One of the harshest downsides of travelling is that when you’re thousands of miles from home and bad news rolls in, there isn’t a lot you can do – you either go home or crack on with the trip. Such was the dilemma I faced.
Having spent a few weeks on the road and a couple of days in Darwin (because Wednesday flights are cheaper!) I finally headed back to base in Melbourne. It turned out that the day I returned was the same day that my granddad passed away – I can’t explain how hard this hit home, but I instantly made the decision to continue my travels.
Not everyone has such a clear-cut answer, but my decision was based entirely on a few words my granddad had said to me before I first headed halfway across the globe.
“Go out there and don’t come back”
Regardless of what a few witty friends might chime in here, it wasn’t to get rid of me but rather to eventually move and settle somewhere that I could live a better life. That stuck with me, and although I’m now back home in England, the sentiment remains.
I did what any guy would do
A grand total of 2 days later and I was on a flight to Sunshine Coast for a road trip with Sabine & Nicole. The 3 of us cooped up in the back of the spaceship. This was the trip that did the trick, and is one of my highlights from that trip to Australia.
It begins with pick up from a weird little arboretum en route to Noosa. I spent a fair bit of time wandering around taking pictures and getting a bit lost before my lift arrived. Now I’m no expert in how Aussies run their show, but it turns out that this spot in particular doesn’t allow nukes. Fair enough.
I did however, manage to finally capture a few shots of pelicans which had eluded me since I first spotted them in Werribee, but since cameras and water-sports don’t mix too well I missed that opportunity.
Noosa itself is a small place north of Brisbane. It’s clean, peaceful, and has plenty of spots to camp, chill, sunbathe, or otherwise do whatever you like. After parking up we set about finding something edible.
I can’t recall the name of the place we finally decided to eat, but I can remember having a pretty shit hot pasta dish and a glass of red to wash it down. Living the high backpacker life.
Then we get to go shopping. I’ve never known 2 girls that love shopping so much, but even shopping can be a laugh. Fast forward a couple of hours and we spent the rest of the night in a bar enjoying a few drinks and dancing like fools. That’s a pretty good way to take your mind off anything.
Then comes the day at the beach. It’s pretty standard really, you do beachy things, become lobster red and get more drinks. However, in Noosa it’s slightly different in that it’s hella relaxing. It’d be great if I could pinpoint why, but the atmosphere is different to that of say, Bondai or Mindil.
And then things get super-backpacker. Unlike most places in the UK, almost every beach in Australia has showering facilities. Spaceships don’t have showering facilities. 2+2=showers! But it doesn’t stop there.
Spaceships are pretty good at fitting loads of useful stuff into small spaces – they’re not particularly big but you still get some form of cooking facilities,a fridge, beds, and a bunch of seats. So this time we decided to save a bit of money by cooking our own dinner in the spaceship. Not that bad an idea, until we realised that we didn’t have any plates…
Pasta from plastic carrier bags is now officially a thing. A hilarious yet strangely practical thing. Besides, if you can drink wine from a bag, why can’t you eat your dinner from a bag?
Don’t judge me.
That night turned out to be a particularly interesting one. Little did I know at the time, but the British and Irish Lions were playing a three-test series in Australia, and the team were based in Noosa to train – the night I decide to head to a bar for a couple of blondes is the same night of the first test.
The minor issue here is that being the lone English guy supporting the Lions in a bar full of Australians is a tiny bit intimidating – not helped by that fact that we won, albeit 23-21 (still counts).
Waking up on the beach the next day is something that I doubt will ever get old. It’s a great feeling stepping out of the camper a few feet from the sand on a warm, dry day, and the parking situation in Noosa is perfect for pulling it off.
That said, I also encountered one of their weirdest ways to check if people were parking longer than their stay – the parking warden marking tyres with a piece of chalk. The idea being that when the warden returns, if the chalk is still at the top of the tyres the car hasn’t moved and gets ticketed.
Not entirely sure how reliable this is when, as I mentioned before, there are showers around that you could get water from to wash the chalk off – or you could just drive around the car park and either rub the chalk off or have it on the bottom side of the tyre… to each his own.
From here it was time to head to Brisbane, but I’ll share that another day.
The point is, had I not taken my granddad’s initial advice, and stuck by what he told me, I would likely have flown home and missed the whole experience. I definitely made the right decision.