Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
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Where I stayed
Sure enough, I met her on Thursday afternoon and her first words to me were "you were right!" She'd arrived early, and found her 9 bed dorm a complete pig sty, and apparently a couple were "doing things" in one of the beds! So she immediately asked to change rooms, with a view to moving to the YHA the next day.
In contrast, I'd made a booking online at Bunk a couple of days previously, but I'd received no reply. When I enquired about this lack of contact, they admitted their error and upgraded me to a double room for the first night! It's alright for some, and once again I'd decided to pay for a single for my remaining 3 nights...anyone would think I was made of money, but some things are worth paying extra for.
After meeting at 3pm, we headed straight to the Visitor's Centre to buy our tickets for Dream World - we'd decided to go to Australia's biggest rollercoaster theme park as we needed an adrenaline fix! Donna's done every extreme activity that you can think of, so I wasn't worried about her bottling out when she saw The Giant Drop! Besides, she lives quite close to Alton Towers in the UK and is a regular there.
We went for a McDonalds and surfed the internet for a while, before I walked Donna back to her hostel as it was dark. She gave me a guided tour of the infamous City Backpackers, and to be honest it didn't seem that bad. There was a bar and swimming pool, but it all seemed pretty civilised. However, neither of us are big fans of these resorty backpackers, both preferring the smaller, homelier BBH hostels in New Zealand.
It was an early start the next morning, as we'd arranged to meet outside the Transit Centre at 8.30am. I asked Donna if she'd brought a packed lunch, remembering her fondness for them in Nelson. To my surprise, she hadn't, so we were going to be extravagant during the day!
It only took an hour to get there by bus, and we talked about our favourite ever rollercoasters to build up the excitement. We both agreed that the Nemesis was up there, and hopefully some of the ones at Dream World would also challenge for it. The contenders would come from 'The Big Five' - the five main rides that are the focal points of the theme park, and you couldn't miss some of them as we pulled into the car park...they were huge!
Once inside, we didn't mess around...we headed straight for the scarily high Giant Drop. The queue wasn't too big at this early stage, and within 20 minutes we were pulling the safety bars over our heads, ready for some excitement. The ride basically involved sitting down, looking out into the distance whilst slowly being elevated to a great height.
Both of our hearts were pumping, as it was a good 20 seconds sat stationary at the top. There were a couple of jolts that turned out to be false alarms, before suddenly...we were away! The drop seemed to go on forever, and I think my stomach was left behind somewhere, but it was exhilarating to say the least!
After a glance at the unflattering pictures of ourselves, we made our way to The Tower of Terror, a rollercoaster that relied on speed for effect. It was OK, as it shot up the same tower that The Giant Drop used, before returning...backwards! It was similar to The Thunder Looper that used to be at Alton Towers, but without the loops. Not bad, but us adrenaline junkies needed more...
Luckily we found it at The Claw, which also had my stomach in knots. Again you faced outwards as it swung you from side to side, often coming to a stop so that you are facing down, with nothing but fresh air between you and the ground! This was Donna's favourite ride of the day and it certainly was fun.
We went on the Cyclone next, which was an old school rollercoaster in the style of the Corkscrew. It had a couple of loops on it that made it better, but it wasn't that scarey for a theme park veteran like me!
After a chicken burger and chips, we queued up for Wipeout, which was the same as the Rip Saw at Flamingo Land. Maybe it wasn't the best idea to go on it after eating, as illustrated later in the day when someone was sick! We were all seated, before they announced that we had to get off again while they found a cleaner! Wouldn't you know it, Donna had the misfortune of getting the seat in question when we returned, although most of it had been cleared up!
Anyway, this turned out to be my favourite ride as it twisted and turned, going upside down numerous times and causing everyone to scream. I have a habit of laughing on these kinds of rides, which is a good thing I suppose!
We treated ourselves to strawberries and cream in the afternoon, before doing the rounds again as the crowds were disappearing. We went on a couple of smaller rides that had no queues, and had a hectic last hour trying to get our money's worth. We ended up going on The Giant Drop a further 3 times, The Claw a further 2 times, and Wipeout just once more.
It started raining at 4.45pm, so we went inside for a drink and waited for the bus to pick us up. We'd had a lovely day together...and at least for me, there was more in store. I'd noticed a couple of posters around the city advertising a gig by the Hoodoo Gurus, and I was definitely interested. I remembered adding a couple of their albums to my wish list years ago, but never actually buying them. So, I enquired on a couple of message boards and received positive feedback about them, so I'd bought a ticket the previous day and was all set (I did ask Donna but sweaty basement gigs aren't really her thing!).
I didn't get back to my hostel until 7.45pm after getting a McDonalds and printing off directions in town, and I was away again just 15 minutes later! Luckily The Waterloo Hotel was also in Fortitude Valley, so it was easy to find and only took 10 minutes to get there.
Once inside the blacked out basement, I grabbed myself a can of VB and watched the 2 support bands play. The second one, Douglas Fir, were alright actually and sounded a bit like Jimmy Eat World at times...although not as good. The crowd was certainly building, and by the time the Gurus came on stage at 10.30pm it was packed out with about 500 die hard fans.
I didn't have a clue what to expect, but I knew that they were my kind of thing as soon as the crunchy guitars kicked in on opener A Place In The Sun. Apparently this was their first gig in a year, and it showed as they performed with so much energy for an hour and a quarter. There were no ballads, just out and out power pop, a bit reminiscent of Status Quo with the power chords...in a good way. It was in stark contrast to Oasis' performance the previous week, and I'll go out on a limb and say I actually enjoyed this gig more. They even took requests at one point!
It's definitely a band that I want to get into when I get back home as they have a huge back catalogue stretching way back into the '80s. Their brand of surf-style, country-tinged rock n roll was infectious, and although it had been a hectic day, it was well worth it.