My Cooloola Great Walk experience!

Early last week I arrived home after completing the Cooloola Great Walk with two really good friends. The great walk is 102 kilometers over 5 days. We walked from Tewantin (just out of Noosa, Queensland) to Rainbow beach. You can walk vice versa but I LOVED finishing in Rainbow as it is probably one of my favourite places in the world. The walk was lengthy, tough, mentally and physically exhausting, blister ridden, beautiful, challenging, scenic and blissful all in one. It was a JOURNEY thats for sure. I am so so glad we did this, it’s really important to get out of our comfort zone sometimes. Below is my Cooloola Great Walk experience as well as a few reccomendations, enjoy!

DAY 1

We started at roughly 9am on our first day and staight away went to the DOC hut to get ourselves a lil map so we wouldn’t get lost(we didn’t!). We took the barge over the Noosa river for $1 and started walking from there. This was just over 2k from the start of the walk(we wanted to get extra steps in, JK). Majority of the first day was all along the beach which was so exciting and gorgeous for the first couple of hours but this ended up being maybe 10k walking of the flat sand and our feet definitely started to feel it. After the first 8k I would totally recommend to get off the coast and head towards the sand dunes to follow the track from there as the post with the orange arrow is quite hard to find here. On this note I also wouldn’t take advice from anyone on the beach. North shore is a really busy and populated area with loads of cars and people. The amount of comments/questions we were getting from 50+ year old males(wankers) were unsolicited and we really didn’t need a debrief from people that hadn’t actually had any experience in what we were doing LOL. We couldn’t wait to head inland and get away from civilization πŸ™‚ this was a 7.5 hour walk day and we walked 22k. We made it to our first camp Brahminy at 4pm and IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL! We were the only ones there which made it even more special. Our view from the camp was the ocean to the right and lake Cootharaba was on the left. It was so so pretty.

Brahminy camp night 1

Every camp was very basic. They have a few platforms which is more of a common area, to be able to cook food, leave your bags on etc. as well as a water tank, and a toilet. There are absolutely no showers or trash cans.

We slept well the first night. It was probably one of the coldest nights we had and we slept with our food in our tent which we soon realised we wouldn’t do again as there were rats that found interest, LOL. Speaking of sleeping arrangements. My friend and myself shared a tent and I’m glad we did. She carried the tent the whole time, buff bish. And needed the body heat. The coldest it got was probably 9 degrees, cold for us though. I had a sleeping bag as well as a liner(cheers mum) and the liner really helped with warmth and comfort. I also slept on a compression mattress(cheers dad) and its bag turned into a pillow. Very simple but effective set up. Next time I’d probably invest in a better quality/smaller sleeping bag IF I knew I’d be doing more of these kinds of adventures and I’d take a better pillow as we had quite long sleeps. There definitely isn’t a whole lot to do once you’ve eaten dinner and the sun goes down. We were in bed by 6 and up at 5.30 most mornings.

DAY 2

The second day was most likely my least favourite as there was unexpected incline and it just felt like a long day getting used to the weight on our backs(mine was about 13kg) and so much walking. It did have stunning views of the coast line which was amazing but again was a 7.5 hour walk day including a lunch break. Campsite number 2 was Litoria and was on the Noosa river but felt kinda swampy so was probably my least favourite campsite of the trip. The only time we shared a campsite was this night with two lovely local ladies. We only saw 3 people over the WHOLE 5 DAYS and they were all female, up the chicks.

Whenever the walking felt hard I found myself snacking. Snacking or talking would take the pain away from us thinking about our feet LOL. Snacks that we took and I would recommend are: snakes, trail mix of nuts, banana chips, mnms, dried fruit, we made heaps of bliss balls which were the best thing ever. They were heavy but did not get sick of them, they gave us such great energy. You also really want to have all of your food in big clip seal bags due to the fact there are no trash cans so what you take in you have to take out. We did a really good job with our rubbish and kept things really minimal.

Walking the sandpatch on day 2
So many different terrains

DAY 3

This was probably one of the most enjoyable days on our hike as it was only a 15k day and we made really great time. We arrived at camp just after lunch and once again had the place to ourselves. The trek this day was soooo breezy and cinematic. The trees swayed the whole morning, it was beautiful. Considering we had the time when we got to camp we decided to walk to a nearby lake that was 5k return. I am glad we did this simply because we HAD the time but don’t know if those extra steps to go and visit Lake Cooloomera which was basically a pond with no access was worth the energy LOL. It makes a good story now. A friend said this was ‘decompressing after our walk’. Walking, walking and more WALKING. I feel like most hikers on this track do head here- hoping for somewhere to swim! We slept more or less downhill at Litoria camp so we didn’t get alot of wind this night- had a really great sleep.

Hiking to Litoria camp

DAY 4

This morning we woke and watched the sunrise with mocha’s as well as had a stretch, best start to the day! Day 4 was another 20k day that I was lowkey dreading but we had a great pace on us and it went fairly quickly. It was another 7 hour walk day but threw in a few podcasts and dnms and the hours flew. We saw heaps of cool mushrooms this day. Day 4 had a bit of a Cairns rainforest vibe to it. Super lush, green and tropical. We arrived at the fourth camp feeling relieved and happy to rest our feet but Kauri walkers camp wasn’t the best on the track and we didn’t overly struggle with mosquitos on the track but they were bad at Kauri. We made a team decision to walk a few extra K to some water that we’d heard about. Best. Decision. Ever. This was our biggest day yet at 26k’s but it was so rewarding getting to go to sleep and wake up where we did. Camping under the stars this night was the best end to this adventure.

Home for the night

DAY 5

We were all STOKED to wake this day. We’d almost completed 100k! We knew we had a short morning which was so motivating. We started quite early and got to the sandblow overlooking Double Island and Rainbow Beach by 11am. It was so strange seeing other humans again. Getting to the sandblow felt like such an achievement! Once you get to the carpark which is where the hike ends you still have to walk into town which isn’t far but feels like a kick in the guts when you are SO READY to take your shoes off. We went straight to a cafe and treated ourselves to coffee. I cant even explain how good it felt to shower that day, drink something other than tank water(a freezing cold beer) and sleep in an actual bed with an actual pillow! I was so proud of myself and my friends and there is no one else I would have preffered to have had this experience with. As cliche as it sounds- it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. Some mornings EVERYTHING hurt, but we just kept going. And I think this is where having supportive mates on a hike like this really helps out. Couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without them. Mindset and the people we surround ourselves with are two of the most imporant things, ever. Also kudos to our bodies for their resilience, day in day out. If you are after an overnight hike and really want to challenge yourself while viewing some of the best coastline our country has to offer- do the Cooloola Great Walk πŸ™‚

Recomendations:

  • I personally loved starting from Tewantin rather than the other way around. Especially starting with a bigger day the first day. Im sure north to south is just as stunning! I had been told to start from the north due to the sun but the sun really wasn’t a problem
  • Speaking of sun- we were very sun smart. Zinc every morning on our faces and upper bodies as well as sunglasses and we all wore hats
  • I took three sets of clothes and this felt like plenty. One longer sleeve shirt was great for bigger walking days to protect my arms from the sun
  • Three pairs of good hiking socks was enough. They dry super quickly and we hung clothes out as camp most nights
  • Dehydrated meals are tasty. I’m sure we could have eaten mud and thought it tasted amazing post massive walk days but they were really good. We took the brand Outdoor Gourmet with 2 servings per packet and had these for dinner everynight
  • Oats are a winner for breakfast. Filling and can change them up each day with PB, protein powder, nuts, dried fruit, hey even a bliss ball!
  • Downsize your bag as much as possibly. The three of us packed so well considering we hadn’t done anything like this before. None of us took anything we didn’t use. Don’t double up on anything! It’s a waste of space.
  • In terms of hygiene- baby wipes were an absolute delight to have with us. Hand sanitiser. Deoderant and a toothrush were the extent of my cleanliness. Don’t do this hike if you’re afraid of getting dirty and smelling. I repeat: there are no showers.
  • We had a ripper first aid kit(shoutout Ranger Rose). You can’t take too many bandaids/blister pads. You’ll need them. If anyone had any blister avoidance tips I would love to hear them
  • Invest in good socks, they are worth the money. I got half merino and half bamboo! So comfortable and breathable
  • Take something to add to your water. BCAA’s, or something simular to give you energy and change up the standard tank water taste
  • You’ll need water purification tablets. This is an easy process and rather be safe than sorry
  • Have SOMETHING downloaded on your phone. A show, music playlist, podcast. This really helped me.
  • A 2L bladder of water was personally enough for myself for a day
  • Water and food are the heaviest additions to your pack and these two things are totally necessary so reduce weight if you can with gear/clothing
  • A poncho is really handy to take(shoutout TC) if it rains or to wrap your pack in overnight. Every night was super dewy
  • May was such a great month to do this hike. I don’t think I would enjoy it as much in summer. The mornings were so snug and comfortable. We really didn’t sweat a whole lot
  • What you take in you must take out. DO NOT LEAVE ANY LITTER BEHIND. This is one of the most pristine areas I have ever come across. It needs to stay this way. Be smart before you leave and pack in as little rubbish to your pack as possible before hitting the track
  • Take a head torch, these are helpful
  • Something like tea or hot chocolate is really lovely to pack also for cool mornings
  • We took a jetboil to boil our water for our meals and it was wicked. If you can afford one would recommend. So compact
  • Take a pair of shoes to wear at the camp. You don’t want your feet in boots anymore than they have to be. I took lightweight thongs and i’m so glad I did because I even used these on the track when my feet needed a break
  • Next time I’d take an essential oil spray or something simular to freshen up clothes, bedding etc
  • I would invest in a good quality and compact caming pillow for 4 nights on this track
  • A friend took a flask of rum and this wasn’t necessary but put a bit of pep in our step when we were feeling flat
  • Take bathers to swim in Lake Poona, it has white sand all around and is so beautiful!
  • Obviously let a few people know that you are doing this hike prior to leaving
  • Don’t listen to dickheads on the beach that haven’t participated in this walk
  • Take a rain jacket- just incase
  • I took a 40L backpack and this was a great size for me
  • Hiking boots with ankle support are a good idea as tghere is some incline/decline
  • A piece of string to use as a clothesline is super helpful
  • Giant clipseal bags will be used
  • Keep an open mind and appreciate the simplicity
  • JUST ENJOY IT!
Epitome of the CGW
So lucky to have had this experience πŸ™‚

The truth about your hairstylist

Having been in this industry for almost 10 years, something that I can absolutely confirm is- your hairstylist cares, alot!

I can’t say I’ve come across a collegue that doesn’t care about their work or their clients. In saying that though, It’s a tricky job and so many things are often overlooked. We need to be personable, have great communication skills, up to date technique, be able to basically read our clients minds in terms of the aesthetic outcome they are wanting- and these days that’s almost HARDER with all of the styled/edited/photoshopped hair inspiration photos that can be found on every social media platform! Yep, then we’re expected to recreate said look using the canvas infront of us. Hairdressing is a LOVE job. We hairdress because we thrive off human interaction and connection and because we want our clients to walk out feeling 1000 times more confident then when they first sat in our chair.

I don’t know anyone that hairdresses for the money. It’s not why we get into the line of work we do whatsoever. Hairstylists in Australia are still paid minimun wage, which is quite frankly fucked considering how much passion, love and hardwork goes into what we do. Everyday.

Your hairstylist doesn’t just care about you a lot, they think of you, a lot. The amount of times I think about my clients out of work. If I had a dollar… What recipe I’ll use on them next time, whether they were a hundred perfect happy with their last session etc… the list is endless! I feel like I think about my clients when I wake up and before I go to bed.

Your hairstylist cares, alot.

It annoys me when I hear people saying how expensive salons and the product they provide and educate their clients with, is. You get what you pay for. One more time for the people in the back. You get what you pay for. We spend alot of time with you and on you. Time is money. And once again, hairstylists aren’t on the best wages. So dont complain to us πŸ˜‰ On another note, hair is something that you wear- every.damn.day. It is with you 24/7. I personally take pride in the way I style my hair, as well as the health and integrity of it. Hair is important and we are so lucky to have it. Not to mention the opportunities to chop, change and care for our hair. We are also very lucky to have loving hairstylists all around the globe that care about our requests and appearances as much as we do. Don’t complain to your hairstylist about spending $300 on your hair every 10 weeks. We’ve all spent more money on dinner and cocktails with friends in a night- I sure have. What is the price you’d put on confidence?

It’s all well and good if you don’t see value in spending money on your hair, I don’t see value in purchasing a harley- so i’m not going to invest my money into one.

Don’t colour your hair at home. If you’re mixing two products together as you’re colouring your hair at home, it’s a permanent- and that shit is really hard to get out of your hair. If you take short cuts like this attemping to get a salon result, you wont… and then you’ll really appreciate your hairstylist πŸ™‚ but expect a heafty quote. Colour correction/removing colour from hair is a grueling, costly and lengthy process. Expect to pay for this.

Reminder: do not colour your hair at home πŸ™‚

Bottom line. Appreciate your hairstylist. We love our clients, dearly. We really are so lucky to build relationships with such beautiful and trusting human beings that we can catch up with every few months. Be open with your hairstylist, if you aren’t satisfied/would like something tweaked- just call us. We would so much rather make it perfect for you then to have you go elsewhere. Sometimes communication isn’t quite recieved, we’re only human- we’re doing our best!

Thank your hairstylist. Send them an email telling them how happy you are. Recommend them to your friends. Give them a google review. Give them a hug at Christmas time(if covid allows this).

Hairstylists care, a lot

Thank you for reading,

Yours truly, a loving hairstylist x

5 Recomendations for Cairns

Here are 5 things I LOVED doing in one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations:

Eat at Salt House

We had the most amazing dinner here one night. The atmosphere, service and food was incredible. Everything I put in my mouth was so delicious. If you’re into seafood, this is the place!

Drive up to Kuranda

There are a few alternate options in terms of getting to Kuranda. There is a goldola, train or you can drive. We chose to drive and the 40 minute commute was unreal. There was so much to look at along the highway, everything was so lush- the whole experience was just devine. We walked around Kuranda town, there is a butterfly farm and famous markets but we were too late for both unfortunately. Next time. We did have a good amount of time at Barron falls though and highly reccomend. Cairns has alot of rain throughout the year but in January it was FLOWING, probably the biggest waterfall i’ve seen with my own eyes. Such a fun, nature filled and inexpensive day!

Visit Rusty’s markets

You can’t visit Cairns without attending Rusty’s. Its such a great market in the heart of town with an ABUNDANCE of amazing produce. It’s limitless what the locals can grow up in the FNQ area. I think they call this the golden triangle? It’s cheap, a great atmosphere, the food is amazing(visit the vietnamese stall- yum) AND they have the tastiest V GF DF banana bread. A friend raved about this so had to try, can confirm- scrumptious.

Swim at Babinda Boulders

This was probably my favourite swimming spot I had the pleasure of visiting in the Cairns area. We’ve all seen photos of these rock pools online somewhere. And I must say I thought they looked pretty different to what I was expecting, but SO beautiful none the less. I guess with the climate in Cairns and the wild weather they experience these places probably always seem a little different! Which is a bonus. Th water is so clear, very refreshing and the perfect place for a picnic!

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

No matter what it costs or what the weather is doing for the day, get out on the reef. You travel for about 2 hours to get to snorkel/scuba locations but just being out on the water is pure MAGIC. There are so many colours, species of fish and it is all round such a great day. I loved it and would go out 100 times over. The food was so good on the boat also. Remember: suncreen.

Woah writing this makes me want to move up north… what a gorgeous adventure filled area of Australia! Can’t wait to visit again. To a wonderful week x