Agnes Water and Town of 1770 – Of beaches and paperbark forest

Agnes Water and Town of 1770

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Known as the northmost surf break on the East Coast of Queensland, Just before the Great Barrier Reef takes over and mellows the waves, lies the sleepy twin towns of Agnes Water and Town of 1770.

Quite remote from the rest, this is the quintessential Aussie small coastal town. It will catch a spell on the passer-by and haunt your dreams for the foreseeable future.  I think I got caught.

The beach is of course omnipresent and why would it not.  From surf to swimming and providing the backdrop to many bushwalks, it is never far.

Agnes Water Beach

But the sea is not the only drawcard.  If you stop there, don’t miss the paperback forest. We went there right after the rain and the colours were striking. Just don’t forget your mosquito repellent….. Still absolutely worth it!

The stepping stones in the wet areas brought back the child in me and I am sure any child would be delighted with this adventure.  It really was as if we had entered the world of fairy tales. I was just expecting a fairy to fly right in front of me! Those paperbark trees really provided such a magical setting.  It is quite a short walk so perfect for children. Don’t miss it if you are in the area!

Cairn – Captain Cook

We also walked on the headland of Town of 1770.  Now, why would a town have a number as a name? Thanks to Captain Cook, who stopped there. Well, I am going to let you guess what year that was…..  

There is a Cairn – a monument dedicated to this moment, where Captain Cook set foot for the second time in what was going to become Australia.  Apparently, the monument is located where one of Captain Cook’s crew engraved a date on a tree. Check out this webpage to unleash your history nerd.

I have to admit, naming a town with a date is a clever move to ensure that people remember it…. Must have been a history teacher who gave it it’s name…..

In any case, the walk around the Cairn is really panoramic and I could not help but stop for a moment to picture the Endeavour anchored not too far away. 

Looking for other things to do in the area, check out this website.

Until next time, take care, explore our marvellous world and leave only footsteps.



Sunshine Coast Hinterland –  Mountville and a sip of wine


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I love beaches and the ocean but sometimes, it is good to leave the coastline and explore what inland has to offer.  Leaving the surfboard at home today to explore what the Sunshine Coast hinterland has to offer.

From Mooloolaba, where we were staying, we decided to go to Mountville which is a little more than 30 minutes drive.  The scenic drive by itself is so worthwhile.  Up and around we went. 


Mountville is this quaint little village on top of a mountain. Art galleries, little cafes and shops; it is difficult not to be drawn in by the relaxed vibe.  Time just slows down up here.  The cloud forest up there is remarkable.  There are quite a few bushwalks around but unfortunately, it was a bit too late for us. Next time!

After a stroll on the main street, a delightful coffee, stopping by a few shops and admiring the view of the mountain range, it was time for a late lunch. 

Thankfully, there is a winery nearby that offered spectacular views, excellent wines and a delicious snack.  Just what we needed.

Flame Tree Hill Winery

Stopping at Flame Tree Winery was most welcome. Cannot think of a better place to munch and wine. Cheese plateau with a Chardonnay overlooking the mountain range and the perfectly aligned rows of vines.  In this picturesque setting, we had to stop and think how lucky we are to visit these stunning locations.

Time flew, and it was already time to head back to Mooloolaba. What a wonderful day in the mountain. Of course, we could not go back without a few bottles of wine…..  Such an excellent wine.

There is definitively more to the Sunshine Coast than the beaches. Check out this link for more ideas on what are the best things to do in Mountville.

Until next time, travel safely and sustainably!

All the best,


Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast —- Of Surf and Walks on the Beach

Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast  —- Of Surf and Walks on the Beach
Mooloolaba Beach

Who is up for surf vibes? Mooloolaba on the sunshine coast definitively delivers. We rented a self-contained apartment for a couple of days. We took daily walks around the block and of course to the beach. It was great to hear and see the waves.  I have been living in the Whitsundays for a while and surf waves are not part of the daily scenery, so this was a welcome change of oceanscape for a little while.

Surf lesson

The wharf has also been a source of entertainment and great food. Make sure you check it out.  If you have a family, the Mooloolaba aquarium is a cool place too.

 I also could not resist taking a surf lesson. I had not surfed for at least six years and even then was not terribly good at it but thoroughly enjoyed getting back on the surfboard. Thanks to the Maroochy surf school!  Still a pretty abysmal surf performance on my part but got out of the water with a smile!

I had also planned to scuba dive the Ex H-MAS Brisbane with Sunreef but unfortunately due to the wind and overall stormy weather,  the trip was cancelled. I will have to come back! If anybody has done it, please let me know in the comments what I have missed!

What a joy to walk on the beach at sunrise. If you have not seen my Youtube video, take a look…. here

Overall, this was a relaxing stay with a really nice change in oceanscape and lovely walks.  

Stay tuned for my day trip to the hinterland of the beautiful sunny coast.

Until next time travel safe and enjoy this beautiful country!

Bushwalking with a View – Hamilton Island – Whitsundays

Hamilton Island Bushwalking

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Hamilton Island is well known for its beaches, marina, restaurants and bars but did you know that there are a number of bushwalking trails that will get you to peaceful coves, deserted beaches and stunning viewpoints. This is the perfect experience to reconnect with nature and make you feel like you are a castaway on a deserted island.  All this, not far from the resort area. 

Hamilton Island map
Hamilton Island bushwalking trail map

In fact, about half of Hamilton Island is not developed and there is plenty of space to get away from everything.  If you plan a trip to Hamilton Island, do not forget to bring your bushwalking shoes! 

The first hike that you might consider is Passage Peak which is the highest point on the Island. The view is fantastic, but it will get your heart pumping.   This is most definitively the best sunrise spot.  You will need to check the weather the day before for a clear day and start the trail when it is still dark. If this is what you intend on doing, do not forget your water bottle and your camera! 

Hamilton Island view

If you are up for a longer stroll, do the loop at the back of the island.  This will take you to South East Head where you will find probably one of the most Instagram ready spots on the island.  The vegetation changes and becomes a bit more arid, this area gets blown by heavy winds and salted by sea fog.  No tick forest here but rather low vegetation which enables uninterrupted sea and island views.  As you may know, the Whitsundays is blessed with 74 islands, and you can see a few from there.  Pentecost Island was named by Captain Cook when he travelled in the area on the Endeavour. Also observable in the distance are the Linderman Islands group. 

Less of a steep hill but still a healthy heart-pumping activity, take a right at Saddle Junction and head for Coral Cove or Escape Beach.  Bring a pick nick and enjoy the secluded beaches all to yourself. Spend the afternoon splashing around, try the big swing and relax.

The loop will also bring you to the big chair, where you can be the king of the hill for a moment and admire the Whitsunday kingdom for an instant. Bring your imaginary crown and you will feel like the middle kingdom is all yours.  The steep hills may bring you out your dream but worth the snaps.

If you decide to partake in any of those wonderful bushwalks, don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear, fill up your refillable water bottle, and wear reef-safe sunscreen if you are going to go for a dip in one of the secluded beaches.  Don’t forget to leave only footsteps and take only photographs.

So, there it is, just one more good reason to plan a trip to Hamilton Island. I hope to see you soon in the Whitsundays.  Until next time, travel safe and give a little bit of love to our planet. 

For cool travel eco-friendly fashion and accessories don’t forget to check out our shop here. Hope you like it.

See you next time,

News from the Great Barrier Reef. The Good, the Bad and Cool Projects

News from the Great Barrier Reef

If you have not visited the Great Barrier of Reef this year, well you are not alone. Here are some news, some not great but some hearth warming ones two, from Australia’s iconic travel destination.  In the past year, this living architecture masterpiece has continued to deploy its colours and its surrealist picture-perfect frames filled with fishes and other amazing creatures whilst we were all inside due to COVID. However, quietly, in the background of all this pandemic whirlwind, some important events have happened this year for one’s of Australia’s World Heritage Classified area; The Great Barrier Reef.  

Great Barrier Reef

Every three year, UNESCO listed natural world heritage areas around the world (252 in total)  are assessed and given an outlook for their conditions; tracking their progress or their deterioration.  This year’s report came out in November and shows that our beloved reef is deteriorating to the point where it was reclassified from “Significant Concern” to “Critical”.  Unfortunately, this was expected.   In the austral summer 2019-2020, the reef saw a widespread coral bleaching event. Corals may be able to recover when there is bleaching caused by high water temperatures but when they come repeatedly, there is just no time to recover and this is what is happening.  Throw in the mix other treats like ocean acidification, outbreaks of predatory species,  cyclones and pollution and you have a struggling reef, running on empty, out of breath and struggling to get back on its feet. 

What can we do

The most important treat to the reef is climate change and out of the 252 natural world heritage area, the reef is not alone.  The IUCN Committee has identified that it is the most important treat to natural world heritage areas around the world.  This really shows that climate change is not something that will affect us in the distant future but that it is affecting the planet right now, under our very eyes.

If history has sown us something though, humans, like the reef, are adaptable and resilient. We are also able to be creative and cooperative. There are a number of initiatives and incredible people working on giving a hand to the reef and all of us, in our own way, big or small, can contribute.

The most important thing we can all do is to reduce our carbon footprint and to make sure our politicians put this on the priority list by signing petitions and sending them letters.  There are a number of options to help understand our carbon footprint.  If you are wondering where to start, check out my article on how to calculate your footprint. We all have different lifestyles and what I do may not suit someone else.  What is important is that we all do a little something and make incremental changes. It is not about being perfect from the start but every little bit count.

Some really cool projects

There are several other ways in which we can help the reef without the need to leave our home. Citizen science projects are a fun way to help out.  The virtual reef is now here! Through this portal, you can help classifying photos from the reef increase monitoring and contribute to scientific projects.  You can also upload photos if you happen to be lucky enough to visit.  You can spend a few minutes on the platform and contribute to monitoring projects.  Bonus, you get to see the reef from the comfort of your home. Check out the platform here.

Museum of underwater Art (MOUA) - Photo by Matt Curnock
Museum of underwater Art (MOUA)
Photo by Matt Curnock

A pretty cool project can be found on Kickstarter. The project is an interdisciplinary initiative composed of scientists, tourism operators, local businesses and a world-renowned artist.  Just off of Townsville, the MOUA or Museum of underwater art is the first of its kind in Australia.  The world-renowned artist and conservationist Jason Decaires Taylor has made a monumental installation in the form of a living underwater greenhouse.  The building is now in its underwater home but planting reefs would help to really make it come alive. The Kickstarter project will help to do just that.  Check it out here!  Funding deadline is 25th of December 2020. Just in time for Christmas! Get in quick!

Another way in which we can contribute is to help out fund a coral farm project.  What a great Christmas gift! If you want to contribute, check the Reef Restoration Foundation here

There are many ways in which we can help the reef,  as you can see, even if you live in the city or are stuck at home, get your keyboards going!  Most importantly, spread the word. Share this article and let’s help the reef to be more resilient. Oh, and if you visit the Great Barrier Reef, you will be stoked. There is still just nothing else like it. Make sure you take only memories and leave only footsteps on the beach.

Until next time, travel safe,



Reflection on Tourism and Sustainability

Travel and sustainability

PS- Not feeling like reading, watch it! Check out my Youtube video here instead.

Peppermint Magazine
Peppermint Magazine Spring 2020

Still feeling the pinch when you see a plane?

Reminiscing the good old travel days and those travel plans gone astray?

When you daydream about travel, but your day looks more like one coffee cup after the other.

Now that we have some time to reflect on the world, how about reviewing our tourism habits.

I was reading the Spring 2020 edition of Peppermint Magazine and found this interesting article about the future of tourism. The article is called: “Oh! The places we’ll go “ by  Emily Lush. What I gather mostly from this article is that now is a good time to re-visit what we have been doing for a long time. From health concerns to over-tourism and carbon footprint, the travel industry brings a long list of unanswered questions but also an opportunity to change.

From what I can gather, getting the cheapest holiday package might just be a thing of the past. With all those travel agencies vanishing into the stratosphere and State borders still closed, our thirst for adventure might have to be satisfied with closer to home holidays.  Once borders slowly re-open, taking the plane interstate or dare I say to an international destination might not be as affordable as they used to. For a lot of us, that will probably mean travelling within the country, closer to home, for the foreseeable future.  

But there might be some good things out of this.  I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful Whitsundays in Queensland, and from talking to visitors, I was quite astonished that people living relatively close by were coming to the region for the first time. Queenslanders seem to discover their own State for the first time which is such a great thing!   One of my wishes would be that more Australians visit the Great barrier Reef and realise how significant this eco-system is and how it is intertwined with our climate and food sources.  Even with all those videos and photos available, there is still nothing like experiencing the real thing.

Maybe, if you feel like experimenting travelling in a more sustainable way, I have a free guide to help you plan a more eco-friendly trip in North Queensland, but where ever you go, whether it is your backyard or further afield, don’t forget to pack eco-friendly!  For the month of November 2020, check out Peppermint magazine where you can get a discount code to get you started with what you need for packing your suitcase! Take care and chat with you soon.


Five (5) amazing tropical beaches in Australia you should consider for your next trip

5 Tropical beaches in Australia


I think every Australian has a favorite beach…… From bringing back childhood memories to best surfing wave EVER in living memory, we all have a special one…… or two. And must admit that we definitely are the lucky country when we talk about beaches. From spectacular cliffs, roaring swells, white as milk sand, turquoise waters, the Australian beaches can be declined in many forms.

What is a “tropical” beach?

I have been lucky to visit and live near an incredible number of beaches in Australia and though I share a bit of my knowledge with you. I believe that there are some definite jewels out there that deserve your consideration when planning a trip in your own backyard. Whether you like a bit of luxury and action or deserted stretches of sand, there is something for everyone.
There is quite a lot of variety, but what makes an amazing tropical beach?
Well, in my mind, when I think about tropical beach, I think :
• Blue water hues declined in rich shades of turquoise to deep blue;
• White as milk to golden shades of sands;
• Some unique character;
• and green, lots of green….. with palm trees and tropical vegetation (dare I say, not sub-tropical – sorry Noosa, love you though….).

Palm Trees in Palm Cove
Palm Trees in Palm Cove

I think most beaches in Australia would qualify hands down for the first two or three criteria but the last one…. Greenery and topical vegetation….. that is a bit of a hard find in a country best known for its recurring droughts.
To be honest, there are some amazing beaches with sand as white as snow and water as transparent as a glass but bare in vegetation….. I remember travelling in northern Western Australia, driving and driving in the red dessert and then boom! Suddenly, white dunes and the most amazing transparent water plus a stunning reef a few meters from the beach .

But near no vegetation. … green was not part of the local colour palette …. So although, one the most unique beach I ever been to…. I have not included it in this list….
Back to the main point….. amazing TROPICAL beaches, according to me (no affiliate links and photos from yours truly) !



1. Cape Tribulation (near Port Douglas, Queensland)

For more info click here

Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation

Green, green, and green. If you like lush jungles then you are in for a treat. The Daintree forest is the oldest remaining tropical forest in the world (yes older than the Amazon). It will satisfy your need for tropical green. Don’t miss the spectacular native fan palm which is uniquely Australian.

Fan Palm, Cape Tribulation
Fan Palm, Cape Tribulation


In fact, the Daintree forest is a World Heritage site and is home to incomparable flora and fauna – just like it’s neighbour, the Great Barrier or Reef.  The mountain backdrop from the beach is stunning, the water is inviting and the sand is golden. Bonus,  if you like kilometres of deserted beach, with not a soul in sight, then this location will make you as happy as Larry.

If you wish to visit, there is nothing like a sleep over in the jungle if you can. Otherwise, I recommend that you base yourself in Port Douglas (then you can also visit 4 Miles Beach and rent a car or hop on one of the local tours available).  It is a long day driving and you will have to take the ferry across the Daintree River but, oh so worth it. I have to admit, when talking about best tropical Australian beach, I think this is it…



2. Palm Cove (near Cairns, Queensland)

For more info click here

Palm Cove, Queensland
Palm Cove, Queensland

Yes! Palm Cove has palm trees. Ok, I have to say, palm trees, as we picture them, are not native to the area (well ,I will not get into a botanical debate here) but still….. We like the look.   What I like about Palm Cove is that the numerous hotels, restaurants and shops are low key and the foreshore and buildings are well integrated. It creates quite a cosy and laid back atmosphere where you can sit in a terrace, sip a cocktail and overlook one of the finest beach in Australia. Also, Palm Cove  has self-proclaimed  itself spa capital of Australia, so you can enjoy a massage to the sound of the ocean….. Not bad, if you want to enjoy some luxury.

If you wish to go there, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants to choose from but it can be a bit expensive. If you need more accommodation choice, Cairns is not too far and you can rent a  car and make it a day trip.

If you have time, you can rent a car and drive to Port Douglas. The picturesque winding road is an attraction by itself and you will find many look outs to stop at as well as beaches to discover on the way.

3. Mindil Beach (Darwin, Northern Territory)

For more info click here

Mindil Beach Markets, Darwin
Mindil Beach Markets, Darwin

Also known for the Mindil Markets, which are the biggest food, arts and craft outdoor markets in the area. Join the locals, raid the food stalls and have a pick nick on the beach where you can admire the stunning sunset over the ocean horizon….. Just magical. During the day, when there is less people, you can enjoy the beach and the palm tree lined dunes.

Mindil Markets occur only during the dry season. There are plenty of hotels in Darwin and surrounds.




4. Catseye Beach (Hamilton Island, Queensland)

For more info click here

Catseye beach is the main beach on Hamilton Island. A family friendly, water sports lover, palm tree lined beach.

You can rent: paddle boards, kayaks, wind surf, little catamarans, snorkeling equipment for your joyful family entertainment or romantic getaway.  If you are not keen on the ocean or have small children then there are swimming pools a few meters away with deck bars. From the beach, you can admire Whitsunday Island and the turquoise ocean. Turtles and Manta Rays are a frequent sight.

The view from the hotels rooms and apartments opposite the beach is phenomenal and honestly unbeatable.

Hamilton island is accessible by plane from major Australian cities or by ferry from Airlie Beach.

5. Mission Beach (Between Townsville and Cairns, Queensland)

For more info click here

cassowary in Mission Beach
cassowary in Mission Beach

Last but not least. A tranquil little coastal town where you can admire one of the strangest big birds on earth: The cassowary. It is a bizarre vulnerable species of fruit eating  “emu “ or “ostrich”  – like -stature, and it roams free in the area.  Quite unique in the world.



Mission Beach
Mission Beach


The beach is an endless stretch of golden sand. If you like to walk and walk…. Just enjoy….. Peaceful and inimitable. Have a rest and enjoy the tropical greenery outlook from the beach. You will not be disappointed. Feel relaxed in a split second. Just walk and swim….

Best to drive there from Cairns or Townsville. Ideal to reconnect with nature.




When to go

As for most tropical areas, the climate is divided between the wet and dry season.  Best time to visit is during the dry season which is April to October if you want to maximise your chances of pleasant weather and avoid stingers. There are still plenty of nice days during the wet season but you need to know that drenching rains are more frequent on the radar and that swimming is restricted to stinger nets and pools (a stinger suit is necessary otherwise).

Admittedly, during the wet, the weather report will tell you that there is a possibility of showers on most days…. A lot of times, it means a light and pleasantly refreshing shower in the evening but other times it will mean five days in a row of intense non-stop rain and involves flooding of major roads. Don’t be fooled.  Check the amount of rain predicted to differentiate the two. I may suggest that if you go during the wet season, it is even more important to check the cancellation and re-scheduling policies of your airline and insurance company. Take an appropriate insurance if you need to and check the weather before you go.  Cyclones do happen, and trust me you don’t want to be there when a big one hit.  Avoid being disappointed and re-schedule instead. It sucks, but it’s a reminder that mother nature still has the upper hand……

On this note, I have been living in the tropics for many years and love it. Even the wet season….. You can still get stunning days.

Hope that you will consider my recommendations for your next trip and that you will share my love for Australian tropical beaches….

And if you end up deciding to go on a tropical trip, be prepared by downloading my PACKING CHECKLIST….. It is an interactive Excel spreadsheet that will allow you to plan your trip in the sun….

Here at Tropical Suitcase,  we love tropical living and we invite you to join us , explore the world and plunge into your suitcase…… what is in it? You could be in for a surprise! Start by checking out our WEBSITE  or visit us on FACEBOOK.

Go on find your favorite beach. Explore it and make sure you only leave steps in the sands and smiles on people’s face.