Brisbane to Cairns

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I expected this trip to be great and it was even better than I expected.

The group

Two days before the trip started Share Bus organised a barbeque to help us get to know each other. We were 4 Germans, 3 French, 2 Spanish and 2 Canadians. Seven girls and two guys. All between 18 and 27 years old. It was a nice group for sure. Before we started the trip we got a guidebook from Share Bus with information and recommendations for hikes, camping grounds and more.

The first days were a little bit chaotic until we understood where everything in the van was, where to put our bags and how to organise things like cooking, setting up the tents and planning where to go next. We had 5 tents but after the first night we decided that we would all fit into 3 tents so we didn’t have to set up so many tents.

In the next 17 days we all became very good friends. We managed to survive long days and nights with heavy rain. Together, we had breakfast in front of the supermarket in the car park, got a lot of mosquito bites, almost drove over some cows standing on the street, we cooked together and brought the trailer to the workshop. Later, we almost missed the ferry to Magnetic Island and actually did miss the ferry from Fraser Island back to the mainland. We went hiking, shopping and partying. Once, we decided not to have a shower just to have more time at the beach. We met a lot of people and just had an amazing time together.

One of the first things I noticed was how nice it is to have the same say in things as everyone else. If you find travel mates on social media it’s not always like that. Especially if they have their own car and you are joining in for a trip.

Our best friends over the next weeks were the guidebook from Share Bus, Wikicamps and Campermate.

Now I want to tell you a little bit about the most beautiful days we had during the trip.

Noosa Heads

One of the most beautiful days was in Noosa Heads. It was perfect weather and we planned to do the coastal track and then drive to the next destination. I had been there before but this time was special. After the first hundred metres of the coastal walk, I spotted my first wild koala sitting in the tree right over our heads. I was already happy about this and didn’t expect anything more from the day. But, it just kept being awesome.

We spent a long time just watching the surfers surfing massive waves towards the rocks, we got completely wet from the waves smashing against the rocks at the Fairy Pools and we watched two dolphins playing behind the surfers during sunset. It was wonderful and none of us wanted to leave. I could have stayed here for many hours, watching the surfers and the colours changing during sunset.

As I had already been on Fraser Island for a week I decided not to join the group to go there again. I brought everyone to the rental company where they hired two 4WD and then I spent the days in Hervey Bay on my own, slept in the back of the car, went to the beach and enjoyed some amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Cape Hillsborough

The next day we wanted to drive 700km to Cape Hillsborough to see the kangaroos at the beach the next morning. That day nothing worked how it should have worked. When we went to do our laundry all the washing machines and dryers in that place were broken. So we put all the dirty and wet clothes back in the van and started driving. After some time driving the lock of the backdoor broke and we needed to tie the door onto the trailer. Later that day the credit card for the petrol broke as well. Finally, at some time in the middle of the night we finished washing all our stuff and and were ready to go. When we got to Cape Hilsborough at 3:30am we took only our sleeping bags, went down to the beach and waited for sunrise.

As the sun slowly made her way over the horizon all the kangaroos and wallabies came down to the beach. It was beautiful.

Airlie Beach and Whitsundays

When we laid down at the lagoon in Airlie Beach I still had no idea how my next days would look like. From Airlie Beach you can go to the Whitsunday Islands. Of course we all wanted to go to Whitehaven Beach. The most famous way to get there is to hop on an overnight sailing tour which is quite expensive and you spend most of your time on the boat. But it is still a great experience.

I wanted to spend as much time as possible at the world-famous Whitehaven Beach. I found a watertaxi which takes you there and you can camp on the beach for only the National Park fee. Luckily Lenni had already booked a sailing tour for May and didn’t want to do the same thing twice. It was almost sunset when Lenni decided to join me for the camping trip. Together, we even decided to go for two nights. I couldn’t have been happier.

Within a couple of minutes, I booked everything: Watertaxi, camping and the hostel for the night in Airlie Beach. It was the most spontaneous trip I have ever done.

A few girls from our group wanted to do skydiving the next morning and had already booked a hostel. After Lenni and I booked it as well, everyone else decided to stay in the hostel with us instead of driving to the next free camp. The hostel had their own open-air bar and dance floor and we all went out dancing together even though we had to wake up at 5:30am the next morning.

The water taxi to Whitehaven

Then it was time for a little adventure. As we arrived at the pier with the local bus the sun made its way over the horizon. The water taxi stopped at a few beaches, dropped some people off and picked other people up and gave us the opportunity to jump out of the boat and have a look around at each stop. At 9am the boat left both of us with all our stuff at a completely empty Whitehaven beach. We set up our tent a metre from the beach in the shadow of the trees.

The beach was white and soft, the water crystal clear and we couldn’t believe this would be our home for the next days. Besides a couple of hours a day when the sailing boats came to the beach, the beach was ours. We felt like we were in heaven. In the morning we went up a little hill behind the beach to watch the sunrise, swimming in this beautiful water, walking along the beach and watching the stars at night.

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What we didn’t want to miss was the famous Hill Inlet Lookout. To get to the Lookout we walked 10km on the beach until we got to the Inlet we needed to pass. We had to almost swim through it because even during low tide it’s very deep. The Lookout was incredible and both of us wished we had more time. However, we knew that the tide would come in soon and we wouldn’t be able to cross the inlet.

Our little adventure was over way too early. There are no words to describe how blessed we felt. When the water taxi picked us up the next day we had no idea how many waves would crash over the little boat and make us completely wet. It was so much fun though and the perfect ending to our little trip.

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island surprised all of us. We expected two days on a boring Island but instead, we had the two of the most amazing, adventurous and funniest days that made us become closer friends than ever before. We all spent the morning chilling in the hostel. Everyone wanted to do something but no one knew what to do. Finally we all jumped in the car and started driving. After cruising around for half an hour without knowing where to go we parked and went on The Forts walk.

Most of us a little bit tipsy, we danced the whole way around and climbed on rocks and ruins to get incredible views over the island. I can only speak for myself when I say I felt like a little kid playing and climbing in the woods. In the evening we played group games in the hostel. Because we were a lot of people we split up in groups. So we played for each other and against each other at the same time. Everyone joined the games and we had a lot of fun. We danced and laughed the whole night. After this night we were closer than ever before.

Wallaman Falls

There are only a few spots between Brisbane and Cairns that I want to go to again someday. Wallaman Falls is one of these spots. We got there one hour before sunset which is far too little time for this waterfall. I really wanted to see the waterfall from the top and from the bottom. To get to the bottom it’s 300metres in height and a 2km walk, which makes the path very steep. We ran down as fast as possible to get to the bottom before it was dark. We and our cameras were completely wet before we even got there. It was breathtaking to stand there and watch the water crashing onto the rocks.

Just before we made our way to Cairns we needed to go to the mechanic to fix the door of the trailer. So we left the trailer at the mechanic and spend some beautiful hours at Mission Beach. The beach is beautiful with a lot of coconut palms. Since I had my first coconut at Cape Hillsborough I had fallen in love with coconuts. We managed to open one of them only by smashing it on a wooden board a few times. It was delicious.

The end

In total, we drove 3143km with the van before we got to Cairns. Share Bus had already booked the first night for us at Dreamtime Travellers Rest. The hostel is one of the most expensive ones in Cairns but after the first night here we all stayed for the rest of the time we were in Cairns.

The trip was over but the journey continued as we all stayed in the hostel. We went out together, shared rooms together for weeks or only a for few days before we had to say goodbye. Some of us even continued traveling together.

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For me personally this was one of the greatest trips I ever had. I met beautiful people and I would do anything to see my friends again. After sharing a much longer time than just the 17 days of the trip and sharing so much more than just the trip it’s hard to say goodbye. I can’t wait for my next trip with Sharebus. See you next time.

Check out more writing from Amy at Tell Me About The Ocean where she writes about her other travelling experiences.

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