Day 288-294: Fraser Island to Brisbane
Trip Start Sep 12, 2004
57Trip End Jan 05, 2006
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7am start and the car was already at the hostel. We had to check the supplies, make sure it was all there, as we were doing so it started to rain...a taste of things to come I suspect. The car itself was a bit of a state, which I guess is to be expected considering it's been driven god knows how many times off road by backpackers. 3 seats in the front and to bench seats running along the sides in the back, good job there was only 9 of us otherwise it would have been too much of a squeeze. Drove to the car company to do some paperwork, only 5 of us were old enough and had a credit card which meant we could drive. Then we got our camping permits and drove to the barge. Denis the German was driving initially, and from the way he was driving at 120 in an 80 limit I kinda got the impression that he might be a bit of a twat.
Barge trip was short and then we were on Fraser Island, took the inland road initially as the tide was too high to go on the beach. Started off as a smoothish sand track, eventually turned into a potholed dirt track, Denis driving like an arse meant we were jumping up and down in the back holding on for dear life as we careered through holes and puddles. Eventually we got onto the beach where Denis managed to get us stuck in the sand attempting to do a u-turn, so we dug the car out in the pissing rain, I noted that the 2 girls remained in the car. He also managed to drive through some seawater which supposedly gets us a $1500 bill for salt damage. Was not a happy bunny at this point, most people didn't seem to care too much but really didn't feel safe with that idiot driving. First main stop of the day was Lake Mackenzie, known for it's beautiful blue water and white sands, unfortunately the cloud and rain detracted slight, tho a couple of the lads went in for a dip.
We went back to the beach to have lunch and the clouds broke for a bit so we made the most of it. I was being pretty quiet coz I was so pissed off I thought it best not to say anything rather than have a go on the first day. Next stop was Eli Creek in the late afternoon, a shallow creek which runs out to the sea and you can swim down with the current, tho it's only a couple of foot deep. When we stopped there I asked Denis if he could drive a bit more sensibly and it didn't really sink in, he said "Don't you take risks?" and I pointed out that I don't when there are 8 other people in the car, he didn't give a shit really. Last stop before camp was the wreck of the Maheno which has been slowly rusting away since 1935.
We arrived at the campsite just before dusk. It's aboriginal run and was recommended by the 4WD guy. It's a permanent site so we got a massive to tent to sleep all of us which was cool coz it meant we didn't have to set up our 2 man tents. The evening was dry so we spent the night cooking in the kinda kitchen thing where I done the burgers and sausages, then we chatted around the camp fire. The nights get dark real early so they seem to drag so much, so by 9 you feel like it's time for bed.
Bit windy during the night and the tent flaps were flapping away and flaps always disturb me....had breakfast with the dingoes that hand around the camp, luckily there were no babies in the area. Today I took control of the wheel and felt a bajillion times better, Denis sat in the back with a face like a slapped arse. Cloudy weather again, tho dry so far. Drove up the beach to Indian Head where you're supposed to be able to see sharks, whales, dolphins, rays, mermaids, etc. However the wind was kinda churning up the sea so you could see bugger all expect sand and water. Great view tho. Back onto the beach and a drive down to The Pinnacles - there's a lot of Pinnacles in Oz but these are 'multi-coloured' sand cliffs....not v exciting.
Lake Wabby was next, had to park on the beach and walk for 45 mins inland to reach it. Started to piss down as we arrived...joy! Wabby has a massive sandblow which has cut the lake into two and will eventually fill it. This one is green tho I can't remember why...it just is. A few of the lads went for a swim and pissing around with the boogie board we hired, couldn't be arsed to go in coz of the rain. As we walked back to the car the heavens opened when we were a couple of minutes away so there was a quick sprint to get some shelter. Had lunch in the car creating a very efficient sandwich production line. We drove to Eurong despite being high tide, but it wasn't far up the beach and we didn't get stranded so all good. Still raining so went to the small cafe for a cup of tea and a donut. A couple of people investigated staying in a cabin tonight, but in the end the group decided to go back to the aboriginal camp in the hope that we can get a tent again so we don't have to put ours up in the rain.
Driving up the beach was a nightmare, driving rain, sea mist, wind and sand made visibility awful at times, plus you're always trying not to smack into a bump or sand shelf. We made it there alive tho thanks to my skillful and considerate driving. Evening was pretty much the same as last night, tho we spent most of the night in the camp directors house coz the electricity was out in the kitchen area. Chatting, eating, drinking then sleeping...simple.
Roger the German drove today, the other 2 who could drive weren't really interested. First lake of the day was Birrabeen, best know for having sulphur mud on the bottom that you're supposed to cover yourself in to make your skin silky soft, so I finally made it into a lake as for a change it wasn't raining and done the obligatory mud pic. However the dry spell didn't last long and with a little shower while we were there. Next and last stop of the trip late morning was Lake Boomanjin, this is a tea tree lake apparently and has a sort of brownish tinge, couldn't be arsed to go in coz it was windy, freezing and raining occasionally, however the die hards went in for their final dip. Had lunch at Dilli Village which actually isn't a village but a camp site which we couldn't even get into. Then the trip back down to the barge which took about an hour or so. We started on the beach but the tide was coming in fast so back on to the high tide track with it's giant pot holes and puddles so it was a crawl for most of the journey before the decent sand track finally appeared.
Of course as the trip was coming to an end the clouds slowly disappeared and the sun arrived....there's some force greater than I know of which is really trying to stuff up the east coast for me. Got on the barge and finally made it back onto normal roads....lovely. Filled the tank up, dumped stuff off at the hostel, then took the car back to the rental place. Luckily they didn't charge me for the rear view mirror which I managed to snap off the day I was driving, nor the boogie board which was covered in melted red wax after someone didn't quite understand how to wax a board up. Me and Paul were gonna have our free meal tonight but the YHA kitchen was closed so got $10 back each and went out for food. Had the free beer at the YHA and a game of darts which I won - finally something I can win - then we went next door to Dingo's for a few other drinks.
10am bus to Noosa. Cloudy again but at least not pissing down....however that's what it did on the way to Noosa, more torrential rain. Plumped for Noosa Backpackers Resort when we arrived coz they had free kayaks and boards. Weird place, our dorm was a converted apartment with 6 beds in what was probably the lounge, there was still a kitchen and bathroom, but the bedroom was locked....bizarre, kinda good to have ensuite tho. The weather was pissing Paul off a little so we went for a wander around town and along the beach, windy and wet but loads of surfers out making the most of the swell...listen to me and my surfer speak! Dried up later thank god, walked for ages and stopped off to get some food at Woolies, finally getting back to the hostel after dusk.
In the evening we jumped on the courtesy bus into town which dropped us off near the cinema, went to see War of the Worlds, - SPOILER FOLLOWS.... - which was pretty good but the fact that the aliens were defeated by getting a bloody cold was a bit of an anticlimax. Taxi back coz it was far too far to walk, simply couldn't be arsed
Joy of joys!!!! The sun was out and the sky was blue...woohoo!! Noosa really is the kinda place where you need good weather considering the place is based around a river and it's inlets and canals and the sea. Caught the bus into town and walked along the Coastal Track in Noosa National Park. Beautiful views out to sea and the forest comes up right to the cliffs. The 2.4km walk took us to Hell's Gate which isn't actually a direct portal into hell but a rocky outcrop with the sea crashing into a v-shaped inlet. Took a short detour down to Alexandria Beach where we chilled of a little while, turned out the southern end was a nudist beach, but we didn't investigate. Then took the Tanglewood Track back which was a 4.6km path which meandered through the rainforest where we heard lots of stuff but only saw one brush turkey. Ended up walking around for 3 hours and jumped back on the bus to the hostel early arvo.
Still great weather so got a couple of the free kayaks and headed out onto the Noosa River spending a couple of hours meandering around the inlets finally watching the sunset as we bobbed up and down on the water....very cool way to spend a couple of hours. Took a load of pics of the adventure on the underwater camera so looking forward to seeing them when I finish the camera off...just need to do some more water based stuff. Stayed in the hostel in the evening, cooked dinner, had a game of pool with a yank and a Scottish bloke, played cards then Paul got into watching Wimbledon so I read for a bit and buggered off to bed.
Wow....two sunny blue sky days in a row. Tho we're off to Brisbane today so glad we made the most of the good weather yesterday. 10.15 bus to Brissy. So many hostels to choose from in Brissy, too many of them are 'party' hostels too, a couple told us yesterday that they stayed in Palace for one night and had to move coz they just didn't get any sleep - so avoided that. Ended up plumping for Bunk who picked us up from the Transit Centre. Got a messy 6 bed with a load of oirish lads, seems like there's Irish everywhere in this hostel, gives me a chance to use my excellent genuine Dublin accent. They were playing some bizarre Irish rock/opera/plinky plonky hybrid on their CD player...very strange.
Walked into the city to go to the information centre which was manned by one woman and had loads of people waiting, so we grabbed some leaflets and left. Paul needed to get another book so we went to a secondhand place which boasted over 1 million books, was pretty big but would have to take their word for it coz I got bored after I'd counted to 125,563. Late in the afternoon we got the bus to the Gabba coz the whole point of getting into Brissy today was to watch the Brisbane Lions vs Melbourne Demons. Paul hasn't watched an AFL match yet so was well excited about it. He's more a rugby boy, plays it and watches it. Got to the ground and the cheap seats had sold out...bollocks! Ended up paying $44 a head, which is still cheap really at less than 20 quid each, but the cheap ones were $20 so it was a little depressing.
Got the tickets and found a pub nearby which was showing the British Lions game...so it was a very sporty evening, not that I was that interested in the rugby game. The AFL match started at 7pm, seats were pretty good, lower stand and not too far from the field. Got to walk on the pitch after the match and attempt to not get smacked by a ball in the head as hundreds were flying around. Got the bus back and just went for a wander around the Valley area which Bunk is in, being a Saturday night it was all a bit lairy. Ended up near the Story Bridge which looked really cool all lit up at night. Being a Saturday night and feeling a little wild we bought some milk and went to bed....crazy!
Woke with the sun streaming through the window directly on my bed slowly heating my up into a sweaty mass....shouldn't complain about the sun tho. Early start to get to the train to head off to Australia Zoo - home of Steve Irwin, god knows if many of you have heard of him but he's the Crocodile Hunter. Anyway the website will fill ya in. Took an hour and a half to get to the zoo coz it's a little way outside Brissy. Went straight to the Crocoseum when we got there to watch the shows; a tiger show, bird show, snake show and croc show. All a little cheesy but the birds and tigers were cool. Steve Irwin wasn't actually there and the croc show was a little disappointing, one croc who couldn't really be arsed to do very much other than swim a little....yawn.
Wandered around for another couple of hours, usual zoo fare; roos, emus, koalas, crocs, birds, lizards, snakes...etc. Got the train back about 3pm so we weren't too late into Brissy. Cost $44 to do the zoo thing and not really worth it to be honest. Straight back to the hostel via the supermarche where sausages and potatoes were purchased for a good old meal of bangers and mash. Had a couple of bevvies and watched the Sumo suit 'fun' in the outside bar, got chatting to a couple of locals who come to the hostel bar regularly, they done the sumo thing, got a free jug of beer and then gave it to Paul. Kitchen in the hostel is an absolute shithole, I've never known so many lazy feckers, stuff left everywhere, nothing washed up...bastards. Fought our way through the crap to make what was a rather marvellous dinner. Nothing else of note that evening, watched the end of Goodfellas in the TV room before bed. The search for a job starts tomorrow.....