Australia’s Nature Coast with Jodie
Jodie, one of our experienced Australia Experts, recently visited the beautiful Nature Coast on an exciting one week adventure. She is buzzing from her trip and can’t wait to share with us what she did, where she stayed and all the ‘best bits’ from Australia’s Nature Coast.
We asked her five questions about her Nature Coast holiday in South Queensland, including where exactly the Nature Coast is, what’s her favourite hotel here and her personal tips for planning travel to Australia. Here’s what she said.
1. Where is the Nature Coast and what made you choose to visit here?
The Nature Coast spans Queensland’s Sunshine and Fraser Coasts, just north of Brisbane. It’s the kind of place you visit if you are looking for an authentic Australian experience, away from the crowds of the cities. It includes two UNESCO biosphere reserves, the only two that adjoin in the world, making it a nature lover’s playground. Popular locations include Fraser Island, Hervey Bay and the Noosa Everglades.
Tourism and Events Queensland hosted this particular trip, offering those of us who were lucky enough to go visits to so many natural wonders in this stunning coastal part of Australia. We flew with Malaysia Airlines into the sunny city of Brisbane, with a brief stop in the Asian metropolis of Kuala Lumpur.
Jodie’s Expert Travel Tip: Many customers love the idea of an Australia stopover to help break up the journey. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is an excellent choice – you basically get two holidays for the price of one!
2. Where is the best place to stay on the Nature Coast?
We stayed in so many beautiful places but I loved Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort the most. They offer beautiful apartments and I was lucky enough to get the Master Bedroom with Spa Bath! The views were amazing with unspoilt coastline all the way across to Fraser Island. Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort is owned by a friendly, local couple so as well as being picturesque, it has a very personal touch to it too.
As a location, Rainbow Beach has an authentic, small town, community spirit. Carlo Sand Blow is just a short walk from this property, where we watched the most perfect sunset on the sand. Back at the resort, jump into the infinity pool for a swim which also has wonderful views. This was my favourite way to start a day in Rainbow Beach.
Jodie’s Expert Travel Tip: An hour from Rainbow Beach, on your way north to Hervey Bay, you’ll find Maryborough, the birth place of the author of Mary Poppins. In this small city, there’s a Mary Poppins statue and traffic lights that have a Mary Poppins icon. This is a great road trip stop for fans of the films and could easily be incorporated into an East Coast Self Drive Itinerary.
3. Describe your favourite day on the Nature Coast
O, tough question! For me, the day we visited Lady Elliot Island was my favourite. For starters, even getting there was amazing. You take a small aircraft over from the mainland – there are no boats so this is a truly unique and special experience. I had never been on a flight this small and the ariel view of the reef and island below was absolutely incredible.
I also love the eco-ethos of the island which lends so well to the natural diversity found on the Nature Coast. There is a conscious choice to not build above one story on Lady Elliot Island so you can imagine the incredible views and nature that surrounds you from literally every spot you stand in. Snorkelling on the reef was fantastic too; we saw reef sharks, turtles and manta rays, all in one day.
Jodie’s Expert Travel Tip: The Lady Elliot Island scenic flight can be taken from Hervey Bay airport. You will need to allow a whole day for this experience. It is worth every penny for the photo opportunities, both above and on the reef. To book the Lady Elliot scenic flight into your holiday, just speak to your Freedom Destination Expert. If you want longer than a day on the island, stay at Lady Elliot Island Resort.
4. Tell us about Fraser Island. You got to do both, but if you had to choose just one, Fraser or Lady Elliot?
Fraser Island is definitely a must-do experience for all visitors to the Nature Coast. There aren’t many places you can visit where there are no roads! The tour guides that take you around the island are so knowledgeable and the scenery is breathtaking. Lake McKenzie is picture-perfect and the chance to see dingos in the wild is such a unique ‘Aussie’ experience.
We actually got to do a scenic flight over Fraser Island too, which was offered to us for free whilst on our day tour. We were so lucky to be able to do this and it’s an experience I thoroughly recommend now to all my customers.
If I had to choose just one though, I guess I would have to pick Lady Elliot Island. Its remote location, that is only accessible by plane, and strong eco values are the side of Australia I personally love to see. However, if you are looking for a little bit of luxury or are keen to do more activities, Fraser Island would be the best choice for you.
Jodie’s Expert Travel Tip: Most people visit in whale season but if you pick the quieter time to visit, you can enjoy less crowds and the fantastic Whale Song Tour instead. Running in the off-season, it visits the other side of Fraser Island where you’ll have deserted beaches to yourself, kayaking, plenty of games and activities and an Australian BBQ. If you would like to spend the night on Fraser Island, my top hotel choice is the beautiful Kingfisher Bay Resort.
5. When it comes to Australia holidays, is it best to plan or go with the flow?
I always recommend people plan their trip in advance so that they don’t miss out on the things they want to do. It’s important to allow enough time in the areas you want to experience and also to plan which season to visit in to get the best weather or wildlife viewing opportunities for your holiday. Smaller, authentic Australian places might have less availability and planning reduces the chance of disappointment when you are away.
Even if my customers prefer to go with the flow, for example with Australia motorhome hire, I still say its best to have an idea of where you want to go. As part of their plans, I recommend clients get out into the unique nature and wildlife Australia has to offer because it’s so impressive – the Nature Coast is an aptly named and ideal location to do this.
Jodie’s Expert Travel Tip: One of the things I recommend you plan for on the Nature Coast, is seeing part of the Great Beach Drive. With over 200 kms of stunning beach to drive upon, only accessible by 4WD, we can help you experience the sense of adventure here with an organised day tour. On my own recent Nature Coast trip, I was able to see part of this route, visiting the coloured sands for Aboriginal Dreamtime stories told through handprints in the sand – an unforgettable part of my Nature Coast experience.
Useful information for visiting the Nature Coast
Two of the most important things for a successful Nature Coast holiday are when and how you choose to travel. Jodie’s firsthand experience helps us to understand how best to incorporate the Nature Coast into our holiday plans:
How long to spend on the Nature Coast
Jodie spent a week on the Nature Coast. This is a great amount of time to visit all the most well known spots without having to compromise on what you see and do.
Remember, the time of year you visit might affect how long you want to spend here. Whale season runs from July to November, but Jodie visited outside of these months and saw the other wonderful tours and experiences that can be enjoyed in the quieter off-season.
The Nature Coast with other popular parts of Australia
If you have about two weeks, Australia Expert Jodie recommends pairing the Nature Coast with the rest of Queensland on an east coast adventure, like our East Coast Islands & Rainforest Tour.
If you want to experience a similar route to this but go your own way, pick the Nature’s Coastal Drive Motorhome Itinerary instead.
If time isn’t an issue, soak up the Australian sun for longer on a Winter Sun Escape, which pairs the Nature Coast with iconic Sydney on a four week holiday of a lifetime.
If you would like to plan a Nature Coast holiday, we have a wide selection of itinerary ideas, all put together by Destination Experts like Jodie, who have recently visited and know how to travel across Australia’s diverse landscapes.
If there is something more specific that you would like to do, simply reach out to one of our Specialists today using our free planning service.
Photos by Jodie
Jodie has over three years experience in the Australia Specialist Team. She has recently travelled to New Zealand, Asia and Australia. She loves getting off the beaten path, especially if it’s in a motorhome, and spotting local wildlife.