Running To Stand Still...


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Oceania » Australia » Queensland
October 15th 2008
Published: December 22nd 2008
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I am walking in a vat of flour. Okay.....it’s not flour, but it feels like flour. I cannot believe my eyes. This flour beach is a spectacular moon of powdery silica so white you must shade your eyes from the intense glare.

For some reason I hear that song by U2....Running to Stand Still....but perhaps it is only the relentless hum from the helicopter rotor blades that has just dropped us off here moments before.

My friend I call the Lorikeet, has joined me for this leg of my Aussie trip, and we have arrived in the Whitsundays on the deserted White Haven Beach.

Unbeknownst to us, we had selected the 'couples' romance tour, our helicopter pilot eyes us up with a curious indifference before he thrusts a bottle of champagne at us, stabs an umbrella into the sand, then trots off down the beach to give us privacy. Too funny.

Even from a distance, we can see he loves his job....he's stripped down to a red speedo and is sunning himself leisurely down the way. The whole situation is slightly amusing. We both are laughing before we peel off our togs to plunge headfirst into a warm cocoon of delicate turquoise waters.

Another perfect day in Queensland!

Only a few days prior, we were camping off Inskip point near Rainbow Beach waiting to go on tour to the infamous Fraser Island. Our tour group boards a barge ferry and we are dropped off on this beautiful sandy gem in the middle of nowhere.

The whole thing is a fluke...Fraser Island I mean. It was raped and pillaged by entrepreneurial humans not even a century prior, yet it has bounced back and become one of the biggest 'to do' highlights of Queensland. And no wonder why.....stunning sandscapes at every turn, we race down the 72 mile beach in a huge 'people mover' trying to outrun the incoming tides.

The Lorikeet hangs on for dear life as we are jostled back and forth on thick sandy tracks that wind through the most dense freaky forest of trees I've ever seen. Creeks with pristine crystal-clear water eerily snake through groves of ancient ferns and palms, some dating back some 2000 years old or more...it feels Jurassic Park creepy and I keep my eyes peeled for dinosaurs...just in case.

Onto spectacular Lake Mackenzie for a BBQ lunch. This gorgeous stark blue lake, fringed with grey white sand is located in the center of Fraser Island and is absolutely fascinating for someone like me that understands the mechanisms of soil and water percolation. We swim and frolic in the trapped water so acidic that everyone in our group marvels at how it cleans their gold jewelry, and makes their hair so soft.

Another perfect day!

Just a day or two before, I had brought 'Claude' the Damn Van to a screaming halt on the highway near Bundaberg.

Macadamias for sale the sign said.

I emerge from the thick grove with a gigantic bag of the freshest, salty little roasted gems, and spend the rest of the day snarfing them down between sips of ginger beer...a distraction from the endless waves of cane fields, and decomposing kangaroos along the longest stretch of Bruce Hwy yet. Yawn...and ick!

Unfortunately my gluttonous self-indulgence causes me to check out each gas station bathroom along the way... The Lorikeet gives me a complimentary eye roll.

Another perfect day!

Not even a week earlier, the Lorikeet and I snorkeled off the reef of Lady Musgrave Island, a tiny bump at the most southern point of the Great Barrier Reef.

Here, it appears tourism had not quite yet destroyed the ecosystem. Below the surface, colourful corals of every size and shape appear fluorescent as they pulse in magenta and fuchsias, while costumed fish dance and dart in their vivid fair.

OMG I am in heaven. I don't want to ever leave this place!

Massive loggerhead turtles drift by, seeking out a buffet of seaweed, while hordes of brightly decorated humans all jockey to swim beside them.

A gigantic Manta-ray goes past my nose and I am screaming through my snorkel at the Lorikeet to look up. She does, just as it glides off effortlessly into the shadowy blue abyss. No one on the boat believes us.

Another perfect day!

Several days later while at Mission Beach, the Lorikeet is beside herself with excitement that we may have a cassowary sighting in its natural habitat.

After a wonderful morning on the beach, it makes sense to set off into the thick jungle, armed with our cameras, and no bottled water in the thick 100%!h(MISSING)umidity.

There are strange crashings in the bushes and the odd 'snarky' bird call over a relentless buzz of crickets...but alas, we spot no helmet-wearing birds anywhere. Later, some locals advise us that the male cassowaries are currently caring for baby chicks and will approach you all friendly (cooing-like), only to suddenly strike out with a big toe and disembowel you in one swipe!

I spend the next 1/2 hour trying to coax the Lorikeet out of Claude. Seems she has had enough of 'Deadly Australia' and is no longer interested in venturing outside the safety zone of the camper to be ambushed by some random box jellyfish, or sprung on by a disgruntled funnel spider.

Another perfect day!

Right near the end of our trip, we arrive in Cairns, and I fall in love...with Cairns that is!

If I were to pick any where in Queensland to live, this would be it. A tropical modern city sprawled out, located ocean side with a lovely boardwalk promenade....with just enough Asian people to make me feel like I haven't left Vancouver, Canada. Lorikeet and I take a little tootle around admiring the glittering city at dusk - and discover a night market with a shit load of every kind of Australian trinket you would ever need. We shop. My dad gets some crocodile jerky and string barometer for Xmas. Lorikeet selects a morbid kangaroo paw back scratcher, recipient unknown.

Another perfect day!

Almost two weeks ago when we had first embarked on this camping adventure, we had diverted Claude to the Australia Zoo (...it was either that or the giant pineapple).

"Crikey" yells the hyper Australian performer while waving 1/2 a raw chicken in front of a huge sleepy crocodile. The crowd all wait in anticipation. "Crikey!" He yells again, this time a little more strained. The gigantic crocodile finally clues into its cue and jumps up with a snatch and a splash. The crowd oooohhhhs. The Lorikeet rolls her eyes. The entire zoo is crawling with Steve Irwin enthusiasm, and we can't help but spend the entire day wandering up and down and all around. Neither me or the Lorikeet have ever been up close and personal with half the animals displayed here. We feed kangaroos and pet wombats. We get snarled at by a Tasmanian devil. We fawn over sleepy koalas. The whole park is a marvel...and so worth the stop.

With nowhere to camp for the night we are trapped in a little hick town called Beerwah. Unruffled, we set up in the IGA parking lot only to have some wayward teens throw a piece of pizza at Claude in the middle of the night shwack! it sticks, and I have to laugh out loud.

Another perfect day!

It seemed like such a long time since our first day out with Claude, in which we drove south from Brisbane to Surfers Paradise and the Tamborine Mountains. The seaside was gorgeous but disappointingly rainy, so we headed inland. The Lorikeet pointed out that there must be a lot of blind people around because there are signs that say 'blind' everywhere. We both burst out laughing when we realize it means blind spot for the lateral parking spaces. During this process, the Lorikeet managed to navigated Claude right onto a Indy 500 racetrack...everyone was waving at us frantically to get the f off.....so we just played stupid tourist and politely waved back. After that, we detoured up into the fabulous mountains where the roadways narrowed, the Lorikeet yelled ditch ditch ditch on a number of occasions as I was drifting a little too left for her liking. We tootled along not really in a hurry to get anywhere...oh the luxury of being a tourist in a camper van holding up traffic.

Another perfect day!

Now that we were near the end of our 2700 kilometer journey, we spent an entire day exploring Cape Tribulation, the Daintree Rainforest, and Mossman Gorge. Our tour guide drives the roads like he is trying to get pole position. We are dropped off for a boat cruise up the Daintree River with the promise of gigantic crocodile sightings, but alas, it appears the crocodiles were on a unionized break and nowhere to be found. So we settled for some tree snakes, and a green frog.

While gone, our tour guide aka race car driver 'smokes up' with his fellow guides, and we spend the rest of the afternoon listening to him ramble on about poisonous trees, poisonous bushes, poisonous flowers, and all the other things that can sneak up and kill you. I like how he casually points out the vinegar stations before we venture out onto a beach full of deadly things. The whole thing is absolutely hysterical and I take great pleasure from his silly, slightly paranoid commentary....until I notice the Lorikeet frantically taking pictures of everything...including certain landmarks and warning signs....I realize only so that the people at home will know what happened to us should they find our camera.

Another perfect day!

These are some of the many great stories of me and the Lorikeet. We spent an entire two weeks in a camper van traveling up the perilous Queensland coast, from Surfers Paradise to Cape Tribulation. The perfect road trip amigas, I am chief driver and keep left left left, the Lorikeet is chief navigator and bottle washer.

I occasionally glance over to see her with 16 maps simultaneously unfolded in our little van trying to determine where our next adventure will be. During the whole entire trip I only pouted once....when told 'no' to my request to traipse through a dense jungle to find a platypus in its natural setting. Oh, and a halfa pout that we did not spend more time lounging ocean side watching the crabs ball up sand into portraits of Elvis or the virgin Mary out near South Mission Beach.

Camping in Queensland is the only way to go!!! But we quickly learn that two weeks was not enough time to see the entire Queensland Coast.

I vow to return someday.

The Lorikeet may not.


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not coming backnot coming back
not coming back

...has two meanings....me not going home, and lori never coming back to deadly australia
found the tropic of capricornfound the tropic of capricorn
found the tropic of capricorn

this was the first time for me to hit the southern hemisphere, had to make it count
artistic crabsartistic crabs
artistic crabs

looking for a portrait of elvis or jesus, but no luck...maybe this is a canadian maple leaf...if you look really close eh?
didn't see very much sugar cane.....didn't see very much sugar cane.....
didn't see very much sugar cane.....

lmao..sugar cane...what sugar cane....what do you mean the entire coast of queensland is made of it?
oh and look, a sugar cane trainoh and look, a sugar cane train
oh and look, a sugar cane train

where the sugar cane goes to.
the cairns boardwalk at sundownthe cairns boardwalk at sundown
the cairns boardwalk at sundown

lovely spot to hang out people watch
the allusive cassowarythe allusive cassowary
the allusive cassowary

ah ha! a cassowary. too bad we could only snap a photo in the zoo....or maybe that was a good thing
yes the spiders were that bigyes the spiders were that big
yes the spiders were that big

lorikeet wanted to document all beasts...even the fake ones.


3rd May 2012
yeah lots of fun until someone gets disemboweled...

Once again....hilarious.
Now you're making me laugh without saying anything.... :)
4th May 2012
yeah lots of fun until someone gets disemboweled...

I love that you get my sense of photo humor!

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