A Little Celebration… Happy New Years from Noosa Beach

Happy New Year from Australia! The burning question in my inbox is, “How were the fireworks over Sydney Harbor?”

Well, your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t made it that far down the coast yet, so I missed the big celebration. Although I had planned to watch the fireworks over Sydney Harbor, I readjusted those plans once I found out my friend from back home couldn’t make it here for the holidays. The Sydney Harbor fireworks are a huge event that takes over the city. In the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve, locals recommended that I skip the fireworks even since I am traveling solo. They noted that while it’s not inherently unsafe, that it’s overcrowded and pricey, and that’s a lot on top of navigating hours of crowds by myself.

Once they told me I shouldn’t head there for the fireworks, it freed me to take stock of my current situation. Being in Sydney for New Years would have meant scurrying down the East Coast of Oz. And doing that would have missed a handful of other neat towns that are hotspots for activities and other backpackers. Although I have a punch of sadness to abandon that part of the plan, I also think it’s a solid plan since I have new friends and other fun options.

Plus, even though I took Sydney out of my plans, I am speeding down the coast. Australia is larger than I had anticipated; I could have easily spent my two months in Australia just traveling between Cairns and Sydney.

Beer and a BBQ

Cheap Food from Aldi Dinner :)

But I spread out my time in Melbourne, Uluru, and other areas, which means I am skipping a few of the classic East Coast backpacker activities. Now, I have just a week left before I head to Southeast Asia! I bought a ticket on Greyhound Australia for my East Coast adventures, and it’s an efficient — if not comfortable — way to travel the vast distances between East Coast cities. I made the poor choice of planning two 14-hour overnighters on the Greyhound buses as a way to save cash on accommodation. The major downside to doing overnight buses is that I invariably spend most of the next day napping at the hostel.

Anyhow, all of this is to say that I am firmly on the Australian backpacker route. One of the neat parts of the East Coast is that I continually meet up with other travelers moving in the same direction (north to south in my case, although there are often more moving in the opposite direction). Once I did a couple of Aussie backpacker activities (like the Great Barrier ReefWhitsundays, Fraser Island, and others), I now had friends that I could meet with in every town along the way.

I spent New Year’s Eve with two friendly women I had met camping on Fraser Island. They were also spending passing the night of festivities in Noosa, so we banded together. Noosa is a small town with a laidback, eco-friendly vibe. The city has organic food stores on the corners, and it’s easy to navigate. Basically, it’s my idea of heaven.

To make the day special, we fired up a public barbecue near Sunshine Beach and cooked up a storm. My new friends cooked a traditional German-style potato salad; they made it with vinegar, bouillon cubes, and oil — it was, in a word, fantastic.

After the BBQ, we took the bus to a nearby harbor, we uncorked a bottle of champagne, and we watched the fireworks display. It was a pleasant, low-key way to welcome in the New Year.

And what is a New Year’s without a resolution. My goal this year is to listen. I want to spend more time focused on what other people are telling me, hear their story, and process. Sometimes I forget to listen deeply, and instead merely wait for my turn to speak. This year, I hope to address that habit. I think it’s also a good goal for my year of travel. I want to learn on this trip, and to understand more about the world, not just pass through and see the sights. I want to hear the history and learn as much as possible from each new person I meet.


What am I reading? I just traded my giant Australia Lonely Planet for the first Lord of the Rings. I also grabbed a novel.

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5 Responses to A Little Celebration… Happy New Years from Noosa Beach

  1. Bill January 13, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Took a little long reading your most recent posts. You probably noticed that already though in that you have not been asked if there will be any sharks in your Great Barrier Reef pics. :)

  2. Bill January 13, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    Sorry took so long reading your posts. You probably noticed already as you have not yet been asked if there are going to be any sharks in your Great Barrier Reef pics.

  3. Niki January 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    Hahaha I love the resolution. And that dinner looks yum! Are those pickels I see???

    • brian from nodebtworldtravel.com January 6, 2009 at 8:16 am #

      Australia sounds amazing and is on my wish list. Thailand is fantastic. Bangkok for nightlife and shopping, the north to Chiang Mai for hiking and outdoorsey stuff and the south like Phuket and Krabi for the beaches. Love Thailand, the food and the people.

  4. lisandra January 3, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    Aww I’m so glad to hear that you had a good New Year’s. Mike and I had a quiet New Years at home… playing my new Cash Cab board game and eating sweet potato fries that I made. It was just what we needed after two weeks of non stop crazyness/visiting/partying in Florida. I am dying to know how your time was at the Great Barrier Reef. Did I tell you Mike got an engineering job? (I’ll email you about that later.) Lastly, great resolution. It’s funny because I had a very similar one two years ago. This year I think it’s: to give myself time to make decisions and no one knows what is best for me, better than me. :-) xxxooo

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