Beerwah is about 15 minutes from the Australia Zoo, so after our creepy night in a run down caravan park we got an early start to go see some crocs! I wasn’t expecting much from our visit to the zoo since most of the times I have been to a zoo I go home disappointed when I realize the most interesting animals are sleeping during the day. Or I can’t see through the cages to get a good picture.
We had planned to only spend a few hours, but ended up spending 5 without even scratching the surface of what they have to offer. We were very impressed with the crocodile show that was performed by the Irwins. I’ve never seen a live show with crocodiles and I was honestly afraid for the people on stage. They could have been taken down at any moment if something went wrong!! Definitely a highlight of the trip.
The other animals were equally impressive because they all seemed so much happier than they do at a lot of zoos. We really got the feeling like the animals are well taken care of and that they enjoy being there. The cages were not chain link, so it was easier to take photos. The habitat of the Red Panda was a wall about waist to chest high and that was it! It seemed the animals would be able to get out if they wanted.
We also saw a cheetah out of its cage with a couple of zoo employees and 2 tourists that were petting it. Another highlight for me was the Roo Heaven where we were able to feed and pet all the kangaroos roaming around.
Our visit to the Sunshine Coast was bittersweet. We were in search of warm water and some waves. We found the warm water, but the surf forecast said no waves would be hitting this area for about 5 days, which was after we had to drop off our camper van to get ready for our flight to Thailand.
Our night in Maroochydore, we spent at Sea Breeze Caravan Park at a site that was practically on the beach. It’s a nice place and we would have stayed longer if we were not in desperate need of some waves. The next morning we drove to Noosa Heads, about 30 minutes north, where we found a posh getaway for people interested in shopping and lavish dinner cruises. In search of surf, and less touristy venues, we set our sights back below the Gold Coast to a little town called Cabarita.
Cabarita, Australia is a laid back, small town on the Tweed Coast. Thankfully, the town has protected wetlands that limit the amount of development and this gives it that small town feel where everybody knows everybody. We found Cabarita to be heaven on earth and a perfect place to spend our last days in Australia. The North Star Holiday Resort that we stayed at was huge and had everything you could possibly need.
We arrived on a Sunday night and went to the neighboring Pottsville in search of some dinner. We found the most unique restaurant and pizza joint called “White Jade”. We ordered a garlic and prawns pizza that was unlike anything we have ever tasted before. The staff was very friendly and there seemed to be a ton of regulars.
The next morning we found Hastings Point in Cabarita and enjoyed an early and uncrowded surf session. Hastings has both a North and a South facing peak, so you get to take your pick depending on what the swell is doing that day. We ate lunch overlooking the water and soaking up the views.
After lunch we explored the Tweed Coast a bit by campervan and ended up getting stuck in a rain storm. We spent the rest of the day waiting out the rain in our camp kitchen, eating and watching Australian Animal Planet. After the rain let up, we headed back to Hastings Point for a quick sunset surf.
We spent the next morning admiring Hastings in and out of the water. A wind swell had come in the night before and caused some pretty junky surf, so it was quite a work out just to paddle out. We really didn’t want to leave this place, but the surf report promised better waves in Broken Head. So we set out for our final night back at Broken Head Holiday Park and were greeted with some chest high fast breaking waves to finish off our trip.
The night brought some torrential rain and a rush in middle of the night to grab our towels and such left to dry. We arose to mud covered boards and a beautiful sunrise over the ocean. On our way out of Byron we sold our boards at the local pawn shop and headed back to Jucy to return our bright green and purple accommodations in the Fortitude Valley part of Brisbane.
Our stay in Brisbane was a short one. After we had dropped off the van, we were just looking to kill some time before the last air tram left for the airport. The air tram stops running at 7:28 pm and doesn’t start up again until after 5 am. Since our flight left before 7 am, we figured we might as well just sleep at the airport since the tram didn’t start early enough and a cab ride would have cost $50 or more.
During our visit to Brisbane, we did stumble upon a street mall with many different restaurants and food shops. It was a Wednesday and most restaurants were having Wednesday night specials that we couldn’t pass up. We ended up at Ric’s Cafe & Bar and were able to share a huge plate of fish, chips and steak for $8.
Now we must say goodbye to Australia, but not before we spend a lovely night in the Brisbane airport!