Travel

The Land Down Under

October 21, 2011

Tuesday afternoon I left Seattle for a 5-week trip to Australia and New Zealand.  I’m flying out with an Australian friend and spending time with him in Brisbane before heading to his place on Fraser Island for 6 days. Then the itinerary is to do a couple day whirlwind tour of Sydney and Melbourne, a week in Tasmania, then a 12-day campervan tour of New Zealand starting in Christchurch and ending in Auckland. I’m stoked!!

Qantas certainly set a new record low in the crappy airline food race, but they made up for it with an amazingly smooth trip all the way to LA and then onward to Brisbane.  A nice change from my usual flight drama of typhoons and turbulence!  I arrived Thursday and since I am in fact, a working digital nomadess, the first order of business was getting a portable hotspot.  After some research and good advice from my Aussie friend, I was told Telstra had a fantastic network, so I paid $179 for their Mi-Fi device with 5GB of included data. Not too bad! After a few activation hiccups it’s now working and my purse is a 12Mbps mobile hotspot.

View of Brisbane from the top of Mount Gravatt

View of Brisbane from the top of Mount Gravatt

After the telco fun we took a quick drive through Brisbane up to Mount Gravatt to enjoy some views and grab some lunch.

Cruising the Gold Coast

Cruising the Gold Coast

Next we took a little drive through the Gold Coast, a very art deco style South Beach reminiscent town with gorgeous surfing beaches.

We also hopped over to the Springbrook National Park in the scenic Numinbah Valley near the Queensland-New South Wales border. I was surprised how much rainforest is in the area and how it closely resembles the jungle of the Yucatan. I guess I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect in Australia!

Springbrook National Park in the Numinbah Valley near the Queensland-New South Wales border

Springbrook National Park in the Numinbah Valley near the Queensland-New South Wales border

Once dusk came around, gigantic birds started emerging from the trees. I kept looking curiously and realized they were flying a bit strangely to be birds. The locals called them Flying Foxes, which I thought would be some sort of Flying Squirrel, but no, they’re in fact the largest bat in the world with a wingspan of up to 6 feet. They’re the only bat without echolocation as they only eat fruit and nectar. All I could think of was the Wizard of Oz. You know that spot in the movie where the sky is filled with Flying Monkeys?  It was exactly like that but with bats! My Aussie friend could only laugh at my excitement. Skies filled with bats! I love it!

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