East Coast Australia Road Trip – Australia Zoo, Brisbane, Moreton Island & the Gold Coast (Part IV)

I can’t believe we’re now half way through our eight-week East Coast Australia Road Trip. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Last week, we enjoyed a sunrise with wild kangaroos in Cape Hillsborough; explored Fraser Island (K’Gari) by 4WD and cruised along the Noosa Everglades before we then headed over to the Sunshine Coast.

To find out more about everything we’ve got up to so far in Queensland, click this link.

Day 26 – A visit to Australia Zoo

Located an hour north of Brisbane on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Australia Zoo might not be the biggest in the country, but it is particularly special.

It was founded by Steve Irwin and his wife, Terri and it is still run by the family today. Sadly, we all know about the tragedy of when Steve was killed by a stingray while filming in the Great Barrier Reef, but his legacy for wildlife conservation lives on.

I remember watching his wildlife documentary series ‘The Crocodile Hunter‘ and now you can watch a new Australian Reality TV Series called Crikey! It’s the Irwins, which captures his wife and two children Robert & Bindi caring for all 1,200 animals.

We paid $60 (AUD) / £36 p/p and had a really enjoyable day.

We also visited the onsite Wildlife Hospital where we saw vets through perplex glass undergoing surgery on animals.

*NOTE*: If you’re visiting Australia Zoo, I highly recommend planning your day around the 13:15 ‘Wildlife Warriors Show‘ at the ‘Crocoseum‘. I would have paid the entrance fee alone just to have seen this saltwater crocodile live in action!

Day 27 – Mount Ngungun Hike – Glass House Mountains National Park

The 11 peaks of the Glass House Mountains were only a short 15-minute drive away from Australia Zoo, so we decided to hike up Mt Ngungun this morning.

This was the first substantial hike we’ve done since we climbed to the Pouakai Tarns overlooking Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park, New Zealand. We’re now over five months into our travels and it’s fair to say that our fitness isn’t as good as it was when we left!

Luckily, the out-and-back trail from the carpark to the summit was only 1.9 miles. The views overlooking the nearby peaks were worth it when we reached the top.

Later in the afternoon, we made the journey to Brisbane. Finding campgrounds over the past two weeks has been a real challenge because it is currently school holidays here. Em and I prefer to travel without planning too far ahead incase we decide to stay longer somewhere (like Airlie Beach).

Frustratingly, the nearest campground we could find with availability was 25 minutes from the city centre.

Day 28 – Brisbane Sightseeing & Imaginaria

This morning, we caught the bus into the capital of Queensland and wandered around like typical tourists.

There aren’t really any standout ‘iconic landmarks’ but I really enjoyed exploring this city. The stroll along the riverfront through South Bank Parklands to Streets Beach – Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach was particularly enjoyable.

We then came across the Maritime Museum on the Docklands. Outside were billboards advertising an event called ‘Imaginaria‘ – described as being ‘an immersive play experience from the future‘. We thought we’d go and check it out as the tickets only cost $30/£18 p/p.

I’m glad we did because this one-hour walkthrough experience was different from anything we’ve ever done. It included shimmering light sculptures, architectural inflatables, an interactive cave, a multi-dimensional light maze and a black hole hovering in space.

Afterwards, we ambled around the shopping district. I bought a new iPhone screen protector from Apple and Em bought some makeup from Myers – a department store similar to Selfridges.

The fast-paced, hustle and bustle environment you come to expect of a city just didn’t feel like the case here.

Day 29 – Tangalooma Wrecks and Dolphin Feeding – Moreton Island

The main reason we wanted to stay a couple of nights in Brisbane was to do a day cruise over to Moreton Island in order to snorkel around the 15 Tangalooma Wrecks, which were deliberately sunk between the 1960s and 1980s when boat owners urged for safe docking on the island.

We paid $209/£126 p/p to cruise over to the Tangalooma Island Resort (75-minutes from the city) in order to snorkel the Wrecks and also to hand feed wild dolphins at sunset.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the best but the rain held off. We had a few hours before having to check in at 15:00 PM, so I had a nice long nap.

In hindsight, we could have snorkelled the Wrecks without a guide. There were at times over 20 people in one area, which meant overcrowding was an issue.

They were also not too far from the shoreline, meaning we could have swam to them without exerting too much energy. Nevertheless, it was cool to see them up close as well as all of the different varieties of fish.

Before heading back to Brisbane, we queued with what felt like a few other hundred people to feed wild dolphins who know to visit the Resort every evening for easy food.

I thought this was going to be more of a personalised experience. If we’d have known that we would only get to feed one tiny raw fish to a dolphin then we probably would have decided against the idea.

I also left my phone in my pocket which severely damaged the charging port. Luckily though when we went to the Apple Store a couple of days later, they were able to replace my phone with a like-for-like replacement because I had Apple Care on the device.

Day 30 – Gold Coast

After a busy few days, we spent today unwinding at our new campground around a 20-minute drive from the Gold Coast. We’re living the dream, but travelling is tiring! It’s important to have days like this so we don’t completely burn out.

Finding somewhere to stay was incredible difficult again.

Day 31 – Surfers Paradise

Feeling rested, we got an Uber to Main Beach and walked down the coastline to one of Australia’s most renowned destinations, Surfers Paradise – recognised for huge skyscrapers, an incredulously long stretch of beach and continuous rolling waves which make it the best place in the country to go surfing.

This seaside resort gave me a similar vibe to Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Similarly to California, it seemed the most popular way to explore the area was by electric bike/scooter.

We downloaded the Lime App, found the nearest two electric bikes and started cycling towards Miami Beach. These were such good fun (when we eventually found two that had working gears and that didn’t have flat tires)!

Before heading back for the evening, we spent a couple of hours watching the world go by on the beach.

Day 32 – Jobs

Today, we planned the rest of our East Coast Australian Road Trip, I wrote this blog post and Em caught up with some of her daily TikTok videos.

In my next post, we’ll enter the state of New South Wales as we continue our journey further south to Byron Bay, Arrawarra, Port Macquarie and Newcastle.

If you’d like to keep up-to-date with our adventure, you can either enter your email at the bottom of this article to receive instant notifications every time I post a new blog; click the Follow ‘Al’ Around The World link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @AlecW95 or @alatw95.

Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.

Thanks for reading, until the next time…


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