The last leg of my journey has taken me to glorious Byron Bay after a flight from Cairns to Brisbane (which was delayed due to a technical fault... something fell off the plane!) Now I've heard a lot about this place so it had a lot to live up to. Now travelling solo and extremely exhausted from the last few weeks I was keen to have a few early nights, drink cappuccinos, read my book and play sudoku before South America! The town is a very lovely little place with an amazing atmosphere. I was very pleased to be greeted by dry heat rather than the tropical torrential rains we had up in Cairns so I took the opportunity to sunbathe on the beach before 'checking in' to the hostel. After acclimatising I met a girl in my room and we decided to go for a 45minute/1hour long hike up to the lighthouse and most easterly point in Oz! We aimed to get there for sunset but realised the sun sets a bit later beneath the Tropic of Capricorn! Oops! Lovely walk anyway and got back after dinner.
2 February 2017
Last night in Cairns Continued...
Hilariously, guess who I met again! The 18year old boys! Rory, eddy, Mike and dan were all babes and we had a lovely chat inbetween them being on the prowl for equivalent 18year old fresh meat! #ladsontour... this was the last time I was going to bump into them sadly and everyone else that I had met in NZ and Oz! They were all hungover in their boat today according to Lara as she was on that same boat with them. They were out until 4am the previous morning and doing it all again... how most 18yo's travel! This is when I realised I won't recognise friendly faces anymore and I'm going to Byron Bay by myself and South America in a handful of days time! The next challenge awaits!
We had a good snorkel around and surprisingly I wasn't too scared as usually I panic about being in open water (fear of sharks)! We had a marine biologist working on board the boat so he gave us some detailed information which was interesting! After this we had a glass bottom boat tour which highlighted just how many jellyfish there were in the water- luckily the majority were not harmful! But just in case there were box jellyfish we had stinger suits on! After this we went diving! It was just an introductory dive so nothing deep just under 10m. As id learnt to dive at Nottingham (in Welsh quarries!) I was well acquainted with the technique and actually found it very relaxing and stress free which is not how I remembered it! Ha! I stressed about the mouth pieces tho! We had a good look around the bottom of the coral and found lots of clown fish (nemos), rainbow trout, sea cucumbers etc! It was very cool! The rest of the day was filled with eating and more snorkelling!
1st January, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef
After a rather long day yesterday travelling from Townsville to Cairns where we set off nearly an hour late in the torrential rain and after having the bus break down without any wipers we finally arrived at 9pm and got up to go on the boat for 7am!
No surprises that it was torrential rain once again the day we were meant to see the Great Barrier Reef- grey skies and wet weather! We boarded the 'Ocean Freedom' boat which is a family owned boat. From my understanding company's purchase their own part of the Reef that only they are allowed to visit and we +they pay a Reef tax. So there was no other boat near us that day! At first I was a little disappointed as the grey skies didn't pick out much of the colour of the Reef and so everything appeared a little dull. However, the marine life was awesome! So many fish swimming in between the coral! We were greeted by a giant barracuda as we got off the boat to snorkel in the deep blue sea!
1st January - last night with everyone in Cairns
On our travels we've bumped into the same people all the way up the East Coast and always went for a drink with them at each location. I met Devon and Nina in Brisbane and after this Devin introduced us to two sisters, Ella and Florence and also Kia. After all visiting Australia Zoo together we made friends and anyway they were in Cairns at the same time so after GBR trip we rocked up to Gilligans which is a party hostel down the road from where we were staying. Our Spanish friend Marta was staying here and so we arranged to have a last night out all together. This is where the night got interesting and it was 'jelly wrestling' for girls. Lara signed up and got jellified but actually won the whole competition and $100 cash, $50 bar tab and a free GBR trip they'd just been on! She also won the paper airplane game and won more free drinks! I nearly did it but refrained as there was quite an audience!
23 January 2017
Fraser Island Continued.
Day 1 driving was the longest. Setting off from the mainland around 9am we got the short and sweet ferry across 'shark alley' to get to Fraser! We drove all over but with the weather threatening to thunder and rain this weekend we headed to see some of the sites first. We visited a sacred site where only aboriginal women used to be allowed to visit. The water in the stream was filtered over 150 years through the trees, it was so clear it was sparkly! After this we drove for an hour to get to Lake McKenzie- one of the main attractions on Fraser! We all went swimming and Lara, Dee and I decided to swim over to the little island in the lake. This was the first bit of exercise in weeks, it was evident we were puffing a little! The water was so dark in parts it creeped us out! We drove around a few other spots and saw Dingos in the wild! We got to camp just after 7pm and started cooking dinner! Chicken stir fry!
21st-23rd January, Fraser Island
Today we were in the driving seat to head to Fraser Island. Stocked up with Goon (cheap wine that comes in a plastic bag) we set off in groups of 4 cars!We met everyone who was going to be in our car. I was obviously with Lara and Dee but turns out this was going to be a very lesbianised weekend 'lesbefriends' with another lesbian couple in our car that were married for 10 years!! The three straighties, myself, another girl called Abby and Tina all tried to keep our heterosexuals selves sane. Never judge a book by its cover though as these girls were all really lovely and we all had a cracking weekend and there were 8 other cars of 8 in our tour group! Two nights camping on the island and driving around in loads of soft sand was awesome!
20 January 2017
20th January - 21st January. Rainbow Beach
We left Noosa to get a bus to Rainbow Beach in preparation for our Dingo's Fraser Island Tour! We were warned there wasn't a huge amount going in RB but funnily enough there was a nice beach so Dee, Lara and myself decided to hire a surf board and some body boards! Nice idea but no one else was surfing that afternoon, we wondered why. Turns out we couldn't catch any waves - ha! We'll leave it to the professionals. If they surf.. we surf ha! 😂 The next day we had a briefing at 4.30pm about our 4x4 driving experience over the largest sand island in the world spanning 130km (ish)! We were to drive these 8 seater vehicles ourselves behind a lead car and organised tour guide! The prospect of this amused us all! We were warned about the wild Dingos too! Oh and the first night I arrived I bumped into the boys from NZ (18yo) and we had a small catch up. As Natalie from NZ kissed the Cadbury grandson I immediately informed her of my discovery!! 💕
19 January 2017
19th January, Noosa to Rainbow Beach
Our last few hours in Noosa were spent by the beach! All this swimming and surfing was a welcoming break from the chaos and non- stop activities in New Zealand (although I miss NZ very much I'm glad I'm not there right now experiencing their torrential rain in South Island!)
We need to catch our bus to rainbow beach at 4:20 today!
18 January 2017
18th January, Noosa National Park
Today we got up early to go for a 3-4 hour walk in the Noosa National Park. It was hot, very very hot! By 9am it was well above 30 degrees and we were sweating SO much! The chafe was real. Sudocrem was in order. I slapped it inbetween my thighs like I did when I was 6years old. Not much has changed in 11 years!!
We walked all the way along the coast to hell's gate and Alexandra beach stopping off for a swim along the way at tea tree bay! We saw some WILD koala's in the trees which was amazing!! Returning about 1pm after a sushi lunch we went back to the hostel for some shade and relaxation only to return to the beach later that afternoon!
This evening we went to Nomads hostel about 20mins away for a beer with some new friends we'd met along the way!
17 January 2017
17th January, Noosa. East Coast, Australia!
Lara spotted an unusual looking mole so dee and Larry went to the skin clinic this morning whilst I went to the beach before my surf lesson at 1! I had a 2-3 hour surf lesson in the afternoon which was awesome. I learnt a good new technique and hadn't forgotten what I had learnt in Sri Lanka luckily! I was so thirsty after that though so I met up with the girls and chilled in their new shadey tent on the beach until 6pm!
In the evening we fought for a stove to cook our Thai green vegetable curry and eventually got to eat it around 8pm! Drinks and bed!
16 January 2017
16th January, Brisbane
Today we were catching the bus to Noosa but before we left we took a dip in the Lagoon at Brisbane. A man made beach and pool right next to the Riverside and in the city centre! A very chilled morning was had. Arriving in Noosa at 4:30 we checked into Halse Lodge which is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Noosa. No air con but a cute little wooden room with a nice breeze on the top floor with a communal balcony! I finally had a bottom bunk/ single bed all to myself without someone clambering to the top bunk above me!
We had a very quiet evening and drank some Pinot noir and had a delicious Thai green curry! The atmosphere was lovely!
15 January 2017
Australia Zoo, 15th January 2017.
We got up at ridiculous o'clock today (6am) to catch the bus at 7! An hour and a half drive and we arrived at the best zoo in Oz. As a vet, I had mixed feelings about the zoo. Firstly, I understand how important it is to preserve and prevent species from extinction and the role we have to keep breeding populations alive. However, I was worried and sceptical about the exploitation of animals and the amounts of human animal interactions available to the public. Overall I thought it was a fantastic place, a real legacy to Steve Irwin and his family with a fantastic wildlife hospital specifically built to help the wild animals in Australia. However, there were a few things I didn't enjoy- firstly the koala photos. The public paid $30 for a photo with a koala. I'm all for educating people but I didn't feel this was what koalas should have to do every day 364days a year! The other thing that stood out was seeing a cheetah chained to a lead or a leash!!
14 January 2017
14th January, 2017
I flew from Auckland to Brisbane today after not very much sleep despite being upgraded to a six bed female dorm (38$) when I'd only paid $22 for a 16bed mixed dorm! The room was above a very noisy nightclub and my usual sleep on a clothes line didn't seem to work!
After a very short and comfortable flight and my bag weighing 22.8kg (Limit was 23kg!!) I arrived in roasting hot Brisbane! I hadn't booked any transfers or anything but I soon figured out how to get the train into the city and which stop I needed with the help of a little wifi!!
Sweating profusely I arrived at Base hostel. In the line to check in I met Nina a nurse from England who was travelling the east coast solo and Devon another girl from Kent/ Scotland who has been living in Melbourne for a year! As we couldn't have access to the room until 2pm we decided to go and grab some lunch! Nando's it was!
We planned a trip to Australia zoo tomorrow and went out for dinner with 4 more girls!