After a fantastic two-week trip around Singapore and Indonesia with my parents, I made my way back to Australia and my next destination, Brisbane. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my time after travelling the East Coast, I bought a flight to Brisbane thinking it would be a good starting point to potentially working in this part of the country or making my way up Queensland again.
A few months after buying my flight, I decided to complete my farm work in rural NSW. I would start this job around a month later, so I had a lot of time to kill! I chose to stay in Brisbane for a few days and head back to Noosa, a small town at the top of the Sunshine coast which I had really enjoyed previously visiting.
I landed in Brisbane and felt a lot of déjà vu as I made my way back to the hostel I had first stayed at a month or so earlier, Bunk Brisbane. The time before I had come here with eight other close friends, so it was a little quieter this time around! I headed to a supermarket to get some food and settled myself in for a quiet evening in bed as the dorm as quiet.
The next day with still little social interaction in the dorm I decided to make my way to Brisbane’s library. The weather was pretty grey at the time and since I had already explored the city, I thought it better to be more productive with my time. I spent the day here booking flights, writing about my time in South-East Asia and planning out my next moves to get me to Dubbo. I overall spent two days here as I didn’t find many others to interact with in the hostel and was still nervous about meeting others without the security of my large group behind me.
On my last evening in Brisbane, I met a new dorm mate who invited me down to a social happening in the hostels adjoining bar. I took him up on the offer and ended up having a great night, taking part in beer pong, quizzes, and other games. I met a guy from New Zealand who I discussed the merits of Auckland / Wellington with. He assured me that if I like Sydney, I would like Auckland. I met up with him again in Melbourne a week later, the joys of like minded travellers!
This night was a big break-through in my confidence for solo travel. I had been so lucky meeting a large group of friends when I first moved to Australia that I hadn’t had to worry about making other friends over the past six months. This evening was therefore an acknowledgement to myself that I could make friends and confidently socialise with others without the comfort of a friendship group and I headed to Noosa the next day full of confidence.
I jumped on a Greyhound bus the next morning and headed two hours up the coast to Noosa. This was an easy journey and I was met at the Noosa bus stop by the hostel’s bus to head up the hill. The hostel I chose, Flashpackers Noosa, was in a different area of the town than I had stayed before but had great reviews and offered perks such as free surfboards.
I met many people at this hostel and the accommodation was cosy with lounges to meet others in and socialise easily. It was also small so many were keen to meet others to explore the area with.
The day after arriving, I headed to the coast with a group from the hostel and explored the other side of the National Park. Noosa is positioned on a peninsula with a sheltered bay on the left and rougher waters on the right. We walked along the rough coastline with beautiful white beaches and then headed uphill to the national park. This is renounced for Koalas and although I did my best to look, we didn’t see any. We ended up this walk into the main town and proceeded to get the hostel bus back after a long day of exploring!
The next day I tried my hand at surfing for the second time. I found I had not forgotten what I learnt in my week at Surf Camp and had a really good time attempting to expand on my skills so far. I went with some fellow Brits and met up with some other hostel buddies on the beach. Luckily, the day was warm, so the rest of time was spent sunbathing.
My final full day in Noosa was spent exploring the Everglades on a guided tour. The Noosa Everglades are one of only two in the world so although the tour was pricey, I decided to sign up. We took a boat out onto the river which is flanked up mangroves and bird watched as we sped along this expansive and diverse waterway.
We stopped for a BBQ lunch where we could also jump in the water. Since the water is soaked in tea tree, the water appears almost black and when you dive down into it you cannot see anything. It’s an odd feeling but quite fun to try out so we spent some time daring ourselves to dive into its murky depths. Tea Tree is great for the skin so hopefully my body appreciated the swim too!
After lunch we took kayaks back which was a nice way to get to know my kayak partner who was a fellow backpacker. The tour group was split between backpackers and older tourists, so we banded together for a fun afternoon spent making out way slowly back along the river. It was also nice to add variety to the tour and made for a good and full day out.
That evening I headed back to the hostel for a group evening with my new hostel mates. Everyone here was so warm and welcoming, and we ended up also speaking to those who were working at the hostel at the time. By the end of the evening I had two contacts to meet up with in Sydney in a few weeks’ time and felt even more confident in my solo travelling skills.
My week back in Queensland was short but taught me so much. I moved forwards to Melbourne with a newfound confidence and excitement in the next stage of my travels. I was no longer worried about making new friends and about exploring by myself. When solo travelling, it is important to be happy exploring alone as well as in a group.
Both have their benefits, and both must be appreciated in equal measure. After spending a lot of time alone I learnt that I could be happy with my own presence and could also make some amazing memories spent with strangers. It is certainly a way of travel that everyone should try out at some point and this short part of my trip made a big impact.