Monday, 29 October 2012

3 days on Fraser Island

Where do I start. 
So all I knew about Fraser Island was that it is a 'must see' island of white sands and turquoise water, but it was so much more. 

6.30 we prised ourselves out of bed, free pancakes, a lost (then found) room key, a lecture on 4 wheel driving, dingo safety and sea dangers and we were ready to go. We were put in a group of 10, the only group to be driven by a tour guide, with 4 others groups following in convoy.  Team ARF-ur!

All the roads on Fraser Island are sand dunes so we were all thrown around in the car like clothes in a tumble dryer, a fast track to getting close to those we shared our 4WD with. One slight rock and your sat on the person next to you! Looking back, I miss the bumpy driving conditions, and every journey to and from the campsite. But every single thing that happened on Fraser Island added to the experience. The night I wore 6 flip flops, watching out for sharks in the waves,  the journey holding Hannah's sick bag, finishing off bags of goon then using the wine bag as a pillow, cutting my face getting too close to the limbo stick, our driver Darren, loosing my shoes on a 2 hour trek through a forrest in the WRONG direction, the many dark walks to the toilet armed with a dingo stick, the card games with goon, a campsite with 68 young backpackers, making it up a scary sand hill and waiting for the cars in convoy to make it (or not, in most cases), the hand sized spider, the fantastic weather, the times I collapsed laughing, the eagles, the birds with cocktail stick legs, making friends in the shower line, giving mouth to mouth to my finger puppet Notorious P.I.G, the creaking trees, irish people, getting lost in snake/dingo 
territory, getting my hair caught in the tend zip, losing most of my belongings, then 
finding them...all! And then all the wonderful trips we had at Lake Wabby, Lake Mackenzie, Champagne Pools, the natural lazy river, and the evenings cooking dinner in our groups.

The campsite: K'Gari, (Paradise) is owned by Aboriginals, and so followed 2 strict spiritual rules. 
1. No spitting into fire.... Reasonable, and easy to follow!
2. No whistling...
 The evil spirits are definitely out to get me now.  To me, a whistle ban is harder than a talking ban! Whistle just leaks from my mouth subconsciously most seconds of my existence, and so of course I got told off a lot. It was so strange to follow such a foreign rule, to be banned from doing something that I see as harmless and uplifting. But, I tried! :)

 I walked so hard my legs ceased up, and laughed so hard my stomach muscles 
cramped. And we have made some fabulous friends... Miss Power and Miss Fleming, to name just a couple. The thing I loved most is how a room full of complete strangers from all over the world, can turn into a family during a 3 day camping trip, even our tour guide noticed- 'the best Fraser trip to date'.

I can't do a day to day diary log of my 3 days on the island, because just too much happened and it would take too long. All I can say is...when I have a child, I'm calling him Fraser!

Next stop: Airlie Beach

On the road

Written Thursday 25th October

Soundtrack: Mumford & Sons- Below my Feet
'Keep the earth below my feet
From i swear my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve... 
My hands to learn'

On the greyhound bus, with Mumford accompanying the ever changing canvas the windows have to offer. Every now and again I think 'this is Australia!'. It's hard sometimes matching a word with so many associations,to the place you are seeing with your own eyes. Parts of the countryside look like Yorkshire, followed by an area of dark orange rock, a turquoise lake and a koala road sign. That's when I remember where I am.

We are heading north to Rainbow Beach, where I picture the sands to resemble those old school holiday souvenir jars filled with multicoloured sand. An unrealistic expectation waiting to be dashed! Every time we move from one place to another it's like the start of a new holiday. What beds will we sleep on? What will be our local shop? Who will we meet?

We're very excited for our 3 day Fraser Island camping trip starting from Rainbow Beach tomorrow, and also a little scared. 

I have my rape alarm incase a Dingo tries to kiss me! (Or a snake, or a Jelly Fish, or an eagle, or a shark, or a huntsman spider... )

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Life on the Sunshine Coast...

Life on the Sunshine Coast...

...lives up to its name. Mostly because Becky Smart is a resident here, and also because it has names like Mooloolaba, and a lot because the sun shines every day! 

Thursday, our last night in Brisbane at 'Somewhere to Stay' was messy; 2 boxes of goon, karaoke, and spontaneous busking.  Laura got thrown out of the bar for doing not much at all, (spilling some alcholic beverage over a sound system). But it worked out in our favour as Hannah became 'joint vocalist' with a late night busker with a crowd of drunken appreciative Aussies dancing to the beat. Film footage to follow!

The next morning we dragged our hungover limbs to Brisbane train station to meet Amy last the Atkin sisters reunited!
Next stop: Sunshine Coast.

We stayed at Mooloolaba Backpackers, a lovely clean hostel with crisp white linen and an appealing pool out the front. The first night we  met up with my long lost uni friend Becky, and had a cheeky Thai meal. Amy covered the bill, what an absolute treat! How lovely. 

The next few days me Hannah and Laura stayed at Beckys lovely beach front apartment whilst the others stayed at the backpackers. We spent days flat out on the beach, days by the pool, a drunken evening in a fabulous sweaty Irish bar, and sober evenings watching films and having a bbq on the beach. Tomorrow we are hoping to go kayaking, and rent a bike from the hostel, then Fraser Island is on the cards!

I love this life style. The feeling of being completely free from any task, any routine and any job. Free to go wherever we want, and do what ever we want to do in the sunshine with like minded people. The only chore involved in backpacking is getting that damn rucksack on our backs in between hostels. It's like trying to give a piggy back to the worlds fattest man in the hottest country ever. 

Is a good job it's worth it!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tues 16th

Soundtrack: Bon Iver- Tower
Today I have been exploring Brisbane's West End on my own with the sole purpose of Finding a nice bookshop it's a good life! I always need the right combination of social time and solo time to get the best out of myself, and life. One without the other and I'm just not on top form! Laura, Hannah, Clare and Ray have gone to explore the Brisbane Botanical gardens. 

I have bought a book called 'all that I am' by Anne Funder, and I bought a cheeky travellers treat... A caffe latte!  

So now I'm lying in the sunshine on a patch of grass with music in my ears. Aah it's
crazy how bloody fabulous music and people watching is, I think soundtracks to life 
should just be pumped out of tree's!

Update- 8.30pm
This evening we made the most of $4.95 dominos pizza night, and bought a 12 pack of Oranjeboom beer! In the alcohol shop whilst discussing our funds the shop keeper asked if we needed any help. Without thinking Clare replied 'We're just having a mass- debate!' Awkward...

Pizza, beer, and cards in our new hostel. That's my sort of evening!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Time to leave our first hostel, and head to the next! It keeps you on your toes not knowing where you will be living and sleeping from one day to the next. Brisbane's inner city lagoon seems to have adopted the role of 'favourite hang out spot' for us at the moment. And it was a great place to nurse yesterday's hangover! Ok, the Lagoon is man-made... but so is Art!

I'm looking forward to the next few days in our new hostel just across the river, $23 Aussie dollars per night, swimming pool included- HELLO! The count down is on until Wednesday 17th when we are seeing Mumford & Sons live at the Brisbane Riverstage. 


Saturday, 13 October 2012

12th October... or possibly 13th

Our little dorm, where we have spent the majority of the last couple of days fighting this re-occurring jet lag. Oof it doesn't half bite you back if you succumb to that one cheeky day time nap on day one! Massive error!

We find our selves in some kind of early evening coma, and wide awake in the middle of the night having to keep ourselves silent so not to wake the others. I woke up to find a 
certain ( anonymous) lady scouting the floor for her water bottle at about 3 a.m, trying so hard not to wake anyone in the process. Then she let out an almighty trump which made us and HERSELF jump, and she scrambled into the corner of the room trying to contain her giggles. Quality moment. 

This morning me, Ray, and Hannah are awake waiting for Laura and Clare to WAKE UP. Why is it always the silent moments when giggles are more appealing. Hannah crunching on a raw carrot is breaking the silence in quite a comical way, especially as she laughs after every crunch! Water, carrots, cereal, pasta and rice noodles is our diet for this week. With a bit of pasta sauce and soy sauce thrown in when necessary! (...and crisps vodka and wine).

After a frustrating evening last night fighting with Yorkshire bank's incapability to transfer money to a foreign account, today we are having a relaxing day at Brisbane lagoon. We have our first bag of Goon for this evening (a cheap box of Australian wine), and Hannah has her bottle of vodka. So tonight will be our first drinking sesh. 

Watch out Brisbane!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Quite a long way to go!

Saying goodbye.
I hate it! So I make it brief and unsentimental, shake off the emotion, then dwell on it later. There were about 11 friends and neighbours on the terrace to wave us off to Heathrow, touching to say the least.

The flights were all very smooth and hassle free, we got fed 2 days worth of food in the space of 12 hours, I really didn't plan on fattening my self up before a season of bikini wearing. Apart from the Chicken sausage (who does that!?) the food was awesome!

Me and Hannah walked out of Brisbane airport to find the train station, and despite the lack of  awareness due to extreme exhaustion we still managed to appreciate the heated air and tropical smell.

First stop: Chill backpackers hostel, Brisbane.

We arrived into a dark room of 7 sleeping males, we had to scramble for a head torch whilst trying to figure out which beds didn't have a sleeping person in, it felt like we were disturbing some boys sleep over party or something! Hannah recalls snores in the night, followed by someone scrambling over to the snoring culprit, and smacking him across the face. He sat up abruptly, acting on some kind of subconscious instinct, then went back to sleep. Job done!

The next morning, October 11th, we were reunited with a very sleepy trio. Clare, Ray and Laura.. It was nice to be complete! 'Ooh is that the moon?' -'No Ray, thats the plane's wing light!' After a quick swap of journey stories, and a little treat (in the form of a KFC) we decided to have a little nap. 'Just like 3 hours or something yeh? Who's going to set their alarm?'
... Nearly 8 hours later we woke up.
I have no idea of what time or day it is, but it appears to be night time!
Tomorrow is when it all begins :)