35. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Our next stop brought us to Noosa, which my Auntie Julie (who is actually my godmother, but when you’re from the north lots of people are your auntie) had described as Alderley-Edge-on-Sea. For those of you who do not know Alderley Edge, it’s where David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo lived while in Manchester, and is exactly how you imagine they would live. Big, flash, shiny, looking down on peasants.

Turns out Richard Branson has a private island in Noosa, so this description was entirely accurate. It’s full of infinity pools and water views and people with high levels of disposable income and they are truly disposing of it. 

Despite all this, our first night in Noosa found us on a sunset cruise for the bargain price of $10 with Patrick. It may have been so cloudy that the sunset was just shades of grey, but for $10 we still had a good nosy at people’s riverside houses and Richard’s island. 

We were so impressed at saving all our money that we promptly splashed out on fish and chips, which we had been craving all the way down the coast. We then swung back to feeling guilty about spending, and rather than pay $12 for a one way bus trip, we walked the 7km back to our hostel. 

On our second day in Noosa we took a venture to the Noosa National Park, and not just because it was the only thing we really had left to do in Noosa. This turned out to be a walk full of stunning views around every corner, which might have been enough to get boring had it not been for the fact it was a glorious day. 

We obviously couldn’t do a national park without the ‘classic traveller but with the twist of facing away from the camera’ photo:

This successfully completed and stunning views all around, we cooked in our cockroach infested kitchen to bring the day to a less glamorous close before heading to bed.

The next day was a Sunday and with a promise of markets at the marina we set off in earnest. After being stung for $12 for a one way bus journey to get to the sunset cruise, we had no intention of repeating the rip off feat and decided to walk.

7 kilometres, lots of beaches and a few hot and sweaty induced bickers later we arrived, to find the markets compromised of 8 stalls consisting of what is commonly described by my father as ‘overpriced useless tat’. We made up for it with a beer at the accidentally early time of 11am and walked the 7km back.

By this point my previously dislocated knee was screaming for help, but we were feeling healthy and becoming very familiar with the walking track to the marina. However we decided we needed a rest and it came in the form of panic about our New Zealand itinerary after talking to people in our hostel.

We spent a morning fixing things and generally organising in the face of stunningly stubborn relaxed and laid back attitudes on the part of Kiwi Experience, who we were travelling with. In the afternoon, with little else to do, we trekked up to Laguna lookout which looked out over Noosa itself. 

This turned out to be a fairly easy walk (my favourite type) and one stunning view;

As we walked back down towards the beach, I noticed a really weirdly shaped greenish stick on the ground in front of us. Surprisingly, it then slithered off into the bush. Katie and I shared a little heart attack and kept a sharp eye out on the rest of the trek. 

As yet we haven’t been able to identify if it was poisonous or not, but since it sounds cooler – it probably could have killed us. We were really brave.

That was the last of Noosa for us and we’d enjoyed it – though it was now on the ‘Places to come back and see with a lot of cash’ list. There was shops everywhere for Katie and a Ben and Jerry’s shop where I probably could have matched her shopping spending. Hotels with beachfront pools and restaurants on the water tempted us all the while we were there and frankly, bar one fish and chip dinner and a beer, we did remarkably well to restrain ourselves.

So it was time for our last Premier Bus from Noosa to Brisbane, and with a fond farewell to a bus (it wasn’t really fond and I’m not sure the bus was too bothered) we arrived at Brisbane and our hostel. 

We both immediately quite liked Brisbane. It may have been that we’d not seen a proper city for a month, but contrary to many backpacker reports of it being dull, uninspiring and worth avoiding, it had a strange charm. This is going to be a very bad critique of Brisbane, but I’m just not sure why I liked it, I just did. It was big enough but compact, easy going, sunny and had a vibe about it, but I’ve been in plenty of cities the same which I didn’t like as much as Brisbane. 

I’m thinking of taking a job on the Queensland tourist board as a result:

“Brisbane – Everyone says it’s a bit naff, so why not be pleasantly surprised?”

“Brisbane – It’s good, we just don’t know why”

“Brisbane – The weather will probably make you overlook our many flaws”

Fingers crossed for the job application. 

The day after we arrived in Brisbane we headed on a day trip to Australia Zoo – best known as the home of Steve Irwin, croc hunter and most Australian man ever. 

Well, I can only say, Crikey! Every kind of murderous dinosaur reptile imaginable, as well as all sorts of Australian animals and beasts and some things you’d rather avoid.

We also saw a bloody great crocodile in the Crocoseum show (pictured above) which was far too big to make sitting even metres away from it comfortable. The trainers of these things, who basically backed themselves into a corner with an aggressive and fearsome predator, either have balls the size of watermelons or brains the size of peas. 

After this it was back to Brisbane, much boring admin and little else. We had a fantastic AirBnB for our last 5 days in Australia in a clean and modern apartment with the benefits of washing machine, wifi and dishes that were clean when you picked them out of the cupboard. 

So with little fanfare, our journey in Australia had snuck up and ended on us. The East Coast had given us a number of things. Firstly, some excellent travelling friends who we shall remember for a long time. Kate, Kathryn, Tina, Megan, Patrick, Our Canadian Crazies – thank you all, it was wicked. We also saw and experienced some amazing things – the Whitsundays, Magnetic Island and Fraser Island (I’ve just noticed they’re all islands which is weird) were all amazing and 100% recommended. We also had rather too much social alcohol, some laughably bad places, some insanely good and some moments of absolute hilarity.

We absolutely blew our budget for the East Coast to smithereens, and it was completely worth it. Our year in Australia was done and dusted, and it was a bittersweet moment as we headed to Brisbane airport at 4am on the 8th of February for our next adventure…

Alex Odlin apologises that this all went a bit emotional speech giving at the end, so will lighten the mood with a joke that actually made someone laugh during his travels. You may have to read this out loud to get it but he promises it’s good. 

How do Mexicans keep warm in the winter?

They use Chicken Fa-jitas


Things get Sweet As, Bro


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