Life's a beach

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, June 22, 2013

The bus ride to Hervey Bay from Rockhampton was only 7hrs but I think because it was a night bus it seemed a lot longer and painful then the other bus rides to date. Arriving at 1:30am, the bus depot seemed to be pretty far from the CBD and was thankful there was a taxi there waiting and quickly grabbed it and shared it with a couple of other girls who were also getting off in Hervey and staying at another place on the way to mine.  It was my bad as I thought the place had 24hr reception so had to call and wake up the owner who was gracious and came out to give me a key.  Next morning after a bit of a lie in I went out to explore and quickly came to realize two things; my accommodation while by the marina was way out of town and once reaching town by foot about 6kms away there is not much to see and do.  There is an aquarium there called Reef World that I know wouldn't be huge but in trying to find it I had actually walked by it three times.  The sign "Restaurant" on the side of the building and the fact that it looks more like a restaurant then an aquarium didn’t help.  After seeing pictures of people using sticks to poke the animals in the tanks I decided it’s probably not the kind of aquarium I’d like to visit.  Nearby is the kilometre long Urangan Fishing pier and here they did have a little Saturday market going selling arts and crafts and such. I did find an excellent café just a few meters from the pier called Swell Café where I had a pretty tasty bacon sandwich and I think the best cup of coffee I’ve had so far in Australia. As well the owners, transplants from Melbourne to get away from the cold, were super sweet and I had a lovely conversation with them.  Accepting the fact that there was not much else to see or do I made my way back to where I was staying and spent the afternoon in evening in the lounge trying to catch up on my blogs. At least this place had comfortable amenities to make hanging out just the little bit nicer.  The only reason I came here was so that I could see Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island and this is the closest stepping stone to it. And so the next day that was the agenda as I had booked a day tour (Fraser Explorer Tours) to see the island I had to see, as claimed by many a backpacker I’ve run into.  It was a cool crisp morning but the sun was out so had the promise of being a good day and perhaps get warm enough to go swimming at a couple of the stops on the Island.  The half an hour ferry crossing to the island was cold and breezy but beautiful to see the island ahead and the bay we were crossing in the early morning sun.  Upon disembarking from the ferry we were assigned to a 4WD bus based on our tour and trip duration and I joined 17 others on a big blue bus with a very chatty but informative guide Kristin.  Over the course of the day we were feed with lots of Fraser Island history, including aboriginal stories of how they thought the island, which they call K’Gari, meaning paradise, was formed.  Our itinerary of the day was pretty much going to be backwards from what is advertised due again to my lovely luck with the ocean tide.  So we made our way across the island which is only 15km but took us about 45mins due to the road conditions, hence the need for a 4WD and then after a stop at a lodge we made access onto the beach on the East side of Island and drove up 75-mile beach for a fair distance.  Due to some major erosion of late, this ride took me back to the good old days of some of the worst roads in Africa and India as we bounced around inside the bus.  There was an optional flight whereby the plane takes off and lands on the beach and does a fly over of the island which some took up and as they did we continued making our way up the beach to meet them at the Pinnacles, a small section of colorful sand cliffs.  Then with everyone back on board we turned around and made our way back down the beach stopping first for photos at the Maheno ship wreck, a passenger liner blown ashore during a cyclone in 1935 while being towed to a Japanese scrapyard.  Just 2kms from Maheno, we stopped for about 45 minutes at Eli Creek which runs into the ocean and was our first opportunity to go for a swim.  I opted for wandering along the path up the creek and back as the sun had decided to retreat and the wind wasn’t getting any warmer.  There were a few brave souls or shall I saw hearty souls then I that did enjoy the creek.  Time for lunch we went back to the Eurong Beach Resort for a buffet lunch and then made our way back across the island to do the things we missed in the morning which was simply an hour long stop at Lake Mackenzie for more swimming which even less people did but enjoyed just walking around the lake which is at it’s fullest so not much of a beach to walk on.  While here I saw a Dead Adder snake, which is highly poisonous and a Dingo that can also be dangerous if provoked.  We had been given Dingo safety and at first when I turned around and saw her, my first thought was "Oh, it’s a dog" and then panic set in and it was “oh shit, it’s a Dingo” but I did what I was supposed to and it went walking by me with not to much care in the world but a few seconds later a group behind me had scared it off and it came trampling behind me and thankfully past as I did have a brief thought that it was coming for me.  After the Dingo excitement at the lake and even more at the parking lot we left for Central Station which was a permanent logging camp that had developed over the many years that logging was prevalent on the island up until 1994 when it became a World Heritage site.  And then it was a small walk along the Wanggoolba Creek that flows through the sub-tropical rainforest that exists in the middle of the island.  Then back to the ferry docks to catch the 5pm ferry, the last of the day and get dropped back at our accommodation.  Despite the weather being a bit cool to enjoy the swimming it was still a good day and can understand now why people say “oh you have to go to Fraser Island” as I will say the same but suggest when it’s slightly warm.   Back to the bus depot early the next morning thanks to a free shuttle service from the hostel and I was on my way bound for Noosa, a place I’ve been very intrigued about and upon hearing how good my accommodation was, was even more intrigued.  My plan for three days in Noosa was to do pretty much nothing and this plan worked out fairly well as the first day I just checked out the town and the beach, the second day I did the coastal walk at the national park in the morning followed by a session at the beach in the afternoon. The third day more beach time and the day I left because it was overcast splurged and checked out other parts of Noosa via the ferry service they offer.  One thing that surprised me about this place as it is one of the finer resort towns along the coast is how friendly everyone is in town most notably striking up a conversation with a couple that owns a snack bar called Kebaba’s close to the beach and make a really good BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato).  They’ve been here for four years and originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and want to return one day but are trying to get the business going a bit more before selling.  At the hostel, thanks to the activities they run I also meet and chatted with a number of different people; more than at any other hostel thus far.  The first night they had a meet and greet for those new who have checked in and there I met and spent the evening with a lovely couple, Jo and Ian.  I actually recognized them from the place I was staying in Airlie Beach but didn’t have an opportunity to meet them there which was too bad because they were a lot of fun.  She was 53 and he as 42, so both being a second marriage for them but getting married 11 years after they met and have now been married for 9 years.  They were taking sometime to see some of the East Coast before joining a Lions tour that would take them to quite a few of the rugby games over the next few weeks in quite a few different cities.  The next night was a trivia night which I love so signed myself up and joined four others to become a team named the Celtic Connection.  They were all Scottish and Irish and learning I’m from Canada we agreed there’s got to be some Irish or Scottish in me.   The trivia was distracting to the Lions vs. Brumbies game being televised on TV or is it the other way around?  But in any case our team somehow managed to win, answering 39 out of the 50 questions correctly.  Our prize?  A jug of beer which we shared over conversation and huddling around the heater as it this point we were seeing our breath in the lounge area.   Feeling nice and relaxed I was ready to leave Noosa and head for the bright lights big city of Brisbane which was just a few hours away.  I’m not really that excited to be in Brisbane but more of a necessity to catch a flight to Perth in couple of days.  My first evening here I actually went to the grocery store and bought some supplies to self-cater most of my meals here and watched the movie Incendiary being shown in the lounge.  Checking the weather for the next day and finding out it was going to rain all day I made the decision that I was just going to stay in the hostel  and take the day to do laundry, the never ending blog and to just chill out whether it be with movies and/or a book.  The day after the weather looks to be better and will checkout a bit of what Brisbane has to offer….if I feel like it.
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