Sarah Herron is an authenticity advocate, public speaker, Colorado native, and lover of the outdoors. She recently ventured to the Gold Coast of Australia and shared her experience with us.
Photos by Dylan H. Brown
Australia is one of those destinations most people spend a considerable amount of time planning for. After all, it’s incredibly far away, it’s expensive, and there’s SO much to do and see. It’s not really one of those adventure vacations you just spontaneously take.
Or maybe you’re like me and you do.
In March I was invited to speak at an event for millennial wanderlust-enthusiasts in Bondi Beach—the Venice Beach of Sydney, Australia. The only idea I had about Sydney was what I’d seen on Instagram— a vibrant, creative beach community filled with dangerously attractive people. The opportunity to fly halfway around the world to soak in these vibes was an offer I didn’t have to think twice about. So I booked my flight with no plan in place other than the “non-plan” I was going with. My expert traveler of a boyfriend has taught me the art of “just showing up” and letting the adventure happen, so that was the approach.
Aside from the infamous saltwater pools that line the coast, a quick scroll through hashtags on Instagram led me in the direction I knew I wanted to go. Over the course of 10 days, we explored the coast from Byron Bay to Sydney. Here three adventures from my time on the Gold Coast that I highly recommend.
My favorite adventure of the entire trip was the rainforest hike to Minyon Falls. This popular waterfall hike is only an hour drive into the bush from Byron Bay. The hike will lead you through a pristine subtropical rainforest starting at the top of the waterfall overlook and winds down along the ridge, bringing you to an epic black pool at the base of the falls. Sadly, the falls were dry, which was surprising given the recent typhoon and rain we experienced while in Byron Bay.
Once you’ve had your time exploring the pool and taking in the waterfall, the hike back to the top is much shorter. The entire loop is about four and a half miles (13km) round trip and took us four hours. This hike is in a remote location and because it’s the rainforest, the weather can be unpredictable. We experienced torrential rain, sunshine, and extreme humidity all within the four hours. Conditions are extreme and can be very slippery after rain, so ensure you’re well-prepared. Bring appropriate clothing, equipment, and snacks. For a detailed trail report, get all you need to know here.
One of the easiest adventure favors you can do yourself is exploring the Broken Head Nature Reserve right outside of Byron Bay—just 15 minutes by car. Cross photos of iconic cliffs off your bucket list and get your steps in while visiting this string of secluded coves.
Head towards the Caravan Park and you’ll see parking for the nearby beach. Take the narrow dirt road known as Seven Mile Road to get to the Kings Beach (where we started) and choose your own adventure from there. Don’t judge the trailheads by their cover though. Each one is more magical than the next, and you’d never suspect it. Each trail is less than a 30-minute walk out and back—but plan to spend at least an hour or more taking in the views from each cove. The trails aren’t necessarily intense hikes but they all get steep in places. Get more info about camping and more to see at the reserve here.
When I told people I was headed to Sydney, everyone recommended I climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Don’t get me wrong, this definitely has bucket list appeal for some adventure types but for upwards of $300 per person, I decided to opt for a more grassroots activity.
You might not expect bustling Bondi Beach to have a scenic trek, but the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk was three and a half miles of coastal glory (and sweat). Start at Bondi Beach and walk your way past beaches, ocean pools, and cafés until you reach Coogee Beach. With the turn of each cove, the terrain, culture, and views change. This walk isn’t particularly challenging unless you do it at high noon like we did, making for one HOT afternoon. We stopped for lunch at a café in Gordon’s Bay and completed the trek with coconut gelato in Coogee. Get a detailed description and map of the coastal walk here.
There’s SO much to do and see along the eastern coast of Australia, but sometimes the best way to experience it all is by throwing caution to the wind and just showing up. Happy adventuring down unda!
Sarah Herron is an authenticity advocate, public speaker, Colorado native, and lover of the outdoors. It’s her mission to help women cultivate confidence and own their story. She travels the world sharing stories, meeting bad ass ladies, and empowering women to reclaim their authentic voice through adventure, vulnerability and risk taking. Follow her on Instagram here.