Thomas & Court’s Van Life Part 2
Taking the East Coast One Dominos at a time
Part 2 of Thomas & Court’s Van Life coming atcha. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1…it was pretty epic. Yes we continued to eat $6.00 value pizzas from Dominos all the way down the East Coast, and yes the clothes continued to get tighhhhhtt.
Once we left the magic of the Whitsundays we made our way down to the Sunshine Coast. Our first stop was Noosa. Noosa was adorable. It’s a mix of luxury, upscale boutiques and restaurants, with a splash of that laidback surf and beach town vibe. Whether you are there looking to eat and shop at the most expensive places, or looking to camp, hike, enjoy the farmers market, laze on the beach and enjoy some beer, this is your place. Noosa is a popular holiday destination with locals and internationals. Hastings street is where you’ll find the boutiques, beach access, cafes, restaurants and basically all the “happening” things. We stayed at a camp site on the water and it was beautiful. Our few days there included cafes, hiking the National Park Coastal Track and feeling the vibes. The Coastal Track at Noosa Heads is a must do if your in this area. There are several secluded beaches in the national park such as Tea Tree Bay, Winch Cove and Granite Bay that are stunning swimming spots. And you can’t miss the spectacular scenery at the Boiling Point and Hells Gates lookout. Noosa really reminded me of a mini Florida vacation, and I couldn’t help but continuously think “my family would love this spot”. Noosa is not to be missed. Sea, sand and sunshine best describe this beautiful beachy town.
We also stopped in a teeny, tiny town called 1770 somewhere along this adventure. We were told they had the cheapest surf lessons in all of Aus….17 bucks in the town of 1770 for a 3 hour surf lesson. Why the heck not? Learn to surf in Aus….check check check! It was pretty exhilarating and I am so so happy we took the risk and did it. That morning it was a bit breezy and chilly and I think Thomas and I were a bit nervous. Thomas said “I don’t know, I don’t really feel like learning to surf today.” I said, “well we are here, lets just try it and if we don’t like it, we get out. After all it’s only 17 bucks to give it a shot.” IT IS INCREDIBLE HOW MUCH FUN WE HAD! Now I know why surfers look so dayum good…it is an insane workout. We had two amazing instructors who run the surf school from their beach house and it was so cool. We spent an hour on the sand, learning the techniques, the basics and the safety and then had two hours to frolick in the waves. I even got up a few times! Thomas’s board was way tooooo small for him. It was hilarious. When the instructor realized, he got him a bigger board and Thomas was up and riding the waves into shore. What an experience!! We were both glowing afterwards…..”wow, that was amazing, I want to do it again.” We also learned from our East coast adventure that in fact everyone is terrified of the sharks, even those that surf every single day, live and breathe it. “We just don’t think about it, because if we do, we can’t focus and just want to get out”…so they say.
Next on our adventure was Fraser Island in the Great Sandy National Park. Thanks to our awesome friend back home, he told us about the site bookme, which ended up saving us $900 dollars each because we got a package deal on two excursions that regularly cost $500 per person, per excursion. Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, stetching over 120 km. It’s length is 120 km and width is 24 kilometers. We opted for a tour with Pippies called Pippies 4X4 Tag Along Tour, where we camped on the island at Cathedrals for 2 nights and explored it for 3 days, getting to drive our own 4X4s. We enjoyed the incredibly clear, blue water at Mackenzie Lake, moisturized ourselves in Tea Tree at the completely natural Tea Tree Lake, soaked up the sun and the panoramic views at Indian Head, floated down Eli creek, visited Champagne pools, saw the SS Maheno Shipwreck, played volleyball, drove 4X4s through and around the all sand island. We drank too much goon, had campfires, sat in silence with our group gazing in awe at the stars, hoping we never crossed the path of a dingo and eating wraps for 3 days. We had an amazing time, and we were so so happy we didn’t skip Fraser Island. It’s not to be missed, and a very authentic way to see Australia.
Our tour brought us back to Rainbow beach where we watched the sunset at Carlo’s Sandblow (I know, funny funny).
You can also experience the beauty of Fraser Island and receive 5% of any booking when you book through East Coast Tours using the code: Cappuccino
We can both agree on the fact that doing the East Coast in our own van, with two overnight excursions in a group was exactly the balance and experience we wanted and needed. We met so many incredible people on our tours and still had the freedom and independence we both love with our van.
Gold Coast, surfers paradise…..mhmhmhm I don’t know what to say about this place. It is cool, think like a mini mini tiny Miami or Vegas. It honestly reminded me of Wasaga beach. It’s known for its lengthy beaches, amazing surf, and their incredible amusement parks. The beach is beautiful, but the place itself, just wasn’t for us. Now that might because we didn’t see everything, so of course this is just our opinion and how we felt for the few days that we were here. However, a few spots were gorgeous. First off, Burleigh heads was STUNNING. Watching the sunset at Burleigh heads with locals all gathering here every night, watching the sun go down with hundreds of surfers catching waves right in front of us, and Surfers Paradise across in the distance was a standout for us. We really, really enjoyed that moment! We also went up to the SkyPoint Observation deck to snag a picture of the iconic Surfers Paradise view, and grabbed some super yummy potato wedges up there. That was beautiful, regardless of the clouds and I am really happy we did it. So, even though it wasn’t our favourite stop along the way, it was still nice, just not somewhere we saw ourselves for more than a few days. We opted against the amusement parks because of our budgets, time and the fact that we do live 30 minutes from Canada’s Wonderland.
Last but not least…..BYRON BAY !! Because how could we miss the famous Byron?
Byron Bay is a place with a beautiful heart and a whole lot of hippy spirit. Located in the far North-Eastern corner of New South Wales, this little town is known for its surfers, instagrammers, constant sunshine, and a super chilled out vibe. I swear, walk around the town barefoot and you fit right in. This was our last stop on our way four week van adventure. We were told to spend a lot of time in Byron, so we changed our plan of originally having 2 nights there to having 4. We ended up getting there when a cold front came through, so it was quite cold and cloudy every single day! This meant we couldn’t really enjoy the days lounging around the beaches or even parks because it was so cold and instead we explored the coffee culture of Byron. And for me, I fancy a good muesli and oh boy did I find some…..as well as incredible smashed avo. I think if Byron had been sunny the week we had been there, the vibes would have been much different, but we still made the most of it. It was not cheap on our bank accounts because our days were spent café hopping, from flat whites to cappuccinos, to espresso martinis and then back to the van for DVDs we rented from the local video store, Dominos and a bottle of wine. Our favourite cafes/ brunch include: Dip (rated number 1 in Byron for good reason), Bay leaf (for the best smashed avo and super relaxed vibes), folk café (super cute café attached to a caravan park, but closed when we went), and Byron Bay Café for the best espresso martinis, hot chocolate and live acoustic music. A trip to Byron would not be complete without a trek up to the most Easternly point of Australia….The Byron Bay or Cape Byron Lighthouse. It was gorgeous. A beautiful, challenging trek up (we went the wrong way originally) and the views are absolutely stunning. 3 km from the town and you reach this magnificent place where you find locals enjoying their morning or evening run, visitors coming for the pictures and backpackers enjoying a case of beer while the sun sets. I must say Byron is a beautiful place with an incredibly artsy, music, gypsy vibe. The shops are stunning (and overpriced), the coffee and café culture to die for, beautiful beaches, the people are a mix of locals and travellers, and you can’t beat live music in the park performed by any random person who decides to stand up and belt it out. The sunset at the main beach had to be one of my favourite parts about being in Byron. My favourite on the East Coast by far. It was magnificent. The sky was literally on fire and we couldn’t have asked for a better ending to our trip. It was a very special moment.
On July 16th we returned back to Melbourne for our next stint of work. Fast forward two months and as I type this to you, we are on the road again…in….you guessed it…A VAN.
VAN LIFE PART 2 WEST COAST VERSION COMING SOON……
& remember to book through East Coast Tours for 5% off any booking using the code: Cappuccino