Sun 10 Sep 06 25 °C
Wednesday - (6th September)
All the other guys go horseriding after breakfast, to 'round up' some goats.
Partly, this is because I don't really like horses. Or goats. Or the rain.
Mainly, though, it's because I can't be a*sed.
Apparently the goats know the score and round themselves up. The horses also know the score, and just walk along ignoring any user instruction.
The main man, Andy, doesn't actually ride a horse. He rides a dirt-bike. I think he had the most fun.
After all this, we (including me this time) do a few cowboy-stylee events.
First off, we have to lasso a goat. I'm actually not bad at this, and get mine in 5 seconds (3rd place!). Once again Caroline is the best, and she gets hers in about 2 seconds. Hiro gets second place.
To be honest, the goats are only 2 metres away, and not very lively.
After getting our goat, we have a go a clay pidgeon shooting. I'm joint 4th with 2 out of 5. Three of the guys manage to get 3 out of 5.
After 5 shots I was definitely getting my eye in (I hit my last 2) and I reckon I might have won if it had been out of 10 ...
I like shooting stuff far more than lassooing it.
After lunch (steak, naturally) we head off to Hervey Bay.
Caroline and Lisa don't come with us though, they have decided to stay on the ranch for a couple of weeks. They have to work, but will get free accommodation and food. Caroline is a natural, but I wonder how Lisa will cope ?
We get to Hervey Bay at about 6:30pm, and all meet for dinner/drinks in a local Irish bar.
Get to bed at midnight(ish).
Thursday - (7th September)
Off to Fraser Island this morning, for a 2 day tour.
Fraser Island is the biggest sand island in the world (so they tell me). It's been formed over hundreds of thousands of years, from sand carried from the Sydney area.
Originally there were just 3 rocky outcrops in the sea, until sand began to be deposited around them.
Eventually this became the island as it is now.
Once plants started to grow, they created (poor) soil, allowing other plants to move in.
Now the island is covered with trees, and shrubs.
We take a ferry across to Kingfisher Bay on the island, at 8:30am, and meet our guide for the 2 day tour. He's called Chris, and is a former snake catcher (all the guys think this is pretty cool, of course).
Our group is quite small at 14 people (groups can get upto 30 people). They are -
Me, Amber, Hiro, Dave, Jeff, Sabina and Karen
Anthony (a guy from Nottingham)
A Korean couple (names unknown)
Romina (a girl from Rome, who lives in Sydney)
3 Dutch girls (Caroline, Nynka, and Marija, all from Utrecht)
We all get straight into our big 4wd bus (it's the size of a small house) and head off over the island.
The road out of Kingfisher Bay (which is a holiday resort) starts as tarmac, and soon becomes a sand hill called 'The Roallercoaster'.
You can see how it get's it's name. It's a steep, undulating track, that bounces you around like a ride at Alton Towers. At least you don't have to queue for 2 hours to get on it.
The roads on the island are all sand, and some of them are very tricky. Our drive takes us over some very rough terrain, and some deep, soft sand (easy to get stuck in).
We eventually arrive at our destination, a small 'perch lake'. These are lakes above sea level, formed when vegetation creates a waterproof layer over the sand, in a small depression.
The lake is quite small, but very secluded and peaceful. The sand around the edge is very fine and white, but that soon gives way to grasses, and then the trees.
One interesting plant found here is the sundew plant. These have sticky leaves that catch insects on them. Once they're stuck, the plant secretes an enzyme to digest them. Nice.
While I'm walking round the lake, I chat to Anthony, and the Dutch girls, who all seem pretty nice.
In fact, one of them (Caroline) reminds me of Immy. Unfortunately, I haven't got a good picture of her to show you.
The second part of our morning is spent on a short rainforest walk. Chris tells us that he'll buy a beer if anyone gets a photo of the resident kingfisher. No-one does, but we all look very hard. I wonder if he made it up ?
Afterwards, we tootle (in the rough terrain sense ofthe word) to another, bigger, perch lake called McKenzie Lake.
Here we have lunch, interrupted only by Doug the monitor lizard, who tries to steal our rubbish. Chris is quick off the mark, and manages to catch him in the act.
McKenzie Lake has a proper beach, so it's quite busy. There are lots of people swimming and sunbathing, and lots of kids screaming. I liked the other lake better
We drive back to our lodges (in Kingfisher Bay) with the usual amount of bouncing around. For some reason it seems to have a very soporific effect on me, and I can hardly keep my eyes open.
After dinner (at the marvellous 'Dingo Bar'), it's karaoke time (oh dear!).
Hiro is very funny. Dave and Jeff are pretty good (although Jeff over reaches himself a little). Amber is not quite so good.
Of course, I don't take part. I've done my karaoke for the year (see Alice Springs bus trip).
Spend quite a lot of time chatting to Romina, who gives me the name of the restaurant she works at, in Sydney.
By the end of the evening the name has slipped out of my mind (helped by that thin layer of beer on my brain).
As Romina won't be on our bus tomorrow, I will never know how good her coffee is
A few of the guys go to bed, but the hardcore join Chris for a midnight 'safari'. This mainly involves waving torches drunkenly at trees, tripping over dead wood, and getting lost. Animals seen on safari : 1 spider.
Friday - (8th September)
Back in the bus again this morning, for a drive to the Eastern side of the island.
One stretch of road we pass through is called 'Snake Alley' (because it catches the sun early in the morning).
Chris spots a carpet python sunning himself by the roadside. After a few photos, the python has enough and slides into the trees. I did get a picture, but not a good one (there were about 8 other people vying for the best spot).
When we (after about an hour) get to the East Beach, it's a big change of scenery. Gone are the narrow sandy tracks, replaced by wide, empty beach, that's 75 miles long (honest).
While it looks nice and peaceful, anyone going for a swim is likely to get taken by a riptide, then eaten by a big shark.
Needless to say, we don't go swimming.
Driving up the beach here is really cool. There are few people/cars around, so we get upto 80km/h.
Eventually we do hit traffic, just as we pass one of the resorts on the island.
It seems like part of the Paris-Dakar rally, as we weave around and overtake various other drivers. Cool.
We soon reach the wreck of the Maheno, which was washed ashore in the 1930's. It makes for a good photo opportunity, as the waves are still breaking over part of the superstructure.
Just before lunch, we get to Indian Head. This is one of the only rocky areas on the island, and is one of the 'seeds' that started the build up of sand, way back in the past.
The view from the top is great, and we see turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins, and masses of spawning Taylor Fish. Personally, I could have sat there all day, but we only get about an hour to marvel before we have to go.
We stop again, just up the coast from Indian Head, at the Champagne Rock Pools. These are rather dull compared to the earlier view. The tide is so low that the rock pools are all but empty.
After an hour or so, we go back to the bus, grab some lunch, and head back down the beach.
Our last stop is at Eli Creek. Here we bump into Eric. Eric is an Eel, and lives under a bridge. With a bit of coaxing, Chris get's him to come out for a quick photo shoot.
Back at the bus, Hiro spots some guys having a few beers, wearing Elvis gear. It's too much to resist, so he goes over for some impromptu fancy dress action. Elvis rivs.
After a breakneck, rally style, drive back to the Bay, it's time to say goodbye to some of the group. Some of us are getting the 5pm ferry back to the mainland (myself included), and some are staying for a free dinner and catching the 8pm ferry.
Jeff, Dave, Sabina and Karen are the other folks catching the 5pm boat.
We get back to the hostel just after 6pm, where Sabina's mum is wating to pick her and Karen up (Sabina's mum lives in Brisbane).
After a few more goodbyes, Jeff, Dave and myself console ourselves with some beer, wine and takeaway.
Saturday - (9th September)
Wow. The bus is really full this morning.
Apparently the previous days bus was cancelled (don't know why). Pina and Natalie were supposed to have been on that bus, so I expected to see them on this one instead. Unfortunately they don't show up, so I guess they made other arrangements. I wouldn't have minded their company for another day
Not much of interest on todays schedule.
First stop is a place called Rainbow Beach. We amuse ourselves (for 5 minutes) learing to throw the boomerang, have a wander down to the beach for 15 minutes, and, er, visit the loo.
In the afternoon, we stop at Noosa. This seems like a nice place, although quite touristy. It's also very busy (because it's a Saturday). Anyhow, I wander down to the beach for a while, for a read. At the top of the beach someone is getting married. Seems like a rather busy place to do it, but the setting is pretty cool.
Our final stop is just outside Brisbane. The Glasshouse Mountains are old volcanic plugs, still standing after the rest of the volcano eroded away. They make some very interesting silhouetes, but we're here at the wrong time of day to get a really good piccy.
It's quite a walk up to the lookout point, and Hiro seems determined to get there first. He does, but no-one else seems that bothered.
Finally we arrive in Brisbane. Arrange to meet up later for beers. In fact, only me, Jeff, Dave, Amber, and Tanya (the driver) turn up.
Tanya, Jeff and Dave leave pretty early, leaving just me and Amber. Amber isn't drinking.
We pop into an Irish bar (definitely NOT because they're showing the Everton/Liverpool game).
It's farewell to the last of my Cairns-Brisbane group, as I take my leave from Amber, at about 2am. She's chatting to one of the other guys from the bus, who finally turned up, so she's in safe(ish) hands !
Monday - (10th September)
First day in Brisbane.
Weather is rubbish (rain and more rain).
Do nothing apart from shopping, reading, watch Star Wars, and sleeping.
Tuesday - (11th September)
Do lots of washing.
Write up my blog.
May go to the pictures later.
Exiting, huh ?