I have wanted to see whales from land for a long time. I’m always looking, but hadn’t had any luck so I looked up the best places to see them in the world and one of those places happens to be from an island just off the coast from Brisbane. How convenient.

Humpback whales migrate up and down the East coast of Australia every year and pass by very close to the the Eastern point of North Stradbroke Island on the “whale highway”. So I booked an Airbnb right in Point Lookout for a couple nights to maximize our chances of seeing them.

It was a bit of an epic journey to get from Surfers Paradise to Point Lookout by light rail/train/train/taxi/ferry/bus, but it was relatively pleasant.

The first thing we did after dropping our bags off was head out to do the Gorge Walk. We saw whales almost right away! A few blowholes and we even saw a whale swim REALLY close to shore right below us. Another person said that whale had a calf with her but we missed that.

Life goal complete! I was already satisfied.

We walked down to Cylinder Beach to go to what I thought was a pizza restaurant but was actually a food truck in a parking lot. Everyone else was just driving up and getting takeaway but we didn’t have that luxury so instead we ate in the dark on a concrete bollard. The prawn and chorizo pizza was delicious and I didn’t mind the ambience tbh.

Whale!!

We bought some oysters and salmon to eat by the seashore while watching for more whales. We saw SO MANY. Like 25+!! Whales everywhere!! Some of them breached so nicely that we could see the white parts under their mouths. We saw turtles and dolphins too.

Check out those maniacs! They were jumping off the end of the rocks and then swimming back to the beach. Bonkers!

Eventually we decided we saw enough whales and walked down to the RSL for a cheap drink. We still saw even more whales while sitting on the balcony!

We bought some fresh Spanish mackerel and veg on the way back to grill for dinner. So nice. I love seafood so much.

Brunch at the Blue Room to cap off a very relaxing and satisfying couple of days on Straddie. I had avocado toast and Scott had a maple bacon dutch baby. Both were very tasty with a lovely view from the patio. Yes, we even saw a couple more whale spouts while eating.

The Blue Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We took a few days off at the beginning of July for a little trip to Queensland. We spent a couple days on the Gold Coast to go to amusement parks, a couple days on North Stradbroke Island to see whales, and a day in Brisbane to go to this year’s Brisbane v Melbourne game. It was lots of fun.

First though, look who we saw at the airport!! They were on their way to Coffs Harbour with their grandma and we just happened to sit down at the table behind them to eat our breakfast. After a few minutes Scott said to me “I think that’s Beau??” and it was! Everyone was so surprised, it was funny.

I had a hard to time deciding how to maximize our time in Movie World and Wet N Wild with our 1.5 days on the Gold Coast because the weather report was so grim. Eventually we decided we’d head to Movie World for the first half day even though it was supposed to rain, because at least then we could try again the next day too if necessary (rollercoasters > waterslides). It ended up being the perfect decision because it didn’t actually rain and the park was super empty. The longest we had to wait for anything was like 20 minutes for Superman and everything else was 0-5 minute waits. SO GOOD!

We ended up going on everything we wanted multiple times. We went on Superman x2, Green Lantern x2, Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster, and DC Rivals x4!! Plus watched a few lame shows. (Arkham Asylum was closed for maintenance.) All within half a day.

DC Rivals is the longest/tallest/fastest hypercoaster in the Southern Hemisphere. We went on it twice and got the exact same second last row. Then we paid extra to do it backwards, which was a really weird feeling! Then the very last ride of the day we were really crossing our fingers we’d get the front row. We ended up getting the second front row which was ok but obviously a tiny bit disappointing. But then! The people who did get the front row asked us if we wanted it because they were too scared!! We were like THANK YOU!!!! And yes the front was awesome. Made my eyes water.

Superman was also awesome. It’s really slow and corny in the indoors part but then Superman blasts you out and it’s really great. I love launch coasters!!

So does Scott, apparently. :’)

Tradition! (Featuring bizarre crotch bruises from belt squats.)

The next day we went to Wet N Wild. The park was empty because 1. everyone went to Movie World and 2. it’s the middle of winter. It rained a bit but it didn’t really matter because we were already wet!

Almost half the slides and rides were closed for maintenance which was a little lame but we still had fun. We went on everything that was open at least once in a couple hours.

After Wet N Wild we walked over to check out Top Golf. Scott was v iksidid. I was not really interested so Scott just booked 30 minutes and hit lots of balls very fast. They have all sorts of games you can play with the electronic tracked balls. He seemed to like it a lot. Too bad there’s not one down here because it does seem like a fun thing to do with your friends.

We had to walk back towards Movie World to catch the bus back to the light rail station so why not use our passes to go back in and ride Superman one more time. :D Then we really felt like we had “done” Movie World. (Also it was quite a lot busier in there so we confirmed that we had made the right decision the day before! How often does that happen?!)

We got off the light rail a bit early and walked along the beach back to our hotel. And then later we went to see Toy Story 4. Big day!!

The next day we head off on an epic journey for a few days on North Stradbroke Island which I’ll write about in another post.

After Straddie we went to Brisbane for our yearly family footy battle. Scott got us tickets in the front row, on the fence! That was pretty cool. It was a fairly close game for the first three quarters, with Melbourne slightly ahead. Then as usual things started to get real bad and Brisbane ended up crushing us by more than 5 goals. Melbourne are TERRIBLE this year, I don’t know what happened.

Flying Brick Original, Pear, Draught and Pachinga (chilli, lime, ginger). They were all ok but I didn’t particularly love any of them. Not sure exactly why.

Scott had a non-alcoholic apple cider that was quite nice.

Mussels in a Moroccan cider broth with toast. The mussels were good. The bread was meh.

Flying Brick Cider House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fancy hot chocolate goes down great on a drizzly morning in Forrest. I had regular hot chocolate and Scott had a mocha. You had to assemble it yourself. Put the chocolate ganache sphere and the extras into the cup, pour the hot milk in, and stir a lot. It was tasty, although maybe it could be a little more chocolatey?

And we finally got to try ruby chocolate! Ruby chocolate is a new type of chocolate that was introduced in 2017. It tastes fruity, like berries, but doesn’t contain any fruit. I really liked it!

Platypi Chocolate  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It had been 10 years since I last went on the Great Ocean Road so we took our time getting to Forrest/Warrnambool. It was nice. We saw 8 koalas!

Decent conditions at Winkipop Bells Beach. There were a lot of surfers in the water.

Snot block in Lorne. Was a pretty good one! The pastry was crisp and the icing layer on top was nice and thick. I think I offended Scott by suggesting that the custard layer could be half as thick.

We backtracked a bit after Lake Elizabeth to go back to Kennett River because I wanted to see koalas. It ended up being totally worth it because we saw a whole bunch, including this cutie who put on a bit of a show for us. It was so great. We were by ourselves, he was not too high up, and he was awake!! We saw him climb, switch trees, almost fall down, munch on some leaves, and then find a nice place to settle in for a nap. So cool.

PS I always said I wonder what would happen if you gave a koala a nutritious diet instead of poisonous leaves but apparently koalas are so dumb that they can’t even recognize eucalyptus leaves if they aren’t attached to a tree, and would literally starve to death with a plate of eucalyptus leaves right in front of them. So probably you couldn’t even get a koala to eat something like avocado unless you force fed it hahahaha.

Scott’s hand, a king parrot, hordes, and an unpictured koala. Anywhere the tour buses stop was hella crowded. I wonder if the koala was placed.

Where’s Waldo/Wally/Scott?

More hordes at The Grotto. Pretty cool place though. Who doesn’t love a good natural bridge.

I have never been so disappointed with something cheese related as with Cheese World. Actually this place inspired this whole trip. But it sucked. All they had was a few self serve cheese cube samples, a weird museum of mostly farm equipment, and the most expensive gift shop ever. Who would pay $6 for a crappy sticker?? I wanted to get a hat or t-shirt or something but there wasn’t a single decent item in there.

Tower Hill, just outside Warrnambool, was pretty cool! It’s an old volcano turned wildlife reserve. You get to drive right into the crater which was neat. We walked around trying to find echidnas but didn’t see any. We did see a few koalas and lizards.

We had a nice time in Warrnambool itself, but apparently I didn’t take many pictures there. We went to the hot springs spa at our hotel and had a soak and a massage, ate some nice food, and went to the art gallery. We went to a trivia night and should have won but the host added up the scores all wrong and put us in second last place. Scott was real mad. He never gets mad! I probably shouldn’t have brought this back up.

Then we drove back to Melbs via two cheese shops and a cidery. Not bad.