Camping is such an odd experience. If aliens were to visit earth and observe people vacating their perfectly comfortable and amenity filled houses to temporarily sleep in canvas sacks in the wilderness, I’m going to bet that they would be confused. I do it and I don’t even get it. Clearly, I am a city girl.
Even so, when my Australian hostess suggested that we spend a weekend camping on the Sunshine Coast – I agreed. I wanted to experience an authentic summer in Queensland… and the locals go camping.
Kyle, Veronica, and I left the creature comforts of Brisbane before noon on Friday to make the two hour drive to Noosa North Shore before peak hour (read: rush hour). We had booked a campsite right on the beach because Australia.
The weather forecast for the weekend wasn’t looking ideal but rainy camping can be fun right? Sure, except that we hadn’t exactly planned for a windstorm too, which is what greeted us upon arrival. We should have known we were in for a rough night when all the other camping parties were set up in massive trailers with tarps secured. Then we realized that one of our tents was completely busted. Excellent.
It took us ages us to set up our ridiculous make-shift tent village as we began getting pelted with rain from every angle. Another friend showed up later to provide a much needed tarp. We made do. And fortunately we had a full esky (read: cooler) of alcohol and Settlers of Catan to pass the time. Just before bed our whole tent structure gave up. The boys assured me it would be fine… or in Australian… She be right mate. I was skeptical.
The next morning we woke to light drizzle and decided to move our campsite to a more sheltered forest section – this was a very good decision. We moved our gear and then ditched camp life for Noosaville where I got to try SUP for the first time. Then we wandered around Noosa for a bit, visited the beach area, and went searching for koalas to no avail. I guess I’ll have to settle for the heaps of wild kangaroos back at camp. They really are as prevalent as deer in Canada.
Our evening consisted of more relaxing and eating and drinking and Catan. Lots of Catan. On our final day the sun finally returned as we were packing up. But, we had one more adventure in store – The Great Beach Drive.
If you happen to find yourself in Queensland any you are able to hook yourself up with a 4 wheel drive then I highly recommend that you try driving on the 50km stretch of beach from Noosa to Rainbow Beach. I have never done anything quite like this before and I probably never will again. If you can manage a high clearance vehicle that would also be a wise idea because we definitely got stuck, twice. Fortunately, Aussies are super friendly and helpful and we quickly got towed out on both occasions. The journey was exhilarating and terrifying and just plain cool. Thanks for driving Kyle – you’re a champ!
Rainbow Beach is also just a stunning stretch of coastline with gorgeous cliffs and the Carlo Sand Blow. Named by Captain Cook after one of his deck crew named Carlo, the unique “moonscape” sand mass covers over 15 hectares and overlooks the towering coloured sands. If you don’t go camping or do the beach drive, then you should find another reason to visit. Australia has so much to offer.
I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to travel with locals for part of my Australian adventure. I was able to do things and see things that I never would have known about or had the guts to do on my own. I may not be the best camper in the world but I love having friends that push me outside my comfort zone. I will never stop needing that.
What is one of your most unique travel experiences? Leave a comment below.