Im sat at my computer listening to my ipod, busy uploading piccies and reflecting on my trip down the coast from an internet café in Brisbane - which now im back feels like I've never been away! Coming back to Brisbane felt like I was coming back home. Its good to be back…which I think means that when I come to leave in 2 weeks, for good this time, it'll be hard. I don't think you realise how attached you get to places sometimes.
So, whats happened post Whitsunday's & Airlie Beach? Well, I finished off in Airlie with a couple of crazy (and somewhat hazy!) nights out, with muchos goon consumption and dancing. I enjoyed being in Airlie, as got to meet back up with Yvonne (german girl I met in Magnetic Island) Esther wasn't there as she was on a trip, but I hung around with Yvonne and Bart (a dutch friend of theirs). On the Saturday I headed to Rainbow Beach on the greyhound. I had a premonition that I wasn't going to survive the 16hr overnight bus journey, and when I got on the bus and it was coming to the end of a film…after which the driver said there would be no more films (so basically 15.5hrs of nothing!) I was then 99.9% sure I was a gonner. But, you will be pleased to know that I have survived to tell the tale and I managed to snooze my may through the majority of the journey!
There is absolutely buggar all in Rainbow Beach, it literally is just a gateway to Fraser Island. So I just chilled out on the Sunday, spoke to the parentals and had a near death experience with some kind of pitbull dog which was stalking my phone booth and then came inside with me. Dad saying on the other end of the phone "don't look directly at it" … oops I did! Well, it followed me all the way back to the hostel, I could hear its toenails clicking along behind me. Im not going to lie to you I was s***ting it! But I remembered the dingo safety training they teach you for the outback and was prepared to 'if attacked, attack back…with flip flop if necessary!
Monday was the day were we met our group for Fraser. I had made friends with Charlotte, a girl from my room in the hostel and we decided to go in the same group. I then spotted Yotam and Idan, 2 Israeli guys who had been on the same Whitsunday's trip as me, so we teamed up with them too. We were then put with 4 Irish guys who were travelling together and an Israeli and America girl who were also travelling together. After a briefing on the trip…what to expect, what to take etc. We had a team 'bonding' drink (or 2!) before bed, as we had an early start the next day.
We were up and out for 7am the next day, loading up the cars and before we knew it we were off! 10 of us, 3 in the front and 7 in the back… it was rather snug! The ferry took 4 mins to get over to Fraser and then you're off and onto the beach. Well driving on sand in a 4x4 with 10 people and a roof stacked with luggage, food, drink and tents and stuff… is a craaaazy experience. There were several times during the trip when we were stuck in the sand and all had to get out and push… with the tide coming init was a scary thing not knowing if you were going to end up stuck and engulfed by waves! Several other times I thought we were going to roll over, and then when flying over rocks and potholes I was certain we had shot the suspension or something and we were going to get screwed by the mechanics when we got back - after hearing horror stories of previous backpackers experiences and charges for damaging the vehicles…. But it all turned out ok in the end!
I was extremely gutted that at almost 27 I still cannot drive… it looked like sooo much fun!
I wont go into detail on the whole trip but Fraser really is beautiful - a protected world heritage site and the largest sand island in the world (which my camera became a victim of unfortunately!... will have to try and fix that this week).
A few highlights from the trip though were Lake McKenzie; a gorgeous clear blue fresh water lake, flanked by rainforest, in the heart of the island. The Champagne Pools; beautiful natural rock pools, turquoise and deep blue/green in colour with the sea crashing against the rocks and tumbling down into the pools giving them their name. Indian Head; the tallest lookout which protrudes right over the Fraser coast and literally has you looking directly on top of the sea. Many people have spotted whales and sharks from this vantage point in the past, but we had no such luck. We did however spot a fair few of the large Manta Rays cruising along the top of the water. It was amazing, we just sat there for about an hour watching…everyone pretty much in silence, just taking everything in.
We had been forecasted some of the worst weather in months for the island - storms! To be fair we turned out to be very lucky, as days 1 and 2 were lovely and sunny, just a tad on the windy side. Waking up on the 2nd morning with the fly sheet from the tent having blown clear off. Now if that had happened on the 2nd night we would have been screwedas it absolutely tipped it down and preceded to for the rest of the day! The trip was definitely not for those unsure of camping… finding sand in places you never even knew existed, having to dig a hole in a sand dune to pee in - taking your 'pee buddy' with you for safety, should a dingo come-a-wandering! Trying to erect a tent on sand, and with only 8 pegs between 4 tents…hmmm! Trying to cook dinner for 10 on a 2 burner stove which kept going out because of the wind. But it was all worth it, getting to experience the real Fraser as opposed to staying in a hostel.
All in all, I enjoyed the Island, but unfortunately I didn't get on brilliantly with the group. I just ended up feeling a little left out of things a lot of the time. The guys all knew one another and the girls were very clique and I just ended up not being myself and being a bit on the quiet side… now everyone knows I am not a quiet person!! Oh well…
I left Rainbow on Friday afternoon after several showers ( and still finding sand!)
I headed south to NoosaHeads. I was excited to visit Noosa as Id heard lots of good things about it from other backpackers and from Becky too, as that's were her and Keiran got engaged! Still, I didn't know what to expect. For some reason I was thinking it would be a bit like Byron Bay… a bit hippie, but noooo, it was very chic and expensive, almost a bit beach club / ladies who lunch 'esque. There were lots of very posh shops (think… Versace, Hugo Boss…) and gorgeous looking bars and restaurants which I was tempted to squish my face up against the glass at as the food looked so yummy!
I stayed in the YHA, Halse Lodge, a gorgeous listed building which had a huge veranda that wrapped around it - great to chill on with a book. Yotam and Idan followed me there (stalkers im sure!) haha! Met a couple of nice guys in the bar that night and hung around with them over the next couple of days. Didn't do much, was nice just to chill out. Did a rainforest walk and walked the length of the beach and through round to the river. It really is a gorgeous place - could definitely see you living there Mum and Dad (!) in one of the nice houses that back onto the river. There was a jazz festival on too, and everytime you walked down the street there would be different bands on which you could stop and listen to. Was a great way to chill out after Fraser… and I really didn't want to leave. So much so that I almost didn't, after falling asleep on the beach and almost missing my bus! Also managed to chargrill myself and am now a little lobster'esque!
So am back to work today, another 2 weeks with the council to top up my funds as the east coast has wiped me out! Have had a fair amount of teasing today regarding my new perma tan, but its nice to see everyone again.
Will update you all soon, after I've caught up with Corinna in Brissy and Nats and co in Sydney. Then ill be heading off to New Zealand… cant believe my Oz adventure is almost over! Eeeeeek!
Muchos love as always
Hannah Spanner x