Edit Blog Post
Published: November 10th 2006
Well, I can finally say that my trip is starting to turn around and become a whole new experience. After leaving Byron Bay I spent a couple of nights in Brisbane, then Noosa and then moved on to Rainbow Beach. I'm not going to write about Brisbane or Noosa because I have so much more to say about Rainbow Beach.
Rainbow Beach is a small little town, there isn't a lot happening here except backpackers coming and going from their Fraser Island tours. It's located very close to Fraser Island which is an extremely popular place among backpackers. Fraser Island tours are an absolute must, which is obvious by the hundreds of tours and packages available. My tour was similar to most, a 3 day 2 night self-guided camping tour.
I arrived in Rainbow Beach November 3rd right in front of my hostel which was called Dingo's. This is by far the best hostel I've been to yet; I would highly recommend it to anyone. The set up is perfect as are the people and facilities. I've met more people here than anywhere else. Each room has 4 bunk beds and a single bathroom, there's a great (clean!) pool
Start of the journey
This is just after getting off the ferry.
in the center along with lots of comfy chairs for lounging and mingling and a bar with leather couches, flat screen tv's and pool tables. I've learned that the key to hostels is finding one with a good common area; otherwise it becomes too hard to meet people.
The day I arrived we had a group meeting for everyone leaving on the Fraser Island tour the following morning. We were divided into 4 groups of 11, viewed two movies about camping and driving on the island and then spent the night getting to know each other. The following morning we woke up at 6:30 for a pancake breakfast and spent the next couple hours organizing and packing the food and camping equipment on top of our 4WD truck/van. The truck was definitely not a looker, nor was it very comfortable, but it was sturdy and powerful and that was all that really mattered. After more instruction on how to drive for the conditions we were off to catch our ferry to the island.
My group consisted of 3 German girls, 3 Israeli guys, 2 Irish guys, 1 English girl, and two Canadian girls. Let me just say that
At the top of the Lake Wabby sand dune
This is Louise and I, the girl from England.
it was definitely a learning experience for everyone. The whole group spoke English fairly well but there was still a lot of Hebrew and some German going around. Funnily enough out of everyone, the Irish were the hardest to understand. Sometimes if they were speaking to each other in the background it didn't even sound like English to me. It was such an interesting situation to be in, watching 11 people of different nationalities, languages and backgrounds try to plan a route, organize meals and trust each others driving abilities. Right away I discovered we had the worst backseat drivers I've ever encountered! The 3 German girls had unfortunately never driven in 4WD conditions and were really nervous. It was really too bad because everyone in the group was hyper responsible and the girls just didn't trust anyone. I had no problem with them voicing their concerns, but it was the way they said it that set everyone off. As a result I decided pretty quickly not to drive because I didn't feel like getting yelled at. It was actually quite funny because as tensions rose everyone's nationalities really started to stand out. As Canadians, Vanessa and I were definitely
Cooking dinner...definitely a group effort
This was taken from the roof rack of our truck.
the most laid back and seemed to take on the role of peacekeepers, the Irish just kept knocking back the beers and joking around, the Israeli’s bit their tongues (for the most part), the English girl (who was a bit of a control freak) ended up spending time on her own, and the German girls continued to have no sense of what you should and shouldn't say when trying to work together in a group. Despite these difficulties the trip was everything you decided to make of it so I had an amazing time!
Fraser Island is 4WD access only island. The main road/highway is the beach which also acts as a landing strip for planes. It definitely gets interesting when the tide is coming in, there are rocks to avoid on the beach, cars are traveling both ways and a plane is coming down above you. Before we left we were given a map of the best places to visit which included some of the nicest lakes I've ever seen (finally fresh water!). The weather was absolutely perfect, hot and sunny. We hiked into two lakes, waded in fresh water creeks, walked along the beach to the champagne
A fresh water creek that drains into the ocean.
pools (pools of water in the rocks at the edge of the ocean) and camped right along the beach watching the sunset, sunrise and stars. The lakes were like nothing I've ever seen. Extremely clear cool water, white sand and fish a foot and half long swimming beside you. One of the lakes (Lake Wabby) took a 2km hike through the rainforest to get to. It was positioned at the bottom of a huge sand dune so you sunbathed on the hill and if you walked to the top it was a massive sand blow surrounded by rainforest. We saw lots of dingoes and various reptiles swam with the fish and swatted MASSIVE flies (still better than mosquitoes or black flies). Most of our cooking was done together in the dark and then we spent the night enjoying our boxed wine (nicknamed Goon for it's quality, fitting since it was $12 for 4 liters), talking with other groups who camped next to us, and hanging out on the beach. Everyone got a long great when we weren't driving so I think for the most part a good time was had by all. One night we were highly entertained when each
Where I am right now.
Irish guy teamed up with an Israeli guy and they began teaching the Irish to say various insults in Hebrew. Was it ever funny to hear Hebrew in an Irish accent. The Israeli guys were probably the nicest guys I've met on my trip so far and I was happy to learn a lot about life in Israel. Overall, the Fraser Island tour is what traveling is all about! I've met so many people and begun to learn about life in their countries. The feeling you get after having conversations with travelers from various parts of the world is like nothing else. I'm learning about a lot more than Australia.
We got back to Dingo's a couple of days ago and having bathed in only lakes and walking in bare feet for 3 days I have never been so glad to see a shower in my life. I was the first to check into my room so I got first dibbs on the shower. Little did I know that while I was in there, 3 bronzed Finnish pretty boys moved into the room. Luckily I had brought my clean clothes into the bathroom with me because I was certainly surprised to see them staring at me as I walked out with a towel in my hair. I'm still getting used to co-ed rooms with complete strangers, especially since the guys don't seem to notice and walk around in their underwear and change right in the middle of the room. Plus they make a huge mess of the bathroom and snore at night.
The day after we returned I did some dolphin kayaking with the Israeli guys. Unfortunately it was so windy we didn't see anything but a harmless sand shark and had to turn back before a storm hit. I didn't mind so much because we still joked around the whole time and in the end they gave us a refund.
Last night I took the night bus to Airlie Beach and tomorrow I leave for a 3 day 3 night Whitsundays sailing tour.
So I'm happy to report I've found the high of traveling and can't wait to see and experience more of what Australia has to offer.
Tot: 0.393s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 20; qc: 77; dbt: 0.0265s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb