Elisa Detrez has had the Best Job in the World for the past six months as Queensland’s Park Ranger, travelling to every corner of the state to check out the best of our national parks and getting up close and personal with our cute (and not so cute) wildlife.
As we say bon voyage to Elisa and her partner Max and they head off to travel further around Australia, she reveals what tops her list in Queensland:
1. Best experience
Fly above the Great Barrier Reef and islands of the Whitsundays in a seaplane. Admire Heart Reef (a coral formation in the shape of a heart!) and realise that Whitehaven Beach looks even more spectacular from above – just amazing!
2. Best tourist attraction
Australia Zoo, home of the real ‘Crocodile Dundee’ legend that was Steve Irwin. This is THE zoo to see in Australia. It’s actually more than a zoo – it is one of the leading conservation parks in the world! Over seven programs protect endangered species around the world. Do not miss a visit to the animal hospital (‘Wildlife Warriors’), a five-star hospital built right next to the zoo to save injured wild animals.
3. Most unforgettable experience
Observing Loggerhead and Green Turtles lay their eggs on the beach of Mon Repos (near Bundaberg) and to see the baby turtles hatching eight weeks later. Magical and moving.
4. The best thing I learned
Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Each time, it’s a different show and a parade of colors. My most memorable experience includes diving at Flynn and Milln Reef for their colorful coral gardens (off Cairns) and Heron Island (off the coast of Gladstone, Southern Great Barrier Reef) for its incredible marine biodiversity.
5. Best surprise
The days I spent at the Myella Farm Stay to experience life as a farmer, horseback riding through Queensland’s outback surrounded by majestic trees. Daily life included hand-milking the cows, riding a motorcycle whilst admiring the spectacular outback sunset and bottle-feeding kangaroo joeys. I never thought I would have so much fun in the countryside of Rockhampton!
6. Most impressive activity
Flying in a mini helicopter without a door to herd cattle from the outback to Cobbold Gorge (Robin Hood Cattle Station). Adrenaline at its peak!
7. Most beautiful island
Moreton Island, the third-largest sand island in the world. Slide down the white sand dunes, dive and snorkel through shipwrecks, go quad biking off the beaten 4×4 trails, cool down in one of the beautiful lakes, enjoy the long sandy beaches, feed wild dolphins – Moreton Island has it all!
8. Most amazing national park
Jardine River National Park at Cape York Peninsula. After hours on red dirt roads and river crossings, we arrived in paradise – Fruit Bat Falls – where we enjoyed a well deserved bath in crystal clear water.
9. Best Indigenous experience
Mossman Gorge and the new interpretation centre with Aboriginal guides. Passionate and exciting! A rewarding walk in the rainforest, where you can learn about Aboriginal bush medicine, history and traditions.
10. Best destination (where I want to live myself)
Noosa on the Sunshine Coast because of its lifestyle, climate, beaches and perfect waves. A great place to live in Australia!
*Photography Maxime Coquard