. Hopefully, we have more luck next time.

Travel Guide Noosa main beach

Travel guide Surfers paradise getting ready with sunscreen

Rain in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast.

Oh guys, I hope this blog doesn’t sound very negative, but phew what bad weather we have near Surfers Paradise! It seems we are very unlucky from the start of our travels through Australia and we ran out of luck. It’s not only the accident nor the rain, but also minor daily things that go wrong. Seriously, we have never experienced so many bad luck in one country! And the worst things is: the bad luck isn’t over yet! Maybe, these were all the signs pointing out to us, that we should go back home.

Surfers Paradise, characterized by the high skyscrapers that stand close to the beach. This view is magnificent! Surfers Paradise is like the Spanish Benidorm of Australia: it is a beach place for elderly people, however, with a fancy name! This is not what we expected from this place. Anyway, we can’t go to the beach, it’s raining too hard for that. There are no free campsites and we have noticed that both of us have entered a bit of a downward spiral. Concerns about the coronavirus, our family and friends in the Netherlands, our future, the continuation of this trip, but also last week’s rain and accident, cause us a lot of stress. Travelling has been always fun for us, but nowadays, we don’t seem to enjoy it that much.

Camping while it rains all the time . .

These rainy days are really not fun. We often sit inside the campervan, or in cafes (which unfortunately often close at 3 pm on the Gold Coast), heat up just a can of soup for dinner while the rain is pouring down on us. And sitting on each other’s lips for so long, in a small space, is also quite tough. You understand we are sometimes not enjoying each other company!

The reason I share this with you is that I think it is important to show that travelling is not always fun. It may seem like a fairytale (and usually it is) to go on a trip around the world, but sometimes, sometimes it just isn’t fun. Everything seems to be disappointing and we are dealing with a lot of uncertainty. And that is really the case these days.

Sunny weather predicted in Byron Bay at Gold Coast!

During the first sunny morning in Surfers Paradise, we bake pancakes in a parking lot and walk on the beach. The next day we decide that Surfers Paradise might just not be for us and so we drive towards Springbrook National park. Here we make a cool (but wet) hike through the rainforest and we visit several waterfalls.

And then, after a week of almost all rain, the sun finally starts to shine, exactly when we drive into Byron Bay. We race to the nearest beach, sunbathe all afternoon and even burn a little bit. The following days may be even more turbulent, but fortunately also a lot more fun!

But more on that in the next diary blog! Click here to read how we abruptly ended our world trip.

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  1. by Glenn Veugen on 1 April 2020  01:38 Reply

    Far out, I recognise the rubbish weather at the Sunshine Coast, after spending almost 2 weeks with rain pretty much every day I asked my friends where the bloody hell it got its name from. But when the sun shines, it shines, and then it is one of my favourite places in Australia (together with Exmouth). I do recognise wandering around aimlessly when it rains, going from cafe to cafe, and even just sitting it out in my car. You were fortunate to have a van, I had a 4WD for my entire trip, it's not a car in which you can or want to spend your afternoon. Sad to hear you guys had to can your trip due to the virus, but it was the right decision in hindsight considering the pile of sh*t most backpackers find themselves at the moment. Hopefully you guys can make it back and give the country another chance because it is just AMAZING. Try to avoid the rain and shoulder season on the east coast though. And if you're looking for something a tad different in Straya, try the West Coast, it'll blow your mind and I'd choose it over the east coast every day of the week ;-). Hit me up if you ever need tips, and stay safe!

    • by Charlotte van de Sande on 7 May 2020  10:26 Reply

      Glenn!! I saw this response just now!! How are you? How is Australia treating you?

      Hahaha yes, I agree, when it rains, it definitly is not the place you want to be, but I do understand how cool it can be when the sun does shine!

      Yes, looking back at it now, we are very happy we made the decision to go back, but we are also sure that one day we will go back, and for sure we will go to the West Coast! We have heard so many people telling about it in a way we are sure this is the place for us. Fewer tourists, maybe a bit more of driving but also complete remoteness, and that is something I really love when road-tripping!

      Hope to hear from you soon!

  2. by Cara on 9 June 2021  14:32 Reply

    Wow, looks beautiful, fantastic photos too! We have been busy researching place up that way for our trip later in the year and after reading this article I just want to follow in your footsteps. :)

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