Francesco and I set out in the van to explore Australia’s east coast, expecting more incredible natural beauty and plenty of fun.

We headed to Bundaberg, which functions as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Near one of the world’s great natural wonders, Bundaberg, as you might imagine, is a great place to visit for anyone with a love of the outdoors. Though it’s a relatively small city, Bundaberg has plenty of things to see and do, including the world-famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery. But after we sampled the famous local rum, Francesco and I headed back out to see more of the country’s landscape. We explored Mon Repos Regional Park, home to Australia’s largest population of nesting sea turtles. There was great swimming and snorkelling at Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot Islands, and we swam until we were exhausted among the cascading waterfalls at Crystal Creek and Little Crystal Creek. There was more swimming at Brown Falls, where the water tumbles down over unusual basalt columns. All of this amazing nature is within easy reach of Brisbane—the Tilt Train can get you from Brisbane to Bundaberg in a bit over four hours, with great views along the way.