My travels in Oz!
Beeches & Reefs Contiki Tour - May 21st - June 3rd 2006 The coach is fantastic - our Tour Guide, Dan, is an aussie from Brisbane and he's funny as hell. Tony, our Bus Driver, is just the same \"You're beautiful girls, beeeeeeautiful!\" (he sayd that a lot!) W've got a group of 8 of us, (Me, Nicky 1, Nikki 2, Sophie, Kate, Louis are all English, Maike is German and Toby is Canadian (but with a european background) so we call ourselves 'Team Europe' and we have a roll call every now and then (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7A and +1) which sounds reeeeeally sad but it's actually quite fun and we sit at the back of the bus so we're the good ones HAHA. They're all really good people and I'm so glad we found each other!! Most of the people on the coach are Canadians but some are english, one irish, a couple of germans, and only one aussie (not counting dan & tony) who we call Steve Irwin coz he dresses just like him! Right so now, the whole tour, day by day! Enjoy.... Day 1: Group photo in front of Sydney Harbour Bridge & Opera House. Drive to Coffs Harbour, met everybody properly as was the first night. Day 2: Drive to 'Most Easterly Point' before heading to Byron Bay (Clare you would have loved it there - it's the hippy capital of Australia!) Went to an animal sanctuary where I HELD A KOALA!! :O How amazing is that!! (AND he was called Wilbur ^_^) And saw kangaroo's, huuuuge crocs too! And a tasmanian devil. Wicked that was! Then headed to Surfers paradise for 2 nights. That everning went on a half hour Harley Davidson ride (OMG it was AMAZING!!) then went out to Melba's nightclub, where Contiki got 3 free drinks each, how nice of them :) Good night that was. Day 3: Woke up late after a good ole' lie-in (needed that!) with rather a big hangover, then went with Sophie to find some brekkie while the others all went Surfing! (I would have loved to have done it but salt water maks me puke so noooo!) Later on went on a TigerMoth Flight!! if you don't know what that is, it's a plane with two seats (the driver behind, me in front) and it's from like the War or something, basically it's tiny and you get to wear a leather jacket and goggles a la Top Gun and it was amaaaaazing! I could see all these man-made islands and the Gold Coast looked beautiful from up there!! Gorgeous and totally got rid of the hangover. For a bit. hehe. That night we went to 'Dracula's'...a cabaret restaurant where the staff are intentionally rude and shout at you and are dressed all gothy-like and they do a show all during the meal too. The restaurant is set out like a theatre, but the drinks were way too expensive! It was so cool though, totally worth it! It was optional dressing-up-like-a-vampire-type-thing but we didn't do it as nobosdy thought of bringing that sort of stuff with them obviously...! Dan wore a mullet though :/ After that we headed to Melba's again with the same 3 drink offer which was again rather nice! Day 4: A 2 hour stop at Brisbane (which was a shame coz the time we had to leave was the only time I could've seen Lauchlan! :( ) Had to go shopping for a reason which you'll find out tomorrow! Then onto the Farmstay, which was a huuuuuuuge farm ran by this cute old couple where we on a hay something cant think of the name right now thorugh all their acres of land and saw lots of Kangaroo's just bouncing around minding their own business!! Very cool. That night we had the most gorrrrrgeous meal ever (home-cooked for 42 of us!) and then did some Bush Dancing! (Aussie version of line-dancing really). It was so much fun and me and this girl (cant remember her name) got picked by the old guy to go up on stage with dan & tony and do this one where we did actuon to it. \"Give me a home amoungst the gum trees........with lots of plum trees...a sheep or two and a kangaroo and a clothesline out the back...verandah out the front...and an olf rocking chair.....!\" Wicked. Then played drinking games with darts and oh god poor louis. That's all I'll say! Oh yeah and the house had an old school bus attached to it which some people went to watch the State of Origin game in between NSW & QLD. Day 5: Onto Fraser Island!! Looooooooooong bus journey (7 hrs!) that day coz we had to go back to Brisbane to get a bag that had been left there!). Got to the ferry port, missed it and had to wait an hour for the next one. Worth it though coz then it was dark and we sat on the top, and watched all the stars. Saw 4 shooting stars so big! Beautiful. Saw th Milky Way really vividly too it was amazing! That night at Fraser was what the shopping was for...Contiki had to do a 'No Clothes' Party!! Haha so basically you had to make stuff out of stuff that wasn't clothes!! We decided the 6 of us would use shower curtains and ribbon! Wicked night...so funny what some people wore!! Toby dresse dup in wrapping paper and dan wored a sleeping bag and cushion on his head. Come people didn't dress up though. Boring!! Day 6: FANTASTIC Day this was, let me start with that. Intro of Fraser Island - a huge Island which only 80 people live on which is entirely made of sand! Even though it is only made sand it is covered 90% by vegetation! Which apparenyl is a miracle considering sand has no nutritional value. The plants use the dead ones that fall to grow. Took a 4WD around Fraser Island for the whole day, which is the only way to see it properly. First stop at a beach, which is also a road (!!) and OMG is was just beautfil. 75 KM it is and like wow we drove all of it. Amazing there. Then a walk thorugh a gorgeous rainforest, then on Lake MacKenzie. Now that is just paradise. Absolutely AMAZING. Went swimming, crystal clear water, beautifl sunshine. Shame we only had a hour! Words can't describe it, you need to see the pics! Oh yeah, saw a Dingo on the beach! Kareoke that night - a bit crap but me & Nicky did our bit for the team...got up and sang \"I've had the time of my life...\" from Dirty Dancing. We actually are fantastic! :) Day 7: This morning, ferry back from Fraser to mainland. Saw a couple of dolphins (ack!) and pelicans (real life ones hahahaaa). Stopped at Tropic of Capricorn line, saw my first spider of Aussie so far, it was huuuuuuuuge with giant fat red legs. (it was on the big spire thing that represnted the line). Then, went to the Crocodile Farm, WOO!! it was sooooooooo cool. At night time too, so after each course we went out with huge torches to find the crocs, at one point you're walking through and there's only a tiny fence in btween you and this huge creature! Amazing. The torches shone on their eyes in the water, they glow red because (and I ddin;t know this before) when tou take a picture and you get red eyes on the the photo, it's actually the back of the eyeball! Nice. And that's what we were seeing! Saw lots of big spiders too, theie eyes are green. Ate some crocodile too, which just tasted like chicken with a hint of tuna! Took my stretchy Steve Irwin too just coz of the croc thing but the man kindly told me he hates Steve and asked me to put him away! Ok then....! haha Held a baby crocodile!! Called Harley. So cool, you could feel him breathing and his organs moving while you held him. They're like mini dinosaurs, so cool. Day 8: Ferry over to the Whitsundays. We stayed at Long Island, it was gorrrrgeous there!! Unfortunately though, the day we were travelling there it started to rain like MAD, so the first time we saw the beach/resort it doesn't look that special!! We weren't there for long and then went and got ready for dinner....OMG this is the night that NOBODY wants to remember...lots of drinking games...LOTS of wine drunk...omg I think we did something REALLY embarrassing (well i know we did from the pictures some people have!) but I can't write it here so there. hahaaaaa it was a good night though!! Ah man Sophie & Kate are great to get drunk with...OMG OH YEAH it was THAT night!!! hahahaa I can't tell you about that either coz somebody could get fired, haha how funny would that be! Oh well, GT's by all definately. Sweet! 2 new people joined us tonight, Jordis (who was in our room) and Anthony. Day 9: Me & Kate decided to waste some time today by getting our eyelashes tinted (which was totally worth it, it was only $20 and they threw in a foot, hand & arm, and head massage in for free! it was only supposed to take 20 mins but we were an hour! Lovely. Anyway, we did that coz the weather was rather disappointing that day, although it did allow us to get over our hangovers by just sitting and not getting too hot in the sun. Then we went for a 'hike' to some 'points'of the look-out variety in the hills which was nice. Ooh yeah and I saw a cockatoo in the tree!! (I hadn't seen one in Oz before even though I heard them so this was quite exciting!) When we walked back to the resort, we decided on a picturesque photo point (which you'll be able to tell) when the sun was setting. 1, 2, 3, "awwwww........" Tonight was another Kareoke night! woo! Me & Nicky did it for the Team again by singing Take That's Back For Good (HA HA) and I can't remember the other one...oh man how could I forget! Bum! Ah well we did two anyway, and we were fantastic obviously ^_^ Kind of an early night tonight, big day the next day, didn't want a hangover for the boat! Day 10: Of we trotted this morning after having breakfast of bread & peanut butter (which I really don't like but its all we had!) to the Ferry, which then lead us to our Catamaran for the day! WOO! Definite GT's ahead! It was purple though, which was first sign of ''OMG I'm guna get sea sick aren't I?! :O'' In the end it wasn't too bad, it was actually really good! We sat on the front bits (you know on Catamarans where they have the netting bit to sit on) and got splashed like LOADS by the blimming water! Sophie & Nicky got sick, then we all moved to the back eventually coz of the splashing-ness. At 11am the bar opened! Yay! It was free food & drink all day and we made the most of it! Although they said you can't snorkle if you drink too much so only had 1 XXXX of course! We then headed over to Whitehaven beach (which is apparently one of the '1000 places to see before you die' places. I can tell why, it was beaaaaautiful...pure white sand, gorgeous bluey/clear sea...it was so cool, we had it to ourselves. We only had an hour on it though, so some quick sunbathing was done while some people played cricket, and we went in the sea and enjoyed it. Lush! Next was the snorkling, which I couldn't do (coz I'm stupid!). The guy totally didn't explain it properly and as soon as I got into the water I panicked and swallowed a load of it which was disgusting (you know how much I hate salt water!) so they came back with the little boaty thing and got me, and Kate out. I was alright though, no worries! Me & Kate totally took advantage of there being no people on the Catamaran now and layed out on the netting with a few beers...sweet! Everybody then ventured back, and we headed back to Long Island. Tonight it was...oh man what did they call it... ''Island Games'' or something???? Basically, they had some games like Musical Chairs (man I was good at that until I lost), that one where you wrap someone up like a mummy in toilet paper (go Kate & D-Fo woo!), one where you put an egg in between yours & someone else's back (sorry Anthony I was rubbish!) which Sophie had to eventually win by playing rock, paper, scissors, and then one where you have to go find something that starts with the letter...........'L' for example... lucky we had a Louis on tour!! haha. Early night tonight too (well, like midnight) coz the Long Island Ice Teas either make you druunkkkkk or just sooooo sleepy...good night though! (Have you ever seen somebody make one of them before?? Jeez it's a wonder we're still alive! Kate had 3! :O) Day 11: Onwards to Cairns, and the last proper bus ride on our coach......aaawwwwwwww......... *cry* :'( It was 7 hours though so we got enough of it really! Did lots of pics of us dancing to our 'Day Song' today as we thought it would be the last time! (Although it wasn't!) We arrived at our hotel in Cairns, and got ready to go to...don't have the foggiest what it was called!! It was good though, and we got free beer and wine which was nice! Afterwards we went to an Irish pub! Woo! I took a pic of a guinness drinking pelican for you Clare :) We boogied and drank a lot tonight, and they did a Coyote Ugly show which Jen & Curly Haired Heather (thats what we know her as!) took part in...we left though so dunno what happened next! Day 12: This day was the best day EVER!! I had been waiting for this day for sooo long!! It was Great Barrier Reef day WOOOOO!! We jumped into this little coach (crap compared to ours!) and drove to the harbour...and then yeah we got onto our boat. Now, I had signed up to go Scuba Diving but as soon as they found out I had asthma the guy just ripped my form away from me, so I went up to this woman who actually explained why people with asthma can't scuba dive. (Something to do with the air being able to go into your lungs but can't get out coz of the water pressure, then they could explode blah blah). Anyway, it convinced me she was right! At the time I wanted to get of the boat coz I thought there would be no point in going but she said I can still snorkle, so yay! Kate had the same problem too, so did some other people who couldn't equalise (where you pop your ears) coz they had colds. Much better explaining of the whole snorkelling thing this time so was very confident! And had to be for today, yeah! There were three stopping points for snorkelling. The first time was so cool coz The Verve's ''Bitter Sweet Symphony'' came on the CD player and I knew it was guna be good (Me & Nikki were like "OMG I love that song!"). You put on your wetsuit (SO flattering :S), get your goggles & snorkle, then sit on this little seat to get ready. Then you slide down a bit, and everyone was so good helping me. I dipped my head into the water and I was "OMG DID YOU SEE THAT IT'S A FISH!!!!!!!!!) and then I was totally hooked!! Straight in and I didnt wanna get out! Sadly it was cloudy at this time so stuff wasn't as lit up as it could have been but still, it was amazing! The second snorkelling point was reeally choppy...Ã wasn't going to go in but then I knew that if i didnt I would have regretted it! This one was actually better, more underwater mountains to look at, man they are so cool. Covered in anemone and lots of coral I can't remember the names of and wow...you swim in towards this big mountain that nearly touches the water's surface. Then you swim over the top, and there's NOTHING. Just big, blue water. It was so incredible, absolutley amazing. You see a random fish every now and again (and a shark like I did!) but there's nothing, just space. I thought I'd be so scared by now (coz the ocean terrifies me) but I just wanted to go further to see what could be next! But then I remembered how choppy the water was and the film Open Water so I thought I better go back! After that, the girl who taught us snorkelling did a 'Reef talk'', about all the fishies & coral and stuff that's down there. That was good, lots of Nemo pictures! haha. The third and final snorkelling point was the BEST!! The sun was out now, so the sea was totaly lit up and you could see the underwater mountains from the top of the boat, even into the sea and the fishies! The girl did a 'guided snorkle' now which was interesting, we followed her around for half an hour and held a mushroom coral (which, she said, produces a slime that could be bottled up and used as 100% sunblock, but smells so it hasn't been done), and touched a sea cucumber! After the little tour, we told Dan to go find us a turtle (like off of Nemo) but he didn't. (pssh!) Then, we were swimming around and it was like OMG IT'S A TURTTTTTLEEEEE!!!!!!! :O Kate & Nicky managed to touch it but none of us had any pictures left on our cameras, noooooo! It was so beautiful though, wow though an actual TURTLE! haha how cool :D I took loads of pictures that day which I've now got developed, them underwater cameras are amazing! It was just like being inside an aquarium...but real life...and it was all around you...little fishies everywhere! You can't imagine it unless you've seen it for yourself....must go there again, uh huh!! Haha the harbour bit where the boat left from was called 'Marlin Wharf'' haha!! (Marlin is Nemo's Dad btw). Tonight we headed off to The Woolshed (was that it's name??) for our last night of everybody together on Contiki :'( We had everyone stand infront of the coach tonight so we could have our own group picture (the official one was in Sydney before anyone knew each other). This one rocks!! This was actually the last time on the bus, with our Contiki song, so everyone got up and danced in the aisle of the bus haha (started by us of course - go team!) Lots of free beer & wine again tonight! woo! Lot's of GT's tonight, they did this boys versus girls game thing which Heather, Nicky and D-Fo played in and they had to do lap dances and stuff on Dan (haha) and drink this pink moose crap eww! Oh god tonight was a very drunken one...don't remember too much but I think dancing on tables was involved and the heel of my shoe broke (ouch!). Brilliant night :D Day 13: Last day :( Woke up hungover, as usual! Terrible day this was. So many goodbyes to so many great people...I think I cried ALL day. (except for when I was reading Bill Bryson by the pool coz that book's rather good). We had our last 'Team' photo (which Im looking at now and about to cry!) and then went and had some brekky together. First of us 8 to leave were Sophie, Nikki & Toby who were all going on the Aus Explorer trip which drove up to Darwin after flying to Alice Springs. Then it was Kate, Nicky & Louis' turn who were all on the Reefs & Rainforest tour which went to Cape Tribulation for a few days. So this left me & Maike...all by ourselves.... :( Maike went to the city to use the internet, and I went by the pool for a bit (with my Bill Bryson). Then Maike came back, we went in the pool (freezing!) and then it was her turn to leave!! :'( The rest of the day I went to my new room which I was sharing with two of the Canadian girls, Jen & Karen, who were also staying an extra night. Then we went and had dinner and played cards with some of the others (about 10 people stayed that night!) and went sleepy-byes. So, that's it! That's my Contiki done for this year! It was awesome, completely different from the one I did last year. To my fellow Contiki's - I miss all you guys so much and I hope we can have a reunion ASAP!! GT's guys, "You're beautiful!!" xxxxxx