Thursday 7th June and the weather was much better. The group split up - Jamie, Em, Craig, Nick, Nick and Sammy went off to the water park, whilst Dan, Dan, Chris and Zach headed for the golf course. Em and J set off nice and early, starting at Wet & Wild (a supposedly extreme water park), however it was empty and looked average at best. They moved onto Dreamworld, a clumsy, badly-thought out theme park supposed to be Australia's top tourist attraction. It was so s*** that they managed to get their $57 back and decided to hook up with Chris for another surfing lesson! Half-way through the lesson, Jamie decided he was now a pro so went "out the back" to try a hench surfing-dude wave. Obviously, he completely stacked it and couldn't breathe quite as much as he would've liked underneath the monster wave! Jamie claims it was soo worth it though! Whilst all this was going on, Dan and the others looked in vain for a proper golf course that wasn't too far away or obliterated by rain. In the end, this resulted in a climactic round of mini-golf which Dan Pike stole from Dan Garsin on the 17th. That evening we all went to the cinema to see Shrek 3 and then got on the bus for a short overnight bus to Brisbane. When we arrived, we introduced Emma and Pike to the Dan and J style of backpacking, trekking across the city at 11pm to find Palace backpackers, where we stayed for the next two nights.
The next morning we got up nice and early to go to the legendary Australia Zoo. Unfortunately, we found out that we weren't early enough and would have missed all the animal shows. All upset at this unexpected news, we trudged through Brisbane looking for anything to do. It's a pleasant city, compared by Nick Gale to Birmingham... as such we went bowling - Craig pulling out a masterstroke of a second game to clinch it from Pike. That evening we got onto the roof of our hostel and made a proper Australian bbq! Kangaroo steaks, sausages and corn on the cob! Kanga is suprisingly good and well-cooked (Jamie will add to perfection by himself). We had a good civilised game of scrabble; Myers beating J with 127-126 with BA, a ridiculous suggestion, somehow widely accepted by all.
The next morning, at an hour when even the birds were asleep, we travelled to Hervey Bay, the gateway to Fraser Island. Arriving at 1pm, we had a meeting with our new group for the next 3 days - us, Theresa, Michelle, Robyn (3 Hawaiin girls) and Nick, a geezer from Sheffield. We were warned how we would be attacked by angry dingos and that any deviation from Koala's stringent policies would result in badly smacked bottoms (loss of our $60 bonds). Warned and feeling averagely prepared, we trekked for 50mins to a Woolworths which was shut by the time we arrived. We settled for a standard convenience store and bought all our food and alcohol for the next few days camping on Fraser Island. We ate a bbq at the hostel for dinner and after popping into a local club for a beer we went to bed - another early start in the morning!
Now today was a seriously early start. We loaded up the 4x4 with all our s*** at 6.45 and then Nick (Sheffield) drove us to the port to get the barge to Fraser. Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island in the world and is quite stunningly beautiful, containing numerous freshwater lakes and one of the top 10 beaches in the world (see the album pic). At the first stop, half the group (including Emma, Craig and Dan) decided to go for a walk without telling the others, a decision that caused a few choice (harsh) words from the rest of the group on their return! We camped near the beach and had a great game of footy (man of the match: Teresa, best newcomer Tin (Ahn Young Hwan/Park Ji Sung lookalike who joined the game mid-way). We had a meaty feast of a bbq under the stars and had a good laugh on the beer and goon.
The next morning we got up at 7am to cruise along the endless sands to Indian Head and Champagne Pools. This was a spectacular view over the east coast of Fraser Island, looking out into the Pacific at Mantra Rays, dolphins and the odd tiger shark. After milking our photo opportunities we missioned it down the beach to champagne pools - a saltwater lagoon free from the breeding tiger sharks in the ocean! We set up camp again near the beach and naturally there was a spot of footy. That night we polished off the rest of the meat on the bbq before cotching round the gas stove, listening to chill out music and watching the 'O'Reilly' episode of Fawlty Towers. Beatufiul stars once again! Tuesday 12th June we set off to Lake Mackenzie (one of the top 10 beaches in the world). Was absolutely beautiful in every sense of the world, so much so that Emma and Myers decided to swim the 1km across it! Had a sick cotch by the lake for a few hours before getting back to the car to head back to the mainland. Fraser Island was amazing and a true outdoor experience for us all! A great appetiser for Africa methinks! That evening we got to bed early as we are finally off to Australia Zoo tomorrow on a day trip from Hervey Bay! Then we are off to Airlie Beach to do a sailing tour around the Whitsunday Islands on the Barrier Reef. Will write again soon!