March 18th 2007
Hi you lot,
I’ve had a bit of a busy week so I think this journal entry might just be my longest yet! Last Sunday we went to Australia Zoo (Steve and Terri Irwin’s zoo), we had to get up quite early to catch the train but it was definitely worth it. We started the day with a little trip to see the Koalas - they are extremely cute but without doubt the laziest animals they sleep for about 20 hours a day. For a small fee you could have your photo taken with them so me and Lor jumped at the chance - I was a little bit scared because they have quite big claws but they’re just like little babies so sweet. We also got to feed kangaroos (when I say we Laura did I was a bit of a wimp). We saw a show at the Crocoseum which is a big ampitheatre where they had Steve Irwin’s memorial service. During the show they brought out elephants, alligators, snakes and birds. The birds were the funniest because Laura has a bit of a phobia of them. The bird man released some parrots and they were flying around the theatre over the audience which was Laura’s worst nightmare!! Just outside the Crocoseum they’ve set up a memorial for Steve Irwin which is really quite sad. There arte photos of him with his family and poems and condolences sent in by the public. As we were walking round the park we bumped into Terri Irwin which was really cool, I think we were both a little bit star struck, we grabbed her for a photo which I’ve put in the album. It was really hot all day at the zoo so we were a pair of sweaty betty’s all the way round but we had a brilliant day seeing all the different animals (the massive ice cream sundae at lunch time was also a highlight!!) and stayed right until the end when the park closed.
On Monday we spent the day chilling round the pool at our hostel in Brisbane and that afternoon got the bus up to Hervey Bay which is where you go to before you go to Fraser Island (the biggest sand island in the world). We arranged to do a 4 wheel drive self tour on the island. The bus was pretty quiet until we stopped at a place called Noosa to pick more people up - two Yorkshire lads, Gav and Rich, got on and sat next to us and didn’t stop talking for the rest of the journey, they were hilarious, and were going to Fraser Island at the same time as us so we moved groups so we were in a group together. When we got to the hostel in Hervey Bay it was about 9pm so we had a quick shower and then went to a bar called Beaches down the road with the lads. The bar was really cool it was part of another hostel but was open to us as well. You could request any song you wanted and it was pretty busy which was good. We all got a bit drunk and on the way home found an abandoned desk chair which we decided to wheel each other home on - it reminded me of pushing Holly home in the shopping trolley on Ecclesall Road at uni! On Tuesday we had the day just to chill out before we went to Fraser Island on the Wednesday. Laura and I went for a wander round Hervey Bay but there wasn’t much to do because it’s really quiet, so we spent the rest of the day lazing by the pool and even had a little game of volleyball. That evening we decided to have a quiet night because we had to be up at 6 the next morning so we ate pizza on the patio by the pool, Lor went to bed early so me + Gav chilled by the pool with some German guys although one of them tried to stroke my leg with his foot which was a bit scary.
On Wednesday we got up at 6am to meet the rest of the group we would be travelling around Fraser Island with and we were lucky because they were all really nice. As well as the Yorkshire lads there was a couple, Anne-Marie and Martin, who had just got engaged and were very sweet, a lad called John, his sister Kerry, and best mate Sam and a German guy called Stephan.
I was allowed to drive for the first leg which was wicked, I’ve never driven a big 4x4 before but I loved it, although I think everyone else was a bit scared. We went to the van depot to pick up all our camping equipment (I know me and Laura camping very scary) and were shown how to pack the van so that the weight was even and it didn’t tip over - we were given a lesson in how to use the 4 wheel drive effectively and given a map of the island and sent off to buy food for the 3 days we were there. We then had to drive to the ferry port to get the ferry across to Fraser Island. When the ferry arrived I had to reverse our big tank of a car down a steep ramp onto the ferry but I did it and was really proud of myself (I am definitely the best driver in the family). When we got to the island we decided to start by following the itinerary we had been given as an example before we left, so we drove to a big pure water lake called Lake Mackensie. It was stunning the water was beautiful and the beach was lovely, it was quite busy though because I think everyone had the same idea. We spent a few hours at the lake swimming and playing ball games and then we drove to find a place to camp for the night, because you weren’t allowed to drive after high tide. We drove along the beach until we found a really nice sheltered spot behind the sand dunes. It was lovely so close to the beach. Lor and I tried to help with the tent but we were a bit useless so Gav and Rich had to do most of the work - the tents we were given were hilarious really old fashioned. At about 6 we started cooking a barbeque - it was lush we had burgers, sausages and prawns and all started cracking open the goon (cheap wine). Some New Zealanders camped near us as well so we all chilled out by the beach drinking and chatting it was brilliant. Later on after the others had gone to bed Gav and I went down to the beach to watch the stars it was really cool he's a class guy - and I'm getting used to being single again! That night was my first night properly sleeping in a tent and I have to admit I was a bit of a wimp - I had this fear that some crazy Aussie would come into the tent and grab us and couldn’t sleep for ages, I was really annoying everyone else because I kept jumping at every little noise!!
On Thursday I woke up early feeling very smelly and horrible because the tent was boiling - initially me and Laura had decided to rough it and not shower while we were there, but we gave in on the first day and drove to a proper camp site with proper showers!! It worked out very well all the girls jumped in the shower and left the boys to do the washing up - perfect. After making ourselves a lot less smelly we drove up the beach and went to a place called Eli Creek. We walked down the creek the water was gorgeous really clear. We didn’t stay there for long then went to a place called Indian Heads which is a lookout high up on a cliff - where the view was spectacular. Apparently between October and March it’s a really good spot to see whales swimming in the sea. On the way up we were fine but Laura and I were a bit wimpish on the way back down and had to be guided to the bottom. We then took a short drive to the champagne pools which were gorgeous - they are really big rock pools at the top of the island. There were another group of backpackers there and at one point the boys thought it would be funny to see how they reacted to them going round them doing what can only be described as the underwater conga all linked together. It was hilarious they just looked at them like they were crazy and walked off!! After a couple of hours of tannage time by the pools we went to find camp by the beach again. We managed to find another nice spot behind the sand dunes and next to a nice Swedish couple Teddy and Maria. The girls were appointed chefs that night so Laura, I and Anne Marie made spaghetti bolognaise - pretty impressive for ten people on a little camping stove - and it was lovely. After tea our Yorkshire lads decided that they wanted to teach us some drinking games that they’d learnt while working on a surf camp in Australia and it was a really good laugh. Although I was getting frustrated by the more difficult ones because I kept losing!! We had a bit of a beach party going on and it was so much fun - poor Martin was sick though after taking Gav on in a drinking game.
On Friday morning I was up early again because it was ridiculously hot - we all had breakfast by the beach and then headed out to get some bottled water and showers, unfortunately there weren’t any nearby so Laura, Anne-Marie and I (nicknamed the princesses by the group!) had to make do with a quick wash in the sink, beautiful. We went to Lake Wabby which was by far the most beautiful place we saw, you had to trek up hill to get there but it was a lake at the bottom of massive sand dunes which was absolutely stunning - while we girls made the most of our tans the boys had fun rolling down the dunes into the water and I was enlisted to take videos of it. We spent a few hours there and then had to leave so we wouldn’t be late for the ferry, unfortunately that didn’t really work out. We rolled up to the ferry with only a couple of minutes to spare having not had time to pump up the tyres or do the washing up like we were supposed to. We ended up doing the washing up behind the van on the floor in a bowl - I felt like a medieval washer woman. Fraser Island was brilliant we had the best time, the island was absolutely beautiful and the fact that everyone in our group was a good laugh made it even better. The only negative was the sand flies which are everywhere so we all came back with a fair few bites. We got back to the hostel at about 6pm on Friday and after a quick shower and bite to eat all of us went back to the Beaches bar for drinks to finish off our Fraser Island fun. The bar was really quiet so we had the place to ourselves for most of the night which was cool - we just chilled out, chatted and listened to cheesy tunes. Rich was on top form dancing around like a madman and he and Gav had us all in stitches they are definitely the funniest people I’ve ever met. The bar shut just after 12 most of the group went home but a few of us stayed in the patio area and had a few more drinks. Anne-Marie was hilarious shes Irish and her accent gets broader the more she drinks. We went back to the hostel and watched DVD’s in the TV room until about 4 - we all had a great night.
Yesterday we had to check out of our rooms by 9.30am but Laura, me, Gav and Rich were all getting the same bus which didn’t leave until 9.00pm. So we spent the day chilling by the pool and watching films. Last night we got the bus to Airlie Beach which was 13 hours so a really long journey. The lads were on the coach for the first couple of hours because they’re going fruit picking for a week to get some money together. We said goodbye to them, and curled up and tried to sleep for the rest of the way. The strange thing about travelling is you meet so many nice people but you have to leave them really quickly so you feel like you’re always saying goodbye. The rest of the trip was very quiet without our lairy yorkshire lads! We arrived in Airlie beach this morning and are just going to chill here until Tuesday morning when we are going on a sailing trip on the Whitsunday islands for a couple of nights. We’re really excited because we’ve heard it’s amazing.
I’m going to log off now - miss you and love you all lots and lots. Keep up with the emails and the messages, I want to know what’s going on with all of you.
Big hugs and kisses