Travel agents will hard sell you the Noosa Everglades trip, Whitsundays and Fraser Islands with skydiving and kayaking to stuff in between.
In a way this is good because you can get your adventure sorted out fairly easily. However if you’re like me and prefer to do things your own way then you can see some East Coast which is forgotten about. Also, some of the destinations or trips can be over-hyped.
Right now I’m in Noosa, a haven for older tourists or locals to spend their holiday is style. “Oh yes, I’m going to Noooooosa for my summer vacation” will get you many oohs and aahs around the dinner table.
The night life in Noosa for backpackers is promising. Nomads Hostel has something going on in their bar every night so Noosa is worth a night or too. Plus, there is a beach but you’re hardly at a loss for those up the East Coast.
But let’s backtrack. So let’s say you started in Sydney. That was fun, awesome. Now you’re ready to leave the city lights behind you.
North of Sydney lies Port Macquarie. It is a great family holiday destination. The nightlife is eh but if you’re into your walking then the hills and national parks were created just for you baby.
Next up is Coffs Harbour, a small town where you can get your white water rafting or kayaking done for a cheaper price than the travel agents will try and sell you up North. A good tip is to try and book trips through the hostel. Always double check prices but you’ll generally find they’re not trying to hard sell you.
Byron Bay is a MUST. Chill out at Aquarius Backpackers or everyone’s favourite the Arts Factory. The beach can only be described as gorgeous and the locals are really friendly. Spend money on a group tour to Nimbin where you will only need to chill for two hours. Do not spend any longer there.
Surfers Paradise is where the glamour of the city meets the beach. It’s growing to become Australia’s answer to Miami. As well as Byron Bay, you need to check the weather before you go. No sun, no fun.
Brisbane gets a tough review from travellers. They say not much is going on in the city and they’re right. Climb up to Mount Coot-tha lookout for a fab view then continue North.
North of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast. Most travellers usually go to Noosa from Brisbane but I stopped short of Noosa first to visit Coolum. A funky little surfing town in the Sunshine Coast, it’s charm will win you over. Catch the surfing bug or climb up Mount Coolum.
My last trip was to the Gagaju Bushcamp near Noosa. I recommend only two nights to do your canoeing trip and experience bush life but it’s not worth a lot of your time. The camp was a fair bus ride from Noosa but a free transfer is available. Stock up well on supplies before you go – the nearest grocery shop is situated down the road amongst the bush people’s settlement of caravans.
The area is not glamorous at all but what can you expect from the bush? Also the staff will be quite blunt with you but that’s just the Australian manner. “Is your tent broken? Just find another one!” That kind of attitude. The canoeing starts bright and early each morning and the staff made everyone clean all the dishes in the kitchen even if they didn’t belong to you. Then comes the essential briefing on safety and directions and you can be rest assured they take it seriously, if we weren’t back by the very late evening the coast guard would be alerted… So equipped with hangovers and no map and without any supervision, all of us backpackers clumsily made our way down the everglades. It was a very arduous trip but all the effort was worth the spectacular views and fun you’ll have with new friends.