Australia Road Trip – Part Two
Its been a while, but here is the remainder of our road trip in Queensland.
To recap – in 2019 we’ve been on a massive Australia road trip, taking us from Adelaide, South Australia and via The Riverland, and into Victoria.
Next, we drive on through the Blue Mountains and Sydney NSW, then up the coast to the Surfer Paradise, Queensland.
We continue from the Gold Coast on up as far as Airlie Beach, until we finally headed back down the Queensland coast.
With over 6000 km covered, it has been an epic journey, especially as a single Mum.
It’s a massive Australia Road Trip!
The first article contains the first half of our trip – Adelaide to Surfers Paradise.
This article contains the second half of our trip – Surfers Paradise to Airlie Beach and back to the Gold Coast.
Leaving Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise
Our Australia Road Trip sees us driving to Brisbane. It is quick and easy to drive to from the Gold Coast. In just an hour or so you can arrive and be in the city centre.
Brisbane is the 2nd largest cruise port in Australia (after Sydney), many of the cruises are hugely popular with families (e.g. P&O Australia and Carnival) due to them being very cost-effective, and have lots of activities to keep entertained, QLD is, of course, close to the South Pacific islands of Fiji, Noumea, Vanuatu etc where many of the cruise ships visit.
We had a great stay at the Ovolo Inchcolm Hotel and could walk to the river to catch a ferry and explore, although the day was grey and overcast.
With complimentary cocktails at the Ovolo, we headed back by 5:00 pm. We were so glad we did as complimentary platters of Hors d’oeuvres were also on offer. Therefore, we enjoyed this hour or so immensely, and armed with a cup of complimentary candies, Explorason and I headed down to the River Walk once more for dinner.
Riverbar and Kitchen
Riverbar and Kitchen offer riverside dining. The sky had cleared and was clear and the night became balmier than the day, so we had a great evening together.
The Sunshine Coast is one of the fast-growing areas in Australia. Each year more southerners cross the border and move into this area. With warmer days than the south and a beautiful coastline, the Sunshine Coast is town after town of splendour.
Caloundra and Kings Beach
We rented a private apartment in Kings Beach which is a short stroll along the rocky beach to Caloundra. It was pretty cold these couple of days but it gave us ample time to explore every town on the Sunshine Coast including beautiful Noosa.
At the end of our couple of days exploring we knew this wasn’t where we wanted to live, but we did find several places we liked.
The Big Pineapple
The Big Pineapple is another iconic giant from my childhood days. Unbelievably, the same train that used to run through the pineapple plantation now runs down to a small zoo. Its a pretty ride through a rainforest and worth buying tickets for.
The Big Pineapple has been restored after the entire place was closed for many years. Although most of the Big Pineapple is closed for renovations, new and exciting things will be happening in the future.
From the Big Pineapple, we found our way to Hervey Bay arriving just in time for sundowners at Enzo’s on the foreshore. Perfect for watching the sunset as the sun sinks behind the jetty.
We then spent the night in accommodation with very noisy neighbours! Alas, we were going to stay two nights, but the internet was also under repair, so we decided to leave with about 3 hours of sleep.
I was glad to leave at the time, but later in our journey, we returned to Hervey Bay, and I’m glad I gave this town a second chance.
Rockhampton and Yeppoon
I think we just wanted to see the sun (which hadn’t been shining for us lately) because we again spent only a night at Rockhampton and a drive down to Yeppoon. The hotel was way too noisy, but the complimentary breakfast made up for it, and the room was lovely and clean. With two queen size beds, we slept soundly, despite the highway traffic noise.
I loved Yeppoon and definitely want to go back. It just had a nice vibe I thought.
Our hotel gave us a bit of wrong info and said there was nothing to see in Rockhampton, so we were glad when we discovered the Tropic of Capricorn marker the next day. He clearly didn’t get out much because Rocky is a great city!
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at a traditional Queensland Pub called the Allentown Hotel, but as our accommodation hotel was right on the main road, and it was so noisy with the traffic. However, it was good to learn this lesson so we made sure to book places off the highway most of the time after that.
Mackay Region and Cape Hillsborough
We were going to spend the night at Mackay and popped into the Information booth to ask about something I’d seen in photos. That being kangaroos on the beach somewhere near here. This lovely lady told us they were actually wallabies. She instructed us to head to Cape Hillsborough, and that we needed to book a cabin right in the park.
They are very old style cabins, but oh-my-goodness! This was one of the best experiences ever!
It is a bit of an early start, so this is definitely the best place to stay. This is an item that was on my bucket list and something I took about 300 photos of!
Airlie Beach was one of the biggest surprises I encountered. Once a hippy town, now it is more of a luxury high-end vs backpackers gateway to the islands.
Airlie Beach Central Luxury Apartments
We chose to stay at Airlie Beach Central Luxury Apartments for five nights. Explorason was the only one in the pool, and I felt like half the town was empty. Airlie Beach has suffered since the cyclone, but it is coming back with a vengeance!
Most nights you could find us watching the sunset by the pool at the Whitsunday Terraces Resort where the Anchor Bar is one of the best-hidden secrets of Airlie Beach. They have great priced food and a happy hour too.
Another great place to go for a drink is The Northerlies, with an average glass of wine at $16 for something I buy for $10 a bottle, you really are paying for the ambience and the location.
Airlie Foreshore Fiesta
We were pleased to be at Airlie Beach for the Foreshore Fiesta Grand Opening Celebration. Fireworks, Aboriginal dancing and lots of fun were the order of the day and evening.
Make sure you also book a Segways Tour when you’re in town. They have various ones which are a quick ride or a longer one that includes dinner, or a rainforest. We love Segways!
Leaving Airlie Beach was difficult. I’d been unwell for about a week, and my breathing was very difficult. We felt it was time to head back down the coast.
Eungella Chalet and Cabins
We had heard about the platypus in the Mackay region, so decided to book a night in a wood cabin at Eungella with lunch at the chalet.
After some Sunday music and a million-dollar view, we went on a short drive on the hunt for platypus.
Only a few km away are several dams in the National Park. Make sure to take your insect repellant and zoom camera. A trick is to put your camera on ‘sports’ setting, as the platypus dart to the surface very quickly. Watch for bubbles on the surface and then they appear momentarily. Meanwhile, the mosquitoes are prolific and somewhat ruined the time for my son as he was virtually ‘eaten alive’!
Staying in a classic Aussie Pub
We stayed the night at the iconic Koumala Pub. My son and I each had our own room and met some great locals and travellers throughout the afternoon and evening. I highly recommend that if you’d like an affordable Australian experience to stay here. Warm and friendly hospitality, and genuinely nice folk. Oh, and the food is great too!
Sarina Sugar Cane Fields
I learnt the hard way that the flowers of sugar can trigger asthma attacks. So although these purple and beige flowers are gorgeous, don’t do what I did and stand in the middle of a field for a photo!
The burn-offs also contribute to quite bad breathing problems for some too.
Rockhampton Discovery Park
We loved staying at the Discovery Parks in Queensland and wish we had discovered them earlier. Fabulous accommodation that is way better than some hotels, and fun things to do. Plus they have gorgeous grounds as well. Check out our Instagrams for more information.