The Ultimate Road Trip Australia – Part 4
Welcome to Part 4 of the Ultimate Road Trip Australia! In this post I will be covering how we travelled from Noosa to Girringun National Park and back to Gold Coast (map included at the end). I wrote about Melbourne to Sydney in Part 1 which can be found Here and Sydney to Noosa in Part 2 which is Here.
Day 21 – Noosa – Gin Gin:
Day 21 was a sad day in the history of travelling. It was the day when I had to say bye to our surfboard as it was time to jump back into the newly picked up car (a pretty fancy Toyota Corolla this time) and hit the road again. Initially we were considering strapping it to the roof of the car and even bought some belts to do so but in the end it just did not feel safe to continue our trip like that. It would have also limited the speed we can drive at so we just left it with Col at the campsite. I feel that I definitely had my $25 worth of fun with it (check this video out) and I think others did too.
Once all was sorted with the board and we said bye to our awesome campsite in Noosa we drove to Inskip point and Rainbow beach. Very shortly we realized we spent almost two weeks “beaching around” and that we probably should move further away from the coast or do something a bit different.
In the evening we ended up driving to a really cool free campsite (which had a basketball court!) not too far away from Gin Gin. However, as much as I love basketball it was not the court that left the best impression. It was the stars we saw at night! I don’t think either of us saw so many stars so clearly. It really seemed there were millions of them. It is a shame our cameras were not good enough to capture the beauty of the sky that night. And even if they were pictures would never be able to show how incredibly clear and captivating it looked. If there were no mosquitoes I can guarantee we would have slept outside.
Day 22 – Gin Gin – Agnes Water – Crocodile Lake
We stopped in Gin Gin for a quick coffee and visited Lake Manduras later on in the morning. A lot of people seemed to be coming here to have a ride in their boats but for us it was a perfect spot for a quick snack before continuing our journey towards Agnes Water and Rockhampton.
Having a swim in Agnes Water was great but free showers were what we were really after! Staying in free campsites like we did has it’s challenges and keeping ourselves showered and clean was certainly one of the main ones.
In the evening we stopped at a campsite near a lake which for whatever reason we all started calling “Crocodile Lake”. I am sure crocodiles do not live there but it was so overgrown and swampy that the name suited it very well.
Day 23 – Crocodile Lake – Rockhampton – Mackay
In the morning (without even a smallest crocodile in sight) we departed from the Crocodile Lake campsite towards Rockhampton. Our first stop was the Rockhampton Zoo. Despite the fact it was a free zoo, it had so many cool animals like Koalas (in a lot of places you would have to pay extra to seem them on top of the regular fare), Wombats, Chimps, Crocodiles, Emus and Kangaroos. It is definitely a place worth visiting.
In the afternoon, while travelling North, we made a small detour to check out some caves and came across some really old and rusty cars. It looked really cool.
To spend the night, we picked a campsite not too far away from Mackay which was located right next to a hotel. It was right next to a road so a bit loud with all the cars passing by but how can I complain about something that is free.
Day 24 – Mackay – Cape Hillsborough National Park
On day 24 we visited Cape Hillsborough National Park. We hiked to Andrew’s viewpoint to enjoy the views of the ocean, had a nice grilled lunch and in general had a very relaxing day. Cape Hillsborough is actually quite special as during low tide Wedge Island which is a few hundred meters away can be reached on foot. Wedge Island reef is something that might be worth exploring for the snorkelers. Unfortunately we did not have time to wait until the next low tide so we left it for the next time.
Also, apparently wild Wallabies can be seen coming to the beach to feed during dusk and dawn but we did not manage to see any. There were plenty of Wallabies around when we were having lunch on the lawn though so I can’t say we were too disappointed about that!
Day 25 – Cape Hillsborough National Park – Airlie Beach
We finally reached the famous Airlie Beach! This town is a major spot for trips to nearby islands such as Whitsunday Islands and tours to the Great Barrier Reef. We found out that there are a lot of options to explore these places and prices vary from just over A$100 to several hundred dollars per person depending on the activities. Due to the fact that these islands are designated as a national park access is very restricted so simply taking a ferry and camping at one of the islands was not an option (similarly to Moreton Island).
This time, unfortunately, we could not get ourselves onto any tours as a cyclone was approaching this part of Australia and most of the tours were cancelled for the next couple of days due to strong winds.
Slightly disapointed about the bad weather we ended up visiting a waterfall in a nearby Conway National Park where we had a refreshing swim.
Day 26 – Airlie Beach – Bowen – Horseshoe Bay – Guthalungra
Due to worsening weather conditions we decided to advance North. We visited Bowen where we saw some sea turtles. Not too far away from Bowen there is a beach called Horseshoe bay which is a decent place to snorkel (we saw some fish, but not too many). The bay is sheltered by rocks so is quite nice for a swim as waves are not too big. There is also a cool viewpoint that can be easily reached from the beach.
We spent the night at a nice free campsite near Guthalungra (just off the highway).
Day 27 – Guthalungra – Townsville – Ingham – Girringun National Park
In the morning we stopped for a quick snack in Townsville, stocked up on food in Ingham (also known as little Italy) and in the evening reached the most northern point of our roadtrip – Girringun National Park. This is where the highest single drop waterfall in Australia can be found. Wallaman waterfall drops from a sensational 268m height into the 20m deep pool down below.
I have to admit the couple days we spent on the road travelling just to see the falls were worth it. Actually, I would probably go as far as saying this was one of the most awe inspiring places I have visited in my life.
Day 28 – Girringun National Park – Guthalungra
As we travelled north the weather was getting hotter and hotter. The temperatures were averaging +35oC so our night at the Girringun National Park Campsite was definitely very warm. In order to avoid the heat we woke up early to scale down from the cliff to see the pools of the Wallaman falls. The descent took us about 30 minutes and the view from the bottom was as amazing as it was from the top.
It is difficult to describe how small and insignificant you feel observing the insurmountable quantities of water falling from such heights. To me, this was a real highlight of our trip.
With only a couple of days left until our departure we turned around and started driving back south. A good amount of road had been covered as we reached Guthalungra.
Day 29-30 – Guthalungra – Gympie
Another couple of days of driving with not much to talk about, we managed to reach Rockhampton and spent the night at the Crocodile Lake campsite. On day 30 we got to Gympie. We stopped to spend the night at Six Miles Creek Rest Area.
Day 31 – Gympie – Brisbane
This was one of the last and one of the most memorable days of our roadtrip as we spent it exploring Brisbane. We visited Brisbane on our way north previously, but we felt we did not leave ourselves enough time to get a feel for the city so we stopped once again.
We spent the day walking in the city centre, had some nice lunch and also checked out Brisbane Art Gallery where we learned a few things about history of Australian Aboriginal People the most shocking being that Aboriginal people could not vote between 1949 and 1962!
It was also one of those relaxing days when we could just sit outside eating ice cream, talk and enjoy our time.
Day 32 – Moreton Island – Brisbane
We spent day 32 in Moreton Island – a separate post about it can be found here.
Day 33 – Brisbane – Gold Coast – Christchurch (NZ)
Day 33 was our last day in Australia. All we had time for was returning to Gold Coast airport where KATrippin crew parted their separate ways. Bernard and Aine went back to Melbourne and us two departed to Christchurch in New Zealand.
It was a long trip so everybody felt exhausted from the road and sleeping in tents so we were not particularly sad returning the car and getting rid of some of our gear. In reality, however, we barely scratched the surface of what Australia has to offer. We were very happy that such a long trip (7600km according to our estimates) went without any accidents or incidents. We covered a lot of road, saw a lot and experienced a lot – it was a good road trip.
Thanks Australia for being so hospitable and warm – we hope to see you again later! As always Bernards 4th video of his Australian Roadtrip series can be found here.