📓 Entry #10 — Koalas, kangaroos & a krazy good time.

Maeghan Smulders
A Little Detour
Published in
6 min readFeb 14, 2018


February 13, 2018

We’ve been on the go here in the land down under and doing a lot of activities that offer limited wifi.


[Side rant: This country is weird with wifi. They promote “FREE WIFI” almost everywhere but always have the strangest limitations… like free for 100mbs which is about one scroll on facebook or instagram….. or free wifi for local mobile plan clients… We’ve found it very challenging without easy access to wifi because it means our trip has been very last minute planned — for example, booking our next flight at an airport because the wifi is better than where we were staying. We did learn McDonalds... or as they call it here “Macca’s” has the best free unlimited wifi.. which means I ate a lot of McFlurry’s and Spiders (a slurpee with ice cream on top).]

After our adventures in the Blue Mountains, we made our way up the east coast to Byron Bay. No joke, I was talking with Oli telling him I would love to run into Chris Hemsworth since I knew he lived somewhere in the mountains of Australia and would love to try surfing with him. And no sooner than we arrive to our Airbnb, our host tells us without me even asking….

“oh ya, Chris Hemsworth, you know.. that guy who plays Thor lives up the hill from here. Ya… and he comes to all these restaurants all the time with his family. Ya.. he is a super nice guy and loves the area.”

………I honestly felt like that was a sign or something suggesting a meeting would take place.

We hiked around town, enjoyed watching the surfers and the VERY laid back culture of people who live in Byron. Hardly anyone wears shoes and walk around town (and in the stores) in their bare feet and swim suits after assumingely a day of surfing or hanging at the beach.

Oli and I tried our hardest to go scuba diving at Julian Rocks — but the weather while we were there didn’t allow it. We went to the dive shop every day to check in on the weather/water conditions with no luck.

Byron Bay — Lighthouse Walk

After a hike to the lighthouse, I was looking down at a beach where there were some intense surfing going on. I briefly thought to myself.. we should go check it out but was then distracted by some dolphins we saw swimming in the distance.

The days there were peaceful, warm with rain and a good break after hiking and hustling like crazy in Sydney. We ended up leaving without meeting Chris… but when we got to the bus stop… found out that Chris, his brother Liam.. AND Miley were all at that beach I looked at surfing! 🙄

After Byron, we made our way up to Gold Coast.

It’s the most sunny place they said.

It has the best surf they said.

Well.. the rain followed us up the coast and although very warm, we saw just a little sun (which usually happens once a year that they have a week of bad weather, and we hit that week). But keeping busy was not a problem. My brother’s childhood friend from Calgary moved there 3 years ago with his wife and offered us a place to stay.

Maeghan & Matt catching up. 📸 — by Oli

It’s funny — anytime we’ve had the chance to reconnect with a familiar face, I feel reset afterwards. Reset in the sense of more energy and spirit to keep on going. It’s been really nice to have awesome people to connect with on our adventures 😊

Then the bloody attack happened

Matt and Steph were so hospitable and so great to catch up and hang out with. They even lent us their car for a day (Oli got to learn how to drive on the left) so we could do some hiking in Mount Tamborine.

There is something really strange about sitting on the North American driver side of a car.. and having no control of the direction, speed or feeling of how close walls and cars are passing…

So long story short, I got motion sick from the stress of that silly hour drive. On top of that, I was a worse backseat driver than I am on the right side of the road. 😛

Now as the title suggests, we had an event occur in the mountains. We hiked in the rain on some of the paths they have around the mountain which was totally fine since the trees covered them and kept us mostly dry. I decided to adventure off the path by like two steps to take some #TreePhotography (my new thing) and once I got my shot, ran to catch up with Oli. We finished the hike and made our way back to the car.

My leg hurt a bit.. but didn’t think anything of it. I suggested to Oli to pull the car over (since we just started to drive) to google the directions of where we needed to go next.

No sooner did he start driving, I looked down at my ankle and saw a GINORMOUS leech attached to my leg sucking blood to which I started screaming, opening the door and tripping out of the car (its not like Oli had enough to stress about on the other side of the road).

We pulled into a restaurant that had tables outside, I yelled at Oli to grab the GoPro since that is what you do in this day and age… document all of the little things in life…

Oli grabbed some salt off the restaurant table, and with an audience of people eating all around us… started pouring tons of salt on my leg while I was squirming like a grown baby.

My subtitle may be a bit more dramatic than the photos… but its how I felt.

The leech detached from my leg.. and Oli flicked him across the parking lot splattering blood everywhere along the ground.

We honestly haven’t encountered that many bugs on our trip thus far... and Matt + Steph assured us they had never seen or heard of anyone being bit by a leech so I guess it was just my lucky day and I survived!

Our last day in Gold Coast, we decided to keep it low key and went to an animal sanctuary and enjoy some koala-ty time with some bears, roos and monkeys. It was beautiful there and even in the rain, was 28 degrees so it’s hard to complain.

All in all, we had a great time. We’re so lucky to have friends and friendly faces to catch up with along our travels. It makes the trip feel that extra bit more special. ❤️

We’re boarding our flight now so I’ll follow up with another short novel later!

[UPDATE: Now that they have shared the news, Matt and Stephanie shared with us while we were there that they were expecting their first child 😊 we had to keep it on the DL but now that they have shared I wanted to make sure I write that we were the first to know 😜]

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫



Maeghan Smulders
A Little Detour

Hi! 🙋 I'm a tall, homeschooled, well traveled, terrible speller, who loves ice cream, building things and can be hilarious at times 👉 www.maeghansmulders.com