Fraser Island

22 July 2018

Pic 2018-0722 03 Fraser Island Lake McKenzie (42) edit

Fraser Island is a popular tourist destination, one that is commonly found on top Aussie tourism lists. Located between the Great Barrier Reef and Sunshine Coast, Fraser is the largest natural sand island in the world and just over a 2 hour drive from our apartment in Coolum Beach. We took a quick two day trip to Hervey Bay to see Fraser Island and go whale watching.

The island is accessible from two ferries, one at River Heads outside Hervey Bay and one at Inskip near Rainbow Beach. The only roads are rough sandy trails and beaches so it can only be tranversed with high ground clearance 4-wheel drives by someone with experience. It looked like a fun challenge but for this newbie, I opted to take one of the 4WD bus tours.

We only had time for the one day tour although 2, 3 and 7 day packages were available. The one day trip was perfect for anyone who wants a taste of Fraser’s rugged beauty. We got to experience the island and see the most visited spots without having to worry about getting bogged in the sand. The bus ride was fun but rough on our necks. The tour included stops at Lake McKenzie, 75 Mile Beach, Maheno Shipwreck, Eli Creek, Central Station, The Pinnacles, and Eurong Resort for lunch.

Frazer Island was one of our favorite days in Australia. For a tourist, it provides a uniquely Aussie experience. For locals, it is a great resource to escape everyday life and enjoy its natural beauty.

Lake McKenzie

Maheno Shipwreck and The Pinnacles on 75 Mile Beach

Mouth of Wanggoolba Creek near ferry landing (top left), sand roads (bottom left), and crystal clear stream water near Central Station

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Return to Goldie

15 – 18 July 2018

Pic 2018-0716 02 Coolongatta Beach (7) edit

We visited Gold Coast twice before but decided to return to tick a few new boxes and re-visit some of our favorites. It did not go quite as planned. The first day we encountered heavy traffic delays that prevented us from planned hikes in the Tamborine Mountain area. The last day we had to rush back to make re-scheduled soccer matches for the kids. Despite having less time than hoped, we had a good time on the Gold Coast.

The first full day we spent at Coolangatta Beach, our favorite in Goldie and one our favorite family beaches in Australia. After sunset we played mini-golf at Putt Putt Golf in Mermaid Beach, classic family fun.

The seond full day we took the kids to Warner Brothers Movie World. While Warner Bros pales compared to the many Disney parks we’ve been, it did get high scores for thrill rides, small crowds, and easy in and out.

In the gaps between we enjoyed time at Treasure Island Holiday Resort, our first and one of our favorite caravan parks. We have stayed at dozens of caravan parks in the past year and TI will certainly make our top 5.

Gold Coast is a good time. It feels like a combination of Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida. Not a place we’d want to raise our family but a place we’d like to visit regularly.

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Bribie Island

10 July 2018

Pic 2018-0710 03 Bribie Bongaree Beach (11) edit

Bribie Island is one of three islands in Moreton Bay, the gateway to Brisbane. Just below the southern end of Sunshine Coast, it is roughly the midway point between Brisbane and Maroochydore. Despite its location Bribie still feels out of the way. The beaches of Bongaree and Banksia on the bay side are only good for fishing. Woorim Beach on the ocean side is a long wide stretch of sand as nice as most in the area. Bribie Island does not offer much excitement for visitors but it seems like a nice area to live for commuters to Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

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Return to Adelaide

4 -6 July 2018

After a few days on Kangaroo Island we returned to Adelaide. We first visited Adelaide in September as part of our epic road trip into the Red Center. With some experience in the area we decided to stay in Glenelg, a suburb on the coast with a direct tram to Adelaide’s city center. We spent the first day enjoying Glenelg and recovering from a rough Kangaroo Island ferry ride across choppy seas.

Rested and feeling better we spent the next day at some of our favorite places in Adelaide, starting of course at Central Market.  I did not spend too much time taking pictures in the city since we had been here before.  They are posted at Adelaide (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Gardens and Museum) and Glenelg.

The highlight of our return visit was supposed to be Mount Lofty and Waterfall Gully. We did enjoy them both but fog limited our views of the city from Mount Lofty and wet weather prevented us from hiking the Waterfall Gully trail. It was a risk we took coming during winter.

Despite questionalbe weather during both our visits, we rather liked Adelaide. It might not be a tourist hot spot but certainly a nice place to raise a family.

Pic 2018-0706 02 Waterfall Gully (12) edit

Waterfall Gully

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Kangaroo Island – Part 2

1 – 4 July 2018

Pic 2018-0703 07 Willoughby River (1) edit2

On our second day we explored the more populated eastern side of the island including American River, Kingscote and Penneshaw. Kingscote is the main population center of the island but it did not offer much charm. We enjoyed our time in the much smaller town of Penneshaw. The highlight of the day was our drive down a dirt road to the lighthouse on Cape Willoughby. As we walked the sea coast trail a group of grey kangaroos followed us and kept an eye on us from a safe distance.

Kangaroo Island was a nice place to relax for a few days. I don’t think any of us would rank it in our top 10 Aussie places to visit but it is definitely worth a visit when in South Australia.

Cape Willoughby

Penneshaw’s Frenchman’s Rook, Coastline, and Colorful Sunrises and Sunsets

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Kangaroo Island – Part 1

1 – 4 July 2018

Pic 2018-0702 09 Kangaroo Island (3) edit

Kanagaroo Island is a well known holiday spot in Australia. If you Google ‘top tourist sights in Australia’, you will find it on many top lists. Kangaroo Island is on the southern tip of South Australia, about a 90 minute drive south of Adelaide and a 45 minute ferry ride from Cape Jervis. We stayed in Penneshaw where the ferry docks since we were arriving late on the first night and leaving early a few days later. Penneshaw is a town of less than 300 residents but it has all the basics, a grocery store, a few restaurants, petrol station and post office. We had two full days to see as much of the island as we could.

On our first day we drove to the west side of the island to Flinders Chase National Park and worked our way back east. Some of the island’s most popular attractions are on the southwestern corner including Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, Admirals Arch, Weirs Bay, and Remarkable Rocks. Beside the rock formation itself, Admiral Arch is a great place to see fur seals sunbathing on the rocks. Following the southern route we stopped at Vivonne Bay Jetty and Point Ellen before returning to Penneshaw for the evening sunset.

Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, Admirals Arch and the Seals

Weirs Bay

Remarkable Rocks

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Singapore – Part 6, Gardens by the Bay & Marina Bay Sands

9 – 14 June 2018

Pic 2018-0611 15 Bayfront Area (30) edit

The highlight of our visit to Singapore was Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands.

In a city full of architectural gems and oddities, Marina Bay Sands has become the city’s single most iconic structure. The complex is a hotel, casino, convention center and shopping mall. Built by Las Vegas Sands, the MBS is as over-the-top as any casino in Vegas. We really enjoyed the sound and light show each night.

Marina Bay Sands

Gardens by the Bay is like nothing we’ve seen before. It is billed as a nature park but there is little natural about it. The park’s main attractions are Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and Supertree Grove. Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are massive greenhouse enclosures. Supertree Grove is made up of huge tree-like structures with a skywalk and is the center piece of a free music and light show each night. It was our favorite attraction in Singapore, truely memorable.

Gardens by the Bay

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