Travel Designer Mike tells us about his third trip to Queensland, Australia where he explored the diverse countryside, tried his hand at stand up paddle boarding and saw dolphins in the wild.
As you arrive in the Gold Coast you’re met by an irresistibly laid back atmosphere. It’s this atmosphere along with the huge array of activities on offer that draws me back to Queensland time after time. I love this diverse state; I feel there is always so much to see and do.
The moment we arrived we were taken to Paradise Jet Boating Adventures, an experience perfect for adrenaline junkies like myself! The ride lasted around an hour and was full of high-speed spins and sudden twists that leave you soaking wet. Once we‘d dried off, we headed to O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat in the sub-tropical rainforest of Lamington National Park. This hotel I can only describe as a nature lovers’ Eden. Famous for its Tree Top Walk, you can get up close to the rainforest canopy and be surrounded by wildlife while enjoying incredible views.
The next morning another adrenaline-fuelled experience awaited us: jet skiing in the beautiful Pumicestone Passage. This is definitely a must-do for watersports fans. With really friendly instructors the 40-minute session flew by and before we knew it we were on our way to Noosa to have a go at stand up paddle boarding.
Paddle boarding was a new experience for me. I’ve surfed a couple of times before, but found the paddle boarding much harder as you have to keep your balance while putting all the momentum to one side to paddle. Whilst I was the first to end up in the water, I certainly wasn’t alone! As we were paddling in the late afternoon, we got to enjoy the sunset as we glided across the water.
The next morning we woke early, packed our bags and worked our way to Fraser Island for a day tour that was soon to become the favourite part of my trip. We took the first ferry of the day to maximise our time there, and it’s a good job we did as the island is packed with areas to explore. We started our tour by taking in the main sights of the island like Lake Mckenzie, Eli Creek and the Maheno shipwreck. Our guide also laid on a surprise for us by organising a scenic flight over the island – absolutely amazing!
As a massive wildlife fan, Fraser Island whale watch tour was by far my highlight. We got to see several Humpback whales breaching and a mother and calf doing this simultaneously. I’d done whale watching before in New Zealand but this tour exceeded my expectations due to all the marine life we saw. For me, the dolphin experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity, which I feel very privileged to have done.
We did so much in our short trip, but if I could give one tip to someone visiting it would be to take your time travelling as there’s a great many things to see and do along the coast. On this trip I only visited the lower third of the state but, having travelled to other parts before, it really is the perfect destination with great scenery, beaches and activities on offer – whatever your age. I can’t wait to go back!