Whirlwind tour of the east coast.
31.03.2010 - 10.04.2010
This may turn out to be the longest entry yet, as it should be since I haven't posted in ages. My apologies!
Day 1: Dept Melbourne for Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise arrive Wednesday morning, March 31st
After having terrible luck with the Gold Coast's terrible public bus transportation system, and backtracking a bit we got off at a stop that seemed closest to the street our hostel was on. With luck, Chelsea and I managed to find our hostel. It was my first experience with a hostel, which turned out to be a great one. It's also where I caught the first symptoms of the travel bug. Our room had two French girls who were staying and working at the hostel. I'm not too sure how long they were there. There was also a girl from the UK who was a couple years older than us looking for a job in a salon so she could make money to travel for the next eight months. We explored all that Surfers Paradise had to offer - beaches, shopping, nightlife.
Day 2: Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise Thursday April 1st
Relaxing recovery day at the beach, until it rained! I also must share with you what our meals consisted of as backpackers don't tend to feast like kings. I bought just add water soup...3 for $3! Bargain shopper. Brekkie consisted of an apple and granola bar (being healthy of course!).
Day 3: Early morning departure to Byron Bay (south) Friday April 2nd
My favorite destination by far! This little beach town was absolutely wonderful. Words could not possibly do it justice, but I shall try my best. The hippie vibes emanated from the streets or rather the hippie campers (you know, VW vans?) and dreadlocks. Cute little shops line the streets that are full of locals and travelers alike. The blues festival brought huge crowds to Byron for Easter Weekend. It was a gorgeous day! We found out the hard way that Good Friday is massive in Australia. As in the place shuts down at ten. I kid you not, nothing was open! Luckily there were fabulous buskers (street performers) playing across from our hostel. Chelsea and I enjoyed their covers of hits both new and old. Then, bedtime, or as I remember it - the night we discovered we had an elephant in the room. Literally. Well, not so literally, but we did have a girl that snored louder than my iPod would play!
Day 4: BLUESFEST!!! Saturday April 3rd
Best DAY EVER!!! Wow. We had so much fun. We got there a little after noon to make sure that we got our money's worth. The musicians were absolutely amazing! Before we went I had done some research to figure out which acts we wanted to see most - when and where they were playing. The festival had 6 stages with each stage having about five performances a day! We saw so many, it was great! Some of my favorites: Galactic, Carney, Newton Faulkner, Buena Vista Social Club, and Jack Johnson. They were all great entertainers. Galactic was fantastic live! It was a very long, but fantastic day. AND apparently it always rains and we caught the most gorgeous day! Lucky streak!
Day 5: Happy Easter! Sunday April 4th
I slept in a bit and then woke up and made breakfast. Crumpets and nutella! Delicious. Chelsea surprised me with a chocolate egg for Easter! Then we walked to the market that only comes the first sunday of every month. There was heaps of cool stuff! More hippie gear, food, clothes, and all sorts of other miscellaneous items. I'll mention that there was Mexican hammocks in one tent and Native American moccasins in another. Hmmm...authentic? During this endeavor we experienced what would turn out to be the weather trend for the rest of the day: clouds and rain sprinkles followed by beaming sunshine and a drastic climb in the temperature. Sadly our afternoon sea kayaking tour was canceled because of the weather conditions. It was far too windy and we wouldn't have seen any wildlife. Yes, wildlife. I was supposed to snorkel with sea turtles and kayak with dolphins!!! Regardless, it was still a good day. We went out for a very traditional Easter dinner at a sushi restaurant with a sushi train...so cool (and yummy)!
Day 6: Monday April 5th
Woke up at 5:40 am for the sunrise which was well worth it...
We walked to this lighthouse which turned out to be a bit further away than previously anticipated. It was quite a hike, but a wonderful start to the day. We took the bus the Brisbane where we relaxed for the night as we had an early departure the following day.
Day 7: Tuesday April 6th Fraser Island
7:10 am bus dept from Brisbane to Fraser Island. It takes far too long to get to the island we soon discovered. We'll know for next time that a two day tour is not long enough! We had lunch on Rainbow Beach before taking a ferry to the world's largest sand island. We stopped at Eli Creek and walked downstream in the natural spring. It was beautiful! Then, I had my first dingo spotting! We also saw a shipwreck (the name escapes me), the Pinnacles (pretty rock face and peaks shore side). We drove as far as we could north to Indian Heads where I wish I had a panoramic lens for my gorgeous camera. The view from the top of this cliff was breathtaking! We saw vast sand dunes and the coast that we would unfortunately not be exploring. Oh! I forgot to mention that our bus was 4-wheel drive and we drove on the sand right next to the ocean! We were told to keep out of the ocean because of currents that can take you 15 km out to see. For those keeping score at home, that's about 9 miles. Yikes! Also there are these lovely stingers (jellyfish) in the water. We headed to our resort to get cleaned up for dinner. The title resort is a bit of a misnomer as it was a bit shady, but regardless it was a bed to sleep in! We met at 9:30 with our guide who took us to the beach (just outside the resort). We made sure we went through the gate and not across the car entrance which was equipped with an electric fence to keep out dingoes. Our guide showed us the fluorescent glow of plankton at the waters edge. When you scuffed up the sand with your foot, there would be these little illuminated specs. Jellyfish glow too! The highlight of the night, however, was the most amazing starry sky I have ever seen. Actually, it was THE most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I've never seen so many stars all over the sky, even almost as low as the horizon. I could have stared up into the universe all night, and I would have if it weren't for my simultaneous fear of being alone in the dark and being attacked by dingoes. Everyone had started walking back up, but I was absolutely mesmerized by the night sky. Just entranced. Oh, I'm safe don't worry! Dingoes don't attack usually, but they can be aggressive in large numbers. I wasn't taking my chances.
Day 8: Wednesday April 7th
Early start to a rainforest walk. So fascinating! Hopped back on the bus and went to a gorgeous freshwater, crystal clear lake. I wanted to stay there all day! It was gorgeous! But sadly we were on a schedule and had to head back to the mainland. (Sorry for getting brief, but it's getting late here and I have to return to uni in the morning!)
The remainder of the week wasn't too eventful. We were in Brisbane where we just relaxed before we had to head back to reality. Walked around the city a bit, went to a fake beach, and met up with friends. It was a wonderful holiday! Just crushed a 2000 words paper since I've been back which I'm a little surprised about. French midterm Wednesday too! Just thought I'd reassure you that I am in fact going to school!!