Sorry it has been so long since our last ...
Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
129Trip End Sep 22, 2003
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3rd Jan - We arrived in Surfers Paradise in the early afternoon and were picked up from the station by the courtesy bus of the Cheers hostel. This was only our second experience of a non-YHA hostel but we tried to be open minded. The adverts for the hostel called it a 5 star backpackers. What could possibly go wrong? On arrival we were lead accross the road from the main hostel and showed to a dingy looking 2 bedroom flat. We found that the carpet hadn't been hoovered for a long time, our fly screen was missing, there was no loo roll (LJ seemed to think this was a problem - must be a woman thin), someone elses crusty sheets were in the wardrobe, there were ants all over the kitchen, mould in the fridge, no clean sheets and the bathroom was filthy. We thought there must have been a mistake and we went and politely complained in true English fashion. A while later a couple of young lads came over with some sheets (but no pillow cases) and a dustpan and brush. They swept up the ants and then left. We complained again. The young guy came back with the pillow cases and we asked about getting the room cleaned. He said he only did the beds and promptly left. We complained again. The receptionist then came over and had a look around and said she would send someone over. We waited. And waited. And no-one came. We then tried to look for another hostel but everywhere was booked. We had then to make the decision to stay at dirty old Cheers for one night (should have been 3) and then make a run for Brisbane. A few days later we met a couple who used to work at Cheers and they said there was always complaints and that the hostel didn't even own a hoover - euh!
Surfers Paradise itself seemed quite a nice place. It is very touristy but we think it would have been good to stay for a few days if we hadn't been in a flea-pit.
4th Jan - Managed to get a slightly earlier bus for the short journey to Brisbane. We then had to walk 600m up a hill to the YHA in about 28 degrees. LJ is now only 3 foot tall but a lot stronger! Compared to Cheers the hostel was pure luxury with air con and towels fanned out on the bed with little bars of soap - I'm sure this is how backpackers should stay all the time.
5th Jan - Today we decided to go to Dreamworld which is a big theme park between Surfers and Brisbane. After about an hour on the train we arrived and jumped straight on to the scariest rides. The first was "The Drop" which drops you 38 stories which is long way down I can tell you. We then went on all the really scary rides before heading for the wildlife part of the part where we stroked a baby croc and had our photo taken cuddling a koala - how cute! We then went to see a tiger show which was quite cool but the best thing was when they walked a tiger through the crowds on a chain and we got the chance to stroke him. Needless to say I was ready with my swiss army knife should the tiger step out of line. Lucky for him he behaved.
6th Jan - A lazy day doing boring stuff like posting stuff home and shopping etc.....
7th Jan - A big day! We went to Australia Zoo home of the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin - crikey look at the size of that! Martin and I had been talking about this since we arrived in Oz so we were a little excited. Unfortunately the man himself wasn't there and to make it worse we found out he had been there for the previous 11 days. Still the crocodile shows were great with the keepers tempting the crocs out with lumps of meat. The crocs were huge and can grow to weigh up to 2 tons. At one point the keeper actually laid down next to the pool about 2 metres from the water to prove that it was safe as the crocs are slow on land - totally mad! Apparently one of the scariest things is cutting the grass round the pools cos you don't know where the crocs are. One of the crocs has eaten 2 lawnmowers and a strimmer! We also saw just about every other type of Ozzy wildlife including stroking kangaroos. A great day was had even though Steve wasn't there. When we got back to the hostel we made an appointment with the Doctor as LJ has got another bite 2 inches from the Fiji one and it was going the same way. Luckily we had caught it early this time and hopefully the antibiotics should do the trick. The doctor took me to one side and suggested I trade in my weedy pomme wife for a tough aussie sheila. I thought about this but the cost of another wedding soon put me off.
Thats all for now folks, more to follow tomorrow!