Melbourne to 1770/Agnes Water
Sorry it's been so long but I've been run off my feet sine leaving Mel in Melbourne on 24th Sept. On my bus trip up to Sydney I spotted my first live wild kangaroo bounding across a field! Unfortunately, with a big smile on my face, I turned to the seat beside me to share my excitement..but it was empty :( . I was already missing my Mel!
Thankfully my wonderful host Liam showed me a brilliant time in Sydney. After a heavy night Friday night celebrating Guinness 250 years (or something), Liam and I headed to Bondi beach for breakfast before heading on the Bondi to Coogee walk, which was stunning. We also wandered Darling Harbour before yet another busy night in the bars of Sydney. On Sunday, Liam brought me down to Harbour Bridge and we took in the spectacular views of the Opera House from the botanical gardens. Another day I got the ferry across to Manly for a gorgeous walk along the water.
After Sydney, I made my way up the cost to Byron. On a walk to the lighthouse through the rainforest, I came upon a 3ft long komodo dragon which was pretty awesome. Next stop was Surfer's Paradise - it may have tons of surfers but its as far from paradise as a concrete jungle can get. However, I enjoyed a BBQ and a few beers by the swimming pool there and met one of my travelling buddies, Ruth, there. Brisbane went by in a blur and soon I was in Noosa. There I visited the national park and Steve Irvin's Australia Zoo, a huge complex with fascinating bird, reptile and crocodile shows.
A week ago, I arrived into Rainbow Beach and met up with my Fraser Island group. There were 16 of us from the hostel so, after our safety briefing ("safety first!"), we split into 2 groups of 8 but everyone got on so well that the 2 jeeps travelled together for the 3 days. Fraser is the largest sand island in the world and a protected World Heritage Site and, when we arrived, it was easy to see why - miles of sandy beaches (which were our roads), tropical rainforests, huge sandblows and pristine perched lakes. On my first day, we stopped at Lake McKenzie, an absolutely stunning lake with beautiful white beaches and clear warm water. After the teeth-rattling journey on bumpy sand roads, the swim felt like heaven. On our way to camp that evening, we came across a huge python (check out the pic!). The 16 of us had a huge BBQ and we enjoyed the best of Australia with some goon - if you don't know what it is, it is the finest wine Australia has to offer...in a 4 litre box! Rocket fuel stuff to be sure!
The next day, despite the late night, a few of us got up at 6am for an early morning hike through the rainforest. Another day of bumpy sand roads followed and we arrived into our tent site, an aboriginal camp. A few dingos roamed the camp and a Huntsman spider lived in the toilet! All I can say is that thank god I was already sitting on a toilet when I first spotted him...!! After a very civilised game of cricket on the beach, the campfire got going and we'd brilliant craic with the other campers, drinking goon and toasting marshmallows.
Our last day started at 6:30am and a trip to Wabby lake a beautiful lake at the base of a very steep sand dune. We'd brought a body board with us and took turns attempting to slide down the dune and land in the water. Unfortunately the board kept stopping a foot short of the lake, sending us tumbling into the sand. We had to roll the final foot into the lake ourselves! Despite having been stuck behind numerous jeeps that had gotten bogged in the sand, it was only waiting for the ferry to go back to Rainbow Beach that we finally got stuck in the shifting sands. Ruth's group got stung for $200 for broken springs but. although being threatened with losing $200 for salt water damage, my group only lost 16 bucks for a broken tent pole so it was grand. Back at Rainbow Beach we had a big blow-out BBQ (free) before heading our separate ways the next morning.
After Rainbow, I headed down to 1770/Agnes Water (passing more kangaroos and bush fires on the way) for my first surfing lesson. Unfortunately the waves weren't that big but I did manage to get standing so I was happy. I'm of on a boat trip around the Whitsundays next but, in the meantime, it's time to get on some sunscreen, it's absolutely baking! xxx