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Published: October 5th 2006
Note: For some reason the previous journal was uploaded with only half the text. Im taking none of the blame as it couldn’t possibly be my fault, honest. The rest has now been added so if you want to conclude the story please read it again.
After our adventures on Fraser Island all were in agreement that it would be difficult to beat the past few days activities, so arriving in Bundaberg welcomed by heavy cloud cover and the even heavier downpour that followed was not the best start. Unfortunately the bad weather was relentless for the full two days that were spent here making for a drab time, plenty of sitting around and lots of thumb twiddling. The town of Bundaberg is in itself a quaint, laid back place where most of the backpacker population staying here are working on one of the many farms picking fruit. Thankfully we still have the luxury of being able to bum around and not lift a finger, so after moaning about the weather for a full day it soon became apparent that we had it pretty good, as fellow travelers arrived from a hard days labour in the fields, drenched and covered
in mud. The main reason to stop in Bundaberg was to take a tour around the local rum factory that has placed the town on the map. Bundaberg Rum was first discovered by Dave at University, and quickly added to an already dangerous cocktail of favorite tipples that no matter how they were mixed, couldn’t be justifiably included in a staple diet. Unfortunately rain stopped play, and by the time the weather had cleared enough for us to head out for a walk around on our last day, we had missed the final tour around the factory, meaning no free samples and huge disappointment on Dave’s part.
Cutting our losses we headed north in search of finer weather, but with the forecast painting a dull picture for the whole of the east coast we found no luck in Rockhampton. We did on the other hand find a great Guest House managed by Robby, who, being the only van at the rainy bus stop picking people up, made for a simple decision upon where to stay that night. Rockhampton promotes itself as the beef capital of Australia, so we headed to the local supermarket where huge rump steaks were purchased
and garnished delicately with chips and tomato ketchup from the pub downstairs. This event was about the pinnacle of our experiences here, and having booked ourselves a one day cruise around Whitsunday islands, we headed further north hoping to god that the weather cleared up in time.
In Airlie beach the following morning we were welcomed by glorious sunshine and were picked up and taken to the port by the owner of the boat, welcomed on board with free hot drinks and got thoroughly stuck into a packet of chocolate Hobnobs. We began the 1 hour trip out to the Islands with calm seas and blue skies which left Lucy looking happy and rosy-cheeked, instead of adopting the normal grimace of green-faced terror. Most people choose to take a 3 day sailing trip around the Whitsundays providing plenty of time to take in the beauty of the beaches, islands and coral reefs. With Lucy’s attitude towards sailing not exactly being anywhere near positive, “just get me out there and back as soon as bloody possible” being her statement in the travel agents, the option of a single day at sea aboard a power boat was much more attractive. The
first stop was at a lookout point that provides stunning views over the bay below.
The next destination was world renowned Whitehaven beach that stretches for seven kilometers and consists of pure white silica sands. Crystal clear waters and views of distant islands provided the backdrop for an hour exploring the beach and a fantastic lunch served back on board the boat. After filling our boots with as much buffet food as possible, we made our way back north passing a pod of dolphins on the way. At our final stop we had the opportunity to go snorkeling, and after two hours floating around in the water it was time to head back to dry land, where upon arriving back at the marina, a turtle lifted its head out from the water right in from of the boat before vanishing back beneath the surface.
Bringing back memories of early escapades in southern Thailand, a rendezvous with friends Matt and Claire was arranged to take place somewhere in the tropical north. Disorientated by lack of sleep from the overnight bus to Cairns and still reeling from the news that Steve Irwin had mercilessly perished at the hands of a
stingray only a few miles north, we stupidly agreed to hand over hard cash in exchange for a nights accommodation at the ‘Park View’ guest house. Upon inspection of the room and from continual bed bug irritation fueled leg scratching from our new Japanese room mate, it was clear that the beds were practically crawling out of the room. After consulting a travel agent on the best way to head north to Port Douglas, we explained our accommodation situation, and without prompting he gave us the name and description of the place we were staying, and advised us to go get our bags. Upon reflection with diplomatic conversation not being one of Lucy’s strong points it would have probably been best if I had taken the steps to ensure Lucy was well out of ear shot from the following conversation with the owner. All started peacefully enough, but rapidly escalated into a full blown screaming match that at one point got so heated it’s a wonder no-one exploded. Lucy did however excel in the competition for most words exchanged beginning with the letter ‘f’, and with ‘peter pointer’ being thrust a mere inch from the bewildered owners face, the question
“look mate, can’t you control her” was answered by Dave with an honest ‘no’. After further exchanges from both parties and a surprising lack of punching, and without the money we had paid for our room, we jumped back on the bus and headed to Mission Beach for an earlier than intended meeting with Matt and Claire.
After a morning to remember it was great to see some familiar faces, and after a few days camping it was hard to believe we had only known each other for a few weeks way back in Asia. They had an edition to their party in the form of Matt’s brother James who had been traveling with them through Indonesia, and was planning on meeting up with a friend to drive down the East Coast. Our tent was to get a good workout for the next week and was finally saving us some money as although camping can be incredibly uncomfortable, it sure is cheap as chips. With the 3 of them having a car it gave us a chance to explore some of the surrounding rain forest and after returning to the car we were lucky to see not only the
second largest but most dangerous bird in the world, a Cassowary. After two days catching up in Mission beach we headed for Atherton and the Tablelands on the bus while the others followed in their already very full car.
The Tablelands reminded us of driving around the English countryside as passing rolling hills and fields full of cattle it was hard to believe we were on the other side of the world. We took a trip to a number of waterfalls and lakes and had the luck to stumble across a couple of Australia’s most venamous snakes, the Red Bellied Black. Steve Irwin lives on in our 3 companions, as with cameras in hand Matt unsuccessfully tried to catch both snakes but to our relief they were both too fast for Matt, and were able to escape, slithering off into the bushes.
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