In October, our travel specialist Natalie set off on a trip to Australia, exploring Queensland and the Gold Coast. This incredible trip was full of amazing nature experiences, unique activities and spectacular Australian hospitality. Have a read below to find out about her time there.
Brisbane, Gold Coast Surfer's Paradise, Currumbin, Coolangatta, Lamington National Park, Mooloolaba, Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Glass House Mountains, Brisbane.
Spectacular Wildlife Experiences
On my first full day in Australia, we took part in an incredible Whale Watching Cruise in the Gold Coast. This tour did not disappoint as we saw a pair of humpback whales majestically breach. As it was a small group tour, it was an imitate experience and this added to the excitement of seeing the whales.
For over 70 years, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has been helping converse native wildlife and nurturing local indigenous heritage. It is home to numerous animal encounters, exhibitions and even a wildlife hospital. I loved the visit here, we fed kangaroos, saw emus and I was lucky enough to be able to hold a cute koala, as the wellbeing of the Koala’s is the most important factor for the sanctuary, the meet and greets are at the discretion of handlers.
Arguably one of the most famous attractions in Queensland is Australia Zoo and it certainly lived up to the reputation. To cover the vast area of the zoo we were escorted around in buggies and began to look for the spectacular range of wildlife. From waddling wombats, cuddly Koala’s to tigers, giraffes and so much more. An incredible highlight was visiting the zoo hospital and seeing them nurse the animals back to health.
In Noosa, we travelled to ‘Habitat Noosa’ a 65-acre site located in the National Park and only 5 minutes from the Noosa Everglades, with over 500 metres of beachfront. This is an amazing area, beautiful, interesting and full of wildlife, it is also home to large eastern grey kangaroo population.
Adventures and Panoramic Views
Skypoint observation deck and climb is Australia’s only beach side observation deck; located in the iconic Q1 tower, Australia’s tallest building and the 25th tallest in the world. We found ourselves 270 metres above sea level trying not to look down, but it was spectacular and you could see a 360-degree view of the gold coast, from the incredible golden beaches, stunning city skyline and lush green hinterland.
Stand up Paddle board Yoga or SUP Yoga as it’s known locally was a truly interesting experience. It begins as you try to master the basics of the board on the sand before paddling out to sea. Having never experienced anything quite like this, my aim was to stay dry and I succeeded. This was a rewarding experience, getting back to nature in the water while reflecting on my trip so far.
Taking part on a 4-wheel drive transfer tour was a great way to take in the stunning Gold Coast Hinterland. Embarking on an unbelievable rainforest walk passing pristine waterfalls, I learnt about the ancient trees, the native flora and fauna and even what wildlife to look out for.
Another exciting 4-wheel drive journey was the ‘Great Beach Drive’ in Noosa, this is not to be missed. Beginning in Noosa Heads and ending in Rainbow beach, you travel along the stunning coastline, taking in the magnificent scenery and wildlife, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see the dolphins, manta rays or even whales.
Nature at its Best
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Resort was spectacular. I embarked on a Treetop Walk, the first of its kind in Australia. You get a great birds eye view of the canopy as you walk 16 metres above the ground. There are over 320kms of other walking trails to choose from at O’Reilly’s including the Wishing Tree Track, Micks Tower, Centenary Track. You’ll other find other amazing activities such a bird feeding, Glow Worm experience and the ‘Best of O’Reilly’s’ 4 Wheel Drive tour.
Glasshouse Mountain Eco Lodge was a quirky hotel to stay in, there was various accommodation styles including rooms made from train carriages and a restored church. While staying at the lodge you can sit back and enjoy the wildlife from nocturnal frog spotting to bird watching. The Glasshouse Mountains are over 25 million years old and give this lodge an incredible setting.
The highlight of my trip was snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef; being under the water with the fish and coral was truly spectacular, a real eye opener . As I was beginning to feel confident in the water and explore the reef further I spotted a reef shark, this was incredible albeit scary.
Noosa is home to a number to magnificent beaches, including the wonderful Noosa Main beach, close to Hastings street which is full of boutique shops and restaurants. Main beach is great for surfing if you are a beginner as it has gentle waves.
An idyllic destination close to the Great Barrier Reef is the amazing Hamilton island. I loved it here from the minute I stepped off the plane. Part of the stunning Whitsundays, you’ll find striking white beaches and intriguing coral and marine life, not to mention wallabies that I spotted when I was watching the beautiful sunrise on the beach.
Best known for its incredible coloured sands, Rainbow Beach is a joy to visit. Located close to Fraser Island, Noosa and Brisbane and part of the ‘Great Beach Drive’ this scenic beach is a must visit when in Queensland.
Want to plan your own adventure in Australia? Have a look at our Australia guide or contact our experts today on 0161 888 5632.