20.02.2014 - 28.02.2014 30 °C
After finishing the roadtrip, and a one night stop in Brisbane (which reminded me a bit of London with it's bridges, Big Ben like building and it's very own London Eye), we chose to spend our final week in Australia just relaxing and chilling out - as amazing as the roadtrip was, it was just as tiring! We were definitely in need of re-charging our batteries...
We decided to skip the hectic, backpacker-ridden Surfers Paradise, and the equally busy Byron Bay (we did look for accommodation but there wasn't much left with vacancies - not a good sign when you're looking for peace and quiet!)
We instead decided to head to Yamba - a tiny weeny coastal town, with a population of just 6000. It's also home to gorgeous coastal views and a spattering of boutique shops and cafès. Unbeknownst to us when we decided to go, Yamba has recently been voted Australia's best destination! We can definitely understand why - we booked three nights, but stayed four. And would have stayed longer if we could have!
Yamba was the perfect recoup for us, where we spent days walking along the coast eating fish and chips, and evenings cooking BBQs and drinking lots of good white wine (cider for Ben).
Pretty coastal view!
Sunday we visited Yamba's monthly market - there was such a neighbourly, friendly atmosphere, but sadly the stalls lacked the abundance (and cheap prices) we'd experienced in Asia. Even so, it was lovely wandering around speaking to the friendly locals.
We left Yamba on a night bus to Port Macquarie (which actually entailed two buses and a two hour ungodly-hour wait between them). We stayed just the one night in Port Macquarie. Again, we would have stayed longer if we'd been able to.
Port Macquarie is a much bigger town than Yamba, but still has lovely coastal walks and fantastic scenery.
All the rocks lining the coastal walkway have been decorated by various people on their visit to Port Macquarie - they make an interesting storyboard whilst walking along the coastline!
Our last full day in Australia, we visited Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital - it was a really eye-opening day. Although it was difficult hearing about their often traumatic pasts, involving car accidents, burns from bush fires and dog attacks, it was amazing to see those Koalas still at the hospital who'd been nursed back to health. Their aim is to rehabilitate and then release the koalas back into the national parks, but unfortunately some are so badly injured, they're now permanent residents of the hospital. In total, they care for and treat approximately 220 koalas each year - in the 40 years they've been open, that makes it just under 9000 koalas! We're so glad we made the visit to the Koala Hospital - it was a fantastic way to spend our last day in Aus!
A volunteer feeding formula to one of the resident koalas.
The hospital's treatment centre, where they'll often examine and treat the koalas.
With my cute koala keyring outside the hospital! They have a great giftshop where you can buy souvenirs to help their cause - they receive no recognition or funding from the government so every little helps.
So tonight we make our final Aussie journey on to Sydney, where tomorrow morning we'll catch our early-morning to Fiji - we are so excited! Two and a half weeks of luxury island hopping is calling our names...