australia · oceania

Christmas In Australia: When All Your Plans Go Wrong

Christmas was planned for us back in September, when a friend invited us to spend it with him and his parents in Noosa, just north of Brisbane. They’d be hiring out an apartment for the week and we were welcome to join them over Christmas and spend it on the beach. As time drew closer, I was getting more and more excited. Every time I mentioned Noosa at work, the girls’ faces would light up. “You’ll LOVE it there!! It’s one of the best places in Australia.” I couldn’t wait.

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Five days before Christmas, our friend dropped the bombshell.

“My parents don’t think you can stay with us. We don’t think there will be space.”

I won’t linger too long on the fact he had known about this for… a while.

Frantically, we started looking into hostels and even hotels, but they were all out of our price range or booked up. As much as we didn’t actually mind spending it here in Brisbane (our hostel is like family!), we had our hearts set on spending Christmas by the beach now, and Brisbane doesn’t really offer any options on that front (the lagoon on South Bank doesn’t quite cut it). We even looked into Byron Bay, which would have cost a lot more to get to – we still had a lift offer to Noosa from our friend, at least.

It was my mum who came to the rescue. She was giving us money for Christmas, and she decided she wanted to use it to pay for us to stay in a nice hotel. I had linked her to one way out of our price range – and hers for a Christmas present – that had one room left and she agreed to very generously cover it. She originally told us to use any leftover money on our trip to Sydney – what leftover money?! So really, thanks Mum. :) We couldn’t have asked for a nicer hotel.

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…and then, hours after booking it, our friend’s car broke down.

They were heading up to Noosa a few days before Christmas, and just outside of Brisbane his car overheated. It wouldn’t be fixed until the next day, at which point I started persistently texting and calling with no response.

We looked into all our options, just in case. The last bus on Christmas Eve left in the afternoon, and I was working until 7pm – the last train to anywhere he could pick us up would leave 24 minutes after I finished (assuming I finished dead on 7, which was unlikely), and it was a 15 minute walk away.

He asked if it would be possible to do this as even though his car had been fixed, he was worried it would happen again on Christmas Eve. I said we would try.

As it happened, I clocked off work early and we were set to go.

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…and then our box of food & drink collapsed.

I’ll admit, this was probably the least of our worries! But as we’re rushing to get a last train, I don’t want to be using an entire arm to hold half of our things together!

…and then the whole rail line was closed and we had to get a bus.

December 24th – 31st, Translink thought it would be a fantastic idea to close the rail line up to the Sunshine Coast. We got a train to the outskirts of Brisbane and jumped on a coach… four hours before Christmas. They wouldn’t give us any indication of how long it would take either, so co-ordinating with our friend was a guessing game.

…and then we had THE best Christmas!

Happily, it all worked out in the end!

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Ash and I went for a walk along the beach on Christmas morning in case the weather took a turn for the worse. We HAD to get a beach picture!

Then we got a text asking if we’d like to come over for Christmas dinner – it was absolutely delicious and far better than we thought we were going to get! We had brought barbecue food!

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As it turns out? They probably would have had space for us, but it didn’t matter. We had a lovely room with a gorgeous pool and it was two minutes from the beach! Their apartment was a couple of miles inland on a river.

The weather had unexpectedly cleared right up and it was gorgeous, so we all headed back for some beach time.

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So we got our perfect Christmas in the sun! And just as we were leaving the beach, I noticed some movement in the water. At first I thought it was a person. In fact, we momentarily thought someone was drowning and panicked. Nope. We ran towards the shore to watch an entire school of dolphins swimming past!!! (sadly no pictures as they kept popping up in random places!)

It was the perfect end to the perfect day, and then we got this sunset! It was the best sunset we’ve seen since we left our farm work. (I knew it was good for something!)

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Boxing Day was just as incredible!

Ash and I relaxed by our pool until our friends arrived to go for a barbecue by the beach. Predictably, the beach was packed and we carried on to the edge of Noosa National Park, where we didn’t even have to look for wildlife.

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The wildlife came to us!!

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But seriously, look at that lizard!!!! It was huge! (Did I mention I love lizards?) Everyone gave it a wide berth, but it sauntered straight past our barbecue.

However, there was one animal I DID want to look for. The information office had a sign on where to look for koalas, and I was determined to find one.

So off I went with Ash, and a ten minute walk brought us to this!

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Look at it!! We couldn’t even see its face, but I’ve finally seen a wild koala!!! Another Australia goal to tick off my list. (I also love that it’s holding up two fingers like “screw you, don’t you dare wake me up bitches”)

We had some more beach time before we left Noosa, but then our friend offered to drive back through some scenic routes on the way back to the train station. And boy, it did not disappoint.

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This is pretty Montville! I’d never heard of it in my life, but this picture is taken from a coffee shop! It’s also a pretty cute country town with Tudor-style cottages.

We also stopped at the slightly more famous Glass House Mountains.

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So umm, that was also kind of stunning.

And that was our Christmas! We spent Christmas Eve feeling homesick and worrying about what was going to go wrong next, or if we’d even get to go, and in the end, even though it didn’t really feel like Christmas, we got beaches, wildlife, amazing views and even better friends (even after everything! ;)). I couldn’t have asked for more.

With travel, things will go wrong. But keep going, and don’t let setbacks stop you. No matter what happens, it’ll turn out to be amazing!

Hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas, wherever you spent it in the world!

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