Two Canadians and an Australian get in a car and drive up the east coast of the northern state of Queensland, Australia. Take the trip of a lifetime with me from the theme parks of the Gold Coast to the Great Barrier Reef.
All of my summers, we spent staying with my Dad on the Gold Coast in Queensland so this place feels like home. The Gold Coast is a coastal city located in the South East of the state of Queensland, Australia. The city is 94km south of the state capital Brisbane. This is where we started our road trip and headed to my favourite of the famous theme parks, Dreamworld. The first photo below was the ride that scared me the most for a good portion of my teenage life.
The other place on the Gold Coast that brings the tourists in by the thousands is Surfers Paradise. With a gorgeous beach, great restaurants, and happening nightlife this is the place to be. Cavill Ave is at the heart of the action with buskers and tourist traps like Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Driving around 370km north, we stopped at Hervey Bay, a very popular spot for taking whale watching cruises and as a jump off spot for Fraser Island. This world heritage listed sand island is the biggest in the world and is home to a lot of wonderful uniquely Australian wildlife. This island has everything from sandy beaches and fresh-water lakes to rain forests, sand blows, and coloured sand cliffs. The best way to see the island is by 4wd, other vehicles aren’t allowed on the island as they will get stuck in the sand. You can either hire one on the main land and go over on a car ferry, which is popular with families who go over and camp for a week or so or you can pay to do a one- or two-day tour with a company. We found out the hard way that walking on the island isn’t the best means of transport. We went over on the car ferry and from looking at the maps, thought it would be an alright hike to the nearest lake, have a swim then walk back. After walking for 10kms to Central Station, the closest thing to where the ferry dropped us, we would have had to turn around 10 minutes after arriving so as to make it back to the ferry. Instead we used a bush telephone (Mobile Phones don’t work on the island) and got a hold of the island taxi (a 4wd) and we got a lift back to the ferry. It made for a great story to tell everyone and the hike was still very enjoyable.
The next day, we drove 875km north to Airlie Beach. This is a very popular spot with young travelers, backpackers, and families. The boys from Canada noticed the sharp temperature increase from driving that far north and we spent a few days there relaxing by the pool (there aren’t any good beaches near Airlie) and one amazing day out on a boat, which took us to a pontoon to explore another of Australia’s world heritage listed sites, the Great Barrier Reef. The pontoon had an underwater viewing deck to be able to see the fish and coral, a submerged capsule with a guide talking about what we were seeing, but the best part of all was snorkeling at the reef. We spent over an hour taking in all of the wonderful colours and getting so close to fish you could touch them.