Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, June 12, 2009

Camper-Van + Beach = Awesome

In NZ we bought a car and camped in our tent but never got to experience a campervan. So we thought it would be a great time to rent one and drive up the East Coast of Australia in it.  After a total of 1,700 km and almost 2 weeks, we made it.  Our goal was to camp as many places as we could for free and to sleep on the beach every night.  Mission accomplished (minus paying for 2 nights).  The camper was pretty sweet and had a little fridge and sink and even a DVD player.  They gave us some DVD's to take too.  The back seats folded out into a big double bed that was actually comfy.   

The downside of not paying for a holiday park, was no showers.  We survived though, using the park and beach showers where everyone could see you - we just showered in our swimsuits. 

We met a lot of cool people and got a pretty good idea of what Australia is all about.  We were pretty excited to see some kangaroos in the wild, but we saw only dead ones on the road.  People told us to avoid driving at night at all costs.  There is so much wildlife out and about that a lot of people get in accidents. 

Along our way up the east coast we stopped at a number of beaches, including Elliott's Head beach, Yeppoon beach, Clairview beach, Midge Point beach, Airlie beach, Whitehaven beach, Horseshoe beach, Saunders beach, Mission beach and Machans beach.  So, we've spent most of the last 2 weeks in our swimsuits.  We came at the right time because during their summer months the water is filled with Box Jelly Fish (among other creatures). 

While in Brisbane, we had a waitress that told us that if we want the nightlife and "hussle and bussle" to stay along the east coast.  We still don't know what she was talking about.  The towns are small and far between.  But they all were nice and had their own character. 

We spent Brian's birthday in Mission Beach and ate Mexican.  Not much was open but they had good food and drinks.  Also, for his birthday we did the Great Barrier Reef (which I'll talk about soon).  The time we spent in Mission Beach, we slept at the boat ramp.  The first night, it was just us and another car, but by the third there was about 5 cars.  It was the only place in town where they must have forgotten to put up a NO Camping sign - they are everywhere else.  A guy we met at one of the parks told us to check it out there.  He also gave us a huge bag of fruit and an expensive Australia camping guidebook that he didn't need anymore.  Nice guy and we sold the book back to a bookstore when we left for $15, hehe. 

Two of the best things we have done in Oz were on the East Coast.  The first being our day trip out into the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Airlie Beach.  We visited two in one day.  The better of the two was called Whitehaven and it was voted one of the TOP TEN beaches in the world...and it totally deserves that title.  Just check out the pictures.  They gave out stinger suits, so of course I took one, just for fun.     The water was so crystal clear that you could see our shadows 4 feet down.  We spent the entire time in the water and loved every second.

The other amazing thing we did was the outer Great Barrier Reef.  The types of fish and sea life and the number of them is always better the further out you go.  The Sleeping on the boat ramp worked out well for the trip too. 

It was a long and rough 90 minute boat ride out there.  There were some pretty big waves but they assured us it would be calm out on the reef, and they were completely right.  Just from the boat, you could see all these different blues and greens in the water, we could barely wait to get our gear on before jumping in.  The second we put our heads underwater we saw hundreds of fish, right next to the boat!  We saw every color and size or coral, fish, starfish, plant, crab, etc you could imagine.  Brian even saw a reef shark.     There were so many things that I saw that I still have no idea what they were, nothing like anything I have ever seen before.  We were the last ones to come back to the boat for lunch and the first ones to get back into the water - then the last ones to come in when it was time to leave.  We were probably in the water for a good 2 1/2 hours.  We just couldn't believe what we were seeing.  I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone - what an amazing experience.

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