Rags for Riches: The Holiday That Changed Everything

Updated: May 27, 2020

It began as a reccy to see what parts of Australia we liked, a dream of my partners that then manifested in me. It then developed into the holiday of a lifetime. 24 days spanning over Christmas and New Year taking in five locations; Noosa, Port Douglas, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

It took a lot of saving, and a lot of planning but we ended up on a holiday that people like me generally couldn’t afford. First stop; Noosa.

Everything about the holiday excited me. The flight, stopping off in Dubai, the planned trips, the wildlife and idea of scouting out locations to potentially live in the future. There was a lot to look forward to.

Noosa National Park. Monitor Lizard. Photo Credit Charlotte Edwards

We arrive on Christmas Eve in Brisbane. After a 24-hour flight, stepping outside into mid-30s heat in the festive season immediately throws you completely out of sync. We step into our transfer coach to Noosa for the hour and a half journey and after all the hours on the plane you’d think this would be unbearable, but no, the Aussie road signs, driving past open land with sights of kangaroos and wallabies was all novel enough to help the journey fly by.

Peppers Resort Noosa is our home for the next eight days but first there was the case of jet lag kicking in and needing to adjust to Aussie times so we sleep. Our room wasn’t ready and being as it’s a holiday, alcohol rules are out the window and we have a pre-12pm beer. A few hours kip and we explore the resort and hit the bar for happy hour cocktails. Walking around the resort grounds we spot numerous wild lorikeets and the bird song is completely different to the UK’s. It’s awesome.

Christmas Day – this is a weird one! We wake up early and head to Noosa National Park on the Laguna Lookout side, with views of Noosa River, Noosaville and the coast. As we step into the Park we hear Kookaburras for the first time and I firmly believe they’re wild monkeys set to rip our heads clean from our torsos and eat our brains! We meet Aussie Magpies and Brush Turkeys along the way, which are marvelled at and photographed by us and us only. Nobody else cares. This must be the Australian version of papping a Herring Gul or a Common Pigeon.

Australian Magpies at Laguna Lookout, Noosa National Park

This is a Christmas Day not like any other, shops and bars are busy and bustling along Hastings Street and the beach is packed. For Christmas dinner it’s steak and chips!

Boxing Day and we head out to the coastal side of Noosa National Park with stop offs at Tea Tree Bay and Dolphin Point. It’s hot and much harder to explore than the UK, so we head back and along the way we see a Monitor Lizard for the first time. We photograph, and again, nobody else cares. As becomes a common trend, we hit the bar at 5pm for happy hour.

Tea Tree Bay, Noosa.

Our two free festive days are over and from here on out it’s a busy few weeks. The first excursion is the Noosa Everglades. We set off from Noosaville and first impressions of Noosaville are that it’s very picture perfect. Sculpted paddle boarders and vibes of Muscle Beach.

The cruise along Lake Cootharaba and Noosa Everglades is bliss. Stunning wildlife and a dip in the warm waters before a BBQ cooked by our tour guides at Cootharabar and another meeting with a Monitor Lizard before venturing deeper into the Everglades along Fig Tree Point and Harry’s Hut make for a great day.

Noosa Everglades

Frasier Island Day! What a trip. Our well-versed South African tour guide elevated the day further. Today, en route to location we discovered the Australian love of pies and I tried a breakfast pie, basically a full English encased in pastry as the vehicle to deliver from hand to mouth. Enlightened.

The beach highway en route to Frasier Island

So many things to take in, a highway on the beach (this is normal in Australia), a ferry trip with views of dolphins and sea turtles, Lake Mckenzie’s beautiful white sands and crystal clear waters, giant & ancient trees, and the fact there is an endless supply of tea, coffee and cold beer. We also learned the term ‘bogan.’ I dream of being an Australian bogan one day.

Tewantin. Pelican on a post! Photo Credit Charlotte Edwards

A couple of free days ahead where we took the boat taxi up and down Noosa River, explored nearby Suburbs like Tewantin, enjoyed the resort, explored Hastings Street, more trips to Tea Tree Bay and of course, happy hour drinks. I also discovered Fat Yak pale ale and Betty’s Burgers. Memories of the NYE celebrations on Noosa Beach are eclipsed by the biggest beetle ever seen crawling on a neighbouring woman’s leg, which we had to point out to her horror.

Noosa River

On New Year’s Day we bid a fond farewell to Noosa. On to Cairns!

Part 2 – Port Douglas, Daintree Rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef. Read it here.