Day Twelve: Mount Warning to Surfers Paradise
I had packed all my bags the night before, so when the alarm went off at 7am, I just silently whisked my things into the hallway. Today we were hiking Mount Warning, which is the mountain in the middle of the largest crater in the Southern Hemisphere.
(Taken from Google Images—you’ll see why I don’t have any)
With our packs full of leftover tacos and water, we headed out along the misty road lined by thick palm trees and prehistoric looking ferns. Tassie made sure we were prepared by giving us salt for the leeches and spraying our shoes in repellent. The trail was much the same with massive palm fronds shading the path. It had been raining off and on, which left the path slick and oozing with mud. We watched our footing carefully as several ambitious people passed us on the way down from their sunrise hike.
Not only was it sprinkling rain, but at each Emergency Helicopter Landing spot, all we could see was a wall of white cloud. We trudged upwards for the next two hours listening to the jungle birds and hoping the view would improve. The last stretch of the hike is called the rocky scramble, and consists of a rock wall and a chain that you use to hoist yourself up the slippery rocks. It was intense and a good workout that was rewarded by reaching the summit right after.
We were still surrounded by cloud, making the diagrams at the top explaining our surrounds pretty useless. We didn’t let it bother us and celebrated our ascent with a feast of leftover tacos and chocolate covered peanuts. As soon as we warmed up, we started the descent down the same rock wall and through the mud—managing to slip only once.
Back at the hostel, we said our goodbyes to Tassie and drove along Route 34 past rolling farm pastures and cows mooing from the roadside ponds as we whizzed by. The rain picked up a bit after we left Natural Bridge Park, but after ten days of riding in the rain, my confidence and ability had improved. Soon, we passed into the border of Queensland and skyscrapers appeared in the distance.
We pushed past the suburbs until passing underneath the archway of Surfers Paradise. It was bizarre going from remote farm roads to congested city intersections—only an hour apart.
We found our hostel, Bunk, and finally got to wash the mud and rain off in a nice hot shower. Bunk is a top notch hostel with pod-like beds, a pool and hot tub, and tastefully designed lounges with art. Despite the fancy touches, they neglected to add hooks or soap in the bathroom and their lockers didn’t actually lock. So much for functionality, but at least its Instagram worthy.
We strolled around the busy streets lined with shops and restaurants and neon lights and decided to attempt to make our own Japanese styled ramen. Our attempt wasn’t too bad, given we cooked it in a hostel kitchen. We ran into a backpacker that we had met at Byron Bay, so we joined in on their games, all drinking plastic bottles of Little Fat Lamb. We stayed up with the Backpackers that decided not to go on the expensive pub crawl and learned the German and British versions of our drinking games while signing the Venga Boys at top volume.
Before bed, Byron and I went for a stroll along the main night club street to witness the madness. Seven cop cars lined the streets, bass pounded from within the club doors, and many party goers were slumped over the sidewalk puking up their drinks. We walked past and indulged in a late night kebab on the steps leading down to the beach.
April 28, 2018
Accommodation: Bunk Surfers Paradise, $28
Food and Drink: $19
Distance Covered: 78km
Day Thirteen: Surfers Paradise
I was so cozy in my bunk bed pod (and tired from the late night out), I could not be bothered to move until 9:30am. Luckily, the hostel free breakfast was still out and we grabbed the last slices of toast. We saw some equally sleepy faces from the new friends we made the night before laying out in the outdoor lounge. We had been neglecting planning the rest of the trip, so we spent a few hours on the laptops mapping things out. Of course, as soon as we put away the laptops, the sun went away and it started to rain.
We attempted to walk around the city and the beach but just turned around after getting bombarded with fat rain drops. We’d been to Surfers three years ago, so we had no problems just going back to the hostel to relax in the hot tub for hours. We met an American who lived in San Francisco and was living the digital nomad life based on his real estate investments. We also met a British guy who sold his coffee business and could now live “young, wealthy and bougie” (his words, not mine), all at the age of 25.
The lazy afternoon stretched into the evening as we made dinner and bought some goon to enjoy with our fellow backpackers. We played games until late when the staff moved us to the kitchen. We continued our game of Kings until even later, when the staff then closed the kitchen and moved us to the lobby. A few of the British guys showed off their card magic and we finally headed up to our room for bed.
April 29, 2018
Accommodation: Bunk Surfers Paradise, $28
Food and Drink: $13