The last week of our travels has been an unusual one, and at times ‘meh’ would be the accurate word to sum it up. We left Sydney with plans to travel north, via Byron Bay, Brisbane, Fraser Island, Whitsundays and then Cairns and the Daintree as key stops. Little did we know that a cyclone was about to hit the north coast, causing a fair amount of devastation in its path, particularly in the Whitsundays, where they are still recovering from it’s impact. And further afield, causing floods and weather change as it moved south.
I’ve been on trips before where unexpected natural weather forces cause you to change plans spontaneously, but things are very different with a baby. It naturally makes you more cautious about your decisions, not wanting to end up in dire circumstances you could have avoided with a bit of planning. At one point this week we were considering ditching the hire car and flying from Brisbane to Cairns, avoiding the parts of the coast where damage had occurred, or bad weather was left in the storms wake. And at times it looked like we might not even be able to get as far as Brisbane to do that, as road closures had us manically checking livetraffic.com (the worst organised disaster site ever for planning a trip) to check we would be able to make it to our destination.
As a result of all of this camping was out for a while, due to flooding conditions and our broader rule of not camping for one night only (way too much hassle with a 2 hour put up and put down time), so Air BNB has been our friend. We had one night in Port Macquarie, quite a cool little seaside town, where we staying in the bottom of a beautiful house set in forest near the beach. They were at the organised end of hosts, with a box full of baby toys and a DVD collection that made us want to chill there forever as it rained around us.
We moved from there to one night in Coffs Harbour, where we stayed in another lower floor of a house, this time set in the middle of rainforest, on 2 acres of land, where we could spy wild brush turkeys and other animals from the balcony. We moved on to Byron Bay, where most of our flood planning happened, as we passed towns that were on the brink of being submerged. Byron is a fun town, with lots of bars and cafes, yoga places, and a surfy, hippy vibe. I could have easily stayed there for a week, or longer, but the weather forecast was terrible and we wanted to get to Brisbane before the rain made more roads unpassable.
We were lucky on our journey to Brissy, with a short early morning drive, and at that point we decided to stick with our original plans of driving up north, but without stopping for the Whitsundays, as the area is still a disaster zone, with water being shipped in to help the people there. We stayed in Brisbane for a couple of days, checking out the waterside parks, taking Otis swimming, and generally wandering around the neighbourhoods. If I’m honest, we didn’t feel a real connection to the place, and were happy to move onto Noosa.
Noosa is set on a peninsula, so you have beautiful beaches with brilliant surf breaks on one side, but then river and little bays set through Noosaville, Noosa Heads, and the Eastern Beaches on the other. Alongside the water activities, there’s nice walking to be done through the national park, and we took advantage of the beautiful coast walks while there. We loved Noosa, and would have liked to stay longer, but again the weather forecast meant that it’s made more sense to head North, which is what we’re doing now.
This piece is entitled ‘what did we do this week’, because sometimes on weeks like this it does feel a bit like that. You’re moving on daily, trying to cover miles, and although you make the best of it, it can feel like you’re not really doing much each day. We try to stop at nice cafes (although this alongside the requirement to stop in Air BNB’s and not camp challenges the budget somewhat), and to fit in walks where we can. However, ultimately it’s not activities that wow you, or that you’re likely to remember beyond the end of the trip. Like anything, there are good days and bad days, and you adapt as you need to (although we are beginning to believe that we may be jinxed in terms of the bad weather following us).
Having said that, staying in peoples homes has been interesting, seeing a different side of the country than only being in tent allows for. And Otis has started to crawl this week, a memory that will override everything else. That in no small part has been being able to crawl around on carpet and rugs, and get a bit of traction to spur his new skills on. We’ve had comfy sofa’s and a separate room for Ben and I to have dinner in, or watch a DVD in the evening, something that the thin walls of the tent doesn’t provide. But, we’re back in our tent now, with our beautiful evening views, our new plans for our road trip (onto Boorum National Park next), and our anticipation of the next stage of adventure, so we’re quite happy to leave those comforts behind, for now anyway.