We packed enough gear for our South East Queensland road trip to start a revolution!
Most parents of young whippersnappers would nod in (slightly pained) appreciation at this statement, it’s just the reality of travel once you decide to make a fresh human. But if you’re anything like Susi and I, you’re not going to let proverbial spanners get in the way of good ol’ adventure.
With a couple of gremlins in tow, you’d be hard-pressed to beat van life when it comes to balancing convenience, space, and adventure. We got our mitts on a JUCY Condo campervan hire Brisbane and with one week up our sleeves pointed it’s big green nose north to see what sort of mischief we could find!
Day 1 and 2: Australia Zoo
It was love at first sight when my son Jet (3) first laid his eyes on the ‘green rocket’. Excitement hit stratospheric levels, comparable to a Tasmanian Devil after a bucket of Gummy Bears. Once we’d straight-jacketed him into his new car seat we engaged the turbo boosters and commenced countdown. That joke didn’t wear thin over the next 7 days, much to his delight.
Having visited Australia Zoo back in the days when Steve Irwin was still alive and kicking (in fact he was actually doing the croc show when I was there in 2002) I was keen to share the experience with my kids.
We camped nearby at Landsborough Pines and ventured to the Zoo the following day. Unfortunately, it was wetter than an otter’s pocket but that wasn’t going to dampen our day. It would take an army to stop Jet from getting a first hand visual of a giraffe. Despite torrential rain, we had an incredible day seeing the animals and enjoyed cruising round an almost empty Zoo. Every cloud, and all that.
Oddly enough, Jet derived most pleasure from feeding Australia’s most common marsupial, the Kangaroos. I almost wet myself when he finished filling their mouths with food; he casually patted each of them on the back and said over his shoulder ‘see ya later boys!’
Day 3: The Hinterland
After another night at Landsborough Pines we spent a morning exploring the nearby Glass Mountains; magnificent natural wonders that tower randomly from the earth with all the scraggliness of an Englishman’s teeth. We weaved between these volcanic remnants, grabbed lunch and a short hike at the Glasshouse Mountains Lookout then ventured north through the dreamy landscape and townships of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
I live in the Byron Bay hinterland which is possibly one of the most incredible spots on the East Coast. I have to say, this came close to beating here - rolling hills and cute townships make for excellent driving. We pulled up for camp on the Mary River in Kenilworth and snuck in a cheeky wild swim.
Day 4: Drive to Rainbow Beach
On arrival at the Rainbow Beach Holiday Park, I regretted teasing Jet that this is in fact where all unicorns come from. He lost it when I told him I was joking. I could even see the disappointment in our daughter’s eyes when she realised it was a ruse to prevent a biblical in-car meltdown. I immediately won their love again when I returned from the campsite reception with two Calippos though.
We made it to the beach for a textbook sunset and then grabbed dinner at the RSL - a delicious fish and chips in which approximately 92% of the kid’s food ended up on the floor.
Earlier in the afternoon I got chatting to the young family camping next to us and by some wild coincidence discovered that the Dad was best mates with a best mate of mine back in England! That was more than enough encouragement to spend an evening drinking whiskey at his camper trailer once the fam was asleep.
Day 5: Rainbow Beach
One of the pearlers my new friend mentioned was the dolphin feeding at Tin Can Bay. So with a dusty head, we drove down in the morning and sure enough, we fed an Australian Humpback dolphin on the beach! After a phenomenal (and well deserved) breaky at Temptations on the Water we headed back to camp for a chill before retracing my Gap Year steps to the Carlo Sand Blow. This place is officially insane - a gigantic sand dune sandwiched between rainforest - it’s a non-negotiable sunset location and a helluva spot for Luna to take her first steps!
Day 6 and: Noosa North Shore
Cruising back down south we stopped at Noosa main beach for lunch and supplies, before hopping aboard the Noosa North Shore Ferry on route to our idyllic beachside campsite for the night - Noosa North Shore Campground. Considering it’s proximity to civilization, this campground feels very much remote. The grassy sites are spacious and the brand spanking new amenities made for a very pleasant stay indeed.
By the time we arrived here Susi and I were like a well oiled German machine when it came to pack down and pack up. I really felt like I slowed down here...heck, I even managed to read a few pages of a book! We ate well, walked lots, spotted wildlife and had a beautiful time. We tried hiking a section of the Cooloola Great Walk too but it was all washed out from previous rain.
Day 7: The Sunshine Coast
What an adventure we had, and for any family who is on the fence about doing this, give it a go with a JUCY campervan hire and get ready to create some memories.