Published: May 24th 2006May 21st 2006
More like Surfers Purgatory. Was more like Florida and dead commercial. Plus no real surfers there.
hi we are well behind in this blog thing and so I'm going to write in the next intreguing installment which you lucky people should be receiving very very soon. So you've got loads and loads of pics and reading to ignore and be very jealous of.
G'day folks - hope you are enjoying the first stirrings of summer back home!
So our last blog was rather out of date, this one should get us back on track - brace yourselves for lots of pics! The east
We picked up a car in Brisbane to drive for 3 weeks up to Cairns. We had an interesting option that Rick found on a noticeboard in the hostel of borrowing a car from an old geezer who wanted it driven up to Cairns for $10 a day, however it was an old banger, had no RAC cover (and we have zero mechanical knowledge) and he wanted us to come with him to register and insure the car in our names, and we had to trust him to change it back once we got it up to Cairns and dropped it off at his
mate's house. Dodgy. We gave it a miss! However it might have made a good story.
We doubled back on ourselves a bit first to go to Lamington National Park, a great recommendation from Adam and Anna (thanks A&A!). We didn't stay in the famous guesthouse but managed to score a cracking deal of a newly built, 4-bed, log fired, wooden floored cabin with huge lounge and kitchen and a veranda the length of the house overlooking the park. For $120. Bargain! We did a long walk through the park; following a river and seeing lots of waterfalls, and climbing to a viewpoint from which we could see...absolutely sod all as it was dead foggy. We treated ourselves to our last roastie as it will be too hot from now on. Mmmmmm gravy.
Next stop was Noosa, quite a trendy coastal resort. We went to the Glasshouse Mountains on the way for another walk up a mountain, great views of about 7 strange lumps of hills on an otherwise flat plain; the "lumps" are lava plugs, which are the lave from the cone of a volcano, which are all that is left from the volcanoes cos the rock
of the actually cone has eroded. Interesting.
Next up; Fraser Island; the largest sand island in the world. It is made entirely of sand, and has more than the Sahara apparently. It also has loads of dingoes and some peeps got eaten there a few years ago. Oh yes and shark infested sea. It was a wicked place, you can only visit with a 4x4 so we did a 2-day tour round the best bits; cool beaches, Champagne Pools (just my kind of place!) where the sea crashes over natural rock pools and froths up (no sharks either so a bonus), the wreck of a huge passenger ship and some cool freshwater lakes where you could swim with freshwater turtles. Cue lots of turtles' head jokes.
From Fraser Island we travelled up to Magnetic Island, a lovely little island only about 20 mins off the coast at the start of the Great Barrier Reef. We did loads of snorkelling and stayed at a cool hostel with lots of wildlife in its grounds; possums (a bit of a pest when we were eating) and loads of parrots in the trees. We also bagged a bargain as they have a
wildlife sanctuary next door and they gave us free tickets for a "bush tucker" brekkie with koalas as they needed to drum up crowds as they had the Oz equivalent of "Holiday" coming to film. So we got free champagne and brunch (not too strange foods, just lamb chops at 8.30am etc!) and think we will be on Oz telly, a bit squiffy and rumpled as we were talking to the hostess for a while. Also got to see koalas up close, a bit naff really as they are much cooler in the trees. Also as we were oohing and ahhing one decided to relive itself of some faecal matter. Nice.
For Rick's birthday, we decided to push the boat out (literally) and do a cruise around the Whitsundays (a group of islands in the middle of the reef) on a tall sailing ship, called the Solway Lass. It was a 3 day, 3 night cruise with loads of snorkelling around the reef and lots of boozing with our fellow sailors who were a really nice group. The snorkelling was brilliant, the coral was so abundant and colourful it was even better than telly! And there were fish everywhere,
including giant Maori Wrasse which were 1.5 metres long and VERY friendly! We also saw a load of sharks feeding right below us when we had moored up for the night, slightly worrying as that was where we had been snorkelling and jumping in only a few hours before!
Rick's birthday night was hilarious, of course we got very, very drunk and I had tipped the crew off. They tied him up to the mast and proceeded to give him a mock whipping with a cat-o-nine tails. I had legged it off to get the camera (which was actually in Rick's pocket - d'oh), when they decided that as "the missus" I should get to whip him too. As they couldn't find me, Alex, a very flamboyant and camp dancer, whipped him instead! What a scene! I think Rick quite enjoyed it the old gaylord! All very homoerotic.
After sobering up, our next stop was Undarra (another recommendation from Anna and Adam!), a national park where you can visit tunnels and tubes made by lava when the Undarra volcano erupted about 150,000 years ago. The tubes were HUGE and v impressive, and home to loads of bats, spiders
and snakes. Lovely.
We spent a week in Cairns, waiting for the weather to improve as it was dead rainy. It was nice to relax after quite a hectic few weeks, and imagine our irritation when we realised that we had been mistaken as to the date we flew out of Cairns by 3 days - so we could have taken our time a bit more! D'oh! At least we were able to wait for a bit better weather for our foray onto the outer Great Barrier Reef, which we did from Port Douglas (you guessed it, another A&A recommendation!). The coral was in a much better condition than off Cairns and a totally different experience to swim on reef coral rather than island coral, which was what we saw in the Whitsundays. The fish were much bigger and we saw loads of strange buggers!
There are more photos below