In March 2014 the temperature was about 29 Degrees Celsius. Flew with Etihad from London Heathrow to Sydney Kingsford Smith. The travel time was 23 hours, with stopover in Abu Dhabi.
Frequent train from the Airport to Sydney Central. Ticket approx. Aus$15.
Booked a Greyhound Coach from Sydney to Brisbane Aus$79. You can hop off at different points along the journey http://www.greyhound.com.au/
During my stay. the Hostel offered a supervised beach walk from Coogee to Bondi, which was approximately 5km. It’s a great chance to meet people and explore.
Hired a car and took a day trip to the Blue Mountains National Park. Definitely worth a visit. Entry is Aus$35. You can take various routes around it, but be prepared to walk a lot and if you get to the Giant Stairway, you have to face some 900 steps!
There is a free bus (number 555) that runs along the main George Street and takes you into the main City Centre and Circular Quay (or alternatively just catch the train for Aus$3.90). From Circular Quay you can catch a number of Ferry boats to other parts of Sydney and explore other beaches.
Views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the Ferry boat, on the way to Manly Beach.
Depending on money and time I think 5/6 days in Sydney is sufficient.
Went into PeterPans Travel (http://www.peterpans.com.au) to book the remaining 2 weeks of the holiday. These are located all over Australia. They booked all our Hostels, coach travel times, Fraser Island trip and Zoo. The staff have often visited most of the locations themselves so know the best places to visit and stay, which was really helpful. Would definitely recommend using them to take the stress out of everything.
The Coach station is located right near Central Station. Got the Greyhound Coach from Sydney to Byron Bay, approx. 13 hour travel time. Byron Bay is a small beach town, with a very relaxed vibe. Probably wouldn’t need more than 2/3 days here.
Stayed at Nomads Hostel (as chosen by PeterPans) http://nomadsworld.com/ in a 8 bed dorm. Great atmosphere, everyone is very friendly and there is an Aldi right next door! They also organise Hostel nights out, so take you to the main bars/clubs. For its size, there is a large range of places to eat, all roughly about Aus$10 so won’t break the bank.
The beach was one of my favourites, definitely a must to visit.
Greyhound coach from Byron Bay to Surfers Paradise, approx. 2 hours. The hostel offers a free pick up/drop off service to the coach terminal.
Stayed at Surf N Sun Hostel (chosen by Peterpans) http://www.surfnsun-goldcoast.com/. It’s a small hostel consisting of only about 8 rooms. It is a party hostel so joining in the games is all part of the fun. They also organise hostel nights out every night, with entry deals for different clubs. The staff are very friendly and want to get everyone involved.
Surfers Paradise itself has literally everything you need, the famous beach, great selection of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. It’s been referred to as a ‘Mini Miami’ which is definitely a good thing in my opinion.
It was one of my favourite places to visit, wish I had longer than 1 day/1 night to explore. I would say maybe 3/4 nights would be perfect.
Stayed in Bunk Backpackers via Peterpans (http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Bunk-Backpackers/Brisbane/6100) They offer a free pick up/drop off service to and from Roma Street Transit Centre. Just use the free phone located on the food court to connect to the hostel.
The hostel provides free breakfast. Not my favourite hostel, as the rooms were very anti social due to the layout and quite cramped.
The Fortitude Valley train station is located about a 5 minute walk from Bunk.
Brisbane is not the most scenic of places. The city centre has a lot of shops and restaurants, but not much going for it in comparison to other areas of Australia.
Only stayed here as a base for the next part of our trip to Hervey Bay/Fraser Island.
Greyhound from Brisbane to Hervey bay approx 4-5 hours.
Stayed in Flashpackers Hostel, via Peterpans (http://www.flashpackersherveybay.com). They have free wifi and free breakfast. Offer a free pick up/drop off service to and from the coach terminal. Very small, but new hostel and there were still some finishing touches to be made to a few rooms. Everything was very clean and staff very helpful. Mainly used for backpackers as a base to venture onto Fraser Island.
In a very quiet area, wouldn’t recommend longer than one night here.
Stayed here for 1 night and was collected in the morning by a bus outside to begin our Fraser Island trip.
Coach takes you to the Ferry which then takes you across on a 45min journey over to Fraser Island.
Fraser Island is the biggest Sand Island and famous for its Dingos.
We were booked on the 2 day, 1 night Cool Dingos Tour http://www.cooldingotour.com/. There is an option to do self drive and hire 4×4’s and camp, but we decided to go for the 4×4 coach with the tour guide, cabin and all inclusive food for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
The tour takes you all across the Island and you have various stops to see all the different natural lakes and forests that have formed over time and take in the sights.
After lunch we then ventured over to the Basin Lake
We were then taken on a walking tour through the forests
Even managed to spot the famous Dingo!
More sceneic views.
As there are no roads on the Island, the beach is used as the highway and run way.
Stop at the Maheno Shipwreck
The Pinncales Coloured Sands
Champagne Pools, you get the chance to go for a swim/dip in these.
Climb to the high view point called Indian Head
The trip continues for those who stay longer, but i found the time sufficient. The tour guide is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable which made the whole trip even more enjoyable.
Would say Fraser Island is a MUST.
Once the trip was over, returned back to Hervey Bay for one night, to then head back to Brisbane. Stayed in the same hostels as mentioned previously.
Brisbane – Part 2
Used as a base to get to Australia Zoo.
We booked Australia Zoo entry and Travel via Peterpans. Get Greyhound from Roma Street Transit Centre, approx 1.5 hour journey.
I would recommend booking a Koala Experience online via Australia Zoo website to guarantee the opportunity to hold one and have your photo taken. It costs Aus$40 which was definitely worth it!
I would say it is one of the BEST Zoos I have ever been too. The keepers know how to put on a show with the animals, the crocs being the favourite of course.
Unlike other zoo’s, you can walk though the Kangaroo enclosure where you are able to touch and feed (if you buy the food sold there) them. Along with being able to touch the Kangaroos, there is also an area where you can also touch the Koalas.
There is an impressive range of animals here and they all seem to be very well looked after, which is always a positive.
Would highly recommened a visit!
Just before the Zoo closes, the Greyhound will pick you up taking you back to the Transit Centre.
This is unfortunately where my trip ends. I would have stayed longer if i could, still so much to see and do.
Flight from Brisbane International Airport. Train from Fortitude Valley straight to the Airport, approx 20 mins and Aus$15.
Etihad Airways, with 2 short stop over’s at Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
Travel time 29hours including stopovers, arrival at London Heathrow Airport.