North America, Australia and Oceania · 13 Days · 22 Moments · August 2017

Australia 2017

13 September 2017

Took my time leaving Noosa today. Even so, I feel like there’s a lot there that I missed out on. It’s safe to say it’d be best for a follow up trip with more than one night. On the way to Brisbane I stopped at a koala sanctuary. They take koalas who have been hit by cars and nurse them back to health. All proceeds go towards maintaining the park and doing more for injured 🐨. From there it was a frustrating ride into Brisbane to get to my hostel. Per typical it was filled with one way streets and nothing made sense, crossed two bridges that I didn’t mean to, sorta thing.

12 September 2017

Today I decided to wake up and head straight to Bundaberg’s distillery. I went there specifically for it, so missing it wasn’t an option! I took the distillery tour and tried some of their highest regarded rum, a shots worth from a $180 bottle to be precise. It was good, went down smooth. From there I rode 4 hours down to Noosa Heads where I lost my mind on the way. I’ve been riding in silence for so long that it got to me a bit, so I was singing and talking smack about others the whole way there. Probably for the best I ride to Brisbane and turn the bike in tomorrow or Thursday! For now I just want to get some awesome sushi and explore Noosa. It’s beautiful and a shame I’m only spending one night here.
Yesterday didn’t amount to much. I rode for about 5 hours to get to Bundaberg, but I was staying in Bargara, about 20 minutes away. The room was amazing, and I was able to do laundry immediately. What wasn’t so great was the fact I missed the last distillery tour by 30 minutes. Oh, and everything basically closes up by 4-5pm, and I arrived at 2:30. I got a lift in to Bundaberg, had some food and a couple beers, then went back and soaked in my jacuzzi tub for the rest of the night.

10 September 2017

Today was... long. I left Airlie Beach at 9:40am and got into Yeppoon at 4:15pm. I truly only stopped once or twice to stretch. There’s a section where I learned a lesson the hard way. The bike gets ~375km per tank. I figured I would fill up when I’m down to 100 left and make it the rest of the way in. I started looking at 120km left but quickly realized that I was in an area with no towns, hardly any people, and absolutely no gas. The reserve light kicked on at 100km... This carried on for the next hour, and I was traveling at 100km/hr. The whole time my GPS was showing gas stations where nothing more than a large shoulder was. I was about ready to pull over and put on my emergencies and rely on the kindness of others. It’s Australia, so I’m sure someone would have come to my aid, but I really didn’t want to have to go there. I filled up with <40km or about 1/3 gallon left. I’m in Yeppoon for the night before heading to Bundaberg to see the distillery. I plan on taking it easy.

9 September 2017

For dinner I found a local bottle shop that does tapas style food on the warf. Denman Cellars, to be exact. Since I’m on vacation I felt it was fit for a Kwak (yes, I did fine one out here!) and a German Rausch Bier - or German smoke beer. Neither really compliment a steak of kangaroo rump, but I don’t care. Per usual the kwak tastes like amazing Belgian beer - malty, caramel-y, sweet and rich in toffee. The smoke bier is dark yet thin, smoked like a wood fire stove, and smells of charcoal. Quite a delight.
The first stop was to snorkel around some reef. It had better sights and more fish then scuba diving out of cairns! Certainly worth it. The second stop to snorkel was in an area with a ton of fish, including my new friend George. Finally we got out to Whitehaven and explored before getting some scenic shots in. It was beautiful, absolutely the best beach I’ve ever been to. The sand is so fine that when you step on it, air is released in bubbles. Now it’s off to grab some dinner and a beer or two before crashing early. With a 6 hour ride ahead of me tomorrow, I want to be packed and ready to leave by 10am at the latest.

8 September 2017

Today was another long one. The ride took about 3.5hrs, and no matter how comfortable the bike is, it’ll still break your ass and lower back. What will really be fun is the ride from Airlie Beach to Yeppoon in 2 days. That’ll make for 6 hours if I were to do it in a straight shot... Fun fact about Airlie Beach: there is almost no beach at all. In the picture you’ll see *all* of it. However it is a great destination for Whitsundays/Whitehaven Beach - google it, I’ll wait. I’m heading out there tomorrow for a day trip with some snorkeling around coral and local fish. Should make for a good day.

7 September 2017

I picked up the BMW 1200 GS from a local Harley and Suzuki dealership. It wound up being a 2017 model that was optioned out - ABS, heated grips, built in GPS, everything. Before taking off I grabbed a fancy lunch with two friends - Byron and Kelsey. It was a sampler platter of meat with emu sausages, crocodile, kangaroo, a small steak, prawns, and barramundi. It was all pretty good! I wish we had kangaroo back home, it’s a nice alternative. The ride down to Townsville took 5 hours as I had to stop a couple times for caffeine and to stretch. While the bike has 3 boxes on it, I’m still carrying everything in my 30lb pack on my back. Traffic was great, everyone signals. I went out to grab food in Townsville after settling in and it was a bit of a shock. It’s a very sleepy city - by 8:30p it’s dead, and on a Thursday night. I won’t have the time to see Magnetic Island, which sucks, but missing out on Townsville for more than one night is totally OK.

6 September 2017

Today was predominantly spent seeing the Great Barrier Reef. I went out on a $6m catamaran which was awesome. But, one of my diving mates freaked out when 12m deep, forcing us to rapidly ascend which messed up my hearing. Due to this I don’t have any footage from underwater. The idea was to take my go pro on the second dive, which I didn’t do due to my ears killing me. Afterwards I made friends with a bunch of Spaniards and went out to a local bar which is known for being kind of crazy. It wasn’t anything really nuts, but it was a Wednesday night.

5 September 2017

I got into Cairns yesterday around noon and spent the day exploring. There wasn’t enough time to see very much, so I rented a bicycle and road into their botanical gardens and spent most of my evening at the Esplanade. Once I returned to the hostel I started making friends and learned quickly that >50% of the people staying here are American. The majority of those who remain are German. We all had a great time swapping stories and recommending each other on what to see and what to skip. Today I’m going out scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef! Hopefully it’s a good day for it.

4 September 2017

Ended up going to Manly Beach after I finished up lunch and man was it worth it. There’s a trail that hugs the cliff side, eventually revealing the best city scape I’ve ever laid eyes on. I wish I had spent more time here. After walking about 9 miles through this trail I wound up at a microbrewery,4 Pines, which had some great beers. Turns out they’ve been open for about 9 years and now export 4 million liters of beer a year. Now it’s time to pack and get ready to fly up to Carins tomorrow. That’s when the real journey begins 😄 Tap to enlarge the pictures.
Decided I would head to the zoo for the morning. They had some interesting exhibits - multiple aviary sanctuaries you can walk through and others for kangaroos and lemurs. I figured for lunch I would walk back to Lord Nelson’s brewery to see how their food is. I ordered their porter to compliment some chicken curry with yogurt and basmati rice. The porter is decent, with a small astringency on the back of the palate. Most likely from mashing out too long or running the mash out gravity below a 1.020. Notes of hazelnut and and roasted pecans. It’s thin and must have attenuated pretty low. Then I tried a half pint of their “3 sheets” beer, apparently what they’re known for. It’s a light pale ale with floral and citrus hops. In typical fashion the hallertauer hops for bittering come off ever so slightly vegetal, but the citrus nose rounds it out. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m also using this as a way to track beers too in an effort to understand what breweries are doing well.

3 September 2017

Well, Canyoning is out all together. They just opened up for the season and there weren’t enough signups for today to work, plus it’s about 3 hours of travel one-way to actually get there. This is my last full day in Sydney, and I already feel like I’ve seen everything worth while in my immediate vicinity. Yesterday was another long day of walking, covering 10.4mi by foot. I’ll likely take the ferry to Manly beach and explore over there. With a high of 72f and gusts in the afternoon, it’s not the best weather for lounging on a beach but there’s not a whole lot else going on. The friends I’ve made at the hostel are all working till the mid afternoon.
Kangaroo burger and Yak Pacific Ale Kangaroo meat tastes like 50% lamb and 50% (92%) lean beef. Not nearly as game-y as I expected. The beer was mostly unremarkable, but that’s likely a plus for that style. Generally inoffensive.
Bondi Beach. Tap to enlarge
Talked to a travel agent this morning and learned just how far away the blue mountains are - about 1.5-2hrs by car. There is a canyoning group that does pickups in Sydney at the City Center station, I’m going to see if they’re doing one tomorrow (Monday, September 4th). I may have to skip it entirely. Caving is completely out due to the same issue. She also helped me determine some things to see and do while riding down the coast. There’s some cool stuff I’ll get to see soon! For today the plan is to take the train out to Bondi Beach and walk down the coast to Coogee beach, before heading back. It’s supposed to get up to 81f and be sunny, likely the hottest and nicest day while I’m in Sydney.
The rest of the day was spent back at the hostel with many of the guests. One of the guys (Kevin) is leaving after living here for 5 weeks in a 6 bed dorm, so everyone pitched in for a BBQ to send him off. This necessitated cleaning the grill for about 2 hours before it was deemed worthy of use. I walked a total of 31,421 steps and covered 14.8miles, seeing the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Opera House, the Rocks neighborhood, Circular Quay, Hyde Park, Sydney Tower, Barangaroo reserve, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and most of what’s in my immediate vicinity. Naturally, I knocked out at 8:30pm. Today’s plan is up in the air as the main travel agency was closed yesterday, so booking a canyoning trip couldn’t happen. I’ll see what I can sign up for today and tomorrow.

2 September 2017

Walked over to the rocks and spotted Lord Nelson Brewery. Grabbed an, “Old Admiral” which is a dark English bitter. As they call it, “Traditional Dogbolter style. To be taken with great respect.” It’s interesting, not like anything I’ve had before. Thin, light, bitter but with a tiny bit of sweetness. I prefer this place over the last as it’s more welcoming.
I found a local brewery - Redoak - about 1.3mi from the hostel. Figured it was time to try some local beer and food. Honey Ale -> aged saison -> Belgian sour brown -> old porter Surprisingly all great, including the semi sour saison and brown. The honey had great balance which is a-typical, and the Belgian sour brown was surprisingly interesting.
I arrived at the hostel pretty early, about 8:20am. As check-in isn’t till 11:30-12, I decided to take a walk. I ended up walking 7.3miles / 15,800 steps between then and 11:30. I went straight to the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Sydney Opera House as both felt pretty obligatory. I poked my head into St. Mary’s Cathedral afterwards. Now that I’m checked in it’s time to shower and eat lunch, after which I intend to look for a travel agency that will do canyoning and spelunking. As both of these take all day, that’s likely all I will get done before flying up to Cairns on Tuesday morning.

31 August 2017

Let’s see something new

30 August 2017

Itinerary September 2 - 4 = Sydney - canyoning - spelunking - Royal Botanic Gardens - fly to cairns September 5 - 6 = Cairns - Great Barrier Reef - rainforest - pick up motorcycle (BMW 1200 GS) September 7 = Townsville - Townsville Brewery September 8 - 9 = Airlie Beach - relax on Beach - read a book September 10 = Yeppoon - unwind September 11 = Bundaberg - distillery - various breweries September 12 = Noosa - Beach time - Toes Brewery September 13 - 14 = Brisbane - tankride - whatever - Turn in motorcycle - fly to Sydney September 15 - one final night