27.09.2008 28 °C
Ok Ok I know I'm useless at keeping this updated, and it was sucha promising start too!
So we stayed in Brisbane for a while (2 and a half months) in which time we lived in Base Palace Backpackers hostel for a week (thanks to Scott and his discounted rates...not entirely above board but these are the things your Geordie friends will do for you!) then found an advert on share-accomodation.net which offered us a room in a very nice Queenslander house for $190 a week for both of us for 6 weeks which came inclusinve of a very graceful (not really) sausage dog called Ruby and a very timid and slightly schizophrenic terrier called Custard. It was great becasue is was only a 40 minute walk (or 10 minute bus) to the city where both me and clare had managed to get jobs. Clare scored a waitressing job in the best paying bar in town called Fridays and I got a very well paid job temping for the Queensland Nursing council doing admin for $20 an hour (better wages than at home and less effort involved) and we merrily worked for 37 hours a week and tried (and failed) to save money for the first four weeks. (Top money saving tip - visit the food courst just before they close and you can get dicounted food, usuually half price) To be honest the working and going out at weekends ended up making us feel like we were basically doing what we would have done back home so after a rushed decision we headed off one weekend to Byron Bay to try out surfing and to see the sea and nota man made lagoon in a city centre (i.e. Brisbanes South bank...approximately 70% kids pee we're told). It was amazing, it was the remedy we were in need of, it was beautiful, it was the kick start of our adventuring again! We stopped into a Tribal Travel (local backpackers holiday booking place) and managed, in 30 minutes before our bus took us back to Brisbane, to have entirely booked our last few weeks in Australia, making sure we hit all the highlights on our way round!
We handed our notices in a our respective palces of employment and began our saying our goodbyes (and had a samll gathering for my 30th birthday....our first BBQ in Oz and a night out!) before packing our bags and saying goodbye to the dogs and Jane (our hostess) before getting on the Premier bus (greyhound buses are notorious for breaking down and more expensive!) and heading to our first East coast destination Rainbow Beach. To be honest our first impression was not the best....we arrived at 7pm to a town with everything shut apart from one shop that shut at 7:30pm which we had to scamper up to to make sure we could eat that evening! We were in a very quaint backpackers called Pippies though so we were at least comfortable for the night. The next morning was a glorious day and we finally got to see the very small town in the daylight. It's really nothing to shout about, it is pretty off the beaten track however the beach is worth seeing. there is an aboriginal stroy relating to the beach which gets its name from the thousands of colours found in the cliffs surrounding the bay but it's long and I'll probably get it wrong (must google it) and it was lovely just to lie on the beach and run into the freezing cold water every so often and watch the 4x4's trundling along the sand.
We left Rainbow Beach that evening (we had a lot to fit into very few days!) and headed up to Hervey Bay which is the main jumping off point to Fraser Island (the largest sand Island in the world) where we were going on our self-drive (although neither of us can drive) 4x4 tour. We stayed a a very clean backpackers called Next and had also met up with Adam (Clare's university friend) on the bus up so we decided a celebration was in order and defied hostel law and drank some drinks in Adam's room to catch up for a while before trying to find somewhere to go in town (nowhere, everything seems to close at 11pm), but it was a nice walk around! In the morning it was a fruit breakfast on the beach before aome fribee-ing on the beach and some fish and chips (I just had chips) and some angry seagulls circling us and trying to steal our food. We then had to meet out Fraser Island group and have a safety talk (for anyone lucky enough to watch the Queensland offical safety video....it is hilarious and "Be Dingo Safe!"). We then had to do our shopping for 9 people ($20 each) in the shop next door, of which we managed to buy too little.
The next morning was 'Launch day', we packed up our 4x4 and headed to the ferry terminal and the adventure began! No one told us the weather was going to be rubbish....it was a hard drive and a miserable time was spent looking at Lake McKenzie for our first stop. We ran back to the 4x4 and decided we needed to find some cover so we could rummage in the Eskies (food containers) on the top of the truck. We found the only town on the island and used a bench outside the shop to hastily prepare cheese sandwiches, cuningly using two swiss army knives to butter the bread before doing the dangerous beach drive up to the aboriginal camp ground we were camping in on the first night. The tides are extrememly dangerous on Fraser Island and you can only drive up them on certain times of the day for fear of being swept out to sea...
We made it in one piece though and we lucky enough to be able to sleep in a rotunda rather than tents and we even got to build a massive camp fire which we shared with another group once the rain had stopped. It was a great first night with preparing our dinner and drinking goon (boxed Oz wine which is rahter too cheap and nasty) and sitting round a huge fire sharing stories and looking out for dingoes. Me and Adam decided at one time to go searching for firewood which led to an amusing incident of borrowing and axe from the aboriginals and deciding whther it was better to take wood to axe or axe to wood....being a woman I was right and the axe needed to go to the wood as the original need for an axe was that we were uable to lift the log we needed to chop!). Cue hilarious attempts to chop the log in front of another group of amused Germans... we eventually got enough fuel for the fire!
The Second day was much nicer in terms of weather, although it was a bit cloudy. We got up and had breakfast or cornflakes and other such hangover cures and got into the packed 4x4 and headed to Indian Head in a hurry (we were behind schedule and the tide was coming in FAST!). We got there unscathed and saw the breathtaking views from on top of Indian Head (a hike up the hill first) but the sea was too rough to see the whales and turtles usually visible in the sea below.
There was then the hard decision on whether to drive up to the Champagne Pools but due to our late arrial at Indian Head it was decided that it was too much of a risk so only 3 of us then decided to walk to 2km to see the Pools. they were spectacular but as we had missed low tide they were also a bit dangerous and we nearly got swept away! So we headed back to the 4x4, taking along with us on Clare's towel, what looked like a tarantula...cue hysterical twoel throwing and me carfully removing the 6 legged-half dead spider...which turned out to be a non-dangerous Huntsman.
We headed down to Eli Creek and waded down the crystal clear (and very cold) water creek and did more frisbee-ing before heading to our next campsite (where nasty rangers were willing to dish out harsh fines for noise after 9pm.
We set up our tents and set about making dinner of pasta and beans and any other food we had thought to buy and ate huge amounts before heading to the beach for more goon drinking (to avoid the ranger fines). After a few dune related peeing trips and some dingo scaremongering we deceided to head back to the campsite and hit the hay and be ready (on time) for day 3.
The best was saved for last.....beautiful weather and easy driving! We hit Lake Wabby first and it is well worht the 45 minute walk to see! It is just amazing....we swan on the lake and even took part in some dues boarding down the massive sand dune and into the lake before heading back to the 4x4 as quickly as possible so we could sample Lake McKenzie in nice weather. It was a completely different place than what we had seen on the first day and we were massively disappointed to only have 15 minutes of the lake (in which some very funny fastforwarded beach frisbee-ing and sunbathing took place) before heading abck to the ferry home.