Sunday, 24 February 2013

Noosa, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay

After Rainbow Beach we headed to Noosa, where we spent a romantic Valentines Day at Australia Zoo, set up by Steve Irwin. On the coach on the way there we got to watch re runs of The Crocodile Hunter and realise how crazy he actually was. First stop at the zoo was the elephants, where we got to feed them lunch, and then onto the koalas. Although cute and fluffy, holding one proved to be less pleasant than expected as they actually smell really bad. Later on we watched the main event at the zoo, the crocodile show. It started well, until the trainer dropped the meat he was using to entice the croc to a place where neither of them could reach it - rather an anti climax. The trainer then proceeded to accidentally trip into the crocodile pool, and from there it went downhill. Overall a little disappointed, but still worth a visit. The English weather also seemed to catch up with us here and we had to cancel our plans for the rest of our time in Noosa - not exactly what we were hoping for.

Next up after Noosa was Brisbane, and having been in so many beach towns it was nice to get back into the city. We spent days along the South Bank and visiting the markets, which reminded us of a summers day in London, bar the artificial beach. We were told by some other travellers to go to 'Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar' (the best advice we've got all trip), where we queued for 50 minutes to receive the best chocolate experience of our lives. Not wanting to stop there, in true flashpacker style we decided to hit a French steak restaurant for dinner. Needless to say, neither of us have any money anymore and are back to living on Nutella and toast.

Our chocolate heaven

After Brisbane, our next stop was Surfers Paradise where we were back into the bad weather. However, in true English fashion, we didn't let is stop us and we spent the days at sea world, movie world theme park and a water park and had some of the best (but by far the coldest) days of the trip. It seemed we were the only ones willing to brave the weather and we didn't have to queue for a single ride. We took, what we thought would be, full advantage of the empty park and sat on the front of the biggest rollercoaster. However our greed came back to quite literally slap us in the face, after we had to endure a minute of going through the rain at top rollercoaster speed, leaving our faces stinging and the rest of us soaking wet. Finishing off a top couple of days, we headed out to take advantage of the first good nightlife we've come across since arriving in Oz.

After the rollercoaster in the rain

Proof that we have actually been out at least once this holiday!
When we got to Byron Bay, because of the bad weather there wasn't a great deal to do, but we did spend a strange day at the hippie town of Nimbin. We enjoyed perusing the shops with names like "happy high herbs" and found the posters "politicians are slave driving bloodsucking parasites" and "legalise weed and stop the war" mind boggling, but somewhat amusing. We felt like we'd stepped into the 70's! We also discovered hemp ice cream - who knew that existed?!

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