I must admit I had a tough time deciding which part of Oz I will visit. It was sort of a sweet dilemma at first, but as the vacation drew nearer, the sweetness of it disappeared. I had my mind set on going to Australia for a long time, but the incredible diversity that the continent offers, much like the USA, made me indecisive. Nevertheless, the decision had to be made. As most women, I am not such a fan of hard-core vacations in the wilderness and I didn`t want to just go to Sidney or some other big city, I decided upon the coastal area of Queensland. To this day, I am not sure what prompted me in that direction but I am grateful for it, as I had the time of my life.
Climate and Geography
One look upon Great Barrier Reef was enough for me to realize that I had been arriving to a very special place indeed. I was aware that I am looking at the biggest structure consisting of living organisms on Earth, a world heritage site labeled as one of the original seven natural wonders of the world. However, Wikipedia cannot prepare you for a magnificent sight of a coral reef so big and colorful it is visible from outer space. Anyway, I took it as a good omen. Queensland offers a great diversity in climate, but it is generally much more pleasant that most of the continent, where the surrounding and the climate can be harsh and unforgiving, as Bear Grylls often says. Seeing I am not particularly interested in wrestling with the extremes in nature on my vacation like he does, I descended on the coast, which features great weather all year round due to warm currents.
Sea and the Beaches
I will not write about shopping and the beauties of Brisbane, although the city truly is beautiful. That is not why I came to the Land of Plenty. The main reason was the fact that Oz has plenty of beaches, around 10.000, to be exact. My primary destinations were the beaches of Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast said to be among the most beautiful in the world, which surely isn`t far from the truth. I knew I will have time for swimming, so first I set off to try surfing at the famed Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast. According to the official internet site, “infamous superbank” is one of, if not the best surfing beach in the world and home of the Roxy Pro and Quicksilver Pro.
Although I didn`t surf, I consider myself somewhat of a fan so I had some knowledge of the sport before I had set out to catch some waves. As a beginner, I can tell you that it is much harder than it looks. It is also incredibly exciting and rewarding, so much that it was enough to catch a single wave properly and I was hooked. Someone may think it is silly to travel halfway across the planet just to try something you can do about a hundred miles from home. Maybe it is, but I wanted to make it kind of a special experience. And I am glad I waited.
Swimming and the Calm North
Beaches on the Gold Coast are beautiful and have a distinctive golden shine in the sunset, but they can be harsh to an inexperienced swimmer due to constantly changing conditions that bring gutters, rips and currents. You can enjoy a mere dipping any day of the week, but the beaches of Sunshine Coast are more suitable for swimming. For that purpose, I can sincerely recommend Kings Beach and Golden Beach, among others. You will have every imaginable perk at your disposal, while enjoying the break from swimming with generally very friendly, outgoing and very pleasant Australians.
I can also recommend northern beaches, namely Main Beach, for everyone who desires some peace and quiet. Although this beach offers the same comfort and all the benefits of the civilization as its more popular southern neighbors, it is simply too far up north to attract the same number of tourists. It was a wonderful refuge in the last days of my vacation, when I wished for some calmer venue for enjoying the magnificent Australian sea.
After weeks of enjoying myself in Queensland`s great nature, from my flight to Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast I still can`t say I have had enough. As I would without any thinking pack my bags and go again.
“Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and a fellow traveler who takes pleasure in flying. In her free time she is keen to explore new destinations and find best fares for airline tickets. Enjoys the sunrises and local delicacies. If you would like to connect with her, you can follow her on Twitter @MaryAnnKeeling ”