I’ve wanted to visit Australia for as long as I can remember. Being this close to Australia but not having been there was driving me crazy. So after a couple of months here in Honiara, I convinced Rachel that we should visit Austalia for some R&R. Since most of the flights out of the Solomons from Honiara just happen to be to Brisbane, Australia, it seemed as good a spot as any for a first-time visit down under.
We came back from Isabel on Tuesday morning and flew out to Brisbane Thursday afternoon. The trip started off with a minor blunder when I fell off a set of concrete steps and sprained my ankle while carrying our bags out to the car in Honiara. It was a fairly epic fall with luggage flying everywhere and some of it landing on top of me, all in front of our neighbors as they were nice and offered to drive us to the airport. With very little time to spare before our flight, and only one flight a day or so to Brisbane we decided it was just a sprain and our neighbor provided a bag of old frozen veggies and we headed off to the airport. The ankle made for some challenges getting through security and customs, but the airport did eventually provide a wheelchair which made life easier getting to the plane. The airport here is just open tarmac so it was a several hundred yard trek from the gate area to the staircase up to the plane. We were able to board first and the flight attendant provided a bag of ice so we could ditch the veggies.
We decided to forgo the big city of Brisbane and decided to stay about an hour north in Sunshine Coast. We rented a car and found a quaint little apartment tower one block from the beach that rented out the apartments when the owners weren’t using them. We got a great one-bedroom unit on the sixth floor with incredible ocean views, and views of approaching storms.
Since Rachel had a ton of work to catch up on, we choose to use Friday and Monday as work days and enjoyed just being there and de-stressed. It turned out to be productive and we still managed to enjoy the beach after working full days. This turned out to be enough time for the ankle to heal enough to put some weight on it and get around with just a nice limp by Saturday.
On Saturday we headed up to Kondalilla National Park and Kondalilla Falls. I managed to make the 1 KM walk out to the start of the falls and Rachel ran down the rest of the way to get to the bottom and enjoyed a quick swim in the river.
After the hike to the falls, we drove west out to Kenilworth where there is a dairy. They have a huge assortment of cheese, ice cream, mousse, and free samples! We bought a good assortment to bring back and had a delicious lunch.
On Sunday, we drove up the coast to Noosa National Park to more great beaches and short hiking trails.
Except for the ankle issue, it was a great trip and provided a great first adventure down under. We saw plenty of wildlife (even if we didn’t see any Koalas or Kangaroos, not for a lack of looking or trying), picked up some much-needed supplies (coffee, peanut butter, chocolate, cheese, honey, etc!) and got a chance for some much-needed relaxation.