We Have Lift Off!
After spending a month in Buderim, we have officially taken off for our journey across the continent!
After returning from Rainbow Beach two weeks ago, and getting some much needed rest, our itch for exploring grew bigger. Henrik and I were soon doing last minute errands and adjustments to the car to finally begin our trek with Matilda. We sat down and loosely planned out our next two weeks before taking off on October 16th. We left Buderim with tears in our eyes and excitement in our hearts for the promising adventures ahead.
We headed back north 129 kilometers towards Tin Can Bay. We stayed at a beautiful campground right on The Great Sandy Straight which runs between the mainland and Fraser Island. Though we were eaten alive by midges, we were welcomed by an orange sunset followed by a blanket of stars that enveloped the campground. We stood underneath the Milky Way in appreciation of the Southern Hemisphere’s stars that we’ve never seen before.
The next day we woke up bright and early to head into town where we fed wild dolphins. Barnacles Dolphin Center welcomes visitors to feed wild Australia Humpback Dolphins every morning from a beach next to their marina in Snapper Creek. The Center has 9 dolphins that visit daily for breakfast. Visitors can watch volunteers feed the dolphins or get in the water and partake themselves while learning about them. Of course, we choose to feed them and didn’t regret it one bit. Barnacles Dolphin Center also collects data and studies the habitat of the Australia Humpbacks to provide accurate information to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with teaching tourists through ecotourism.
Afterwards, we traveled east to Rainbow Beach where we camped at Inskip Point for the week. We enjoyed exploring the town along with many of the natural attractions the area has to offer. Carlo’s Bluff welcomed us with hot sun and a gorgeous view of the Rainbow Sands. Though this spot is very popular for sandboarding, we enjoyed the view of the ocean instead. The white sand popped against the crystal blue water and green of the forest surrounding it. It really was magnificent seeing a huge mountain of pure sand stretch from the ocean up over a mountain side, especially since it was the only one in the area.
The beach on Inskip was just as welcoming as long as we got there before noon. Between noon and 2pm, the wind typically picks up in a matter of seconds without any warning. This led to the water temperature feeling warmer than the air temperature even at high noon. Not to mention, the wind constantly pounds the hot sand against your entire body blinding you and making it feel like you have teeny darts enveloping your body. The sand on this beach doesn’t come off with the swipe of your hand either. It’s so fine it feels like you’re walking on flour. Now imagine someone next to you throwing an open bag of flour in the wind so when it hits your skin it covers your entire body. Now try getting that off with your hands or a towel. Jumping in the Pacific definitely helped, but you still had to cross the beach and the sand dunes to get back to the campsite. Of course, you would then be covered in more sand, but it did help. It definitely made us very happy that we invested in a solar shower.
Along with swimming we enjoyed walks on the beach. During one of our walks, Henrik spotted something huge and dark in the water that seemed very out of place. We followed it along the water’s edge and soon discovered it was huge Sea Turtle. It’s shell was about a meter long! It never came out of the water, but it popped it’s head out for air about 5 times. This prehistoric looking creature had us mesmerized for half an hour and we had this experience with the turtle all to ourselves. It was exhilarating.
We also experienced our first Australian thunderstorm while camping. Since it was predicted to downpour all day, we had everything tied down and stowed away early that morning and thank god we did. While making our coconut curry dinner we heard the first pounds of thunder. Soon the skies opened, and it poured and rained and poured some more. Inside of 10 minutes we were ankle deep in water. After quickly gobbling down our dinner, we triple checked that everything was secure and tied down. Earlier in the day we stowed everything, including our North Face Duffle Bags of clothes, into the car just incase our annex wasn’t waterproof. For those who don’t know, an annex is a second room that attaches to the rooftop tent. It secures to the part of the tent that hangs off the car and reaches all the down to the ground to make a fully enclosed room. Unfortunately, this brand of annex makes everything waterproof except for the zippers, go figure. The bottom of the annex is also too big for the rest of it, making the bottom fold over on the zippers causing all the water from the top of the annex to collect and leak through the zippers. The annex had huge puddles in it inside of 10 minutes. Since we tightened the tiedown straps attached to the annex, there was nothing else to do. Protected overhead, we tried our best to dry off in the annex and spent the rest of the night watching Stranger Things in our rooftop tent.
After spending the week in Rainbow Beach, we decided on our next town to explore: Cairns. Known as the footstep to the Great Barrier Reef, we are both ecstatic to partake in as many opportunities and meeting as many new people as we can. We might even get Scuba Certified!