We flew out of Melbourne early on Wednesday morning, just as the sun came out after two days of steady drizzle! Darn. Flying internally within Australia is slightly freaky because THEY DO NOT CHECK IDs. Not even once! We kept offering up our passports for inspection but no-one wanted them. We literally could have given our tickets to someone off the streets and they could have flown under our names. Unnerving!
Our brief stop in Brisbane was mainly so that we could see our lovely friend Y, with whom we both used to work 12 years ago. We hadn’t seen her since our wedding, but it was flipping wonderful to see her and have lunch before a quick trip around the Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Art Gallery!
Bundaberg, four hours north, is a nice enough little town. Three nights there was a big proportion of our trip but we were there primarily to do a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Whilst we are not scuba divers, we quite like snorkeling once we (I) get the hang of breathing and stop hyperventilating. And given the rate in which mankind is trashing the planet, we felt like we had to take this chance to see the reef before it changed beyond recognition. So our plan was to spend one day mooching round Bundaberg, one day on the boat trip and then, after doing parkrun Bundaberg we’d drive back south to the Sunshine Coast for the weekend.
Our plan was thwarted. The night before our boat trip, we got an email that it had been cancelled due to bad weather. I’m grateful that the company put safety before profit, and so we switched our plans round to do the boat trip on the Saturday instead. This meant two days mooching round Bundaberg and missing parkrun but we really needed to see the reef. Our two days in Bundy were relaxing and fun – we did a lot of walking along the pretty coastal trails, we tasted the world-famous locally-made ginger beer, we went kangaroo hunting (with cameras), I ran 9 solid, if uneventful, miles round the town and we went to the gorgeous Woodgate Beach.
On Saturday we got to do the boat trip – it turns out we were lucky, it was the first day they’d been out for a week due to bad weather. The 2-hour trip out and back was rough (proud of my iron stomach!) but once we got there it was great. A wonderful little coral island in a protected reef.
First up, we snorkeled. I’ve snorkeled before but I’m very nervous in the water. As the waves buffeted me around, it honestly took all my courage to keep putting my head in the water and to stop hyperventilating and breathe slowly. I nearly gave up a few times. However on the plane to Australia, I made some goals for the trip and one was simply ‘Be Brave’ so I kept trying. After a while, I found myself floating around as fish swam around me and it was magical. I actually found holding my nose was really helpful even though I clearly didn’t need to. Anyway, I loved snorkeling and can’t wait to do it again in Hawaii.
After that, we took a glass bottomed boat to the island…we saw sea-turtles swimming round below us. The island itself was beautiful, like something out of a fairy tale. The beach was made of coral sand, with different corals lying about. The whole thing was gorgeous. This was one of the things we were most looking forward to, a real investment, and it was worth it 100%.
The final day in Queensland was spent in Caloundra, a tourist town about an hour from Brisbane. It was overcast so we lazed around – went to church, explored the market and walked up the coast path to Dicky Beach so I could get a photo for my dad (Dicky).
A quick note on runners here in Oz…they are all so fast! Seriously! We saw runners of all speeds at parkrun last weekend but those that I see running in an evening or a morning? Super-fast, super-strong, looking super awesome. They also tend to be super-handsome!
Today, Monday, we’re whizzing down to Brisbane and getting a plane to Sydney. But that’s another story!