Saturday, 12 July 2008
Thursday, 10 July 2008
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
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
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
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!
Me on the Daintree River
Amy & Cape Trib beach
Me and Amy Horse riding on the beach @ Cape Trib
Me & Chief @ Cape Trib
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.
Monday, 23 June 2008
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!!!
Monday (16th) we got picked up for the boat ride out to the reef, it was 3 hours and oh my work was I seasick! Actually turned a green colour & sent a lot of the time hanging over the side of the boat! - it was worth it though! My first dive there was a white tip reef shark lying right underneath where we descended! The dives that day were just spent practising skills - had a pretty rubbish dive that day as well though, first I had problems with my ears, then I could get to grasps with clearing my mask - which panicked me as I kept swallowing water - by the time i had got back to surface I was knackered and we still had to remove and replace our gear in the water. I managed about half of the task but was just to tried to finish it so got sent back to the boat - shameful! Going to honest, felt so angry and a little sorry for myself so hid in my cabin for a while, but I got over it!
The next morning we where up at 5.45am and straight in the water - something to add to every ones "to do" list is see the sunrise over the Great Barrier Reef - gorgeous! We had 4 dives that day on my last training dive I managed sort my mask task ( and did a little dance under water to celebrate) and then I was certified. We also did a night dive that night, it was amazing saw a huge eagle ray and a MASSIVE dent in the sand where something had obviously just been sitting - we think it might have been the huge turtle called Brian who lives around that reef.
The final day on the reef I did a deep dive and a naturalist dive (looking at ecosystems etc) which certified me as an adventure diver to 30metres! Then we headed back to Cairns, got a little burnt sunbathing on the top deck, but wasn't sick so that was a bonus!
We finished the trip off with a big night out which was awesome - met some really cool people and I'm definitely going to try and keep diving down the east coast if I get time! Going to finish my advanced certification and get my dry suit orientation when I get back to Scotland. Next year who knows maybe I'll be back out training to be an instructor!
Saturday, 21 June 2008
On my second day here we went to Cairns tropical zoo, it was small but pretty cool. Got to feed some kangaroos, hold a baby croc and a koala, as you can probably tell from the heading above - they actually stink - not as cute and cuddly as they look!
We where staying at Gilligans hostel then - which looking back probably wasn't the best idea as we were both jetlagged and just wanted to sleep. Gilligans is NOT the place to go if you want to sleep! It is awesome and a lot of fun, but we both felt a bit looserish as neither of us could stay awake long enough to join in the party! Lol! But hey ho it was awesome so van't really complain!