Saturday, 23 December 2006

too easy, no worries, party on!

So much for emailing from Hervey Bay! My hostel turned out to be in the middle of nowhere with not an Internet connection in sight. Not only that but when i arrived, the reception was closed. Thankfully it was a family run business so i sat outside and eventually said family returned from a kiddies birthday do with balloons in tow.

Finally got to my room to discover I was on a top bunk with no easy access. I discovered on my 2am trek to the loo that my flexible days are all but gone as i propelled myself from top bunk to floor. Mattress was terrible too - it sank in the middle making for a very uncomfortable night's kip.

Anyhoo - no real worries because the trip to Fraser Island turned out to be awesome. Was picked up by a monster truck cross mini bus and headed across on the barge with about 20 other backpackers.

On the barge i got chatting to a guy called Phil from Banbury(sp?) who just happened to be the only other singleton on the trip. He was a sound guy with a slight cockney accent and an astutely non-existant backpacking history. There is one thing worse than over-travelled know-hows who insist on disecting their every journey with anyone in earshot, and that's someone who has never travelled and who finds absolutely everything 'amazing' or 'brilliant'. Phil had an amazing and brilliant time that's for sure. Admittedly he was good company throughout the trip but the 'amazings' and 'brilliants' did get somewhat tiresome. (He even found the horizon between sea and sky 'amazing' - coming from an island this was all but lost on me)

Anyway, I digress. Landed on Fraser Island and Alex (one of the tour guides alongside Kyle and Franz) grabbed the wheel and took us on a bone shattering, cross country, 4wd blast through mangrove forest, into rainforest then finally along the beach. It was a fab experience - or should i say 'amazing'!

After a walk through the rainforest where we came across a carpet python, we had lunch near the beach then headed down to Lake Wabby where we had a 1.8km trek across sand dunes to get to the lake for a swim. The walk was stunning. The closest i can get to describe Lake Wabby is an oasis in the Sahara - sand dunes to the waters edge on one side; forest to the waters edge the other. We spent the best part of two hours walking to and from the lake and swimming in it.

After that we headed along the beach to the campsite at Cathedral beach. It can't really be called a campsite because we had plush beds in each tent. We had great evening with delicious food (including kangaroo meat) and drink and spent the evening chatting before heading down to the beach to check out the stars. The stars were stunning although it was a bit creepy switching off the torches and knowing there were probably dingos about.

The following day we headed out to Indian Head - the only volcanic rock on the island which made a great look out point across the beaches. We managed to spot a couple of rays and a shark from the top of the point. We then headed to the Champagne Pools for a swim and sunbathe. They were more whirlpool than champagne and there were some strong waves - although thankfully no sharks or jellies!

We had a great picnic of wraps before continuing our rough 'n' ready journey to Lake Allam. We had a swim in Lake Allam and then one of the Dutch girls on the trip had the great idea of offering to teach two Korean girls on the trip, how to swim. They were fab! The poor girls hadn't been able to join in in all the swimming and were really enthusiastic about learning. Myself, another girl and the Dutch girl's boyfriend (names elude me) helped her out as potential life savers. Within one hour and after a bit of shrieking, the girls were swimming and got a round of applause from onlookers. They were absolutely thrilled. It was really great to see. They were so thankful.

After all the excitement of the two days it was actually quite sad to say goodbye to everyone. All in all it WAS an 'amazing' trip :)

Unfortunately, I couldn't hang around and had to jump on a 13 hour bus trip to Airlie Beach - i've just sat down to type and 28 lightly-clad drunken Norweigen 'Father Christmases' have just walked passed singing 'We wish you a merry Christmas'. Looks like it's going to be a fun Crimbo!

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