Well, we can definately now say we have "roughed it" in Australia, are true backpackers, it was bad, but we survived the two nights camping in the deep dark jungle, what an adventure!
We got picked up at 8am on the Monday morning, to embark on our 3 day Everglades Noosa Great Sandy National Park, canoe safari. The national park is in southern Queensland and is the most visited park in the whole of Queensland, so we were looking forward to seeing it. We went around picking the rest of our group up, then went to collect our camping equipment. There was 13 of us in our group, dominated by English, along with a couple of Dutch girls, two Canadian lads and a couple from Denmark. Sarah also came on along with us. We had to get to know each other quickly and work as a team, as once they took us on the boat and dropped us off at the canoes, we were left to fend for ourselves, with no guide or anything! After quick directions on where to canoe to find our campsite, they left us to it. We loaded the canoes up with our things and set off canoeing in the burning hot sun. We paddled up "the river of mirrors", for about an hour, taking in the tranquil surroundings and beautiful reflections on the water, of the trees that overhung the river. The water was so still, every detail of the trees above it could be seen, exactly like a mirror. As the national park has been protected, it is untouched and so stunning. After another hour paddling back down the river we parked our canies and went for a swim in the fresh water lake. The water was warm and healthy for your skin, but not very clear, it has a purple tinge from the tea tree! While we sat on the riverside, we had our first wildlife encounter of the trip. We spotted an iguana on a tree, the size of a small croc, it was huge!
One and a half hours later, after paddling down the winding glass river, we reached our camp area. Most people were sunburnt and worn out by this time. We unloaded the canoes and set up camp, cooking our well earned dinner on the stove. It was 4pm by this time and with nothing else to do, we satrted playing drinking games with goon. By 7pm, we were drunk, it was pitch black and felt like midnight. John was so drunk he fell asleep on the table. Going to the toilet was a right expedition, they were in the middle of the woods and the stench was unbearable, with lots of goon drinking, we had to make a number of trips, but in the end we gave up and went in the trees closer to camp. On one toilet trip I saw a smalll snake and Loz encountered a giant posionous toad, which John, when he woke up killed! Early on our first night, the rain started, we managed to cram 10 people into a 3 man tent, where we sang songs and drank more goon. We went to bed about 11pm, but didnt get one wink of sleep, the rain was bouncing on the tent hard, the floors hard, smelly bags and strange animals sniffing around sarah and Lauras heads. We were lucky our tent didn't leak much, but everyone else looked like they had just got out of the shower in the morning.
We got up at 6.30am to the terrential rain and muddy ground. Being optomistic, me, Loz ,Sarah Steve and team Holland, loaded up our cnaoes and set of down the river on a 6k paddle which took 1 and a half hours. Everyone else backed out on the second day and stayed at camp, but we battled on through the rain, we were drenched and our clothes and everything were wet through, we have never been so cold and wet, but it was something different canoeing down the river in terrential rain, it was raining so fast we could harldy see and we were sat in huge puddles, we either had to laugh or cry, so we laughed, singing at the tip of oir voices as we paddled. When we reached campsite 3 we had to take off our wet clothes, which were sticking to our skin, I only had a bikini, but Loz didn't have that so she had to just wear her knickers and a top with socks and trainers. Very sexy! Ha! By this pint we were past caring, before we caught pnumonia. We set off on the 12k walk, up the mountains, through the jungle. As we got towards the top, it got colder and colder and finally an hour and a half later, we reached the top. It was amazing! There where huge sand dunes with great views over the pacific ocean and the trees below, it looked like the desert and there wasn't a sole in sight apart fron us idiots! It was too windy and rainy to stay up there for long, but we ran around, up and and down all the dunes and took some pictures, it was awsome and well worth the trek! An hour and half later, when we had reached the bottom, we cooked lunch, but had reached a really low point in our trip, we were all so cold and wet, with no warm or dry clothes left and was just stood wanting to go home and nearly in tears, feeling sorry for ourselves, knowing we had another 6k paddle back to camp, where everything was wet and muddy! If we had a help number, or someone to come and pick us up we would have called them, we had had enough, but there was no way out. We got our act together and started canoeing back. Once we were back in the river, it seemed to lighten our spirits a little and we sang our way back to camp!
When we reached camp, the other in the group who had backed out of the adventure, had decided to canoe back to the info hut and take shelter for the night, as all their tents and sleeping bags were soaked through. Unable to paddle a further 1 and a half hours, we stayed put and completed the trip like troopers. It got dark even earlier that night so we cooked inside the tent and had toasted marshmellows. I was so tired, I must have been asleep by 7.30pm and got a good uncomfortable few hours in, before we woke up to a possom bitting a hole in our tent, trying to get in! I had a breakfast bar in the tent, so it was prob after that ! Ha! At one point i felt its mouth or whatever touching my feet! There was a lot of wild animals that night rummaging around our tents and in the rubbish bins. There was a lot of clattering and banging around as they played with the cooking sets. A heard of big kangaroos was pounding by our tents and it sounded like a heard of elephants was about to run into the tent! The animals scared Loz, I kept waking up to hear her banging and kicking the side of the tent to scare the animals away! Ha! However, we managed to survive the night without getting eaten. The rain had eventually stopped when we got up at 6.30am, but as soon as we started packing up, the rain came again, which did not make us happy. Luckily, the sunshine came out and we had a nice paddle for one and half hours to where we where getting picked up from. Paddling at 8am was hard work especially across the open bit of river, where both the wind and current where strong.
We were glad we did the trip and feel a big sense of achievement knowing we made it all the way with the weather against us.
When the boat arrived to pick us up, even the man said he was waiting for a call from us to pick us up - we probably would have called if we knew that and if we had had a signal. But it would still have meant a lot more rowing. After washing all the camping equipment, we got back to Noosa YHA about 1pm. After a few jobs we slept for three hours and had a big roast dinner. It felt so good to have a shower and a propper meal that wasn't in a cup.
On the night we went down by the river where Sarah, Sully and Smiley and some other girls from Halifax were having a BBQ. We were playing drinking games with the Goon and went to the Kareoke down at the surf club.