Our ride from Airlie Beach to Byron Bay is about 1’400 km including some highlights along the way. But before we start the way south, we follow a tip from the German family we met on the sailing tour: we head up the 2,5 hours drive to Eungella National Park and try to spot a Platypus. This animal is an egg lying mammal and can more or less only be spotted here. We arrive quite late in total darkness and as these creatures are most likely to be seen at dust/dawn, we make sure to get up early the very next day. The next morning is cold and a mystical dust hangs over the blank water. We need to be patient but then we suddenly see them which makes us super happy. They are really one of a kind and super cute!
The next stop is the village Seventeen Seventy (1770), that is suppose to be a nice beach town further south. By the way: the name of the town is based on Captain Cook that landed here for the very first time in Queensland: in 1770. As we arrive too early to check in at the camp site and as not a single cafe or restaurant offers WiFi in this village, we head back to Agnes Water to spend some time at the Discovery Café. Here we meet the waitress Lisa, that give us her best tips to discover the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Her first tip is the Paperbark Forest Boardwalk. It’s just 4 km drive away and even if it’s only a 400 meter walk, it’s so worth it! Beautiful!
As we both are very impressed by whales and that non of us had enough of them yet, we spontaneously decide to do a whale watching tour in Hervey Bay the next day – what means another almost 4 hours drive. To spare us that drive early tomorrow morning, we decide to do it already this afternoon as we are not impressed enough by 1770 to stay here for the night.
We arrive to Hervey Bay just after sunset and the first two campings we stop are already fully booked (Carneval is in town). Third time right, and luckily we have a spot for the night!
As the whale safari starts first at 11 am, we go for a longer morning run, have a nice breakfast and before entering the boat, Lukas take advantage of the 30 min spare-time and get a new haircut!
The first two whales we spot is a mother and her calf. We see them blow a few times and as we are not allowed to bother them for too long, we leave them to search for other ones. What we experience next is absolutely incredible! We spot two adults and a calf and it turns out that they are super curious about our boat. They hang around us for almost an hour, swim just under our boat and come up just next to it several times! As it was very windy the day before the sea is quite rough and unfortunately several passengers don’t enjoy this experience at all 🤮. I’m convinced that my sea bands are making miracles and we both enjoy it tremendously!!! This is without doubt one of the best animal experiences of our life!
Overwhelmed and super happy, we continue our drive south towards our next stop: Noosa. We arrive after sunset with a reception that is already closed but lucky us, this camping is prepared for late arrivals. We get a spot for the night thanks to their late arrival letterbox and that is all that matters.
Noosa is famous for their Nationalpark and this is of course what we discover too. To skip search for a parking spot forever, we walk the 4 km to the park, do the super short Palm Grove Trail, half of the Tanglewood Trail and finish of with the famous Coastal Trail. This one is by far the most popular one. To avoid the most busiest part of the day we decide to stop at one of the nice beaches for picknick, a swim and a sunbath before we continue. It’s understandable that this walk is so popular, the views are stunning!
We continue our drive to explore the second and third tip that we got from Lisa: Mary Cairncross Park is a small piece of land with Rainforest in the middle of nowhere with one of the best views over the Glasshouse Mountains. The park is lovely and it actually makes us feel like we are walking in the „Avatar“ forest.
The views of the mountains are beautiful but we still want to see them closer up and we also would like to do a bit of hiking. We head off to the Wild Horse Mt Lookout where we realise that it’s only a 700 m walk to the top. It’s super windy so we get a few nice photos and head down again.
Our second view point is Mt. Ngungun that is supposed to take 2 hours return. We are at the top in 20 minutes so this will will also not count as a hike but the view is beautiful. It’s unbelievable windy here as well so we hide behind a rock to wait for the sunset. We take a few photos but don’t dare to stand on some of the rocks as the risk is too high to be blown down the steep cliffs.
We head down before it gets totally dark and spend the night at a camping next to the Glasshouse Mountains. Tomorrow the journey will continue: next stop Byron Bay 🏄🏼♂️