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Noosa & Gold Coast, Australia

The drive to Noosa is one that I'll never forget. I ended up having to stop for a sandwich at a random hole-in-the-wall place an hour or so from my hotel (halfway to Noosa) and then got a whopping $300 speeding ticket. According to the police man, I was going 126km in a 100km zone which I was completely unaware of. Basically I was getting fed up driving, ready to get to my destination, so I wasn’t paying much attention to my speedometer after I had passed this one car, when a police car pulled me over after coming from the opposite direction out of nowhere. I tried everything to sweet talk my way out of the ticket including just having arrived in the country, not familiar with the rental car, not knowing I was going that fast since I was trying to pass another car, to being a tourist and giving me a chance (like they do in America haha). But I could tell he wasn’t going to give in from the beginning and after looking up my license information, he came back and wrote me the ticket because he said it was “my responsibility as the driver”...$300 worth? I was pissed. In the back of my head, I was thinking about that conversation I had with that UK couple in New Zealand about how strict the driving laws are in Australia, wishing I could vent to them about what just happened. Anyway, I had 30 minutes left to this random place I found on, where I checked into my cabin that had a kitchenette attached, which was convenient (cooked some pasta)....but then the Wifi wasn’t working so I got even more upset (seemed like my day just kept getting worse). It was a full moon that night so I decided to just give up on everything and do a nice yoga flow and manifestation ritual that really helped. My practice was long overdue and it felt amazing to check back in with myself as all these obstacles kept getting in the way of my purpose.

I had a nice relaxing night, went to bed and was off again on another 6 hour drive to Noosa, first stopping at my first fast food restaurant, which in my opinion isn't as good as the ones in America. It was a long drive but I listened to podcasts the entire time and then checked into this backpacker hostel, called Dolphins, where I had a beautiful private room upstairs and it was such a perfect surf hostel so I was happy. Then I drove straight to this sunset happy hour place I had researched which ended up being this surfers club with really fancy, dressed up preppy locals on the main beach (I later came to find that these surf clubs are everywhere in Australia, at every beach). It was difficult to find a seat so I sat at this bar stool table and met these interesting Aussies (one younger guy from Melbourne and he was with an older guy from Noosa) and then got tacos at this younger crowd bar 5 minutes away, and then headed to the grocery store to get some food for the next few days. That night I realized I booked the wrong day to return my rental Juicy car at the Gold Coast location, so tried calling at 9pm but had to wait till the morning - and when I called in the morning, I was able to adjust it without a big penalty. I got back to my hostel and talked to the receptionist about the best ways to surf around there (location/times) and then called it a night. The next morning, I went to this really cute cafe right down the street and ordered the Haumali cheese with egg and a cappuccino and then took my rental longboard (from the hostel) down to Sunshine beach to surf (which was about a 7 minute walk from the hostel). I got to Sunshine beach around 9:45am with 2 hours to surf until I was going to make it back to eat some lunch and head to the main beach to surf (since the shuttle leaves at 12:30pm everyday). I saw about 5 surfers out there and a few just going out and got my things ready. Once I got in the water, which was pretty cold but not too bad, it was so hard to get out in the water, past the break, I kept getting washed in and couldn’t get out, it was awful. I kept trying and trying but it just wasn’t working out, so I gave up after giving it my all a couple times. I couldn’t believe I couldn’t get past the waves, I was so disappointed and defeated that I just bought my surfboard back up to the shore and lied down for a bit. I mean, the current was strong so I shouldn’t beat myself up so much, but was disappointed that I headed back to my hostel. I did a nice yoga flow practice and then got ready for the shuttle to go to the main beach.

I met these girls that were on the shuttle to the main beach, from the Netherlands and we walked through the park together and then I separated to go surfing. I went out to surf at Tea Tree and the waves weren’t that big, but hard to get out at first. There was one other guy out there catching some and I caught a few and then he pointed out dolphins swimming like 10 ft from us and I loved it! It made me so happy to see the dolphins so close next to me out there surfing. Once I had enough, I headed back to chill for a bit and then walked back to the main beach to check out the waves there and they were even smaller so I just played around with my board and then called it a day. I bought a hat from this surf shop and then took the shuttle back to my hostel with those other 2 girls as well. I showered and went to get a nice coconut turmeric curry and was so exhausted I fell asleep early.

The next morning I went to the other coffee shop down the street where a bird was annoying me and tried eating the apple pie I ordered. I checked out and left for the Australian Zoo, about 2 hours away. It was a great experience, I saw the show they put on every day at noon with the crocs and birds and then walked around and saw a wallaby, and finally the cutest koalas! It was awesome to pet and hold a koala, the cutest little (stinky) animal that sleeps 18-21 hours a day (I've always wanted to hold one so I was happy). The zoo was well maintained and had a good variety of animals with many families and tourists around, I stayed for a couple hours. Then I drove to the Gold Coast to return my car and get a new car. At the next Juicy, I got another hatchback car and realized I was near Snapper Rocks/Rainbow Bay (2 point breaks that Australian girl from Bambuda Lodge in Panama told me about), so decided to check them out. There were surfers just coming out and super windy so I walked around and enjoyed the view of the sunset while eating some fish and a beer at the surf club on the corner. Another high-end clicky club where there weren’t any backpackers so not sure why I decided to go there becasuse I felt so out of place, it was just convenient.

After sunset, I drove to my hostel, Surfers Paradise, on the Gold Coast. I arrived later than expected around 7pm and everyone was playing drinking games (beer pong) and partying. I was absolutely exhausted from the zoo that morning and driving all day. I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with young hostel drunkies that night so I was not in the best of moods. I asked if I could get a private room and thankfully there was one open for one night so I paid the extra $30 so I could get a good night's sleep before surfing the next morning. I was so grateful to not have to sleep in a dorm room that night and was able to do some research and go to bed at a decent time. I woke up and changed my room to the dorm room around checkout time and thankfully got a bottom bunk and headed to go check out the surf spots and see where I could rent a board. I ended up taking a walk along the coast/esplanade between Miami and Burleigh beach and then drove to Currumbin Beach and found the surf school there where I could rent a board from the next morning. The owner was really nice and accommodating, he gave me the number to call when I arrived the next morning. Around that area, I was in awe at all the kite surfers that had come out to play that afternoon in the little cove around Currumbin Beach. It was a super windy day and looked like a blast so I stuck around and ate my chia seed yogurt, admiring how high they flew and fun it looked. In the parking lot, I saw this older guy with long hair that looked like an experienced kite surfer, so I asked him how one becomes a kite surfer and the training process. He told me it would take about 4-6 months to really get the hang of it and and probably cost about $80/hour which is cheaper than what others normally charge and equipment can cost between 1k-3k. By the end of the 4 months of training in calmer seas such as Surfers Paradise, then one can move to Currumbin Beach. He gave me his card in case I would be back and then I drove to Burleigh National park and was going to lay out in the sun but it wasn’t sunny so I drove back to Surfers Paradise and ran around the park trails. The trails were stunning with views of the ocean and inside the park with a lot of people running and walking and it was the end of the day so not too hot. I got back just in time before it started to downpour and then headed back to Surfers Paradise and had an early dinner with a nice view of the sunset/rainbow while I devoured a delicious seafood dish. I got back to my hostel just in time to shower and get ready for trivia night. There was this loud group of guys all wearing these orange jerseys with a chicken logo partying like crazy and already really drunk. I went to get a beer at the bar and there was this older looking Asian guy that sounded American (Daniel) so I asked if he was playing trivia and turns out he’s from San Francisco, California so we started chatting before getting interrupted by the drunken group of guys. This younger 19 year old was harassing me on where I’m from and how different the football in America is compared to in Australia and just wouldn’t shut up about where Washington, DC is located because he was so drunk. After repeating myself multiple times, finally it was time to play trivia and turns out Daniel and this guy from New Zealand, Saul, were on the same team so the hostel organizer, Sheila (funny girl), put me on their team instead of the team I was originally on with these girls. This guy Saul was an interesting fellow as he was attractive and buff, but very random whenever he talked and couldn’t tell if he was drunk or on drugs the entire time I knew him. He had something about him that was odd, as if he had something to run away or hide from. Nevertheless, we were a good team, Saul took care of the sports and anatomy type questions, Daniel took care of the most random questions, and I took care of the geography and food type questions. We ended up in second place, though we should’ve gotten first because Daniel won at limbo which I think should’ve counted for more points. The first place team was the team I was originally going to be on and ended up befriending these girls at the after-party club (all from the UK in their early 20s) though 2 of them best fiends, 1 on her own. The club scene was funny, with disco lights and a DJ that played pop music and some oldies, it was funny. I didn't stay long, so walked back with one of the UK girls and chatted with my bunk mate and went to bed. That next morning I woke up to go surfing at 8am. There were already so many surfers out there when I arrived and surfed for a couple hours. It was nice and relaxing, but also difficult to maneuver between all the people. And of course the same guys kept catching all the waves that I was going for so after a while I was tired and headed back and took a short nap before returning the board around noon. I then took another nap and played in the water for a bit before heading to get lunch at this pizza place Justin’s that Sasha had suggested I go to in Burleigh. It was a cute rooftop pizza bar and I ordered a big seafood pizza before realizing my license was missing. I thought maybe I dropped it at the club the night before, and started to get worried so I ate quickly and checked the car where it wasn’t to be found so I started to head back to the hostel thinking I could look in my room and then called the club and left a voicemail. On the way back to my hostel, about halfway there, I realized I had shown my license to the surf school guy that morning when I was completely out of it. So as soon as I realized that, I called Sam up who then checked with the guy and said I could meet him at the van to get it back in 30 minutes. It was around 3:30pm so traffic was starting up again and it took about an hour or so to get back there which was annoying but necessary because I needed my license. I was going to practice yoga in the park or somewhere there, and ended up finding a place on the parkway near Burleigh beach. It was an interesting experience doing yoga in an area like that with many cars and people walking/running around. It was a challenge to have to focus with so many distractions, so it definitely wasn’t relaxing but a good experience. It was approaching 6pm so I headed back to shower and eat some leftover pizza and then that's when I met up with the UK girls to play UNO and one round of beer pong. They certainly didn’t know how to play beer pong the same way as I’m familiar with as they didn’t have any of the same rules as we do in America. We only played one game and then they told me some funny UK sayings such as: Wanker, Bellend, Don’t be dauft, Dingus doofus dingleberry, Itnit, Bollocks. They also gave me great recommendations on where to go in Australia which was helpful and it was a boring/fun night, not too much happening. I went back to my dorm room around 11pm and found a new girl had just arrived so we started chatting and getting to know each other. Turns out she’s from Thailand so might meet up with her in Phuket (we exchanged numbers) and the other girl in our dorm was this girl from the Netherlands (very quiet and kept to herself most of the time) trying to find a job in the area so she could stay longer. It was my last night there so I chatted with them and went to bed and then checked out as soon as I could to get out of that place.

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