Trip Start Nov 23, 2005
31Trip End Jul 12, 2006
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Time to head south on the Greyhound to my birthday wish, to see Mission Beach. After a pleasant 2hr bus ride down to Mission, we were greeted by 3 hostel shuttles to choose from. We chose the Beach Shack, as the beach is where I wanted to be. They were also organising a full moon party on the beach with fire twirlers, they obviously knew I was coming! After stowing our stuff in our room, we headed along the beach (at last I finally get to see it, & it's awesome) then to the shops to get dinner & beer for tonight's party. It's 7:15 & we're all running around getting dinner ready, (tripping fuses here there & everywhere) 30 mins later the shuttle bus drives us down to another part of the beach, where we watch the moon rise, the fire twirlers spin & sing to guitar & bongo music. Cool!
Tues 14th Feb
Got up after a restless hot night, as we couldn't find the switch for the aircon until we searched for it in the early hours
Weds 15th Feb
Got up nice & early to catch a bus to Handy Car Rentals, & pick up a Toyota Echo that we'd arranged last night. Once in our compact, air conned steed, we headed north towards Ingham, then inland to Wallaman Falls in Lumholtz National Park. This consisted of a few gravel roads, that we weren't supposed to drive down in a rental, but they weren't too bad so we took it easy. It was worth the drive as the view was spectacular. At 268 metres high, it is the biggest drop falls in Oz, it is twice the height of the Nevis High Wire Bungy in Queenstown, & is surrounded by beautiful rainforest. We did try the base walk, but were beaten by the thought of Death Adders & Stinging trees in the area & then the heavens opened up half way down & it was getting very slippery under foot so we had to retreat. On the drive back, we saw some Cassowaries & then near Ingham we stopped at a Wetland park, & Crystal Creek in Paluma National Park. On arriving back to Townsville, we drove up Castle Hill, which is a huge rock slap bang in the middle of town
Thurs 16th Feb
Another early start, this time to catch the 8 am ferry to Magnetic Island. We missed it & caught the 9 am instead with an all day bus to get around. First we headed to Horseshoe Bay but as it was raining we stayed on the bus to Picnic Bay where we got off. We had a quick walk along the Pier only for the heavens to open up again so we sort shelter in the bus stop. If you're picturing Worthing right now, so were we! The bus came along again & we headed back to Horseshoe Bay determined to see some koalas along the Fort walk (another Death Adder area!). As luck would have it, Ii was told by a local that it was unlikely to rain again as it doesn't rain much there. Typical! We didn't spot any koalas on the way to the Fort, (where we had to take shelter from more rain!) but we did see one on the way back, just sitting in his tree munching away. Ah! Following that we took the bus back to Picnic Bay to see a crocodile called "Rin Tin Tin" at a nearby hotel. Bizarre! Then we walked up Hawkings Point where we had a beautiful view of Picnic Bay & Nelly Bay, followed by a mad dash to catch the bus back to the ferry port as the next one would be 1 & a half hours later
Fri 17th Feb
So much for a lie-in, it seems everyone is moving on today! The plan was to get up at 9:30 to catch the 10:45 to Airlie, so we got up at 8:30 & hung around for the bus. Nothing exciting happened for the rest of the day, the bus got us to Airlie for 3 o'clock, we found a room at Koalas in their budget rainforest dorms (no frills, even had to hire pots & pans, luckily we have our own). Cooked dinner over 2 hobs with 10 other people trying to do the same. Nightmare! For dinner tonight we're having tuna pasta & we've made enough for 2 nights. Cat using her resourcefulness managed to buy (using the restaurants tips while they weren't looking! shocking I know!) a plastic container for the second nights dinner. Highlight of the day, really!
Sat 18th Feb
Got a nice lie in this morning, just a few things to do today so no rush. Eventually confirmed our boat trip after much stressful negotiation with agent & owner
Sun 19 Feb
Had to check out at 10 this morning, as the miserable sods wouldn't let us have a late one, even though some girls we were sharing with the night before were allowed! Still, we gave them the keys at 10, but we left the door open so we could sneak a few more hours in, the cleaners wouldn't be there till about 2 so who would know. After watching a few movies & lunch, we took our bags down to the office for storage, then had a chill out by the lagoon before heading down to the marina for our 6:30pm sailing
Mon 20th Feb
After a short hot night, the skipper woke us all up at 7am for breakfast! Then we headed to Whitehaven for a beautiful view from the lookout & a nice bit of sunbathing on the white silica sand beach. Back on the boat we spotted a few Turtles coming to the surface for air before heading to Dumbell Island for a spot of snorkeling over the reef. It was amazing, as soon as we were in the water, 3 Batfish came to check us out, followed by some huge harmless jellyfish. Once over the reef the skipper threw in some bread & we were surrounded by hundreds of colourful fish all thrashing around & all over us! It has to be the best snorkeling I've ever experienced! Once back on the boat, trouble struck! The fanbelt had snapped on the boats generator, so the skipper called base for a replacement & we had to moor at Hamilton Marina for the night. Which was actually quite cool as we were in great need for a shower & by using the marinas it meant we could have longer & because we were plugged into their electric, we could keep the air-con on all night
Tues 21st Feb
Another early morning wake up, but a much better night due to full-time air-con! After leaving the marina we headed to Luncheon Bay on Hook Island (where Andy our skipper was going to get the replacement generator belt & fit it) to do some more snorkeling, plenty of fish to see everywhere. After lunch we moved around to Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island. This is by far the best place I've snorkeled, ever! So many fish, even more than the last place & we even snorkeled with a sea turtle! Wicked!
Weds 22nd Feb
This time we managed a lie-in with a 7.30am wake up for breakfast & we had scrambled eggs this morning! After breakfast we headed to Black Island to do some more snorkeling, not as good as yesterdays but very nice. After some lunch we made our way back under sail, the wind was pretty strong so most of the time we were cutting along on an angle. It was a nice way to finish the trip. After a nice shower at Koalas, (unofficially) we hung around using the facilities until we caught our bus at 11pm to Rockhampton.
Thurs 23rd Feb
Arrived in Rockhampton just after 6am very tired, I don't know how anyone can get any sleep on a bus
Fri 24th Feb
A 7 o'clock start had us rounding up the horses on motor cross bikes, followed by milking the cow. After breakfast we were back out on the horses for an hour or 2, then a bit of time to chill out before lunch. After lunch I had another ride out on the motor cross bikes, whilst Cat had a snooze in a hammock. We were then transferred back to Rockhampton where we shared a dorm at the YHA with Jonathon & ilona from Toronto, who we had met at the farm
Sat 25th Feb
Another very early start (5:30) to catch the 6:30 bus to Agnes Water. On arrival at Cool Bananas hostel, we were taken on a free tour of the area, see the view from the lookout & 1770. After a few hours rest, we went for a ride on a Harley, not a real one but a 50cc replica which was part of the Scoota-Roo tour. Basically, 16, (most of which hadn't ridden a bike before) people riding around looking for Kangaroos & then onto the Tree pub to sit outside & watch the sunset, eating potato wedges & chicken nuggets. We followed that up with a friendly race back to the bike yard. A fun afternoon.
Sun 26th Feb
Had a nice lie in till 9, then after breakfast we headed off to Surf School. We got kitted out with a nice red rash shirt & a huge long board, then listened for a good half hour to our instructor the basics on how to surf. Then into the water to shoot some waves with the knowledge given to us by our instructor. A nice wave came along, we paddled like crazy, jumped up onto our boards & surfed like pros! Yeah right, within seconds we're splashing into the water, swallowing half the sea & got thrown around like rag dolls! Back on shore we were keen to try again to repeat the process over & over again! I did manage to get up once, only to crash into another virgin learner like me within a few seconds of a woohoo! Cat was suffering the same fate, getting up but then being wiped out by the wave. We bow to the awesome power of the wave! We then spent the afternoon chillin at the hostel, (was too tired to do anything else) then treated ourselves to a pizza at a local restaurant.
Mon 27th Feb
Awoke quite early from a noisy night thanks to some Swedish girls staying in our room. Talk about noisy, I don't think they know how to talk quietly, they also thumped around, bumping into our bunk, I even had to tell a guy that was talking to them from the door (that was right next to us) where to go in not so many words! All we wanted was a nice lay in but they even got up at 7 and thumped backwards and forwards for 2 hours! Thankfully they checked out this morning so we're hoping for a quiet night tonight. There was a bit of drama though as one of the girls was sick in her bed and the manager went right off on one! They were very immature teens/early twenties! After that we had a nice chill out day, watched a few movies, chatted to our new roomies and got ready for our bus in the morning.
Tues 28th Feb
A better nights sleep even with quite a loud snorer. Our new room mates were much more considerate than the last. At 8:15 we boarded the shuttle bus for our 9:15 greyhound to Bunderburg. On arrival we had a choice of the Cellblock backpackers (the old police station) or Feeding Grounds, the owner of which ran the turtle tours & offered a very reasonable rate for accommodation & the tour
Weds 1st Mar
After a very comfy night, (dreaming of finding Nemo,) we got up, had breakfast, then caught our bus to Hervey Bay
Thurs 2nd Mar
Another day, another bus ride, this time down to Noosa. As was yesterday, it's chucking it down again, even harder though. We've heard from the news & friends that there is a severe weather warning at the moment, possibly the edges of a Cyclone. It is the rainy season I suppose, but it's quite windy too. We had a quick walk round to the local shop for milk, then sheltered from the weather in the hostel & I watched Shrek while Cat got on and read her book,Ice Station, which she was given by a nice American gent in Noosa.
Fri 3rd Mar
It's still raining, so we stay in bed as long as possible, then head into town on the hostel shuttle bus. After catching up on some emails & banking stuff, we headed down to the main beach to watch the surfers. With the weather being so windy, the surf was pretty rough, & the life guards were trying in vain to get them out of the water
Sat 4th Mar
We checked out at 8 then our tour bus for Frazer Island picked us up for a nice long weekend. Because of the recent weather, we had to go a slightly different way to catch the ferry, which meant we couldn't go down Rainbow beach. Hopefully we'll go back that way. Apart from that, all was going well, until a huge wave caught us, swamped the engine & caused us to stall! The driver then exclaimed, get out quick, then we stood on a bank watching him try to start it. After a while of non-starting, we then spent the next few hours, waiting for a mechanic to come & fix it, only to find the electrics had caused the bus computer to fry. The next plan was to get us to the beach huts where we were staying, about 10km away. So we all jumped onto the back of the mechanics Ute, & we were doing quite well until the local police patrol happened to see us & stop us. After our driver got a good ticking off and the whole group had stopped taking pictures of the incident, the policeman gave us a lift in his police car. As most of the day had gone, we got settled in then visited the local resort bar before heading back for dinner (a big Aussie BBQ) & an evening playing cards, drinking & socializing. I think the driver got lucky with the group he got, we're all pretty easy going, it wasn't totally his fault, these things happen & we all had fun. The company soon had another bus for us to use for tomorrow, so we'll just have to see how it goes.
Sun 5th Mar
Got woken quite early by the off road bikers next door, but otherwise not a bad night
Mon 6th Mar
An early start so that we could get to Lake Wabby for a few hours & back down to the ferry before high tide at midday. We had lunch at Rainbow beach where we changed busses with the next tour. The bus that broke down was still in the garage, so the company had to hire a bus for the day from Adventure Tours. As it was high tide, we couldn't go down Rainbow beach directly to Noosa, so we drove inland for a while, then cutting back to the beach at Red Canyon. From there the tide was low enough to carry on back to another ferry to get us back to Noosa. On return to Dolphins we heard that it had been raining non stop there, we must have had the best weather with us on Fraser!
Tues 7th Mar
After a nice lie in, we headed down to Sunshine Beach, then through Noosa National Park Koala spotting