East Coast of Australia: Sunshine Coast & Fraser Island

Our adventures in South Queensland began in Brisbane. We considered driving down the coast from Cairns but made a last minute decision to fly when we came across a cheap flight on skyscanner for $50 each.

We arrived into Brisbane airport quite late and there were no local buses running so caught a taxi to our Air BnB, which worked out to be pretty expensive. If we had known, we would have downloaded Uber beforehand and booked a taxi via them which would have been much cheaper. We stayed in Nundah, just outside the city centre which was the perfect location for us as we were leaving Brisbane early the following morning and meant we avoided the toll fees after picking up the car.

During previous searches for rental cars we have found that picking up from a location other than the city centre seems to work out cheaper and in some cases picking up from an airport has worked out the cheapest. We originally reserved a car through Hertz but on our way to collect the car we passed Brisbane Bargain Rent-a-Car, who we actually ended up hiring from. The car was an older style, with a fair few miles on the clock but it was bigger than the car we had originally reserved.

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The car we hired from Brisbane Bargain Rent-a-Car

I have always wanted a white car and it was a manual!! I’m not a fan of driving automatics so this was a massive bonus! The total price ended up being much cheaper, included 1 additional driver and had an excess of AUS$250. Hiring from local car rental companies is definitely something we will consider for the future.

After we had our transport sorted we were on the road. Here’s what we got up to in Southern Queensland:

Beerburrum National Park: Glass House Mountains

The Glass House Mountains are just off the Bruce Highway, within the Beerburrum National Park. The national park is really fun to drive through. The roads are long, windy and lined with ridiculously tall, straight trees.

The Glass House Mountains, named by explorer Captain Cook, are a series of eleven intrusive volcanic plugs which were formed over 25 million years ago. Due to erosion the land surrounding them is really flat, which makes for some pretty impressive views. We stopped off at the Lookout Cafe for lunch and had excellent views out to the volcanic mountains, with Mount Beerwah (the highest at 555m) and Mount Coonowrin in the distance.

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View from the Lookout Cafe

We also visited the Glass House Mountains lookout point. There are two view points here offering extensive views over the national park where you can view the numberous volcanic hills.

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View from the Glasshouse Mountains lookout point

There is also a Lookout Circuit walk through the forest which we did, although it didn’t offer any views it was an opportunity to spot more wildlife.

Sunshine Coast: Peregian Beach & Noosa

We spent 3 nights in Peregian Beach in a great Air BnB which had a pool and BBQ facilities. As we had a car this area was perfect because it’s not far from popular Noosa, but with plenty of beautiful beaches around which are practically empty. I actually preferred the beaches around this part of the Sunshine Coast to the beaches in Noosa Heads, which were always so busy.

Coastal walk from Sunshine Beach to Noosa

There are so many stunning beaches along the Sunshine Coast and the coastal walk from Sunshine Beach to Noosa meant we got to see some of the best ones! There was a small amount of free parking near Sunshine Beach but the beach doesn’t get very busy so it was easy to find a space.

From Sunshine Beach we passed through Sunrise Beach.

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Sunshine Beach – the beginning of our walk

The waves were so wild. We stopped to watch a few surfers attempt to stay up on their boards, whilst others were knocked off by the force of the waves. After learning to surf in Bali, I can now appreciate how hard it is!

We also passed some doughnut shaped jelly fish and a massive crab digging himself a hole. We waited ages for him to make a full appearance but he was too shy!

Sunrise beach came to an end and we joined the walking trail, following it up the cliff side to Devil’s Kitchen lookout.

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Walking along the cliff path

We continued along Alexandria Bay headland to Hell’s Gates. The views out to sea were insane. We climbed over some rocks to get closer to the sea. The huge waves came crashing against the rocks, soaking us. It was so refreshing!

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Sam, just before the giant wave hit him!

Following the coastal path around, there are two very easy to miss ‘Fairy Pools’. We were searching for them for ages until we noticed a small warning sign, near Picnic Cove: ‘unfenced cliffs’. It’s just after this sign a small path takes you down to them. As we made our way down we could see the first pool, but it wasn’t until we climbed around it that we were able to see the other hidden behind it.

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The secret fairy pools providing protection from the sea

From the fairy pools we walked on to Dolphin Point, where it’s possible to see dolphins and at the right time of year, whales too!

We eventually ended up in Noosa Heads, via Noosa national park. As we were walking through the park we spotted a koala bear sleeping high above us in the trees. It was amazing! It’s always so much more exciting when you see animals in their natural habitat.

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The cutest sleeping Koala bear in Noosa national park

There is a yummy ice cream parlour in Noosa and we treated ourselves to two scoops before catching the bus back to Sunshine Beach to collect the car.


Hervey Bay & Fraser Island

Hervey Bay is a small, seaside town and acts as a gateway to Fraser Island. We stayed two nights in an Air BnB in Torquay and spent one day on Fraser Island. It’s not possible to take a car over to Fraser Island because the majority of roads are sand, so a 4×4 is required. We didn’t have a 4×4 so decided to walk.

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The sandy roads on Fraser Island

From River Heads terminal we caught the ferry over to Fraser Island and walked the 3 hours to Lake McKenzie. It was a long walk through forests, but so worth it! As we approached the lake, we could just about make out the beach and water through the trees.

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Our first glimpse of Lake McKenzie

Wow! Get me on that beach.

If we had driven we would have entered the lake by the main car park but because we were following the hiking trails we entered the lake from a different side. I think we were the only ones who had decided to walk that day because the beach was empty.

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The empty beach on Lake McKenzie

We spent an hour chilling out in the sun before heading back to the ferry port. The walk back seemed to take so much longer. We walked the last 3 kilometres along the beach passing old bits of ship and lots of soldier crabs!

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The crabs scurried away as we got close to them, finding holes in the sand and spiralling down into them and out of sight.

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A soldier crab just before he disappeared!

The sun started to set behind some dark grey clouds.

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Sun setting over Fraser Island, before the storm

We reached the port just before torrential rain hit, followed by thunder and lightning. The storm continued for an hour, so we grabbed some overpriced, poor quality food from the only restaurant near the ferry port whilst we waited for the ferry to arrive.

There are lots of other places to visit on Fraser Island, but it was impossible to walks to them in one day. It is possible to do multi-day hikes across the island which is something I would like to do next time.

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