Next Island on my Whitsundays trip was Hamilton Island.
Hamilton Island is approximately 887km north of Brisbane and 512km south of Cairns. Hamilton Island, like most in the Whitsunday group, was formed as sea levels rose creating numerous drowned mountains that are situated close to the east coast of Queensland. The island has a population of 1,208 people.
There is a big hotel complex on Hamilton Island. As much as I hated hotels, but if they are high enough they provide a great view over the entire island. So I eventually took the elevator to the top of the hotel (did’t care about the sign that said: DO NOT ENTER, STAFF ONLY) and took some pictures.
After that I went on to the beach and to the various hiking paths located on the Island..
1 hour of serious trail running / climbing / highspeed hiking rewards you with one of the greatest lookouts I have seen in Australia so far.
Here I am starting my journey to three islands of the Whitsundays…The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of continental islands of various sizes off the central coast of Queensland.
I headed off with the Ferry towards three of the Islands…
Apparently I missed the first Ferry, as my hostel gave me an old time schedule with the wrong harbour indicating the place of departure. So I had to walk 2km back to get to the right harbour, which was actually right next to my hostel. So I had to way for one more hour until the next ferry went off.
After a 30min Ferry ride “Kristoph” finally reached daydream Island..
Daydream Island itself is fine…but it is actually one of the smaller islands with a big hotel complex built on it…So I didn’t spend much time there…
However, Daydream Island can be a place to chill out…
I just had another look at the big pond on Daydream Island until I caught my next Ferry to Hamilton Island.
Here we are on the way to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays…It took almost 14 hours to get there by night bus. However, this is only due to the 1000x unnecessary stops on the way in the middle of nowhere.
Airlie Beach is a locality in the Whitsunday Region of Queensland, Australia. The suburb of Airlie Beach itself had a population of 7,868. Airlie Beach is one of many departure points for the Great Barrier Reef. Near latitude 20 degrees south, Airlie Beach, Proserpine and the nearby Whitsunday Islands enjoy a tropical climate and lifestyle. After finally arriving in Airlie Beach, I immediately headed off to Mount Rooper by foot.
On the way to Mount Rooper I spotted several cockatoos, the streets where almost empty and the sun was burning…
As always I took the wrong way and ended up in a dead end. At least the nature was worth going the wrong track.
However, I had to return eventually and walk back 7.5km to get back on the right road.
On the way I was sometimes able to look through the dense vegetation to see the sea area.
To reach Mt. Rooper, I had to pass Shute Harbour and the Airlie Beach Airport.
Mount Rooper itself is located in Conway National Park which lies on the Central Queensland coast, between Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour. Conway National Park boasts a number of walking tracks, which take you through a variety of vegetation types including lowland rainforest, mangroves and open forest.
And that is how you get a heavy sunburn the other day.
After another 5k walking off the track I suddenly found that a hidden beach with lots of dead corals and snails…and a perfect views on the whitsunday islands..
Just came back from Fraser Island and returned in Hervey Bay. Hervey Bay is a city in Queensland, Australia. The city is situated approximately 290km or 3½ hours highway drive north of the state capital, Brisbane. It is a natural bay between the Queensland mainland and nearby Fraser Island. At the 2011 Australian Census the city recorded a population of 76,403.
Hervey Bay has one of the oldest and largest piers in Australia. It is a former deep-water, cargo-handling facility originally built to facilitate the export of sugar, timber and coal. It was built between 1913 and 1917, originally to a length of 1107 m. The pier was closed in 1985, and 239 m of it was demolished. However, due to public outcry, 868 m of the pier was left.
On the pier itself were lots of fishermen and a massiv bird…He seemed to be pretty hungry tough.
Besides the pier and the beach there is actually not much to see in Hervey Bay. However, there is a small botanic garden with two lakes…and apparently half of the Australian turtle population seemed to be based in Hervey Bay. I could easily glance 25 turtles in the lake…
So how to spend two days in a forgotten town with it’s lonely roads better than to do sports?
Now it begins…being away from almost everything for three days. The trip includes sleeping in a tent, having no shower and worst of all…having no internet access or phone reception This place is called FRASER ISLAND!
Popular for its Dingos the biggest sand island in the world has so much to offer…dunes, beaches, jungle, whales, dolphins, turtles…
Fraser Island is a heritage-listed island located along the southern coast of Queensland, Australia, approximately 200km north of Brisbane. It is a locality within the Fraser Coast Region. Its length is about 120km and its width is approximately 24km. It was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1992. The island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1840km². It is also Queensland’s largest island, Australia’s sixth largest island and the largest island on the East Coast of Australia.
That was the place were we stayed…no much luxury, but it does the job.
The campsite itself was located about 20m away from the beach…So I had my morning cup of coffee usually right here…
First day we went to a hidden lake right next to a big sand blow. It was truly amazing walking through untouched dunes for miles and miles…
The lake itself was surrounded by dunes and dunes and dunes…like way more sand as I have ever seen in my life…This particular area is called Hammerstone Sandblow and Lake Wabby.
and more and more sand…Fun fact..the sandblow will grow every year so that the hidden lake which actually was just formed due to the sandblow will eventually be covered with sand and disappear. Unlike most other lakes on Fraser Island which are too acidic, Lake Wabby provides habitat to several species of fish.13 species have yet been identified.
When the sunset came closer we headed back to our campsite, where I was lucky to see the clearest sky conditions ever..Literally one could see thousands of stars and the milky way without any optics…Sadly, it was hard to catch this breathtaking view with my camera. All I could do without a tripod is the picture below..!
As it got darker more and more animals came out of their shelters to chase unexperienced backpackers.
Lucky as I was I survived the first night and was woken up by a didgeridoo and a beautiful sunrise…
Soooo with a couple hours of sleep I went on to discover more animals…and finally, to put it bluntly, I was quite successful with that as I have seen Dingos, Jellyfish, Spiders, Turtles, Dolphins, Whales….
The next day we went to another dune with ancient sandstone formations….somehow it reminded me of the Curiosity Pictures form Mars…So now I have also been on Mars..kind of
After the Mars exploration we headed on to the SS Maheno, an old ship wreck that stranded on Fraser Island in 1935. The SS Maheno was an ocean liner belonging to the Union Company of New Zealand that operated in the Tasman Sea, crossing between New Zealand and Australia, from 1905 until 1935. She was also used as a hospital ship by the New Zealand Naval Forces during World War I. Currently it is not in shape anymore…but therefore I could be really cheap to acquire…
btw, the SS Maheno used to look like this..
After a very long drive we finally reached the North edge of Fraser island with a small mountain offering a spectacular view over the coastline.
Of course I was able to do some more running on Fraser…altough I haven’t slept more than 8 hours on the island altogether.
In addition to the beaches on Fraser Island there are some of the highest and biggest trees I have ever seen. Similar to a real jungle…but without the Gorillas
One tree was fun…since it got hit by a lightning, one was able to get inside..never have been in a tree before.
The best lake on the island is clearly lake McKenzie. It was the clearest water I have ever seen in open water. The sands around the lake are composed of pure, white silica and the water in the lake is also so pure it is unsuitable for many species.
Another fun fact..there was a Central Train Station on the island back in the days…It seems to be that all train tracks get useless over time in Australia…Same in Byron Bay and Hervey Bay.
Last day in Noosa…until the shuttle bus picks me up to Rainbow Beach + Fraser Island…
Since the weather was not to bad..I went to the National Park again.. This time I was a little bit more lucky as I have seen Mr. Lizard again.
When I usually go to National Parks with different paths and difficulty level, I always pick the route with the highest difficulty level. However, the paths are always normal walking paths and the estimated time on the overview maps at the park entrance is more than just exaggerated. Level 5 difficulty in Noosa National Park should take you between 2-3 hours, but with my normal walking speed it takes me max 59min to complete the whole course, despite several stops to take photos and chase crazy animals…Are Australian people just so slow or are these signs for Mr. Lizard, who’s max. speed is at a leisurely pace
So getting ready for my to explore..
I love the National Parks in Australia…Nature everywhere
So anyhow, I managed it to reach the cliff and beach area again…
Especially the view from the cliffs is stunning as you can see the turquoise water and parts of the beach as it usually looks on postcards.
In addition I eventually my it to the more tourist beach area…that I clearly do not prefer at all! However, the famous Noosa Lookout was nearby so I had to pass the crowded area.
As my trip to Fraser Island starts on Wednesday, I have to do anything useful in this more or less remote Australian area…As always I decided to go running…
The first run (8km) was quite awkward, since it quickly got dark and I couldn’t find the way back to the hostel at once. So I eventually ran past it two times.
Next day next try…This time run through the National Park (7.5km)..despite the severe elevation it was quite fun running on the small paths up and downhill or at the beach itself.
sooo what else to do in Noosa…on the third day I tried to reach Lake Weyba by going down South for about 7km (with using the undercrossing and lonely paths near to the beach.
After being right at the edge to the South National Park I found so many huge Termite Colonies built on dead trees…would be nice to have a look inside one of them..but I am pretty sure that the termites see that differently :/
So I continued my walk down South only to find out that there is no way to enter the National Park and to reach the lake I wanted going to….and moreover, the wind started to get flippin annoying suddenly..
The winds made me turn over and walk back to my starting points…but this time I used the beach as my new walking path.
All together Noosa is a nice place to stay…but I could do the main sights in just one day. So there is actually no need to stay longer… One more day left until…Fraser Island is up next!
Next stop after a 3.5 hour train/bus/bus/bus-ride was Noosa…but my Hostel was another 35min walk alongside the National Park with all my baggage…
The National Park of Noosa is the place I am hoping to see Koalas soon. My hope is based on several street signs indicating the presence of Koalas somewhere.
Noosa has several beaches as all other cities located on the East side of Australia I have been to.
But this one was apparently different, due to the fact that everywhere on the beach were small stranded jellyfish…
To explore the National Park a little bit of hiking was required. Especially on the east side where unfenced cliffs surround the National Park.
Still time for some selfies on the way North…
When reached the main Beach..I stopped to look out for whales that are supposed to be in that area…(I mean in the water and not stranded on the beach). However, better luck next time…still haven’t seen any whale yet in Australia.
Sooo the hiking walk goes on till I reached ‘Hells Gate’…the most eastern point of the National Park.. and it was so windy up there..
Like really crazy winds…
After walking and hiking on the beach for some time I made it in to the middle of the National Park searching for Koalas and other animals…the excitement of big and hope was there to find Koalas.
But after a couple of miles and no Koalas found my mood dropped Goddammit!
Soooo tomorrow next try…KOALA YOU CANNOT HIDE FOREVER! I WILL YOU and then I eat you or just take a few pictures.
My hostel was in a sense better than expected after surviving the first night. These fucking drunk Australian yobs that stayed in my room were on purpose annoying other people until 4am. Therefore, next morning I complained at the reception and was able to change rooms. The second night was way more relaxing.
Anybody was kinda complaining about how boring the city actually is…but I liked it Especially the area near the river, the Story Bridge and various skyscrapers were a BEAUTIFUL surrounding to gain energy after a night without sleep. Moreover the Queensland University of Technology is located right at the river and offers the best Wifi I have so far experienced here in Australia. Is it so difficult to setup a working internet experience in bigger cities..I am still wondering? Lets have a look at the river and it’s Ferry wheel
The perfect place to do an afternoon’s sightseeing run. Don’t judge the time…it was a sightseeing run and had 188m of elevation in it.
Right next to Story Bridge the South Bank Parklands starts, which is a huge swimming pool and beach area in the middle of the city.
Finally before leaving Brisbane, I was able to further improve my low light skill set by taking pictures of the Brisbane skyline.
Third day in Surfers was so relaxing…Besides going to the supermarket, chilling at the beach and wandering around the city, I actually did not do anything.
So there was time to say Goodbye to the Beaches, since my next stop Brisbane can only offer a river through the city, some parks and less sand and stuff. I will miss you BEACH!
In the evening I went out again to take some more night shots from the Skyscrapers until 11pm. There is so much to learn with shutter speed, exposure time and aperture… However my lucky unorganized camera setting produced some pretty nice shots.
So the final day arrived and I left my hostel towards a two hour ride to Brisbane via Nerang.