After New South Wales we headed to Queensland and spent the rest of our remaining time in Australia there, travelling up along the East coast from Gold Coast to Cairns.
Our first stop was an Airbnb in Gold Coast where we stayed with an extremely chatty Russian woman and her husband. When we arrived in the Gold Coast we hit an unexpected time zone change — it turns out that Queensland observes daylight saving time whereas the other states we'd been in had not. Another thing which was quite unexpected was how wide the roads were and how American they seemed.
During our first day in Gold Coast we did a bit of shopping to find a new bikini for me (travelling has changed my body shape rather a lot so neither of my bikinis fitted anymore!) and then drove to Broad Beach to have a look at the rather bizarre set up of having high rise buildings right next to the beach. We ended up wandering up and down the beach and then leaving pretty early as the thing we found most fascinating was that the council offered free parking (we have spent so much time on beaches in our trip that they have to be pretty spectacular to hold our interest!).
We still had energy in us so we decided to visit a nature reserve called Coombabah which had been recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts. As soon as Josh drove through the gates which warned us that they'd be shutting in one hour, our jaws fell. Either side of the long driveway were fields full of kangaroos just roaming wild, as the sun began to set they became much more active and were hopping around everywhere! It was the most incredible sight. We then spotted a pathway called 'koala trail', we'd already been warned that koalas are super hard to spot and we were aware of the little time we had due to the gates shutting so weren't hopeful. Although, just as we were about to give up hope and turn around… I spotted a koala high up in the tree! It was super lazy but super cute. Josh took as many photos of the wildlife as he could before we had to head back (don't worry he did keep a mindful distance, unlike some of the other tourists we saw who were scaring the poor kangaroos).
The next day we drove to Springbrook National Park where we saw a HUGE waterfall, from the top you could see a rainbow forming just infront of it.
We walked through the rainforest to get to the bottom, the rainforest was super humid which made the walk feel a lot longer than it really was but it was so worth it when we got to the bottom. The views were absolutely stunning, unfortunately we hadn't taken our swimming costumes so couldn't get in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
After what seemed like a very long walk back we treated ourselves to milkshake and cake at the cafe in the carpark after having yet another car picnic. Once we were sufficiently full on sweet treats we then drove to two other view points — the first had trees framing a view of high rise buildings, the second had an expansive panoramic view.
The next day included a second visit to Coombabah nature reserve so that we had more time to spot koalas and take photos of them. We managed to spot two koalas, with Josh's spotted one being more photogenic than mine!
After we'd done a long walk in the heat and had another car picnic we made our way to Sunshine Coast.
Unfortunately for us, Sunshine Coast was one of the worst stops on our Australia trip. It wasn't because of the place itself, but because of the Airbnb that we stayed in which was pretty dirty and had a very awkward feeling about it due to there being two men seemingly taking the affection of our female host. Our host also had a different name to the one that she advertised her listing through… Weird. Whilst we were at Sunshine Coast we mainly spent our time on the beach sunbathing and reading, unfortunately we couldn't swim as there were a LOT of jellyfish there. Then when we were in the Airbnb we either spent our time occupying the host's small child or watching Netflix.
We were kind of glad when our stay in Sunshine Coast came to an end! We then drove up to Hervey Bay, via Noosa which we'd seen as a place to visit but had no Airbnbs in our price range left. It turns out Noosa has a pretty beach, cool shops but nothing else that really interested us during our two hour stay.
When we arrived at Hervey Bay we entered a spotlessly clean, large and beautifully modern house. The Airbnb was run by an 18 year old in her parents house, her parents were super lovely and spent the evenings sitting with us on the patio by the pool chatting. During our time in Hervey Bay we visited another botanical garden (we seem to be visiting nearly as many botanical gardens as beaches!) where we saw lots of turtles in the lake and swam in the host's swimming pool which had a weirdly spongey bottom.
Our last stop in the Souther part of Queensland was Rockhampton where we stayed with an old lady we affectionately nicknamed Maggs, and her dog. Rockhampton didn't really have much appeal for us so we didn't visit too many places, although of course we visited a botanical garden and a shopping centre! We also both finally got our hair cut (Josh's second of the trip and my first), I think they were pretty appalled at the state of our hair! But oh well. It was also in Rockhampton that we visited an amazing restaurant called Max Brenner that specialises in chocolate dishes — we had a chocolate pizza which was absolutely divine.
Overall, our impression of the Southern part of Queensland was pretty good. The weather was nice, the scenery was pretty epic and we met a lot of lovely people through using Airbnb. The national parks and nature reserves were definitely my favourite parts, there was so much nature that we've never seen before and I felt very lucky to be able to see them all in person.