Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Oz: Part 3

(Sorry this has taken a while to get on) We had an amazing time on the Whitsunday trip and were now looking forward to driving about Fraiser Island! (Also while on fraser island a tour group managed to topple thier jeep injuring all 9 of them and the driver is going to court, luckily none of us were that stupid!!)

Right well we woke up extremely early on sunday morning, 5 30, to catch a taxi which took us to "The Palace" backpackers hostel, we had acctually had a booking to stay with them as we were going to be using thier 4x4s! We payed a couple of extra costs that needed to be paid, petrol etc, then headed down to the sitting room where lots of other people were gathered and eventually a guy came and put on a couple of informative videos about Fraser Island, felt like watching an old school video. We were then put into 4 groups of 8, we were with two dutch girls and 3 other girls from scotland who all seemed quite friendly, then had to fill out forms etc for the hire of the 4x4, once this was done we got into some jeeps and followed a Palace employee to thier sheds where we were given clean jeeps and all the gear, tents and cutlery etc, we needed for the next 3 days. Once all geared up we drove to Woolworths, the local supermarket, to buy our food and drink then hurried off to catch the ferry over to the island. Got there with enough time to spare, another 4x4 from our group had broken down already so a replacement was driven out, when the ferry had got on its way we depressurised our tyres and got all our food stored properly. After landing on the island we all moved off in convoy which was pretty cool and started our very bumby ride through the middle of the island to get to the east beach. After about an hour of driving through the forests we landed on the east beach, the only beach you are allowed to drive on, which is actually a recognised highway speed limits etc included. Driving on this looked fun to do but you have to be over 21 to drive the jeep (and have a full licence!). After about 45 mins of beach we all stopped at a large freshwater creek which has such a strong current you can lie at the top of the stream and it will take you all the way down to the mouth. After a quick snack of peanut butter sandwiches we were off again to an old ship wreck just down the road, quite a large wreck so took a few photos and had a walk around it but didnt stay for long. Another 40 min drive to a place called the Indians head, a large cliff basically, where from the top of you are meant to be able to see lots of sharks and rays etc but unfortunately all we got to see were some waves. Back down to the jeep and we realised the path ahead was very soft sand and one from our convoy had already got stuck but our driver managed to power her way through onto more solid sand again. Then we headed off track to a designated campsite with barbeques and toilets etc, apparently there was a king brown snake in the toilets quite scary being the 2nd most deadly snake in the world i think. Once we had all arrived we pitched our tents and got the BBQs going, had some delicious beef and sausages and some potatoe salad, altogether a nice meal. Later that night we ended up sitting on the beach in a group chatting and drinking which was fun and got to know the other groups better.
Ok monday morning we woke and quickly packed away our tents and ate some cereal for breakfast got everything back inside the 4x4 and began our drive to the Champagne Pools. The champagne pools are so named because there is a pool formed by a cirlce of rocks and when a wave hits the rocks all the water coming in is extremely bubbly so it looks as though you are swimming in champagne. We stayed there while we waited for the tide to go out so we could drive on the beach (you can only drive on the beach between certain times), our next stop was a lake with big sand dunes ive forgotten the name but we called it Wobbly lake cos the name was something like that! After a large trek all the way back down the east beach we parked up and started what we though was small walk to the lake, oh how we were wrong the small walk soon became a half hour journey through the forest! However all was worth it as we arrived at the lake which was shinning in the sun with huge sand dunes rolling up from the waters edge, for the rest of the useable day we sunbathed and ran down the dunes and dove into the water, that was really cool! When everyone was ready we all walked back to the 4x4s and set off again in convoy, apart from one group who hadnt actually apeared at the lake and so they eventually became know as "the others"! We 3 jeeps left and headed off down the beach to find a camping place which we did succesfully and set up camp for the night, we also all began setting up for supper as we were starving. And with the evening came the drinking games which led to everyone getting to know each other alot better, this is where we made some good friends, and at the end of the night some of us decided to sleep outside (it seemed a good idea at the time). I was woken by some light drizzle which got me up and I and one other were the only two awake for about 2 hours and i was told that in the night a few Dingos had started sniffing about around our camp site and one had been stood less than a meter away from me, which was nice!
Tuesday morning and once everyone had woken and had breakfast we set off down the beach and into the depths of the island to go to lake macenzie where aparently the sand can clean jewlery and makes your skin silky smooth. The sand at the lake was really white and did slightly clean peoples jewlery etc but unfortunately it had been a rainy day so everything was a bit damp and cold but we went swimming anyway as the water looked too inviting to turn down! However we had a ferry to catch back to the mainland so our time at the beach was cut short and we all packed up again and got back on the track and onto the ferry "home", we also had to be back at the sheds by a certain time to unload all our camping equipment etc. We then had to drive back to the hostel which somehow we couldnt find so stopped got a snack then got some directions and eventually we got back to the Palace. Once all clean, which was so nice cos after 3 days on a sand island you have sand everywhere, we then proceeded to play some more drinking games with all our new found friends and then headed off to a bar to party into the night, this was one of the most fun nights out weve had so far!
Wednesday and unfortunately we had to say goodbye to many but arranged to meet with some people in Byron Bay or Sydney as people were heading that direction. The bus journey down wasnt as bad because we stopped off for a night in Brisbane but then continued our journey to Byron Bay on thursday morning where we decided to stay at a place called "The Arts Factory" this is the best hostel we have stayed in as it was a really different hostel to the others (it had Teepee tents and wagons, all the rooms were a bit crazy). Here we met Cheryl and Clint two friends we had made on Fraser whom we hung out with during our stay, they had also met a guy they knew from thier Whitsundays called Tom who we soon became good friends with aswell. Friday we decided to go to the beach and just swam about in the huge surf, trying to body surf with some success, and sunbathed for the whole day. When the evening came we joined with Cheryl, Clint and Tom and went out for a nice meal (the only nice meal we have been out for) then went out to the favorite backpackers club called "Cheeky Monkeys" which was quite fun.
We had previously booked a tour with Cheryl Clint and Tom for saturday called Jims amazing adventure tours. This tour consisted of going to a crazy old hippys house and garden (his garden had the most species of trees and wildlife in one area and he had grown it all from scratch 25 years ago so was quite cool to look around. Then the tour took us to a place called Nim Bin which is basically a town that was created by hippies in the 60s and has now become a tourist attraction as everything there is quite psychadelic. Had some lunch there then moved on to a waterfall which supprise supprise was out of order (not enough water) so quickly headed back to Byron bay where we had a nice night in at the hostel just chilling with Cheryl Clint and Tom.
That night Cheryl and Clint caught a coach back to Sydney where they live and work but we organised a meeting.
So sunday us four beached it again though this time we hired out body boards which was good fun though tom managed to almost break his nose, D'oh, and had another chilled night in for our last night in lovely Arts Factory and our last night in the nice warmth of the north.


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