I was very excited for today as we were finally leaving built up Brisbane for Hervey Bay, the place renowned for it’s humpback whale visitors. Although we were visiting towards the end of the whale season, I was optimistic that we’d see some and I was really, really excited to go out on a boat trip.
The day began for us at 7:30 when we woke up and made sure everything was packed before heading off to the free breakfast at 9. I wasn’t too hungry at this point but managed a piece of jammy toast and some lovely cold water whilst Codie had cereal and toast like a little piggy. On the way back to the room to gather our things up to check out, we asked the reception desk if the courtesy bus was still running to the Brisbane Transit Centre. I expected them to say yes and we’d just carry on getting sorted but it turned out that the bus wasn’t doing too well and wasn’t really working. Oh no. We had plenty of time before our bus to Hervey Bay left so that wasn’t a problem, the issue was that it was quite a long way to walk with all our things in the heat. With our fingers tightly crossed, we checked out and sat in the communal area for a while, using the free wifi and really hoping that the bus would work.
It did! Hooray! After piling all our things into the bag and launching ourselves on to what was quite a run down vehicle, we set off to the centre. I don’t know what it is about minibuses and terrible music but I’m yet to come across one which has some decent stuff on and I was more than happy to get off and leave it behind (a bit like Brisbane to be honest!). One of our fellow minibus passengers was a girl travelling to Bundaberg to pick limes or something and I didn’t envy her in the slightest. I’d love to have a 2nd year visa but I know it’d be horrendous picking fruit in this heat and I’d much rather enjoy our travelling trip now than endure weeks of being in pain. She ended up getting the train whilst we toddled off to find McDonalds for a frozen coke and some fries as well as somewhere to sit for a while whilst we waited for the bus.
At 11:45 we left Brisbane bound for Hervey Bay on one of the Greyhound buses I’d heard so much about. I think it only cost us about $45 each to get there on the 5 hour trip, so about £25, and whilst it wasn’t UK bus cheap, we had all the luxuries of reclining leather seats, usb charging and free wifi. Before we’d got on it, we’d spoken to a lovely old man who lives in Hervey Bay and works for a charity helping underprivileged children from other countries receive urgent medical care in Australia. Everybody in Brisbane seems to pre-occupied with what they are rushing to do to stop and talk or even smile a lot of the time and so it was nice to meet someone who did. It was looking good for Hervey Bay. The bus driver was also very friendly and told everyone the usual information as well as where we’d be stopping for a break and what time. Generally when I’m travelling, I like to just get there unless it’s through nice countryside, so I wasn’t looking forward to having to get off however it did give us the opportunity to have something to eat and a look at a pond full of ibises. As with all service stations, the food seemed over priced so we just paid for one chicken nugget meal to share which was a good job as it was huge! There was a big kangaroo statue outside that was a bit creepy but I forgot to get a photo of it. Codie thought it was a rabbit though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t!
A few hours later and a few patches of rain, our first in Australia, we arrived in Hervey Bay at 17:15. My first impressions were that it wasn’t what I was expecting at all and was a lot more built up but it looked nice and the people looked friendly so that was good. I had somehow forgotten to ask the owner of the Friendly Hostel for a lift but after a quick phone call, he picked us up no problem. It did seem a bit awkward to begin with though as there wasn’t much conversation going on and it felt more like we were going to his house which was weird. Once we’d arrived there though, it was all fine and I was glad my mum had told us about it! We had a double room complete with air con, a chair (now a luxury) , a wardrobe even a teddy and sweets on our pillows. It was nice to finally have somewhere where you weren’t crammed in, felt like you couldn’t speak without waking people and where it was quiet. The room itself was part of an apartment style with a kitchen, living room and bathroom shared with two other bedrooms. I really liked it as it felt a lot more homely and holiday-y than the hostels in Brisbane had felt.
We sorted our things out and then headed out in the early darkness to find something to eat. For some reason, I’d had it in my head that it would go darker later but I suppose Australia’s only just coming into their summer and the nights draw in a lot sooner for the time being. It also decided to throw it down. Not just a little splash but a bucket load. Codie was quite cross and wanted to go back but I was enjoying rain that didn’t freeze you and so we carried on to the shop. I think that was because he’d mistaken a pair of shoes hanging from a telegraph wire for some birds though as it was very funny for me. We ended up with a packet of noodles each for tea as it was so cheap and they were actually very nice for a budget snack. I can see we’ll be eating a lot more of these…
Still tired from the day’s travelling, we ate our noodles, washed up and then headed to bed for an earlyish night and a watch of some programmes on the mac. I hadn’t noticed it before but the bed was huge, two big beds attached, and that meant that we could spread out without overheating each other and that was lovely. I have to admit, we’d barely paid anything for the nights there due to a deal through booking.com which was a shame as the owner would have to pay a fee to them and lost a lot compared to us booking normally. Still, by saving money it meant we saved more for fun things to do around here and I was really looking forward to exploring the area.