Roadtrippin' - Magnetic island to Bris Vegas
Trip Start Jan 21, 2011
23Trip End May 01, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
House sit in Airlie Beach
Nautilous House Magnetic Island
Shele and Matt's house in Clontarf
A few weeks after what we now refer to as Burngate, my parents came to stay with us in Airlie for a visit. Having not seen them for 9 months it was an emotional reunion, especially for the madre as I am still her baby and we are used to speaking on the phone every single day! It was lovely to see them again, and it also came with the obligatory bringing of presents; a huge pile of clothes for me (thoroughly undeserved and gratefully received) and aftershave for Tom. We were all very happy! Our first week was spent mainly getting settled into Airlie and showing them around the town, and as seems to be typical when a Fletcher visits, the weather went a little on the turn so we lost our blazing sunshine and had a few cloudy days
We had booked a house in Magnetic Island for 5 days as it is only a 4 hour drive from Airlie Beach, and mum and dad wanted to treat us to a nice stay for our upcoming anniversary. So we hired a car to get us there as the van can only seat 3 people, and went on our way back up north to visit the island. Despite it being a relatively short distance by Australian standards, the temperature was a few degrees hotter so we were able to enjoy a sudden increase in sunshine to 28 degrees! The house we had rented was very close to Horseshoe Bay, which is the main bay on the island, so we were able to enjoy long days on the beach and trips to good restaurants every day. We did manage to explore other parts of the island but as we were there a little out of season some of the restaurants were closed and many were closing by 8pm, thus allowing little time for dinner. One day, Tom and I decided to do a walk between Horseshoe Bay and Radical Bay - a small beach that could only be reached by the walk from Horseshoe or by unsealed road. The walk itself was pretty difficult due to the fact you had to scale a large hill and walk down the other side on a rocky incline, and also because we hadn't exercised in a long time! Once we reached Radical Bay it was worth it, the sea was warm and inviting and it was really small and relatively empty
On our second day we decided to visit a koala sanctuary where you get to hold and interact with koalas. It was a small place and they had a handful of other animals too, so it was an intimate venue to view lots of native species. We were able to hold a large cockateel and feed it seeds by placing them between your lips and letting it snatch them from you, which was intimidating at first but very funny. There were also a variety of lizards and a hedgehog thing whose name I can't remember, as well as crocodiles and snakes. We all got to hold the various animals and when it came to the crocodile it's mouth was taped shut so as not to alarm anyone with random snapping! I got to hold an adult male koala first who was a little grumpy as he was still a bit sleepy. He was pretty heavy and you had to hold them in a certain way so that he couldn't shuffle around or scratch you. He also smelled quite a bit of a weird eucalyptusy rotten smell, which stayed on your clothes afterwards unfortunately! It was quite a nice experience and was the only thing you had to pay for as all the money went to giving the koalas sanctuary and planting eucalyptus trees in the wild. There were lots of other koalas and some of them had babies in their pouches, so cute! I loved it and was really glad we went as it was a bit of a last minute decision.
We spent a good part of our last day exploring West Point, via an unsealed road that leads to a gorgeous bay on the western part of the island. It was quite a faff to get there and I had to drive about 10 m/p/h as the road was pretty shot to pieces, but we finally made it and parked up to explore
The rest of mum and dad's trip seemed to go pretty quickly after that and we all wished we could have had a bit longer before they had to go home, but we did have some lovely meals out in town and got to spend the remaining time drinking copious amounts of wine and beer and eating well. So well in fact that I have put on a load of weight! Eventually we had to say goodbye and through a few tears from mumma, I saw them off at the airport on a Thursday morning. We were sad to say goodbye but it had also brought to a close our time in Airlie, so I then returned to pick up Debbi and Simon from the marina as they were finally back from their sailing trip! We had a great catch up with them and the dogs, yet again drinking a fair amount of wine and topping it all off with a bbq, and before we knew it Friday had come round signalling our time to move on and leave the Whitsundays behind
We packed up Bumble once more and headed off south towards Brisbane in the hope of finding some work and finally make some money! It was also the first real time we had spent living in the van with the new cupboards installed, which was very exciting. Our journey down to Brisbane was fairly rushed as we needed to make it by Sunday so as to attend some agency meetings on Monday morning. We made a couple of stops on the way, most memorably Rainbow Beach, which was actually really beautiful and had we had longer I think we could have passed a few days there. Eventually we hit Brisbane around 3pm and luckily for us our friends Shele and Matt offered us their spare room to stay while we were in Brisbane, so we got to hang out with them on Sunday night and enjoy a lovely roast lamb, and, wait for it, some more wine! They live in Clontarf, which is a suburb in north Brisbane, so we are surrounded by beaches and close to the Sunshine coast and all it has to offer, which makes up for us having to rush through it on the way down.
Our first week was spent in and out of job agencies where we have been looking for temp work - a rather depressing prospect after our 9 months of travel and play. Hilariously Tom was placed in a role almost immediately and was flung in the deep end on Wednesday doing an accounts payable job for a ladies fashion company
Finally, our first wedding anniversary dawned this weekend and despite our general lack of time to organise anything, we both set to task and came up with things to do on Saturday (me) and Sunday (Tom). My parents had also bought us a night in a hotel in the city as an additional gift so we centred our plans around the main city area. I decided on a traditional romantic picnic at Roma Street Parklands, a beautiful area of green in the heart of the city. I wasn't expecting there to be a huge festival going on there however, so when we rocked up with our bottle of prosecco and deli goods to look for a lovely bit of grass to lounge on, I was slightly surprised to see a gathering of Papua New Guineans! I'm not sure what was going on but it was very busy so we endeavoured to find a spot away from the crowds. We still had a lovely lunch and then headed over to South Bank to see the 'beach' area - really a huge water park for kids and adults - and chill out in one of the many bars and restaurants. Brisbane has a festival going on at the moment so I had planned for us to watch the Santos Festival of Lights, a light show over the river accompanied by music
Sunday morning was spent lounging in the hotel before we headed out to South Bank for a good breakfast and mooch around the market. It was very cute and full of arts and crafts, the usual kind of market things but not too massive that you can't be bothered to walk round it all. We bought some awesome coasters with band posters on like the geeks we are; what more could we ask for than to put our cups of tea on the faces of the members of Pearl Jam and Led Zeppelin?! We then headed off to Eagle St Pier to yet another market (Tom really did surpass himself considering his usual dislike for such things!) where we bought the most magnificent chilli pickle and coriander paste from a stall selling Indian spices and curry sauces. The lady let us try everything and it was just incredible, so we are now vowing to go back and buy a whole load more as there was so much choice! We walked to the Botanical Gardens and lounged there to read our books in the 28 degree sunshine and generally chill out, before finally heading home having had a wonderful weekend.
So that's us, totally up to date! I'm sure now that we have jobs and new places to explore my blogs will become slightly more frequent again. Shele and Matt have told us we can stay with them for our entire length of stay here which we are very grateful for, so this is our public thanks to them!