Australia

We left Hong Kong via Singapore to Australia excited for warm temperatures and ocean-side beaches. The flight into Gold Coast Airport took on a surreal feeling for a few reasons.  One, the weather was incredibly pleasant; two, the South Pacific’s turquoise water enthralled us; and three, the year trip reached a halfway point. Bittersweet for sure!

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Australia is a country with lots of sand, beaches, and beautiful coastlines interconnected by fantastic roads from the south to the north.  RVing seems to be a national pastime, so we joined in on the tradition.  Originally, the plan was to start in Sydney and drive to Cairns, a 2,500-km trip along Australia’s eastern coast.   With our recent marathon “road” trip in India still fresh in our memory, we inserted a 2-week beach stay in Lennox Head before starting our RV trip in Brisbane, rather than Sydney, which saved us close to 1,000 km of driving.

 

Lennox Head

Lennox Head was a bit of an unknown to us. Originally our intention was to stay in Byron Bay for its amazing beaches and surf schools, but we couldn’t find beachfront accommodations and started looking south. Lennox turned out to be a perfect choice. It was a smaller surf town with just enough of what we needed—a grocery store, bottle shop, bookstore, surf shop– and a lot of sand and surf. Our place was on Seven Mile Beach, a quiet beach during the day, popular with surfers and joggers in the mornings and evenings. To us our routine was perfect and lazy: breakfast, swim, school work, lunch, naps, swim, cocktails, dinner. Rinse. Repeat. 😉

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An entire house at our disposal was a breath of fresh air compared to the efficient and compact accommodations we had throughout Asia.   Each day we’d greet the morning surf from our patio with a Vietnamese coffee while kids slept in. By the time our coffees were finished, one or both kids would straggle out to signal the start of breakfast.  Afterwards, our biggest dilemma was deciding to stay at our beach or venture out to surrounding beaches for the day.   The evenings were relaxed, either reading on our patio or taking in a board game before bedtime.  Monopoly was a favourite of the kids. If they had a choice we would be playing every day and night with the roar of waves behind us.

Other times when the evening sky was clear we would all lounge outside staring at the twinkling stars above us.  On one exceptional bright full moon, the evening sky lit up much like you would see during the day, revealing elephants, dragons, planes, puppy dogs, and sail boats in the clouds as they floated by us.

We were very lucky to discover Lennox Head, an amazing beachside community, for our two-week stay.  Looking back, we could have stayed an extra month in lovely Lennox Head.

 

RV

The days spent in Lennox seemed to pass quickly and before we knew it, it was time for our trip north to Brisbane and into our RV home for the next five weeks.  We were all curiously nervous and excited to experience living in a moving shoebox on wheels!

Our home for 5 weeks, travelling from Brisbane to Daintree Rainforest along Australia’s eastern coast.

Just before picking up the RV, we stayed in Surfer’s Paradise, a town outside of Brisbane.  Luckily, our place in Surfer’s provided a spectacular view of the South Pacific to fine tune our itinerary and stock up on anything we might’ve missed. Surfer’s Paradise is a place to visit for a different Australian experience.  Alongside the surf and beaches are tall sky-high condos jammed into a small geographical area fronting an ocean.  To us, Surfer’s Paradise is a larger Niagara Falls filled with tourist shops and restaurants along a boardwalk. After a short stay we were ready to pick-up the RV.

Big and busy Surfer’s Paradise, a contrast to our time in laid back Lennox Head.

The RV had just enough room for the four of us!  We kept our food supply in the galley kitchen.  Sleeping was smartly arranged,  with kids up top and us in a fold-out below. Luggage, not that we had much, was stored away in clever storage nooks. It took a little work to figure out the optimal spot for our belongings but managed well with three rules:

  1. when preparing meals, everyone not helping, out of the RV
  2. everything had to be put away after use, right away
  3. most importantly, no tracking sand inside

 

In addition to ourselves and our luggage we added two boogie boards from Byron Bay, several accumulated water toys from Lennox Head, and four fold-out beach chairs from Brisbane into the RV!  We were packed and ready to go. Ahead of us were golden sunsets and sparkling oceans of the Sunshine Coast.

At the start of our RV trip we didn’t pre-book RV parks ahead of time and gambled to go with the flow and choose places exclusively along the ocean based on our migration from south to north.  The gamble paid off with us staying at some of the finest beaches in the world.

And so we did with an initial stop in Mooloolaba, just outside of Brisbane, to see one of many amazing sunsets on our five week RV trip.

Mooloolaba

The RV was geared up with fresh food and cold drinks before entering Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park.

We were assigned a spot behind the beach separated by a wooden fence.  Unpacking for the first time was straightforward, hooking up water and electricity.  After settling down, we promptly got to business, changed into our swim gear and ran into the ocean. We were greeted by tropical fish!  Little ones swimming and quickly dispersing by the time we jumped in.  The waves were calm compared to Lennox, but great swimming nonetheless.  We love the feeling of salt water on our skin and, six months in, still get excited for swimming in the ocean. We swam for a couple of hours, then back to the RV to prepare dinner as the evening sky started to settle in after a spectacular sunset.

A no-cooking-in-the-RV-kitchen rule was in place to avoid making a mess of the small space we inhabited. Instead, meal preparation and cleanup was done in the park’s kitchen.  We read most RV parks have some kind of kitchen facility and, from Agatha’s previous Australian trip, were spotlessly clean and readily available for their guests.  So far so good.

That night’s dinner consisted of grilled lamb chops and sweet potatoes – our new Australian staple.  The park’s cooking facilities were spotless. We discovered later most guests cooked in their RV kitchens or had their own portable BBQ grill, as everyone had a much larger RV then ours.  This worked out well for us.

Later in the evening we read while kids caught up on their homework.  At bedtime the RV transformed into sleeping mode.   Perched above the front of the RV, kids rolled out their upper bed, assembled their sheets and enjoyed quite time in their “sleeping cave”. Our sleeping area was a traditional foldout murphy bed. The only catch was our bed occupied the entire dining area and, once down, wasn’t going back up until breakfast.  Kids seemed eager to get to bed quickly after a full day of driving, sun, and swimming.  We sat outside enjoying the evening with sound of waves crashing intermixed with questions peppered at us from inside. After a couple of hours the questions died down and we were ready for bed too!

Lounging at the beach, schoolwork, afternoon trips into town, or visits to the aquarium, made it difficult to leave this great seaside town.  The adventures ahead put us back on the road again to our next destination.

 

Noosa

Noosa North Shore was much more rustic than the stay in Mooloolaba. To get there, you exit the highway bypassing the town of Noosa Head, travel along a local road before a ferry crossing to a remote area far away from gas stations, stores or homes.  Noosa North Shore Beachfront Campground sits in front of a deserted beach and is marvellous in every way, completely opposite of Mooloolaba’s ample urban amenities. After selecting the park from our Aussie RV guide, we looked at each other and agreed no turning back.  We traded the park’s lack of a camp kitchen for its remote wildness.  Sticking to our rule of avoiding our RV’s stovetop, we experimented with microwave cooking. Kids didn’t mind, however, and loved their microwaved meat pie dinners – beef, chicken, and turkey – every night!  Our fresh salads became a hit too.

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The campsite is rustic on unspoilt land with tea trees and eucalyptus forests separating camp sites around the park. Every time we walked the stone paths, it felt like a day at the spa. The smell of eucalyptus and tea tree in the mornings and evenings was amazing!

In Noosa we saw our first wild kangaroos—mama and baby. It was around dusk when kangaroos ventured out to our site for the first time. We immediately grabbed our cameras to capture the moments with photos and videos. By day two and three they became regular visitors, sometimes coming in pairs, other times in larger groups to feed on the grass. By that time, we had our share of photos and simply enjoyed their presence as they grazed around us.

Staying at Noosa North Shore, as opposed in Noosa Head’s popular town centre, offered serene and unadulterated beauty of the Pacific Ocean—pure bliss for those wanting to see unspoilt Australia.  On the other hand, you’re remote. Incredibly remote where no one patrols the beach other than unmanned rescue stations in the event a helicopter rescue is requested.  We’ve been to incredibly beautiful and remote areas before and handled ourselves appropriately. Nothing prepared us, however, for what happened next when a valuable lesson on ocean safety was learned.

The kids finished their homework early that afternoon, sunscreen was applied, swimsuits on, and with boogey boards in hand, we all leapt into the ocean for a swim.  We’ve done this a hundred times before, jumping into the surf and letting the waves carry us back to shore.  Nothing was unusual. We don’t remember which wave took us out when all of a sudden we weren’t moving toward shore anymore and around us the sea bubbled a diluted milky colour.  A few seconds earlier our feet were planted firmly in the sand and now they barely touched ground while water lapped above our necks. With each swim stroke forward we were pushed back with equal vigour by unrelenting waves.  The ocean waves had their own idea.  The waves teamed up with its undercurrent mate to pull us further out, which at this point our legs no longer touched sandy ground.  No further proof needed, we were in an ocean riptide – in a remote area with no patrols – and if we needed a rescue no one was on our beach to press the rescue button.

The beach in Noosa was deserted and went on forever.

Being in a riptide, without knowing it, feels incredibly stupefying—you’re swimming as hard as you can without seeing results. Rather than moving closer to shore you’re slowly pushed out to sea. You don’t show panic, concern, or anything that might alarm your kids. One instance you’re close together and the next you’re 10-metres, 15-metres, 20-metres apart in what seems like a blink of an eye. At one point, Elliot and Vinh were further out into the ocean and in a blink of an eye Chloe and Agatha were further out.

We assumed luck came to us at the right moment since we must’ve caught a diagonal line away from the rip to allow us to reach sandy floor again. Agatha, however, had a harder time as she got pulled furthest out to sea, after Chloe was able to catch the same line back as the boys. After what seemed like forever, Agatha’s feet caught ground on a sandbar and she walked breathlessly back to shore. Thankful to be on terra firma again and not out in the ocean, we all sat together, stunned and shaken.

As soon as we arrived in Australia we set water safety rules, since we’d be spending almost every day for seven weeks by the ocean. Primarily, kids always had to have their boogie boards with them when in water, we always swam in pairs and no child was allowed to go in water deeper than their stomach without an adult.

At dinner we discussed how our afternoon swim taught us an important lesson and avoided a tragic outcome:

  1. the kids had their boogie boards with them to help them float;
  2. we each had one child by us to on;
  3. kids were always in front of us, always closer to shore;
  4. not one of us panicked—this could have been the “ignorance is bliss” without realizing we were in a rip current—that saved us

 

Fraser Island

Back home in Canada when planning our time in Australia, Fraser Island was a top destinations on our list.  Part of the draw is the sand island’s remoteness and raw beauty.  Recognized as the largest sand island in the world, we planned a two night, three day expedition on the island.

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There are many tour operators from fully organized trips on super-sized 4×4-tourist buses to camping outfitters offering island packages. We chose a local tour operator to arrange all vehicle permits, camp sites, equipment, barge passes, and 4×4 high clearance truck for our trip to the island.

Part of the package was to sit through a mandatory 2-hour briefing on vehicle safety and sand driving.  The briefing effectively boiled down to two rules: one, drive on the beach only when tides are low; and two, stay within posted speed limits.  There is a local police presence to assist visitors on the island, but unfortunately a large part of their time is spent investigating vehicle accidents.  The majority of accidents occur when trucks go too fast and careen into deep washouts.  Washouts are made from creek water washing out to the ocean creating wide and sometime deep sand cliffs.  At high speeds, it’s difficult to judge washout depths from afar.

Supposedly the island has been the driest in two years, making for a very memorable (difficult) driving experience for first-timers like us. In Canada, the closes comparison is driving through two to three feet of fresh snow without slowing down.  We didn’t expect how intense interior sand roads could be. At times, we’d wonder how our truck could continue taking on further abuse, but somehow it did. We were told never to stop or slow down along a sandy road but keep plowing through until you reach a turn or compact sand, otherwise the truck would get stuck in sand. Driving through these conditions was full-on white-knuckle driving from beginning to end.

The first stop was crystal clear Lake McKenzie. The lake is surrounded by pure white silica sand resembling Caribbean-like turquoise sea waters, but with fresh water instead. Chloe has been longing for calm crystal waters since Croatia, so this was her paradise (and ours!)  We wanted to stay longer, but couldn’t afford to go off schedule at our first stop.  If we stayed longer than permitted, high-tide would reclaim 75-miles of beach leaving us stranded until the next morning’s low-tide.  We promptly gathered the kids and readied ourselves for a long and bumpy journey ahead.

The crystal blue waters of Lake McKenzie.

The first half-hour into our trip went relatively smooth, if you didn’t mind being bounced up and down going over sand ditches, until we hit our first knee deep sand patch. We slowed down when we shouldn’t have, all four wheels spinning and going nowhere fast.  Luckily help came quickly.  An Australian couple arrived and the husband, who happened to be a rescue driver, quickly diagnosed the problem as having too much tire pressure. We went from 25psi to 15psi and ready to roll again in minutes.

The sandy road meandered through several old-growth forests and took us longer than our itinerary estimated. Just as we started to second guess our directions, we spotted Eurong– the access point onto the beach–and made the last sprint to our campsite!  At this point, however, we’re not sure what was more stressful: driving through heaps (our new Aussie word!) of sand or racing to our site before high-tide covered the beach. In the end, we made it—just barely—with only a few feet of sand left before entering the camp entrance! So, so, so relieved to get off the beach and into our camp site salt-free!

Day two was much more relaxing. Driving was permitted between 9:30am to 5:30pm before high-tide, a nice stretch to enjoy the beach and plenty of time to our second camp site for the evening. We drove to Indian Head, situated near the top of Fraser, for an afternoon lunch perched above the beach. Indian Head is a picturesque lookout with so many panoramic vantage points of beach and ocean from high above. Next was Eli Creek. The creek was incredibly clear and refreshingly cool with sufficiently strong currents to carry you to the ocean.  After cooling off, we spent a few moments visiting the SS Maheno.  A shipwreck crashed ashore in 1935 that’s presently half beached and now a national Fraser Island landmark. We reached our second campsite to cap off another sun-filled day on Fraser.

Note: Fraser Island has no swimmable ocean beaches. The tides are extremely strong with sharks and stingers patrolling the coast to make the water dangerous.  Yet the raw beauty of the ocean and powdery soft sand makes the island a remarkable place to visit even with these dangers.

On our final day, as we broke camp after breakfast we got a visit from local wildlife: Fraser dingoes.  For a minute we were excited to see wildlife, then quickly realised these were wild animals and shuffled the kids into the truck.  Not a minute later, a second dingo arrived to canvass the stove we had yet to pack.  That was our signal to jump into the truck too! A dingo closely resembles any domestic dog, which disarmed us until one of them yawned and displayed their sharp K9s. We were more fascinated by them than they were of us and, after not finding any food, trotted away to find something more curious to poke around.

Fraser Island, Indian Head – Through the beach was incredibly enticing, it wasn’t swimmable. The tides are extremely strong with sharks and stingers nearby.

After breakfast the plan was to visit two lakes—Lake Wabby and a second visit to Lake McKenzie – before heading back to Kingfisher for our barge back to mainland. Once packed and clear of dingoes, we drove to the trailhead at Lake Wabby. In front of the trailhead was a big sign warning visitors of an aggressive dingo frequenting the area who wasn’t shy to approach visitors.  With our close encounter that morning, it made a 2.5km trek along sand paths and sand dunes quite exhilarating. The day was hot and kids were questioning the existence of this lake quite a few times along the way. After what seemed like hours of endless walking, we finally reached the top crescent and directly below appeared the emerald green waters of Lake Wabby.  Without hesitation we dropped our towels, bag and immediately ran down the dunes to dive into the refreshing cold water.

As an aside, when we visited Vietnam/Thailand/Czech there were many beauty parlours with large aquariums full of tiny fish used for pedicures.  The idea is small fish nibble away dead skin on your feet leaving them smooth and clean.  Well, Lake Wabby was full of these tiny little fish, not only nibbling away at your feet but feasting on your entire body too. It was a banquet for them if you stayed still long enough in the lake.  A little squeamish for the kids, but for us, why not?  By the end of the swim, both our skin and feet felt rejuvenated and smooth!  We said goodbye to the gorgeous beach and drove inland for our second visit to Lake McKenzie.

Fraser Island, Lake Wabby – The very hot hike up the sand dunes back from Lake Wabby.

Driving across the interior felt a little better this time. We cruised over to Lake McKenzie in record time.  After spending the afternoon swimming, we gave ourselves ample time to cross the island to KingFisher Bay for an 8:30pm barge departure. The final ascent to the park’s exit onto firm asphalt felt incredibly satisfying and wonderful, not only because we came out with only little bumps, but accomplished something we would’ve never had the opportunity to in Canada. As we drove off the sand grate and switched gears to 2×4 driving feeling like champs, we heard a “whoomph, whoomph, whoomph” sound coming from the rear right side— noooooo, it was a flat tire just as we cleared the threshold!!!

A final memory and parting gift from Fraser Island’s wilderness– a flat tire we were sure to remember .  We took this all in stride and had a good laugh over dinner while waiting for our barge back home to the RV.

 

Whitsundays

Next stop on Australia’s sunshine coast was sailing the magical Whitsundays, 70 islands located along the Great Barrier Reef. We booked a two night, three day package on the Prima, comfortably accommodating 12 people on a 47 foot yacht. We had a great group on board: two couples from London (one on their honeymoon); a couple from Brazil, and two ladies from Sweden. Chloe and Elliot were the only kids on board and provided the entertainment for all.

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Clear blue skies were the back drop when we boarded the yacht. The weather was warm with a slight sea breeze coming off the ocean as we set off on our weekend sailing adventure. Not two hours later, the weather drastically changed. Grey clouds and wind rolled in and, after dinner, the sky opened up and rain barreled downed on us.  The rain didn’t let up until our third (and final) day, an eerie reminiscence of the monsoon rains of Thailand. Even with inclement weather, everyone had a wonderful time.

Stinger suits were a must for stinger season, from October to May, as contact from a box jellyfish could be lethal if untreated immediately. Even with our suits on, we had a great time swimming in the sandy coves of Whitehaven beach—considered one of top beaches in the world. The powdery white sand hugs the coastline as turquoise water laps its shore.  The sand is world-renowned for its silica (aka white and fine like flour!) purity that NASA’s Hubble glass telescope was made from it.  Our afternoon spent swimming along the shore alongside mantra rays and lemon sharks made for a memorable visit.

Each snorkelling stop had incredible diversity of fauna and marine life and, once underwater, it didn’t matter if rain was coming down from above. At one location we were immediately surrounded by hundreds of small tropical fish, colourful Maori Wrasse (1-2 metres in length) and Batfish.  The kids got the OK to feed the fish and had an up-close-and-personal experience with these massive fish.  Another time, we saw several White Bellied Fish Eagles flying above us and a few swooped in to grab food from our skipper.  The skipper asked if the kids wanted to try feeding, however, both kids graciously declined.

Whitsundays – Our sexy outfits are stinger suits to protects us from the deadly box jellyfish.

On our final day, the sun came out again and warmed everyone that morning.  The weather cooperated and our skipper opened up all sails to make a picture perfect sail back to port.  By that time, everyone on board made new friends and learned a little more about each other.  We exchanged emails with a couple from London on their honeymoon.  Coincidentally, they’re expats from Rome working and living in London.  Once they heard about our trip, our new friends provided a detailed itinerary for our upcoming visit to Rome, including hidden restaurants, sights and a list of local foods to try.  Everyone said their goodbyes and continued on their own way.  Ours was up north to tropical Cairns.

Bowen

We spent a few days in Bowen. It was hot and humid and too dangerous to swim in the ocean so we spent most of our time in the pool, waterpark or eating fresh fish by the ocean.

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Agnes Waters

Our stay in Agnes Waters was one of the most relaxing, so much so we extended five additional days at the Agnes Water Beach Caravan Park. We wanted to enjoy every minute, knowing Agnes Waters was the last swimmable beach before the sub-tropics of Cairns. It also happened to be the last surf beach on the coast (a mild surf compared to either Lennox or Noosa). The kids took surf lessons and were told they were naturals by their instructor.

We made friends with a family from Melbourne that was travelling along the coast of Australia for six months. Their daughter quickly made friends with our kids.  They were excited to meet someone else their age.  It was endless days of surfing school, swimming and running around the park together, especially evenings when they played ‘spotlight’ with flashlights. We enjoyed our drinks while kids ran around into the late evening.

 

Mission Beach

Mission Beach was hot! We melted by the time we found a spot at the Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park.  For the first time we second guessed ourselves if we should’ve stayed longer on the more comfortable southern coast. We had our hearts set on visiting Daintree National Park and diving the outer Great Barrier Reef, so up north we continued.

Most of our time in Mission Beach was spent trying to stay cool in the pool, reading in the shade or swimming in the ocean (thankful for stinger nets). The evenings were only slightly cooler and we dreamed of Lennox’s ocean breezes as we melted to sleep.  That evening rain came down preventing windows from being fully open. Instead our only source of breeze was from the small electric fan.  The fan barely dented the wall of heat and humidity to give us any relief.

Just before we arrived to Mission Beach, two Cassowaries ran across the road—mama and baby – surprising us all. There wasn’t time to take a picture as we were both too stunned to see an endangered animal that we narrowly missed. However, by the time we settled into our RV park, we were greeted by other cassowaries that happen to be regular visitors to the camp kitchens.

The endangered Cassowary was a regular visitor to our campsite.

The cassowaries, considered endangered in Australia, resemble a cross between an ostrich and a dinosaur. They’re quite tall, measuring up to 2 meters. However funny they look, they’re extremely dangerous and aren’t to be approached.  When threatened they’ll retaliate with head-butts and rapid pecks from their beaks. One time while preparing lunch in the camp kitchen, one mama cassowary with two babies in tow, charged at us. We quickly hid our lunch in the fridge and backed away slowly. All was eventually fine and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch after the scare and the birds far away from us.

 

Outer Great Barrier Reef

After snorkeling the inner Great Barrier Reef at the Whitsundays we were hooked by the colour and allure of marine life found on the world’s largest living organism.  This is something we would rediscover again on the outer Great Barrier Reef.  We did our research and landed on a company operating exclusively in the outer reefs: Hastings, Saxton and Norman Reefs.  Included in the package was a scuba dive (adults only) and awesome snorkeling.

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The visit was incredible.  The marine life was astounding.  The scuba dive was surreal.  We felt so lucky to see all of this again, especially the inner and outer reefs during our trip.  We knew seeing both reefs would be expensive, conversely we used this as a great learning experience for kids, to exercise financial judgement.  As an aside, the kids accepted our sacrifices and understood why we agreed to cut back on a few luxuries to make both reef trips a reality.  It was certainly well worth the sacrifices as we came away more appreciative of marine life and surrounding impacts of coral bleaching caused by global warming. The kids took away a few important lessons on how interconnected the world has become by seeing impacts of global warming from Asia to Europe and, now in, Australia.

Great Barrier Reef – We visited the outer reefs: Hastings, Saxton and Norman.

Daintree Rainforest

Part of visiting northern Australia were the sparkling turquoise waters of Cape Tribulation and the exotic tropical rainforest of Daintree National park.  Turns out there weren’t many areas to swim. We spotted only two designated swimming holes available to visitors and other creeks were strictly off-limits due to crocodile habitat.  As we were in stinger season, swimming by the ocean was also ruled out.  In addition to stingers, it wasn’t safe to swim in areas where fresh water creeks emptied into oceans, since crocodiles frequent these areas as their entry/exit points from mangroves.

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This was a very hot (and humid) area of Australia. A place we thought we could survive in a non-air conditioned RV.  We didn’t last the three days we reserved for our trip in the northern sub-tropics in PK’s Jungle Village. Choices were limited as many of the RV parks were closed for the season. The name probably should’ve given us a hint how hot it would be, however, being in the oldest rain forest of the world caught our attention.  That evening it rained heavily outside which prevented the windows from being open, creating a hot and humid box. After the initial night, the decision was unanimous.  We resigned and agreed a second evening was something we wouldn’t want to go through again.  We packed up and headed south to Cairns the next day.

Daintree Rainforest

Another reason to come back to Cairns early was to swim one last time in the ocean before our Australian trip ended. We back tracked and stopped at a beautiful Ellis Beach Oceanfront Caravan park for one night with our sole purpose to swim one last time before heading back to the city and away from the magnificent coastline.

 

Cairns

We arrived in the city and checked into the hotel right before another extreme downpour.   All of us felt lucky to be in our cool and dry hotel room while the temperature outside, with humidex, was north of 45 degrees Celsius.   While it rained outside we repacked our travel bags for our flight to Japan the next day.

Just after we left Cairns for Japan, we heard news of tropical Cyclone Debbie barreling over large swaths of the Gold Coast.  The cyclone made landfall at Airlee Beach, the same location we departed recently for the Whitsundays.  The deadly cyclone crossed paths with locations where we visited—Airlee Beach, Whitsundays, Bowen and Cairns – just a few days ago.  We were thankful for missing the storm and saddened for those impacted by Cyclone Debbie’s devastation. From what we’ve read online, each community came through by helping each other out—the Australian way we imagine as we’ve seen this kindness along our travels.

 

Our stay in Australia was incredible…

It’s such a gorgeous country with extraordinary spectacular beaches, beautiful coastlines and incredibly friendly and kind people. Part way through Lennox Head we even looked up how to emigrate to Australia.  We’ll miss Australia for many reasons, but most of all our evening beach strolls, lunging into the waves to embrace the salty cool ocean, and hearing the surf while relaxing in our backyard.  Australians seem to be more relaxed, enjoy life at a slower pace, and are naturally easy-going. Shoes are optional. We plan on returning again to explore the other coast –Western Australia.

We’re welcoming the fresh spring air awaiting us in Japan after a few scorchers from northern Australia.  The drive to the airport was bittersweet, more sweet for anticipation of a new country and bitter at our eight-hour flight out of Australia.  Kids, however, were more excited for airplane food, airplane loot bags, and Elliot’s was stoked to receive, yet another, airplane blanket!

And so we did. We left the summers of Australia for the springs of Japan, destined to see the world’s greatest Cherry Blossom Festival!

Read about Chloe and Elliot’s time in Australia:

Chloë in Australia

Elliot in Australia