A Travellerspoint blog

Christmas in the Whitsunday's

Our white Christmas! :)

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Hey everyone,

We just rolled off the boat this morning at 11am after the most amazing time ever. It was fantastic, such a stunning place and the best Christmas pressent we could have given ourselves :)

We arrived in Airlie Beach on Christmas Eve and spent the night in Magnums backpackers, a nice little place with a Hawaian beach hut feel. The place was buzzing with people excited about Santa coming in the morning...we still didnt feel Christmassy and couldnt believe that it was 'that time of year'.

We spent the day having a wander and a laugh down at the beach, climbing trees and taking silly photos and playing in the kids play park....I'm refusing to turn 30!!! :)
That night we just had dinner and an early night, we were pretty tired and wanted to be fresh for our big sailing trip.

On Christmas Day we had to be at the marina for 12.30 to leave at 1pm. There were 18 of us, a full boat and one of very few that were leaving on Christmas Day. We jumped on board and got our safety briefing then set off. It was a good sized sailing boat with the Skipper, deck hand and host all on board to make sure we had the best time. (The skipper looked like Jack Nicholson in the Shinning which did put me off a bit!!) :)

We spent a few hours sailing out, legs hanging over the side of the boat, soaking up the sun and just taking it all in. It was sooo relaxing and peaceful. Just before dinner time we arrived at a spot and anchored just off shore. It was time to get in :) We got our wetsuits on and snorkel gear ready then started jumping in. We had to wear wetsuits and stinger suits because the sea is full of jelly fish, some deadly so we had to be protected at all times. Kev was straight in there and off exploring, I on the other hand was a little bit wary, there were massive Bat fish swimming about. I have never seen anything so big and never swam with anything that size before, so I was a little freaked out. I get the fright of my life and scream through my snorkel when Im in water up to my waist and a tiny fish the size of my finger swims past!! It took me a while but I did eventually get in...for about 5 mins then quickly got back out! It was really deep and quite dark, I couldnt see a thing and kept having visions of something big (Bat fish Included) swimming straight for me. Kev stayed out and ventured future than I had dared and he came across the reef, he said it was really good and you could see lots...I just took his word for it, I was still calming myself down :)

After our swim we had dinner....Spaghetti Bolognase was our Christmas dinner! A little disappointing, I was hoping for turkey and all the trimmings...still it was better than the luch we made ourselves before getting on the boat... peanut butter sandwiches!!!! We didnt exactly have the typical Christmas feast did we!

After dinner we got on the wee dinghy and they took us over to the Island to a wee resort that was open for Christmas. We got a few drinks from the drunken bar men and chilled out and got to know each other. Part of me was loving it but the other part was wishing I was around my family, it just wasnt the same.

That night we got down below deck and into our bunks, eveyone pretty much in the same place. It got so hot and sticky though that some people ended up sleeping on the deck. We stayed below and fell asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat, it was really nice to be rocked to sleep.

The next morning we were woken up at 6am to the sound of the engine starting. Even though it was soo early we didnt mind, the sun was shinning and the view was stunning. The best wake up call Ive ever had.
We had breakfast on deck while watching the sea and hills roll by, pure bliss :) We sailed for about an hour before reaching our next stop, access to Whitehaven Beach. We anchored up and got the dinghy across to the shore than had about a ten minute walk up the hill to the lookout point....one of the best sights I have ever seen, it literally took my breath away, pure white sandy beaches and water that changed from dark blue to turquoise in an instant. This was paradise :) We then walked down onto the beach which is made up of sand that is almost pure silica, the whitest and softest sand we have ever come across. Sand you can appartently polish your jewellery in because its so soft and fine.

We dumped our towels and headed straight to the sea, it was only 7.30 in the morning but it was already hot. The sand was so soft at one point you just sank right into it and the sea was really warm and very shallow for about 100 meters so we could walk out quite far and still only be knee deep. We had alsorts swimming round about us, lots of different fish of all sizes and stingray, which was really cool to see. This was pure bliss, one place I will never forget and most certainly one of my most favourite places in the world. There is nothing else like it.

We had a little walk along the sea edge, took photos of our white Christmas and I built a wee sand man instead of a snowman. We didnt want to leave when it was time to go but we had lots more to see and do.

We moved on to another Island and got geared up for more snorkelling. This time I was prepared, I had psyked myself up and I was getting in no matter what, I hadnt come all this way to miss the Great Barrier Reef! Thankfully the water was a lot clearer here and we didnt have far to swim until we reached the reef which was beautiful, so coulorful and full of life. It was amazing, it was like an under water garden, teeming with life....so many different kinds of fish of different sizes and colours, some were really vibrant. The coral was stunning, so many different types to see...there were bright green ones that looked like lettuce leafs, bright blue coral, bright pink coral, huge balls that looked like they had mazes on the outside of it, things in clam shells that looked like brightly coloured wrinkly lips that would close everytime we got close to them, and so much more. Its hard to remember or describe everything we saw but it was totally amazing and made me feel grateful to be alive and to be experiencing all of this.

We moved on to a few different places to do more snorkelling, each place just as interesting as the last. In some places the coral had died but there was a lot of coral that was still very uch alive and thriving, it was great to see. We were not allowed to touch the coral at all as the oil from our skin kills it but there were still the odd idiots who would stand on it or go down and touch it. That made me so angry, they are destroying the coral and ruining it for everyone else who is to follow. You will always get people who dont care and have no regard for anything else though, its pretty sad.

While we were sailing on the boat we got to see turtles swim around us and dolphins in the distance, it was an incredible experience. I felt soo small in our wee boat surrounded by the vast ocean and abundant sealife.

I found it really hard to sleep on Saturday night, it was way too hot below deck and I had been eaten alive the night before so the heat wasnt helping my bites, which were like big blisters...I react differently to mossies each place we go, they must be different types or something. Anyway we ended up sleeping on the deck, not the most comfortable place but definatly a lot cooler. It was so beautiful sleeping right under the stars, I lay awake for hours just watching the stars, because we were out at sea we could see soo many stars, it was amazing (again I felt really small) It makes you put everything into perspective...we are just a small part of this whole existance, there is so much more out there than we will ever know.

Last day and we were up early again to get to one last place for a snorkel before heading back to the marina. I wasnt going to go in this time, I was quite happy to watch Kev and the others have a splash...that was until Kev shouted that there was a turtle out there. I quickly put on my wetsuit and dived in but typically was too late! Kev was a lot luckier, he got to swim with about 3 of them. He said that they were just swimming along minding their own buisness and didnt flinch when people started come up close to them. He managed to get quite close to one and swam along side it for a bit. Im soo jealous, what an experience to have. He was happy though and it made his day :)

After that we got back on the boat and had breakfast while we headed back to land.

It was a truely amazing experience and one we are so glad we had the chance to do. We have so many good memories of travelling and this is one part we will never forget.

Posted by Wayward83 22:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Noosa to Bundaberg

Plus Fraser Island Experience :)

sunny 30 °C
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Hi everyone,

Right where do I start...got to Noosa on Wednesday 9th December. It was really nice, full of plush, posh holiday apartments by the sea and swanky restaurants. There were lots of women done up to the nines and obvious fans of botox and boob lifts. One old dear came down to the beach, she must have been in her 70's, in a teeny weeny bikini and hair down to her bum which she was swishing about. She was flirting with all the young surfer dudes which was quite funny to watch.

Kev rented a surf board the second day we were there but when we got round onto the beach the water was practically flat! He went out and had a go though, managing to catch a few small waves. At least he can say he's surfed in Australia now...well kind of! :)

We were staying at a campsite in Dunethin Rocks Scout camp, we were the only ones there which was bliss until it got dark! Then we were attacked by thousands of mossies, frogs and bugs!! We had to walk a little bit to get to the toilet and along the way I kick a few frogs...not my fault the stupid things didnt move out the way :)
The toilets were home to a family of possums, mummy, daddy and baby and also frogs, one of which lived in the toilet!!! I went to the toilet one night, lifted the lid and got the fright of my life when a big green tree frog jumped in the bowl and swam up the ubend...needless to say I didnt use that toilet. The next time I went to the toilet I made sure I went to the frog free one....boy was I wrong....after doing my business, I flushed the toilet and saw a big green leg slide down from where the fresh water comes!!!! I was totally freaked out!!! :) From then on I flushed before I sat down :)

On sunday we drove to Hervey Bay where we had a night in a hostel before starting the tour to Fraser Island. The hostel was really nice and we go to meet a few of the others going on the tour too.
We were up at 6am on monday for the briefing and getting into your groups. There were 4 groups, 3 with 8 people in it and 1 with 9 people. Poor Kev was put in a group with all girls! We had Jade and Michelle from England, Vivienne and Charlotte from Holland and Sofia and Carolina from Germany. Only three of us could drive, Jade, Michelle and myself but Michelle really didnt want to drive. I wasnt that keen either but I didnt want to leave all the driving up to Jade. I drove the 4x4 from the hostel to the camp shed so we could get all our camping equpiment, then to the shop to get our supplies and then on to the ferry in which I had to reverse on....I was sweating buckets. I have never driven anything so big, it was so high up and the gears were a bit tricky to use.

The ferry ride lasted 40 mins and when on the other side Jade took over. We let down the tyres and put the car into 4 wheel drive mode. 5 mins into the drive we had to stop due to someone being well and truely stuck on a soft sandy hill. We all got out to help but it wasnt going anywhere, think there was somthing wrong with the car so they reversed down the hill and had to head back. By then there was a big build up of cars trying to go both ways, we let the ones go that were headed for the ferry so that they didnt miss it. Then it was our turn...Jade just put her foot down and we bounced all the way up the hill, it was sooo scary but we made it Thank God. Then it was just one long bumpy ride through the Island to the Eastern beaches. As we had been held up for almost half an hour with that car we didnt have enough time to go all the way up to see the shipwreck. We stopped at Eli Creek for a look and then set up camp...that was a pain....we had to hall everything back out from the top of the truck and set it up (German girls werent much help here, they got themselves a drink and went off to chat up some guy who looked like he had a spray tan) We were going to have a BBQ that night but the meat we got was still frozen so we had to try and have spaghetti instead...Kev still had to hack up the mince with a knife and a rubber mallet as that was frozen too!!

That night we had a couple of drinks and played cards with the remainder of our group. We were having a laugh when all of a sudden Michelle freaked out, she had seen something move beside the car. We shone the torch over and saw a dingo standing right beside us watching what we were doing. We quickly got up and moved into the tent incase it turned nasty. Michelle was totally freaked out and couldnt relax after that, any wee noise and she jumped, she was quite funny. We didnt have any proper toilets, we had to dig a hole!!! So that was a bit scary when we needed the toilet during the night, you had one eye watching for any pervs and the other watching for a dingo!!!

We were up early the next morning because it got so hot inside the tents but we couldnt drive before 10.40 because of high tide so we had a walk along the beach. It was covered in jelly fish and dingo foot prints. You are not allowed to swim in the sea on Fraser Island because it is full of stingers (jellyfish) and a breading ground tiger shark.

When we could drive we headed up to Eli Creek where we all went to a proper toilet (most of us had been holding it in and were bursting by the time we got there) and had a wee dip in the creek, so lovely and refreshing.
From there I had a go at driving!!! It was ok on the hard sand but I didnt like it when you hit soft sand because the car skidded a bit and was harder to control but it was good fun. It was hard to see that far ahead of you too, what looked flat could all of a sudden turn into a drop or a bump. We had to look out for wash outs...were a fresh water stream washed out a ditch in the sand. They came up pretty quickly so you had to be careful. Jade was good at getting it through the soft sand and up hills because she would floor it, where as everyone else would go slowly and get stuck, but she wasnt really good at watching out for bumps and wash outs...we had a few bumpy moments where our heads nearly touched the roof! We actually lost the two German girls, they said they were not happy with her driving so we swapped them for a guy...a friend for Kev. The girls were are a bit over dramatic, there were some slidey bits but you knew that it would be as smooth as when you drive on a road and you had to go a little bit fast to get through the soft sand or you would just get mega stuck. I think they just wanted to swap because fake tan man was in the other car! :)

We stopped at the Maheno shipwreck which was pretty cool. It was being towed by another ship and they got caught in a side wind, so they let go of that ship as there was no-one on it, in order to try and make it around the Island safely.

From the shipwreck we headed up to Indian Heads where you can sometimes see tiger sharks. We werent so lucky but we did see some big sting ray swimming about. The views from the top of Indian Heads were stunning, the water looked so inviting.

Back to Eli Creek that afternoon for a cool down swim and then onto the next campsite. We set up next to one of the other groups and we had a few drinks and played games which was loads of fun.

Up at 6am the next morning, most people had hangovers. I had to drive the car because Jade was really hung over and I had only had a couple. I was a bit annoyed because I was really nervous about driving in land and I didnt have a say in it, I just had to do it. It wasnt as bad as I thought though, it was quite good fun. I just got really nervous when we came to big soft sandy hills, it was soo hard to control the car through them. We did get stuck a few times and everyone had to get out the car to dig the tyres out and push. Jade ended up driving later on in the day, think she was getting annoyed at getting stuck and thought she could do better! She got us up the hills but also gave us all sore heads and bums with the bumps!!

We visited Wabi Lake and Lake Mackenzie. Lake Mackenzie was beautiful, the water was two colours, a really light blue and then a dark blue where the sand just dropped off. The water was gorgeous, really warm and calm.
We spent a couple of hours there before heading back to the ferry. That was a pretty bumpy, hairy ride. There were a few huge dips that made everyone scream.

Fraser Island is known for accidents involving self drive tour groups like ours but thats only if they speed and act really stupid. We heard about an accident the day beore we went out in which one guy died and 7 were in hospital, but they had been speeding and none of them had seatbelts on. We could see how easy it would have been to tip the car so we took it easy, no-one wanted to end up turning over.

Yesterday, Thursday 17th December we left Hervey Bay and drove to Bundaberg where we visited the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. It was good fun and really interesting, the best part was the free drinks at the end :) You got 2 free drinks which we thought would be tiny wee testers but they were full size pub drinks. I could only have one as I was driving so Kev lapped it up and had three...had to pick him up off the floor after :) Only kidding.

From Bundaberg we drove on to Town of 1770 and camped there. We had a wander this morning but it was pretty small and not very interseting so we moved on and are now in Gladstone. Going to spend a couple of nights here before moving further up.

Posted by Wayward83 22:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Caloundra, Sunshine Coast :)

Caloundra Beach and Australia Zoo

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We arrived in Caloundra on Sunday afternoon and spent the day exploring the wee town and the beautiful beach. It was a really hot day and the water looked soo inviting. The beach was lovely, it had a shallow area of water surrounded by a sand bank that was under water for a couple of hours before the tide went out then you could walk along it in between the sea and the wee bit of water that had been left behind.

That night we were trying to find a free campsite with no luck. The campsite book we have is not big on in depth directions so you have to guess half the time! We ended up driving around for hours, eventually finding a place to park the car and spend the night asleep in it without getting a ticket...dont want any more of them! The rest area was in the middle of now where and the toilets were the worst we have been to since being here. The smell was awful...I gagged everytime I had to go in them. They are composting toilets...basically just a hole for you to do your business in and then close the lid for it to decompose! Not very nice.
That night was awful, it was so uncomfy and the heat was unbearable. It took me ages to get to sleep and then when I woke up I was soaked with sweat!

We were feeling a little down that day...wishing we could do this in a bit more comfort. Its starting to take its toll on us...living in a tent and eating crappy food all the time. So we headed for the beach at Caloundra and spent the day just chilling out and having a swim which was lovely and refreshing. Then we treated ourself to some burgers and buns from the supermarket, Coles, to have a BBQ by the beach. Everywhere we go there are BBQ areas set up for public use. Its a big thing here, evreyone is always out having a BBQ with friends and family every night of the week. Its such a nice lifestyle, so laid back. They are big on getting outside and meeting up with family and friends as much as they can. They work hard during the day but they also know how to make the most of their free time too...something we would like to keep in mind when we get home. Its much nicer to get out and about and meet up with friends than sitting about the house watching tv soaps night after night.

Today, tuesday 8th December, we went to Australia Zoo. Home of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. It was a really good place and the shows they put on were really good too. Although I do think that it would have been much better to see Steve Irwin doing a croc show, he would have made it more exciting and dramatic Im sure.

We got to feed an elephant, who was very gentle. I was expecting him to grab the banana out of my hand but he didnt, he was very gentle. We also bought a bag of kangaroo feed and had a wander through their pen, stopping to feed them every now and then. They were all mainly lazing about in the shade, some of them got up and hopped over when they saw us coming with the food. They tickled when they took the pellets out of your hand, felt just like a giant bunny nibbling from your hand. Kev did get a very slobbery one eating from his hand :)
There were a few Kangaroos with joeys in their pouches, we could see them kicking and wriggling about inside but none of them popped their heads out for us to see them.

All the animals were feeling the heat, they were all hiding in shaded parts. The wombats were flaked out completely on their backs with their paws in the air. It was soo funny and cute to see. I really want a wombat and Kev wants a Kangaroo. We will have to see if we can smuggle some over to the UK :)

Tomorrow we are heading further up the Sunshine Coast towards Noosa, where we plan to rent a couple of surf boards and take it easy :)

Posted by Wayward83 03:18 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Surfers Paradise

and our search for Ant and Dec!!

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We left Brisbane on Wednesday morning, no more parking tickets thank God, and headed for Mount Coo-tha lookout point over the city. It was cool to get a birds eye view of the city.

Then on to Surfers Paradise, ending up on a toll road that we had to later phone and pay for because its all electronic and no pay booths! Life is never simple when it comes to us! :)

We found a campsite in the hills just outside Surfers Paradise (oh, with a military base near by that has live fire exercises) Dont worry, we keep our heads down :) Its really pretty in the hills and at night the sky is amazing, full of stars.

On Thursday we went searching for Ant and Dec in the Springbrook National Park because that is where we found out they film 'I'm a Celebrity'. Its a pretty big place but we covered quite a lot of it keeping our eyes peeled for any movement or the walkway they use to get into the camp. I think they were lying about where they film it cause we didnt see a thing. I recon they film it in a studio and they all stay in really swanky hotel rooms at night.
Anyway, our search for Ant and Dec was hopeless but we did come across a huge lizzard, the biggest Ive ever seen and then about 10 minutes a snake! We were walking along the path and when we turned the corner a snake was right in front of me. I have no idea who got the biggest fright, me or the snake who turned around and reared up at me before slithering into the bush. It was dark green with a yellow belly and about half a metre in length. Kev says it was small but it was big enough to be sat in front of me! I was a nervous reck after that, shaking for about half an hour! Kev went in front after that :)

The National Park was beautiful, we walked to a waterfall and walked right behind it getting a refreshing spray from the falls. The park was full of wildlife and rain forrest plants.

On Friday we went to Surfers Paradise, it was full of schoolies. Its very built up, I was expecting a wee surfing spot with nothing but a beach and a couple of shops. It looks like its for the rich and famous as its full of flashy hotels, dont know how the schoolies can afford it!

Today, Saturday, we had a fab time at Wet n Wild. Kev dragged me on all the scary rides, my stomach was in my mouth half the time! Kev was like a big kid, he got really excited and he couldnt wait to get on the rides. I couldnt keep up with him. There was one ride I refused point blank to go on, the Mach 5, pretty much vertical drop. Kev loved it though and had to go back for more :)

After Wet n Wild we went back to Surfers Paradise to get something to eat. The sky was amazing when we got there, it was yellow, orange and purple changing to red. It was beautiful. I have never seen a sky that colour before. We soon realised it was because there was a storm coming, we saw flashes of lighting in the distance, stunning. Still havn't managed to get a photo of lightning yet!

Off to somewhere new tomorrow for more exploring :)

Posted by Wayward83 03:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Cant wait for Christmas

We're treating ourselves

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We have booked a 3 day sailing trip around the Whitsundays that leaves on Christmas day, we can't wait. This will be one christmas we wont forget!

The Whitsundays are made up of 74 tropical Islands within the Great Barrier Reef and there waters are always warm because they are sheltered by the reef.

We will be getting to snorkel and dive at parts of the reef and we are taken to Whitehaven Beach where the sand is so soft they say you can polish your jewellery with it!

It will be a once in a life time opportunity and we cannot wait :)

Posted by Wayward83 21:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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