Saturday, 12 July 2008

Some fishy photo's ....more to come!

I heart Byron Bay!

Sunday, 6 July

I arrived at around 2pm. It was a Sunday so as usual there was a market! I managed to check into my 9 bed dorm and got chatting with everyone straight away. Myself and one of the guys - Chris - headed for a wander round the market - oh boy, this place was hippy central! I finally managed to find a pair of crop trousers that I had bee dying for since Cairns (a bit like the trousers Jasmine wears in Aladdin but shorted!) - This would be a good point to inform everyone that I have tapped into my hippy side whilst out here (much to mums delight!), I now own various beads, Thai fisherman pants (trousers) and now my (what I like to call) gypsy trousers. I gave up trying to straighten my hair everyday after the first week, so now have constantly wavy, just out of bed looking, kind of hair! Which, I think, completes the look! :)

Anyway, we walked around the market soaking in the atmosphere (and the hemp), and then went an watching some hippy dancing before we left which was awesome! People just came and sat down in this circle and just started playing, nobody was particularly leading it was all just a mish mash of different bongo's, drums, rattles, singing etc - it worked really well! There were people dancing in the middle of the circle - pretty sure a couple of them were feeling a little more than just the music - but it was awesome!

The rest of the day was spent just wandering around town getting my bearings and doing all the boring things like buying groceries. The whole town was so cool - it is hippy meet surfer chic, so laid back, so friendly and so the place I'm going to live! :) I went to the cinema that night with all the guys in my dorm which was fun. I love the fact that you can become friends with strangers in a matter of minutes here!
Monday was fairly uneventful, just sat on the beach watching the surfers and sunbathing - it's such a hard life! Although, one of the guys I did the diving with in Cairns arrived that day so we hung out too. By that night there was a big bunch of us and we all went to the establishment that is known by backpackers worldwide - CHEEKY MONKEYS! If you know it - you know how the night went! If you don't - nough said! :) Needless to say I woke up the next morning feeling like I'd been put through the tumble drying on high speed (I looked a bit like it too). It was poring with rain though so I didn't feel guilty at all about just lying in bed for a large chunk of the day!
Amy arrived at about 2pm, by which time I had managed to drag myself out of bed - although I still had my PJ's on under my clothes! We walked up to the lighthouse, which is normally only supposed to be a 50min walk but we somehow managed to stretch it out to 2 hrs (probably a mixture of hangover, the obscure route we somehow managed to take and the fact that we haven't had that much exercise since we got arrived!). The trek was made worth it though when we saw a couple of whales from the top swimming by. Apparently it's the best on-land viewing point for whales and the most easterly point of Australia (just some trivia for you there!). I could ramble on and on about how beautiful the sunset was on the walk back (a considerably shorted 40mins!) about how the pinks, oranges & purples lit up the sky but I think I'll just let the pictures do the talking!

On our last day in Byron Bay we had planned to go whale watching, nearly had a heart attack when we showed up and the guy couldn't find our names on the booking! Turned out they had made a mistake and booked us onto a later tour - we were too tired and hungover to argue to we just took it. It gave us time to wander through town for the last time and sit on the beach. The whale watching turned out to be AMAZING! It took maybe 10-20mins before we found any but when we did!.......One fully breached (jumped) out of the water no further than 30 meters from the boat, we could feel the ripples from the splash - our guide told us that that was the closest he has seen one do that in about 6 years. We saw 4-5 more whales and saw them do some amazing things like tail splashes! On the way back 2 common dolphins swam past the boat and jumped out the water. Had a really awesome time - didn't even care that I felt slightly seasick or that my feet where so cold they might of actually fallen off if we had been out there for much longer!

Our bus to Sydney was another overnighter - so we hung out in the hostel watching a fire show that they had on that night - was pretty spectacular!

And then it was time to leave.........................very sad! :(

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Gold Coast

Our week with Amy's relatives - Graham, Caroline, Ross, Callum & Pablo (the dog!) - was just what we needed! We had a room to ourselves and as if that wasn't enough, we also had an en suite bathroom! The simple things have really started to excite me out here! :)

Our first day was so lazy! We lay on the sofa watching films and playing with the dog, followed by a walk around the park. The following day we dragged ourselves out of our comfy, comfy beds and Amy's uncle dropped us off at Pacific Fair Shopping Mall - clothes are so cheap! Amy got herself a new hair doo while I amused myself in the huge numbers of shops!

Wednesday was spent with a friend of Amy's - Tom - and a couple of his mate, He picked us up and we all drove up to Springbrooke Mountain for a BBQ. We stopped of at different lookout points to admire the view. It's amazing how blaze I'm become about being in the rainforest! We finally - after stopping at about 4 or 5 different picnic spots before the boys decided on a "good spot" for the barbie - found a decent spot and cooked up a feast and drank a few beers. The State of Origin was on that night (rugby prem - i think) which everybody seemed to be going a bit mad about, we instead hid out and watched Lord of the Rings! Much better night! :)

On Thursday we headed to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, actually thought we were going to die in the taxi ride there - the driver went through red lights and at one point actually drove on the wrong side of the road! At the sanctuary we tried to make up for all the photos we lost - Amy left here memory card in a computer in one of the hostels and by the time we realised somebody had nicked it! We got lots of photos of kangaroo's again, some had joey's in their pouches! we also got photos of us holding a huge python, unfortunately I made a really silly face and the photographer snapped me at that exact moment - I was so embarrassed that I bought the photo just so they wouldn't put it on their wall of shame! :)

Friday was Amy's 20th birthday - we spent the day in Brisbane. It only took about an hour on the train from where we were staying, a guy sitting opposite us started drawing us which was, kind creepy but very funny at the same time! There wasn't really that much to do in Brisbane surprisingly, it's not very touristy - a day seemed like enough. We got the River Cats (a ferry bus thing that runs up and down the river) from south bank up to riverside and walked back down through the botanics. It had started raining a little which was a shame. We the decided to to ride the river cat to the end of the river so as to get a good view of the city. I took Amy for a bday lunch and by that time market stalls had setting up. I have a new love for the markets out here, they are so varied you can get anything from fruit and veg to gourmet food to clothes to jewelry etc etc etc! We need more in Edinburgh! Caroline had bought a cake for Amy that night and much to here embarrassment we all stood round and sang happy birthday to her very badly - even the dog joined in!

Saturday was another lazy day, just spent on the computer, couch and reading! We all went for dinner that night, and i had my very first proper glass of wine (not goon!)...I've missed it so much, beer just doesn't hit the same spot!

Sunday was also semi quiet. Graham & Caroline took us down to Burliegh Heads beach where we took the dog for a walk and then I caught the Greyhound down to Byron Bay. Amy decided that she fancied spending a couple of extra days with her relatives so we said goodbye and I did my first bit of travelling completely on my own! Exciting!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Sand, Ship Wrecks, Dingos and Whales

Friday, 27 June

We arrived in Hervey Bay shattered following the night bus adventure. Didn't sleep very well, only got a bout 4 hrs shut eye. The trip was made worth it though when we had a rest stop at a garage in the middle of nowhere. The stars were so bright, I could see every single one (I've convinced myself that I could see the milky way), I sat staring at them for ages, the people still on the bus must of thought I looked like a loon!

Our first day in Hervey Bay was a lazy one as neither of us felt very awake or up for much. We took a walk down the esplanade and saw the most beautiful sunset I think I've ever seen, over the water. We also had a wee trip to the cinema to see the Incredible Hulk, not very touristy but it made a nice change!

On the Saturday we were up early so that we could set out for Fraser Island, the only island which is completely made of sand but where the rainforest can still grow. We made our way round the island in a huge four by four bus which flung us about whenever we went over any kind of bump - of which there were a lot! We had a guided walk through the rainforest where we saw some amazingly huge trees (considering they grow from sand!), at one point we stopped while our guide pointed out the floor bed below us - at first I did look at it and think "why is this guy showing us sand?!", but after looking a bit closer I realised that it was actually a creek - the invisible creek - and it was just that the water was so crystal clear (as if the name didn't give it away!).

We were then taken down to the beach - which is also the islands highway - and driven along it while trying to spot whales and dingos. About half way down we were given the opportunity to go for a 15min flight over the island, so glad we did it! It took off over the beach and flew us over all the amazing sand dunes and lakes that the island has as well as over the water in hope of catching a glimpse of some whales - no luck unfortunately! We landed just in front of the sand pinnacles - mounds of colored sand, we were told that there was approx. 70 different shades of oranges, reds and yellows in them.

After our brief stop at the pinnacles we headed to the Maheno shipwreck, got some pretty awesome photos of it! We then headed to Eli creek, a crystal clear freshwater Creek which runs from the heart of the island to the sea. We waded up it for about 10 mins and then swam back down (a really nice family who were on our bus took our things for us so we could do it!) it was so awesome swimming through the rainforest!

After lunch we headed to Lake McKenzie - the highlight of the island - the sand here was as white as the sand on Whitehaven beach and the water just as clear. It was a bit cold by then so we went for a paddle and then lay on the beach drying off before getting the ferry back to Hervey Bay. Was shattered by the time I got home but managed to stay awake long enough to phone into Emma's party! Was so good speaking to everyone, so thank you!

The next morning (Sunday, 29 June) was spent sunbathing on the beach before getting the greyhound down to Brisbane and a train out to Robina - near to where Amy's relatives stay. They picked us up and have been spoiling us rotten ever since! I didn't actually realise how much we had been slumming it until I was in a real house again! :)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Red Moons & White Sands

Monday, 23 June

After a final night in Cairns (sniff) we headed down to Magnetic Island. I was a rough 6 hour bus trip down to Townsville followed by a ferry across to the island. We stayed at a hostel called Base which was right on the beach and our rooms were little shared beach huts. The island was beautiful. Our first night was pretty relaxed (expect for trying to make dinner - there was one kitchen for the 300 guests that it holds - was a bit crammed and irritating!). We spent the next day just sunbathing and sleeping - this was suposed to be my first lye in of the trip but I was rudely awoken by a couple in the opposite bed - not cool people!!! We had a bit of drink that night and watched the red moon rise over the water and behind the mountains, then danced our little feet off the to proclaimers!

We then set of for Airlie Beach on the 25thm, another 5 hr coach ride. We had a TV in our room!! We were so excited! We had a day trip on teh Whitsundays today - we went on a ocean jet which was a lot of fun. Got thrown about and got very wet. We stopped of a various islands and saw some aborigonal art and did a bit of snorkelling. Then we headed to Whitehaven beach - the most beautiful beach i think I've ever seen! The sand was so soft and white and the water was a magnificent blue colour! On the way back to shore we had a race with 2 of the other boats and a swear I thought I was going to fall overboard a couple of times!

We are just about to get the over night bus to Hearvey bay tonight (11 hrs!! ergghh!). So will update again soon!

Lots of love!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Green Ants Bottoms Taste Like Lime!


Just a typical view of the Queensland coast

Friday, 20 June

We set of for Cape Tribulation first thing in the morning - had a very funny coach driver who, while trying to inform us about the places we where travelling through, got distracted by absolutely everything - a biker, birds flying close to the window, everything! We stopped at various lookouts on the way up which where just spectacular! We also had a trip up the Daintree River crocodile spotting! We saw a huge male (called Scarface - awesome name for a croc!) , a female and a ikle baby croc floating on a log - was very cool! We had a short guided walk through the rainforest, where we learnt that green ants are good "bush tucker" (hee hee, love it) and were encouraged to taste them! I (of course) stepped up to the challenge and licked its bum as told - it tasted like lime - quite tasty!

We stayed in PK Jungle village that night, which unfortunately wasn't as "happening" as we had been told it was - there was a fair bit of work being done to it - but it was still nice. We had signed up for a jungle night walk which turned out to be a proper 3 hr hike through the jungle in the middle of the night - bugs touched me, it was not good! There was an amazing moment when we sat in the gorge turned out flash lights off and just sat and listened to the jungle - pretty awesome!

The next morning we had booked ourselves onto a horse ride through the rainforest and along the beach. It was soooo much fun, cantering through the rainforest on the biggest horse i could of possibly been given - but he was very well behaved! Saw some baby turtles at the rest stop too.

The beach there was beautiful - it's the only place where the rainforest meets the reef - felt like heaven! We then traveled down to Port Douglas via Mossman Gorge which was beautiful too - Amy had a swim in the freezing cold water - crazy lady!

The next day we had a wonder through the market in Port Douglas which was cool - still felt quite hippy-ish. Followed by some sunbathing and then back to Cairns. Good all round trip!




Baby Croc


Me on the Daintree River


Amy & Cape Trib beach


Me and Amy Horse riding on the beach @ Cape Trib


Me & Chief @ Cape Trib


The Rainforest


A "Strangler" Tree - the strangler tree wrops itself around a fully grown tree and starts living off it until eventually the tree inside dies and this is what is left - a "hollow" tree.

A big gross scary spider from the night walk
An even bigger, grosser and scarer spider from the night walk
Port Douglas
Mossman Gorge
Mossman Gorge

Monday, 23 June 2008

The Sky Rail & Kuranda

Thursday, 19 June

We took the sky rail up to the ranges stopping off at points to walk through the rainforest and see Barron falls which was amazing but probably a bit more spectacular in the wet season. The we went to Kuranda - a little hippy village at the top of the rainforest. This place was so cool! Could of spent ages shopping there! we had lunch at the cafe with the most amazing view of the rainforest. There was this really cool butterfly sanctuary there too - if anyone is ever there you should go to it - we didn't have time unfortunately. We then got the scenic railway back to down the range - lots of nice views and very relaxing!

When we got back to the hostel we had some new room mates who were lovely - especially this one guy called Toby who - expect for being a republican and thinking Maggie Thatcher was cool - was really cool. One thing I love about it here is just how friendly everyone is! We went out for dinner that night a met like 5 new people who we have also ran into in different places! Everyone just talks to everyone! LOVE IT!!!