Archive | April, 2011

The end of the adventure…?

29 Apr

Before I faced the long flight home I got to spend a few last days in Sydney. I love this city. It has totally won me over and kind of feels like home now. It also doesn’t hurt that some of my very good friends live in the city and after a few months away, I was really looking forward to meeting back up, cracking open some vino and sharing all my adventures with them.

Flying back over the beautiful Sydney harbour

First up was Gilly and Max. Who spoilt me rotten! They took me for lunch in Watson’s Bay on Easter Friday. We ate in a restaurant called Doyles…and my god was it a feast!! Seriously, an absolutely feast! I haven’t had the best food on the road so my taste buds and tummy went into overdrive. I ate myself stupid. First up sizzling garlic and chilli prawns, a-mazing! The sauce was pure garlic….I basically drank it up, along with lots of lovely fresh bread. Screw the bad breath I was in heaven! Next up tuna steak with scallops and rosemary potatoes. Oh wow. Scrumptious. And just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite….dessert. We went for a trio sharing plate and I’m pretty sure I ate most of it. I’m not kidding when I say I would have licked the plate. It was all so yummy and such a lovely treat. As was the chats and catch ups I got to have with them about where I’d been, what I’d seen, done and how I was feeling. We spent hours together before they dropped me off in the city and we said our final goodbyes. The first goodbye of many, but such a lovely day.

Luckily I also got to see Faye one last time. Wonderful Faye. My oldest best friend in the world. If you’ve read this from the beginning you know I stayed with Faye and her lovely family when I first arrived in Auz. I was a bit of a mess back then and she helped me so, so much. I really can’t believe how different I feel from those first few days. Thinking back on that it’s kind of amazing to see how much I’ve changed, how I’m just much better… happier and just a bit more….me. Needless to say after 2 months apart we didn’t stop talking for the whole night. I told her everything about my adventures – including a whole load of stuff I’ve kept out of this PG rated blog!! I really didn’t want the night to end, knowing that very soon we’d have to say goodbye and god knows when I’d next get to see her. It really is very special to have a friend who’s known you all your life. I cherish her friendship. I will miss her terribly. But I know that I’ll be back, oh yes lady – I’ll be back! ;0)

I also spent a few days back in Bondi catching up Matt, Carrie and Jon. Over the Easter weekend we ate great food, drank too much and caught up on everything. It was so easy, like rejoining a party you left briefly while you popped out to get more wine. I also got to spend a wonderful girly night with my friend Laura, after some serious gossiping we headed to a pub called The Australian in The rocks for some crazy Anzac antics. Anzac day here is insane! All the sailors come into town and as far as I can tell/remember it’s a day of drinking and gambling. When I say day I mean it – people start drinking at 5am?! The streets are heaving and every pub is packed to the rafters with people cheering, singing (I heard Waltzing Matilda about 18 times!) and playing ‘two up’ – a coin game where you can bet with anyone and potentially win a whole big pot of money…..or loose everything!

Very soon it was my last night and the time had come to say my final goodbyes. I picked a little Tai place in Surrey Hills after reading about it in some foodie blogs and the rave reviews for the crispy, chilly pork belly – I’m a sucker for pork belly! In attendance at the last supper was myself (of course?!), Laura, Claire and Duncan (from my early Bondi days and the Betsy huntsman incident), Paul, Steve (both friends from home who now live in Auz), Rachel (my fave traveling buddy from Byron), Jon and Matt – who managed to escape work for a few mins.

The last supper

It was a really lovely evening, loads of great chats, laughter and whole load of chilli. Seriously! I had massively underestimated the chilli factor of this place, by about a thousand. Every single dish was chilli central. Our faces, tongues, lips and entire bodies were on fire with chilli heat. It was bloody hilarious.

Hot, hot, hot

How much chilli???

Eat it!

But the airport shuttle was coming for me at 5am so with my mouth still on fire I said my goodbyes (loads of hugs!!) and headed back to the hostel. My very last night in a hostel – thank god!

The only trouble was….I just couldn’t sleep. My enormous suitcase, the one I had cursed every single day for the last 3 months, was packed for the last time, my clothes for the morning were all ready, passport in the right pocket of my bag…..everything set. So why couldn’t I sleep…

I was nervous. Not about the flight, although yes 24 hours worth of travelling including a 9hr ‘oh my god I’m soooo crazy bored I think I’m going blind’ stop over in Singapore wasn’t exactly something I was looking forward too, I was nervous about leaving. To be more precise I was afraid. Afraid of leaving….leaving behind this life changing, amazing adventure and returning to my normal life.

Australia. What can I say. You have changed me. I was sad, broken and lost. I was quite frankly a bit of a mess. But I came here and you filled my broken heart with laughter, happiness and wonderful memories. You’ve made me stronger, braver (remember the shark!) and you’ve brought me back. I am different because of this trip. I feel different. I feel better. I’m Happy….

So what next…… Is this the end of the adventures…. and the blog?? I thought that maybe it would have to be. After all I started this because I needed a vent for my crazy ramblings, but what I’ve realised is that I love it. Yeap. I love just rambling on. I know, shocking right?! Who knew?!! And even if no one else reads it I’m gonna keep rambling. Because something I’ve realised is that all of life is an adventure….not just parts of it, when you’re somewhere new or trying something crazy. Every day can be an adventure and that is what I’m going to try and do – I am going to try and live my life as if I’m still travelling. I will keep trying new things, I will go out of my way to meet more ‘friengers’ – although not of the random nakedness kind, I will keep taking risks, I will ride motorbikes, be brave, scare myself once in a while, look for new things and most of all I will keep smiling.

So Adventures of Zomerset girl is not done….in fact this is maybe just the beginning….who knows what’ll happen next, when real life slaps me in the face – will I slap it right back?

Oh hell yeah!  :0)

x

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I will not miss…..

23 Apr
 My flight from Cairns back to Sydney was delayed by about 3 hours, which together with the flight time itself gave me quite a lot of time to reflect on the past three months. Naturally I was starting to think about the fact that this amazing adventure was coming to an end and very soon I would be boarding the plane back to the UK. I know people always say this but I honestly can’t believe how quickly the time has passed! Three months sounded such a long time at the beginning of all this, but really, it’s flown by. Flown by in a blur of beautiful places, people and crazy times. I have loved every single moment of it.

In a bid to stop myself getting too sad about my imminent departure date I started to think about all the things I wouldn’t miss about travelling…..just to try and stop myself getting too sad so here’s what popped in my head during that flight.

I will not miss…..

– Sleeping in a bunk bed. This has been without a doubt one of the most irritating things about travelling. No one over the age of nine should sleep in a bunk bed. Ever. They are small, noisy and it is just impossible to get in an out of one without either banging your head on the frame (if you’re on the bottom) or slipping off the ladder (if you’re on the top – and maybe, occasionally a bit squiffy whilst doing so). You will twist and turn and still not get comfortable. You will bang your knee/arm/head repeatedly on the wall and swear….alot. You will not sleep properly for the entire time you are away. Fact. 

– To add to that I will not miss sharing a room with people I do not know. Now there have been lots of occasions whereby the strangers in my room have quickly become ‘friengers’ and then proper friends, which is lovely, but outside of that, sleeping in a room with strangers is just a bit weird. You have to put up with all their weird sleeping habits, sounds and activities. The snoring, farting and fidgeting (I’m aware that some of that is probably me too!) can just be a little too much to bear. You also have to be considerate all the time….you can’t just make yourself at home. There are rules. Don’t spread out your stuff too much, don’t switch on the light if someone else is in bed (regardless of the hour of day), be as quiet as possible when you get in at night/early hours of the morning – or if you have to leave very early. And even if you are being the most considerate room-mate possible, you know there will be some asshole who isn’t. That person whose crap is all over the place, who snores like a giant walrus and who is unnecessarily loud every morning at an ungodly time hunting out their organic oaty flakes. Nope I will not miss sleeping in a room with randoms. I will not miss the sounds, the sights or the smells. Not one little bit.

– Seeing people naked. As above it really is one of the downfalls of sharing a room with people you don’t know. I’m not talking about the strangers who become friends, again totally separate, nakedness amongst friends is fine. I’m talking about the people who’ve you’ve met who just insist on having a conversation with you naked. Totally naked. Not in a ‘oh you’ve just caught me coming out of the shower, I shall try to be discreet and not flash you while I quickly find some clothes to put on’  kind of naked…. Nope this is full on nakedness, in your face nakedness! And to make it worse these are normally people who really shouldn’t be naked….slightly over weight and furry in ways that give you nightmares type people. That’s all I’m saying about that – I really can’t talk about it any more. Still gives me shivers……

– Living out of a suitcase and the never-ending cycle of packing…repacking…packing….repacking….packing and repacking over and over and over again as you move from one place to the next every two-three days. The never-ending cycle of “now where did I put my bra / plug adaptor / hair dryer / flip-flops / top with the stripes on / deodorant and so on and so on and so on. You get so exhausted hunting for everything and loosing everything all the time. It’s so frustrating.

– Constantly checking in or out. The routine of this is so repetitive and just plain boring. You arrive at the hostel, the room is either ready or it’s not. You’ve just travelled or dragged your enormous bag for hours and you’re knackered. You get handed your room key (always to a room up several flights of stairs – joy!) and then your bed sheets before finally being lectured by a mini-hitler on the noise/drinking rules of the hostel. Blah, blah, blah. You get into the room, pick a bunk bed (I always tried to get a bottom bunk) then make your bed. On the day of check out, usually 2/3 days later, you have to pack your life up (again) unmake the bed and take the sheets back to reception. I have probably made and unmade a bed about 150 times now?! Very, very dull doing this every other day.

– Paying for the internet, washing machines, clothes dyers, towels and all manner of other stuff you just take for granted at home. This stuff is seriously expensive – it’s about $5 per hour online, $4 to wash one load of clothes and about $10 to dry them….expensive when you think you probably get online every day and wash your stuff once a week. Ok I’m lying about that bit ….more like washing your stuff when it’s started to grow legs and has threatened to leave you because of the awful living conditions you put it in!

– Food. Living on the road you quickly acquire a food bag for your dry/tinned goods and also a cool bag for the fresh stuff. You will carry these food bags around with you like some kind of travelling donkey, carting them about to every single place you stay. When you arrive you have to find the kitchen and the little labels, write your name on the label  along with what room you’re in and for how long before finding an empty shelf in the fridge or cupboard to store it. If you’re lucky your food will still be there next time you look. It feels very sad to cart about your tins of tuna, some packets of noodles and a bit of  limp salad all the time. Depressing is not the word. For the most part I tried to be healthy, with my staple diet consisting of muesli for breakfast, tinned tuna and salad for lunch or a wrap of some kind with a bit of ham, then for dinner an omlette with mushrooms and maybe some ham. Great for a day or so. Three months on…..well, you begin to hate tuna….really, really hate it.

– Wearing flip-flops in the shower. This is an absolute necessity when travelling. You do not want to step in anything that lives on the floor of a hostel shower….trust me. But it just feels so wrong, so odd to be wearing shoes whilst int he shower?! So whilst it’s vital out here, I am very much looking forward to being back in a lovely bathroom where I can plod about bare foot and not have to squelch about in wet flip-flops.

– Alcohol. I’ve said it before but when you’re travelling on your own you do kind of need to drink most days to be sociable and make friends. It’s pretty hard to be in a pub with people you’ve just met and have to explain why you’re not drinking or alternatively stay in the hostel at night, by yourself, in your little bunk bed…..erm no! But that said I am starting to feel very pickled and am quite looking forward to a few days off the liqueur, a nice cup of tea in the evening perhaps, maybe with a few biscuits. Bliss.

– Bugs. Add to that all manner of insects, pests, creepy crawlies and spider – all the ones that are bigger than a ping pong and could kill you with one look – which is most of them BTW! Oh and of course the absolute bain of my life….the mosquito!!! How I hate, HATE, the mossie. It has feasted on me for the last three months. I mean in a King Henry III feast kind of way…helping itself to massive chunks of my legs, arms and even my bum. After one particularly bad night I woke up to find 12 – YES 12 – bites on my bum. Now I don’t know about you but that made me feel pretty sick….what the hell?! Where they just having a big old party on my but cheeks – yes I think so. And don’t even get me started on how it feels to have 12 bites on your bum and then sit on a Greyhound for hours on end. I’ll say it again I HATE MOSSIES!!!!!!!

– Being on a bus. The Greyhound is an awesome thing. It takes you over massive, massive distances and delivers you safe and sound to some brilliant places. But it is still just a bus. A bus filled with lots of people, smelly backpacker people who will be on that bus for a very, very, very long time. I have travelled from Sydney to Cairns, that’s nearly 3,000km – a LONG bloody way…..(yes I did sort of start at Coffs Harbour but that’s by the by…)

The Greyhound – Sydney to Cairns

 To be precise my route went a little something like this……start at Coffs Harbour, then up to Byron Bay, on to Surfers Paradise, up to Brisbane – over to Moreton Island, then back and on to Noosa, on further to Rainbow Beach – over to Fraser Island, then back and on to Agnes Water/1770, then up to Airlie Beach (the epic 10hr journey), a short trip over to the Whit Sunday islands, then back on the bus up to Townsville for the ferry out to Magnetic Island, then back and on to Mission Beach before finally…..finally arriving in Cairns….then flying back to Sydney.

Phew!!
 
Now all this winging might make it sound as if I’ve had a terrible time and can’t wait to come home. Not true of course. I’m just trying to stop myself being too sad that all this is coming to an end…. so what Iwill I miss about my big adventure…..well that’s simple – absolutely everything.

Last stop…Cairns

21 Apr
 After my night in the treehouse I left Mission Beach and jumped on the Greyhound for the last leg of my journey and the final stop, Cairns. You never know who you’re going to sit next to on the bus, this time I met a lovely chap called Tom who was on a very romantic mission. Turns out Tom worked for one of the hostels in Mission Beach and had met the girl of his dreams there….ahhh…the beautiful (I had to take his word for it as I’d never met her) Felicity. Sadly after a few loved up weeks she had to leave for Cairns. Heartbroken, Tom tried to continue on with his daily duties at the hostel (emptying the bins, cleaning the pool, putting drunk back packers to bed etc) but life had lost its sparkle. I know the feeling Tom. Love is a hard burden to bare sometimes. So in bid to be reunited with his one and only, Tom jumped on the bus to surprise her that very night. How exciting! I’m such a romantic, I loved this guy.We spent the next 2 hours planning his surprise, what he’d say, what he’d wear, where they’d go for dinner etc etc…I even helped him draft the fake texts to her pretending he was still at work in Mission Beach. Oh the deception was good.

I wish I could have seen what happened when Tom and Felicity were reunited, much like the backpacking equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, but alas we were headed to different hostels and despite my suggestion that I come along too, maybe take some pictures of the “surprise” moment, Tom didn’t seem keen. But I’m sure when he jumped out of whatever bush he decided to hide in, Felicity would have been overcome with joy and fireworks surely would have exploded around them, yes fireworks… …and roses….and maybe a glass of Goon or two. Lovely stuff. Ahhhh. So cute.

So I had about 3/4 days in Cairns and wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. By now all traces of money had evaporated from my bank account (I have no idea how this happened?!) so while all my backpacking buddies headed off for day tours on the reef, Cape Tribulation or Sky diving I took myself off to the little lagoon…..and baked in the sunshine. I didn’t feel too bad about this scenario. After nearly 3 months of travelling non stop it was rather nice not to have to be anywhere or do anything. I just sat in the sun and read my book (Eat, Pray, Love – to be precise,  it was forced on me by a lovely hippy girl at the Treehouse, as I am also apparently on a “journey” she thought it would be good for my soul). Okey, we’ll see shall we. But I have to say it is a really good read. I was dubious at first and couldn’t get bloody Julia Roberts out of my head but now I’ve shaken that off I can’t put it down. There are even parts of the book that have given me goose bumps! I always use the goose bump factor to see how much something has affected me….violins – oh my god, soooo many goose bumps, no idea why but they just do, soppy love scene in a movie/advert – goose bumps….the montage bit in X Factor where they go through the sad story of how finalist Ben lost his favourite hamster in a Hoover incident and has never fully recovered…goose bumps…. and don’t even get me started on old people crying – serious goose bumps! So I knew the book was having a positive affect on me…the goose bump radar was on high alert.

Cairns is a strange place though. I’m not really sure I liked it all that much. For starters this was the first interaction I’d had with some aboriginals. Now before I go on let me just say that I’d read some pretty scathing things about the aboriginals who have migrated to the big towns and cities. Bill Bryson in his book Down Under (so good!) tried to explain how they had become a sort of forgotten race, prone to alcohol abuse and crime. I really didn’t want to believe this….I guess as a tourist when I think of Australia and aboriginals I get that fluffy image of crocodile Dundee and his aboriginal pals, playing the didgeridoo, cooking a giant lizard on the BBQ, dancing round the fire and looking at the glorious night sky. What I experience however was just as Bill had described.  A very tired and jaded race. Prone to randomly yelling at people in the street, robbing people for money and generally being drunk at any time of the day. This didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t want to judge them, or to avoid them and yet I found myself doing exactly that. Apparently a week before one of the girls in a nearby hostel had been beaten up by a gang of aboriginal girls. Again, not the kind of thing you want to believe and yet still…..non of us walked back to the hostel alone.

The great thing about Cairns is that is ended up being a kind of reunion place. All the great people I had met along the way, over these last 3 months, well they all sort of ended up in Cairns. This was great as it gave us all a chance to catch up and have one big last party. A chance to reminisce on the adventures we’d shared, retell the same funny stories and say a final goodbye. I might have not had many mini adventures in Cairns but I certainly made sure that as my last stop on the road….it was a big one!

Ok...um...no more booze for me

 One such example of this was the night of the party bus. One on of my first nights in Cairns some of my friends (Lizzy I blame you entirely!) convinced me (arm twisting behind back) to go on the party bus. A night where by you get on a bus, with 200 other people, drink a stupid amount, play games, get driven to lots of different clubs and wake up regretting the whole thing. Sure why not?!

Top deck fun
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The party bus was in fact  hilarious! Random and slightly insane, oh yes, but still very good fun. One of the challenges we’d been given during the night was to try to find the person who fitted our nut….that is to say when you got on the bus you choose a nut (as in nuts and bolts) and had to find the other person who had the screw to fit in to it……yes all very sexual and titillating in a 13-year-old boy kind of way…. but it was actually very fun. Except that my nut was massive. Huge in fact. The biggest nut you could find. I’m not sure how that happened exactly but it meant  none of the puny little screws I tried would fit. They’d just jiggle about in there, not touching the sides…rubbish. This caused much giggling and piss take from any guys who I tried to match with. Que lots of gags about tiny screws, big nuts, gaping holes etc etc – I’m sure you can imagine. And although I never did find the daddy of all screws big enough to fit my enormous nut I did have fun trying. (I’m not being rude here, I genuinely am referring to the nut and screw bolt thing – nothing else I swear!). All in all a great night.
Dancing queens

 

It's like soooo Asian right now

So there you go. Cairns for me wasn’t about the place itself but the people. It was a chance for me to say a massive good bye to all the lovely people I’d met along the way…..people like Kristen – a crazy American girl with a fetish for pictures of us grabbing her boobs, Jo – a very sweet girl from England who we regularly lead astray, Rick – my gorgeous friend from the Netherlands and part-time stalker, Rach and Tash – my Fraser Island beauties, thank god I got to see them for a massive cuddle and catch up before they flew to India – so much love for these girls, Anna & Louise – the young, sexy and hilarious Swedes – watch out boys! – Katie, Lizzie, Freddie, Tim and Nick – the awesome and seriously lovely gang I’d hung out with in Noosa, Rainbow Beach and Magnetic Island – team “Flat on their back packs” rules! And also the new friends I’d met in the few days I was in Cairns – namely Kerrie and Nat – two of the cheekiest, gorgeous, most lovely and funny girls you’d wish to meet. We laughed….alot, a whole lot.  

So I may not have “done” much in Cairns but I don’t care. I got to spend a few last crazy days with my friends, a whole mixed bag of characters, nationalities and ages. Thanks everyone. You are part of the reason these last few months have been so special.

The gang

So what next…..well first my flight back to Sydney. Then a few days with some familiar faces and then……well it’s almost time to return to the UK.

Hmmm…

My night in a Tree house

16 Apr

After Magnetic island most people tend to stay on the bus all the way up to Cairns, completely missing out Mission Beach. A few months ago this wouldn’t have been the case. Mission Beach was a huge destination for most back packers owning to the fact that it had great beaches, beautiful national parks, amazing rainforests and is a great place to try white water rafting or sky diving. it’s also a great place to try and catch a sighting of the rare Cassowary bird, a giant emu type bird with a blue neck, red decorative dangly bits and a horn on its head. They also have massive claws and have been known to attack people if provoked – quite why you’d want to stumble across one is beyond me?! Give me a koala any day thanks – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassowary

But that was all before Cyclone Yasi hit and ripped through the whole area. The Cyclone caused mass devastation. Homes were blown down, power lines ripped out and whole areas of rainforest completely decimated.  Mission Beach was effectively wiped out. Even back in Agnes Water word was filtering through that Mission Beach still hadn’t recovered, despite serious clean up efforts being made, and really wasn’t worth seeing as there was nothing there. At Magnetic Island the same stories were being told, people who’d been there said it just wasn’t worth visiting.

But I wanted to go. I wanted to see for myself what had happened, how the community was coping and to show them that tourists were supporting them. How else is an area supposed to recover. They rely on back packers and tourists coming through, so if I could go, maybe that would help, maybe I could pass on the word that it wasn’t so bad, tell people to give it a chance and go there, see it for themselves etc.

There was only one place I wanted to stay in Mission Beach, it was called the Tree House. It was a hostel built into the rainforest, situated high off the ground, built into the surrounding trees. It was wild, open to the elements and about as close to nature as you could get. I couldn’t wait.

The bus pulled in to Mission Beach late in the afternoon, me and three other people got off. A few months ago the whole bus would have got off, such was the areas appeal. Not to be deterred I jumped on the mini bus to the Tree House. The ride there gave me a small glimpse of the devastation caused by the Cyclone. It’s hard to describe but all along the road, hundreds and hundreds of massive trees laid toppled on top of each other, pulled up from their roots, just lying on their sides – like a giant had come along and just blown them all over. As we neared the rain forest you could see that massive sections were just missing. Completely gone. The trees that remained had been stripped of every single leaf, all that was left was their bare trunks. It was such a strange sight, these huge trees should have been thick with foliage instead they stood like tall matches, not a scrap of green on them. It was a very strange, surreal and sad sight.

Mission Beach - some of the Rainforest, still a little in tact

It was beginning to hit me quite how insanely terrifying it must have been to be in this place when the Cyclone hit. The level of destruction is massive. It must have been horrendous to live through and I can only imagine how these people coped that night, listening to the Cyclone rip through and destroy every single thing in its path.

The Treehouse though was spectacular. As expected it had suffered some damage from the Cyclone but the staff had done an amazing job trying to get it back to some kind of normality. I asked how many people were staying there, three was the answer. In the weeks before Yasi they had been fully booked every day with about 40 guests.

It was the most unusual and unique hostel I have ever stayed at. There are no walls, literally one big open plan level with the kitchen, dinning/front room and dorms all gathered together. It has a very hippy, laid back vibe, it’s a serious chill out place and it’s easy to see why. There is no TV, only book shelves from which to help yourself, board games, a guitar, a few hammocks and the amazing views over the rainforest. It also had a very lovely pool, which we had all to ourselves. I felt very spoilt to be able to stay here and experience the breath-taking rainforest all for myself. What a treat.

The open plan Tree house

Just me, the pool and the rainforest....gorgeous

But being this close to nature is always a bit of a challenge for me. I love the views, the sounds, the beauty of it all – but I am still not so good at the bugs and beasties. The ‘don’t look up rule’ was probably the most important thing to remember here. The ceilings were teaming with every kind of bug and insect you could image. It was like every lizard in the rainforest gathered on our ceiling for their by-monthly conference on what months were in season…massive toads (yes toads!) also liked to roam about, especially near the showers…..I’d just been told I wasn’t to lick any of the toads because they can be very poisonous and the venom on their backs could actually kill me. This was very disappointing to hear as I’d just that moment picked the very toad I was planning to lick from head to toad toe all night….such a shame, ah well maybe other time (?!!!).

I won’t dwell too much on the beasties as I don’t want to put anyone off from visiting this great place, lets just say that night I slept in all of my clothes with a hood over my head and just prayed I wouldn’t wake up until morning!

I only stayed in Mission Beach for one night, not because of the beasties, but because my time was running out and I needed to get to Cairns. But if I’d had more time I would have loved to stayed there longer, get involved with the clean up operations and try to help these wonderful people get this area back to some semblance of normality. But I couldn’t. All I could do was come, see it for myself and tell everyone I could to please stop at this amazing place, go see it for yourselves, it’s still there and it needs all the support it can get.

Misson Beach is a beautiful place and very much open for business. Go there, you really won’t regret it.

Flat on our back packs

15 Apr

So after the craziness of Airlie Beach I was looking forward to some quiet time in my next stop….Magnetic Island, or as the locals call it Maggie Island.

The ferry over was a bit bouncier than I’d of preferred but as the island came in to sight I was very happy with what would soon be my new home, if only for the next three days. The island sits just off the coast by Townsville and looks like something out of Jurassic Park. It’s all rolling hills covered by dense rainforest which run down to meet the sandy beaches and deep blue shore line. I half expected to see a terradactyl flying past!

Maggie Island

I was staying at a hostel that boasted 4 acres of land and its own Koala centre. It was one of the most interesting hostels I’d stayed at so far. The rooms were little cabin bungalows which couldn’t get you much closer to nature – each day you woke up to a chorus of birds all competing to be louder than the next, lizards and spiders climbing above your head and several pesky beatles who insisted on sharing the shower with you – dirty little perverts!

The hostel lagoon pool

The dawn chorus of just a few parrots

I really enjoyed my time here. It was so peaceful, nothing to do but go for long walks, chill on the beach or by the pool, visit the lovely little animal sanctuary on site and just take in all the wonderful nature surrounding you. At the sanctuary I got to hold a snake called Gucci, a crocodile, some lizards (one called Bruce actually sat on my head?!) and cuddle the gorgeous Barney……

Me & Barney

I’d met up with some friends on the island, Katie and Lizzie so was lucky enough to enjoy this beautiful place in great company. Katie is a planner. An epic planner in fact. So each day was quickly dissected into mini plans – such as what we’d do after breakfast, how long we’d stay by the pool, when we’d go on our walk, where we’d walk to, how long the walk would take, what time we’d be back, what we’d having for dinner that night and also the following night and the night after….. I’m pretty sure Katie could run the country if Cameron decides he needs a day off.

Maggie Island.....great walks & stunning views

Maggie Island....great walks & stunning views

To keep ourselves entertained at night we decided to take part in the hostel games, alongside our fourth member Charlotte. The first prize up for grabs was for the best team name. As a PR genius the pressure fell to me to come up with something. This was harder than expected, mainly because I haven’t had to really use my brain for the last 3 months and my brain is also somewhat pickled after 3 months of alcohol abuse. Eventually we decided on a the team name “Flat on their backpacks” and so the game began.

First up Lizzy had to somehow thread pasta spirals onto a thin piece of spaghetti – which is actually bloody hard, she didn’t win but put in an admirable effort and has promise to practice (just in case the situation arises again). Next up was the Weetabix challenge, as a bumpkin girl I put myself forward but even with some full on cheating tactics I couldn’t manage to munch through a whole weetabix in time. They are actually exceedingly dry to eat and stick to the insides of your mouth like tar. Not fun. The next challenge was beer pong, I stepped up again and managed to get one ping pong in the beer glass, sadly though some jammy Sweedish guy got two in so we lost that but still secured our first point.

Next up a game of giant Jenga. This was an all team task. The idea was to build the highest stack possible in the time given, going head to head against all the other teams. Our tactics were solid….you could smell the concentration….quietly and quickly we worked, layer after layer of blocks being placed on the top, our tower getting bigger and bigger. But would it be enough to win. Yes it was!! We smashed it! Our tower was bigger than everyone elses by a huge margin – many, many points for us. High five all round and much mocking of the other teams – in your face! We were back in the game.

The last task was to make a line as long as possible using as many items of clothing as we could find or produce from our persons. For some reason most people in the hostel were behind us so without even asking items of clothing came flying towards us from the crowd…..all manor of things were hurtled our way as we screamed to everyone to”TAKE OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHES – NOW!!!” – belts, bras, trousers, t-shirts, hand bags….everything imaginable was being thrown our way. As a very last resort we even laid ourselves down in a long line, toe to head to stretch out as far as possible……but would it be enough to secure victory over the other teams…..

The results were in. We held our breaths, each other and our ciders eagerly waiting to hear the news…..

Team Flat on their backpacks had smashed it!!! VICTORIOUS!!! We WON! We cheered, high-fived every single person we could (whether they wanted to or not) did a lap of honour, accidentally smashed some glasses (my fault!) and generally lorded it up over the losers as much as possible. HA! I like to win. No scrap that. I love to win. I am a very competitive person, Charlie Sheen will agree whole heartedly – Winning – is where it’s at!

As well as winning the games we also won a jug of cider for the best team name – Get in!! Yes PR genius, take a bow…I thank you. So in total the four plucky ladies had won a jug of cider a $30 bar tap and free pizza’s for dinner the next night. Good times.

The next night we decided to enter the trivia game (there really isn’t much else to do when you’re in a hostel, in the middle of the rainforest on an island. It’s a case of get involved or go to bed.) We didn’t have high hopes for our combined trivia knowledge being as how we had absolutely no idea what was going on in the outside world.

But in a staggering display of brains, beauty and just crazy good luck – we won…AGAIN!! Yes our team, smashed it. We won the quiz!?!! Needless to say our victory for the second night went down like a lead balloon for all the other guests (as was the repeat victory display of high fives, laps of honours, picture-taking and slaps on backs – no glasses were broken this time thankfully!). But we didn’t care. Another $30 bar tab was ours! Bring me all the jugs of cider you can carry…..good times.

"Flat on their back packs" wins again!

I really enjoyed Maggie Island. It’s a really special place. So if you’re ever in this neck of the woods don’t just pass it by and travel on to Cairns, stop off, get the ferry, stay in a bungalow with the pervy beatles and spiders and win yourself a whole load of cider! It really is a whole lot of fun.

Sitting on top of the world

“You’re an extreme girl….”

13 Apr

The adrenaline junkie theme continued when I arrived in Airlie Beach and signed up for a day of Ocean Rafting to the beautiful Whit Sunday islands.

Just a quick note here to say it took me an exhausting 10 hours in an overnight Greyhound bus to get from  Agnes Water/1770 to Airlie Beach. The bus ride was not fun. They stopped the bus pretty much every 3 hours so even if you were one of the lucky ones to drift into some sort of sleep it wasn’t undisturbed for long. I on the other hand got no sleep. None whatsoever. I have a very annoying inability to sleep on any kind of transport – planes, trains, busses – I will be the one, wide awake, staring into space, slowing loosing my mind for the entire journey. Great fun. A quick thanks here to Max and also my Sister who helped me play ‘I spy with my little eye’ on Facebook for most of the journey – thanks guys!!

Ok so I arrived in Airlie Beach at crazy O’clock in the morning and sought out my hostel, only to be told I couldn’t check in for another 5 hours. Awesome. There was nothing else for it but to fall asleep, like the vigrant I now am, on the sofa in the rather gross TV room. I didn’t care. I needed sleep asap! Once checked in and after my little nap I went to explore Airlie Beach.

It’s actually a really pretty place, it’s alot like Byron Bay in that it’s very much geared to the back packers stopping off to visit the Whit Sunday Islands, which means loads of cheap places to eat, a huge amount of bars/clubs and a whole load of travel shops trying to persuade you to spend your money doing a tour with them. It also benefits from a really gorgeous man-made lagoon. I decided I quite Liked Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

After a few nights of craziness and a few mornings of “Oh my god what happened???” I thought I’d get myself booked onto a tour and get out to see the Whit Sunday Islands. After speaking to a travel guide I decided to go for the ‘Ocean Rafting’ day tour. Now I had explained to the travel lady my fear of boats and deep water and was assured this was the best trip for me as I’d be in the boat for a relatively short amount of time, as it’s one of the quickest and gets to the islands pretty fast – more time for snorkeling and beaching. Perfect.

So you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the docks the next day, boarded the boat and received this intro from our driver Cameron (a rather dishy but slightly thick Auzzie – sort of like the surfy Turtle character in Finding Nemo) “Welcome guys, this is Ocean Rafting! Ocean Rafting is extreme, which means you are extreme and you have chosen to see the islands in an extreme way!!! We are gonna go fast, go hard, get wet and have an awesome day!”

Ok so hang on a minuet. This is extreme is it….Right….Bugger…..

Nothing else for it but to hang on tight. And my god did I – this thing flew through the water! No wait, it flew on top of the water. Honestly one of the fastest things I have ever been on, even faster than James’s crazy motorbike. My hair was whipped about all over the shop and we were drenched through after about 2 minutes. The boat bounced over the waves, crashing over each one, again and again and again. “This is stage one” Said Cameron “It’s pretty calm now, but don’t worry by the end of the day we’ll be up to stage 8 – yeah dudes!!”. Bugger, bugger, bugger. Stage one???? Stage Eight??!!! Bugger, bugger, bugger.

Going a little bit fast….

He wasn’t lying either. Once we’d cleared the harbour he started doing what I can only describe as water doughnuts, throwing the boat about and making it swerve round in a massive half circles – nearly loosing half the passengers in the process. At this point I had a little word with myself….it went something like this “Ok, so apparently you are an extreme person…who knew?! But you have ridden a motorbike, you’ve snorkeling, faced a shark (a little baby brown one but a shark non the less), you have drunk goon (lethal stuff!), you have done all manner of brilliant, crazy, brave things…..you can totally do this and you will have an awesome time. So just smile, scream that you’re having an “awesome time dude” whenever asked and very quickly you will be having awesome time”.

It turns out I’m quite clever and be quite persuasive…with myself? This little chat changed everything. I went from frozen with fear, breakfast in my throat, thinking about how I might swim back to shore….to screaming at Cameron to go faster, asking if I could drive the boat and laughing my arse off with every bounce, wave and crazy maneuver that came our way. I did in fact, love it!! It’s a funny thing, but if you fake it pretty soon you’re loving it. I’m sure that could be taken the wrong way but I’m purely talking about the rafting!

Anyway when the Whit Sunday islands came into view they literally took my breath away. I’d been waiting a long time to see them – ever since reading about them in my Bill Bryson book “Down Under” – a must for anyone coming out here, brilliant and so funny! I could use words like beautiful, stunning, paradise but that really won’t do them justice…I’ll just pop some pictures in here and hope you can see what I mean…..

Whit Sunday IslandsWhit Sunday Islands

Whit Sunday Islands (crazy rafting hair?!)

I was sharing this experience with quite a few ladies…there was about 10 of us in total….8 Germans, 1 Brazilian and 1 English….we had a blast that day and despite the obvious linguistic challenges we managed to form a tight-knit group which really brought something special to the day. Thats definitely something I’ve learned about myself on this big adventure. I can in fact make friends with anyone. It’s kind of cool to realise but put me anywhere, any situation, with any kind of person and before long we’re chatting away like old friends.

The ladies…

We explored about three beaches in total and stopped off a few times for some snorkeling. Unlike last time I took to the water like a pro…driving straight in, no panic, no fuss, just in the water and on the hunt for some fish. I wasn’t disappointed either. Unlike the murky waters of Moreton Island here the water was crystal clear, the coral was amazing, every colour you can image and the fish….wow! I saw some seriously crazy fish. One was covered in neon stripes….like some 80’s rave dancer….bright yellow’s, oranges, blues, purples and greens. This thing was mental. I think he was my favourite. I saw lots of Nemo’s too (I know my nieces will love that!), some big black fish with blue stripes around their faces, funny looking little pink fish…. and loads of others. It was like being in a giant aquarium in a dentists waiting room…..only better.

I so want to take that wetsuit home!

After a whole day of rafting, beaching, snorkeling, laughing and posing for about a thousand pictures we headed back to the harbour. I was genuinely sad the day was done and had to giggle when Cameron said to me “I knew you were an extreme girl right from the start“. Yeap maybe I am…..

I could go on to talk about how us 10 ladies met up later that night to party in Airlie but I honestly don’t know how I would even start to share the randomness of that night. It’s best left for another time….over several beers….when I’m brave enough to talk about it.

Adrenaline Junkie??

10 Apr

A couple of days ago someone called me an adrenaline junkie…me?!…An adrenaline junkie?!! Of course I put him straight and explained that nope, that is definitely not me, no way, I am a total scaredicat…he must have confused me with someone else. He just looked at me and said ‘well you must be, why else would you  be here…”

And that got me thinking. Maybe he was right. Over the last few days/weeks I’ve done some pretty brave, crazy and stupid things – most recently a thing called Scooter-roo and some ocean rafting, flying about doing donuts in the sea?! So maybe this whole Auzzie adventure thing is in fact turning me into a bit of an adrenaline junkie….

After Fraser we set off for Agnes Waters and a little hippie town called 1770. Unlike Rainbow Beach the quietness here was actually one of the things that made this place so special. It was just so laid back. There was nothing to do but laze on the beach, chill in the hostel bar, chat round the camp fire or swing in a hammock. Easy days.

Agnes Water / 1770 - the chill out town

One thing 1770 is famous for though is Scooter-roo – a half day tour round the coastline on some seriously cool motorbikes and choppers. Leather jackets and a souvenir photo was included in the price – where do we sign up??

Me & Lou ready to ride a big chopper

I have never ridden a motorbike before, or even on the back of one for that matter. So I was a little apprehensive when we turned up at the track. Before we could get on a bike we got kited out with our flame decorated helmets and leather jackets. Nice. Next up we covered ourselves in some (stick on) tattoos, you know the ones, skeletons riding motorbikes, half naked ladies – all very tasteful. I went for a rather fetching one on my neck and another on my arm – grrrrr! Now I felt like a proper biker. All I needed was the bike, and to know how to actually ride a bike…mere details?!

Scooter-Roo

I picked a very sexy bike that had the American flag on it – I was wearing an American vest top (it looked good with the whole bike look) so I was nicely matching. Lou wanted an English one but found one decorated with flames to match the jacket and helmet. We were like kids in a sweet shop. This was seriously cool!!

Which bike would you choose?

Maybe the Auzzie bike...

Then came the moment to start the bikes and go for a lap around the practice track. Easy…. Actually not so much….I sort of struggled with the whole starting and then going round corners thing. I was awesome at going fast in a straight line, but any other maneuver was causing me (and the instructors) a little concern. But after a while I got it and before you could say ‘get your motor running’ we were out on the open road. About 50 of us, all blazing along, on the open road, our little bikes roaring beneath us. Yeah baby!

Throughout the whole ride I was filled with this amazing mix of fear, excitement and sheer adrenaline. It was so bloody cool.

Once we’d been going for a while we were given permission to start over-taking each other. As in… go faster…..oh yeah!!!!! I was off!!! Fast and straight…woooo hooooo!!! This I can do!!! Again the only slight issue was the corners and I did nearly run over one of the instructors toes at a particularly sharp bend – well he should have got out of my way?! But apart from that it was accident free and easy riding. I loved it!

Not the best pic as it's a bit squished and I look a bit weird but it's the only one of me riding the bike - so here you go....

Unfortunately towards the end of our ride the heavens opened and absolutely chucked it down. We now had to drive back to the Scooter-roo center in the pouring rain with the light quickly fading. Again I thought this was pretty cool, wind in my face, rain in my face…bugs in my face. I just loved all of it. But then my bike died. It really died. Lots of people’s bikes were stopping due to the wet weather but they somehow managed to keep restarting and go a little further. Mine just died.

I was totally gutted. There I was stood on the side of the ride, watching the other riders whiz past. My little bike a sad sight in the pissing rain.

Then out of nowhere my hero arrived. James. Lovely Irish James. He was one of the instructors (not the one whose toe I nearly run over – thankfully). He tried to fix the bike but to no avail so said “You have a choice, get in the support van or get on the back of my bike“….I looked at him, looked at his massive (seriously big) bike, looked at the vain….”Ummmm” was all I could say…”Quickly what do you want to do?” he yelled …”Ok I’ll come with you“.

About 5 seconds later all I could think of was – why the hell did you just do that, why are you on the back of this crazy fast bike??!!! We were racing down the road on his beast of a bike, going seriously fast. It was terrifying. My heart was in my mouth and I don’t think I took a breath for about 5 minuets. James was brilliant though, I think he could tell by my tight grip that I was a little scarred so he talked to me the whole way back…the only slight issue was that he took one hand off the handle bar each time and turned his head slightly back towards me – that didn’t really help my nerves!! PUT YOUR HAND ON THE BIKE AND LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING?!!!

But it was amazing. He drove like the wind and I absolutely loved it. I now know why people love their bikes so much. It’s hugely addictive and so much fun. By the time we raced back into the Scooter-roo park I was feeling very cool and totally won over by James and his super fast bike. The Irish accent didn’t hurt either, or that he’d started to call me his little Koala (because of how hard I clung on). All in all I was a bit of a girly mush.

Motorbikes = very, very cool.

Wet and wind swept but loving it

Next up in the adrenaline games….some crazy ocean rafting?!!!

The A Team takes Fraser Island

8 Apr

It’s taken me a few days to get this post up for several reasons, firstly Fraser broke me, it was literally insane and I’ve only just fully recovered, also I’ve been struggling to even think about how the hell I’m going to sum up such an amazing experience in a way that will do it justice and not just repeat the words ‘awesome, hilarious or goon’….I’m not sure I’ll crack it but I’ll try.

Ok so Fraser Island is this enormous island just off of the Western Coast. Be of no doubt, it is vast. A huge sandy landscape filled with hidden lakes, lagoons, rainforest’s, dingoes, ragged cliffs and endless beaches – ’75 mile beach’ as its called gives some clue as to it’s size. Even the surrounding seas are wild and untamed. We were told repeatedly not to swim in the sea, it’s literally teaming with all manner of things that can kill you – strong currents, rips, sharp rocks just under the surface, sharks, stingers etc etc. I didn’t need telling twice…no going in the sea…got it! It may sound like a hostile place but it is without question one of the most stunning and unique places I have ever visited.

There were 28 people travelling over from Rainbow Beach to Fraser and before we could set off we were split into groups. The first group called was mine. Group A. Or as we quickly named ourselves the A-Team. Well to be fair, I named us, mostly because it was simple, it already had a theme tune (which I would play repeatidly) and anything else – like team awesome/amazing/ just sounded like utter wank. (Also because I’m bossy and everyone else was on their best behaviour so didn’t put up much of an argument.) So the A Team was formed. The gang of unruly misfits was made up of  Me, Louise, Tash, Rach, Vicky, Ben, Liam and Coxy. Somehow we combined to create the best bloody group Fraser has ever seen!

The A- TEAM: Stats and specialist Skills – 

Me – DJ extraordinaire / Owner of the biggest boobs / bossy chef and general task master

Louise –  Best German ever / Veggie / part-time porn star

Rach –  Kick arse 4×4 driver – even when sitting on a sleeping bag to reach the peddles / aquatic somersault skills /Sexy su-chef

Tash – Champion goon drinker / often found on the floor / boob flasher

Vicky – Part time mountaineer / superb jumping skills / Can apply make up whilst driving over sand dunes

Ben – Most likely to be found on a car roof / part-time hooligan / full-time ladies man (watch out for those wristbands)

Liam – Ray Mears survival skills / wannabe DJ / 4X4 driving skills to rival Clarkson (my arse is still broken after the drive to Lake Mckenzie!)

Coxy “It’ll be grand” Irish – Specialises in goon drinking and surviving without sleep / can disguise himself as a dingo or dead snake as and when required /funny as fuck

So with a 4X4 packed to the roof (with chocolate and crisps) the A-Team headed to Fraser Island for 3 days of camping and craziness. I was the lucky (bossy) one who got to drive first…..It was awesome! I have never driven a 4X4 before let alone on a beach, in thick sand, through the incoming sea waves, over dunes and past feasting dingo’s. I absolutely loved it – I was Clarkson, Hamilton and Lady Penolope all rolled in to one. There I was bombing down the beach, tunes on, a car full of great people, laughing, singing and knowing we’re all set for an awesome time. This trip was gonna be something special.

The Fraser Gang

The first stop in our convoy was the champagne pools. On a clear, sunny, blue sky   can imagine that they would be beautiful. However, it was pissing it down and quite breezy. But not to be deterred on our first team mission we all ventured down. We stripped off and splashed about for about 10mins (posing for as many pics as possible) before clambering out, shivering cold and heading back to the car. Next stop was India Head, a huge cliff that juts out into the sea. By this point the heavens had really opened, my top was like something out of a wet t-shirt competition and making the climb up and down the cliff pretty hairy.

In fact the climb down was  just ridiculous the once muddy slopes had now turned into muddy water slides. Needless to say, we fell over. A lot. At one point Rach, Vicky and me got into a fit of giggles – literally stuck in the mud, half way up the cliff, laughing our arses off.

Mud slide!

After our poor climbing/falling efforts we were the last team down to the car but instead of jumping in we decided now was the prefect moment to attempt the ridiculously impossible group ‘jump up in the air all at one time’ shot. Again, and again, and again we tried. All holding hands, in the pissing rain, soaked through, trying and failing to jump at the same time. Our inability to master this amused us no end – for the 3 other cars packed full of people waiting and watching us act like idiots…not so much.

Later that day we made it to a campsite. As the weather wasn’t great we’d be staying in a camping round, but hopefully the next night, if the rain had stopped we’d be able to camp out on the beach. Tents up we got to the serious business of cooking and drinking. The goon and cider was in full flow and after dinner Joel (our guide) got out the guitar and we all started a massive sing song. Obviously we sounded dreadful, we were massively out of tune and no one knew all the words but that didn’t matter. We just sang, at the top of our lungs, waving our tin cups of booze in the air and looking happily around at our new found friends. When the camp lights got turned out, we headed to the beach – where things got very messy indeed. Being drunk on the beach is a weird thing. Firstly you are massively unsteady on your feet, you can’t really see, items of clothing, cameras, flip flops, people etc will mysteriously get lost and you’ll wake up in the morning with sand in places you really shouldn’t.

Singing (shouting) with Joel

The next morning I woke to find Ben asleep in the car, the boys tent half destroyed (apparently someone had pushed Coxy into it) and the first bit of sunshine we’d seen since getting on the island. Brilliant. A hearty fry up and several coffee’s later we were ready for day two. This was by far my favourite day. First up we headed to hangover creek – a place because it’s great to cure hangover’s, rather obvious if you ask me. It is essentially like a giant tropical bath, a little plunge pool to dunk into and come out feeling refreshed. After the pool we dicked about on the beach a bit trying to show off our gymnastic skills with hand stands and cartwheels, posing for yet more pics, attempting the jump shot (again and again) and generally larking about like the idiots we were.

The A-Team ladies

Next stop was Lake McKenzie. Before we got there though there was the small matter of the drive through the rainforest and over some of the biggest, bumpiest terrain you can imagine. Seriously it was insane, the bumps in the road were massive! I was lucky enough to be in the very back seat for the journey and let me just tell you, my arse is still bruised. Liam was driving and loved it. He smashed us over the bumps one by one to a chorus of “Woooow, Jeesus, my arse, Liaaaaaam!!’ It was pretty cool.

Wventually with a few broken tail bones we arrived. Lake McKenzie. Staggeringly beautiful. A perfect, crystal clear lake surrounded by white sand and tropical rainforest. It was like something out of Blue Lagoon. Paradise. We spent the next few hours pissing about in the water, attempting to somersault each other through the air without loosing bikini’s (not possible so it turns out!), posing for yet more pics and discussing how awesome my boobs are. Yeah we did and yeah they are. Pamela Anderson has nowt on me – ha!

The A-Team in paradise

As the weather was so amazing we got to set up camp on the beach for our last night. This was seriously cool. Setting up our little camp behind a sand dune, listening to the waves crashing in and knowing we could be as loud and as crazy as we wanted, all night = good times. The only two things that made camping on the beach a slight issue was the threat of Dingo’s (they are brazen wild animals who will tear through anything to get food, pretty scary) and the fact that if mother nature called the only answer was a torch and a spade…..nice.

Although it wasn’t intentional our little gang ended up spending a lot of time just together. It’s not that we didn’t like anyone else it was just that we’d already found the coolest people there and hanging out together was just the best fun. After dinner we attacked the booze, playing card games just to ensure we got as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. Rounds of ‘fuck the dealer’ merged into ‘ring of fire’ until we reached the optimum level of craziness possible. At this point we rejoined the bigger group and tried to bring our A-Team magic into the fold. Within an hour we’d driven someone elses car, taken over their ipod and made a new playlist, seduced numerous women (Ben) and got everyone smashed playing fuck the dealer. We retreated back to our camp proud of our work and ready to really get the party started. 

The A-team camp

Our car became the playing ground as the tunes kicked in and we clambered on the roof / bonnet for many, many, many pictures and more silliness. We then attempted to form a human pyramid….???! Ask me why and I have not idea. But as you can imagine, eight people, smashed out of their minds, trying anything remotely coordinated let alone a gymnastic feat such as the human pyramid did not end well. It was a disaster. Fail. Epic Fail in fact. But it was without question absolutely hilarious. The rest of the night was much the same, dancing in the sand, watching Tash fall over, getting picked up and carried about by the boys and having the best time. GO HOME DINGO!

The human pyramid - or human pile as it turned outNo idea what's happening here??

Car craziness

Guess the animal..Coxy plays a dead snake or road kill maybe?!

The last day (after we’d packed up camp and attempted to eat some rather disgusting scrambled eggs made in a dirty pan – so gross) we headed off to another secluded lake, this time surrounded by rolling sand dunes including one massive one that rolled right into the water. We were all feeling pretty fragile it has to be said, so the 40min hike to the lake was pretty harsh especially with the constant assaults from the ever present horse flies (These things were everywhere, the size of you thumb with a bite 5times as painful as a wasp sting – nasty, nasty things). After a few hours at the lake we headed back to the cars and set off on the journey home.

Louise drove us back to the ferry and while the rest of the car snoozed I thought back on the past few days, how these people had become great friends in such a short space of time, how much we’d laughed, all the things we’d seen, the fun, the laughter, the goon – I loved every single moment of it and feel so lucky to have met such awesome people.

A-TEAM YOU ROCKED MY WORLD – BIG LOVE XXX

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyz_2DEah4o

The A-Team - Awesome!

Meeting flipper

4 Apr

So Rainbow beach……

What I established very quickly was that people are really only here for two thing 1) They are waiting for their Fraser Island trip as this is the place all the ferries and tours depart from OR 2) They are waiting to die! Rainbow Beach is officially gods waiting room….it is where old people come to soak up as much boredom as they possibly can before happily popping their thongs off and heading to the big beach in the sky.

It is, to put it mildly the most boring place I’ve stopped at so far. It also doesn’t help that since leaving Noosa it hasn’t stopped raining, big fat continuous rain. Louise and me have 2 days to wait before our Fraser trip and we’ve been literally climbing the walls. To save ourselves from complete and utter boredom we  booked ourselves on to a mini trip to feed the wild dolphins at a place called Tin Can Bay.

We got up at dawn and hopped on the little bus, then on to an even smaller boat for the short trip over to Tin Can Bay. The weather was still pretty crap which made the journey over a bit choppy but nothing could dampen my mood, I was crazy excited about being able to get up close to real life, wild dolphins.

Off the boat we stood in the small bay, in the water just up to our knees and waited. Then just moments later, two pale gray dolphins swam right up to us and rested in the shallows. They were beautiful! Absolutely amazing to see them so close. It was really tempting to touch them but we’d already been told we couldn’t because we could spread germs etc (they obviously know the kind of hostels back packers stay in!) but we could feed them fish if we wanted to. YES PLEASE!

Amazingly close

The dolphins were pretty battered to be honest, not like the perfect ones you would see in captivity, these dolphins were wild, they had lived. Both of the dolphins  had big scars from being attacked by sharks (Bull and Tiger sharks to be exact), or from attacks within their own pod as younger dolphins challenged for supremacy in the group – but the marks didn’t bother me, as far as I was concerned they were beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

When it came time to feed them I took my little fish and placed it carefully under the water. Then really, really gently, the dolphin just nudge forward and took it. Honestly the whole thing was over in seconds but it’s like everything slowed down. It was such a soft, gentle movement, as if he was trying not to frighten me just as much as I was trying to stay calm and do everything right.

Slowly does it.....

One happy dolphin....

After an hour the feeding was all done and the dolphins had gone. The smile stayed on my face for the rest of the day. I’m so glad we did this. Such a lovely experience.

Now we’re all set for Fraser Island…..28 people spending three days on the island, camping on the beach, driving 4×4’s and having a big adventure. I can’t wait!

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