Airlie Beach to Sydney
30.08.2008 - 01.10.2008
Back on dry land after our cruise we hit the road after our night out, first stop Eungella where we tried to spot the elusive Platypus but all we saw was a scary looking tree. That evening we camped at Mackay and I rose early for a walk on the beach which our campsite overlooked. Today we would head to Rockhampton and meet up with Leigh and Kath for a traditional Rockhampton steak which to be honest wasn't that great!
Our next destination was the Town of seventeen seventy which was built on the site of the second landing by James Cook and the crew of HM Bark Endeavour in May 1770. We arrived in the afternoon so I decided to go for a stroll along the beach where I came across a rather large monitor Lizard living in the rocks. I stayed for the sunset and as it was going down along came a load of people on mini Harley Davidson style bikes which looked great fun so I promptly booked in for tomorrows ride. This turned out to be much more fun as it looked, they are just 50cc scooters that look like proper bikes. Having never ridden a bike properly this is much more exciting to me than anyone who's used to riding.
Next stop on the agenda was Hervey Bay but on the way we made a trip to Bundaberg, home of Aussie rum and where a lot of the masses of sugar cane goes we'd been seeing on our way through Queensland. We did the tour round the distillery of course and sampled some of the goods, ll very interesting but I could not believe the size of the operation, compared to others I've been to this was tiny! Once we arrived in Hervey bay we booked our trip to Fraser Island and cooked up some dinner at the hostel, Spag Bol followed by Apple Pie & Custard, magic!
Up early for our ferry to Fraser Island, once there we met our guide Murray who was a great guide, straight away he was driving like a nutter and slagging off the people who bring their own 4WD's over for going too slow. The main beach on Fraser is 75 mile beach this runs along most of the east coast of Fraser Island and is also a highway the islands total length is about 120 km, it is also considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1840 km². We visited several cool places whilst on the island which included the shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno, lake Wabby which is accessed by scaling huge sand blows, Eliy Creek and Lake Mackenzie which actually has a higher silica sand content than Whitehaven beach. Whilst at Lake Mackenzie Leigh and myself witnessed a Dingo stealing a German's backpack which we found highly amusing and since we had be warned not to approach or interact with the Dingos we could do nothing but stand, watch and laugh. Dingoes were once common on the island. They are some of the last remaining pure dingoes in Eastern Australia and to prevent cross-breeding, dogs are not allowed on the island. On one of our walks on the island we also saw a red & black bellied snake feeding on a lizard which was pretty cool and is, according to Murray, one of the rarest sights on the island.
After leaving Fraser we headed to a town called Noosa where we arrived to find no campsites in Noosa itself as I think it believes it is above campsites. I didn't really enjoy the place to be honest, it's a favoured holiday destination of Aussies on the East Coast and unfortunatelt it was the school hols so there were lots of annoying kids around. Luckily Leigh & Kath were also there so we met up and had dinner with them.
Glad to get out of Noosa we headed to Brisbane where we met up and stayed with some friends of Carrie's mum who were really nice people. It was good to get out of the van for a few nights, sleep in a real bed, do some washing and relax on a sofa in front of the TV, it also gave me chance to catch up with my blog!. After our few days off in Brisbane we headed to Byron bay and on our way we'd cross the border from Queensland to New South Wales.
Our friend Ange lives in Byron so we were off to camp in the grounds of her shared house. We met Ange in the town center when we arrived and had coffee and the most delicious organic doughnuts then went for a stroll along the beach. Later on we headed back to the house to meet all the housemates and ordered some really nice pizza, so far Byron has served up some nice food! The following day we headed out for a walk along the beautiful coast line up to a lighthouse overlooking the most Easterly point in Australia. For lunch we went to Mongers fish shop where I sampled the nicest salt & pepper squid ever! In the evening we headed out for drinks and live music with a few of Ange's friends. By the next day I was wondering what culinary treats Byron had in store for me but first we headed to the beach for a spot of body boarding the work up an appetite. I though boarding would be easy but how I was wrong, it's really, really hard work getting out to sea only to spend ages trying to catch a wave, after all that hard work I was looking forward to some lunch and I wasn't let down by the delicious seafood chowder I ordered in a lovely cafe overlooking the beach. Our last day in Byron was spent in the local town of Bangalow where they have a renowned market, the weather was blazing and we enjoyed a day of browsing and you guessed it eating, I couldn't resist another organic doughnut. That evening were were treated to a presentation on unsustainable exponential growth which was more interesting and enlightening than it sounds after which watched a movie.
Nambucca Heads was our destination after leaving Byron and since we had only a few days left to get to Sydney we arrived late and camped only one night. It was a very nicely located campground though right on the coast high up providing great views up and down the coastline. The following morning I saw a pod of dolphins out to sea and later stumbled upon a possum which is unusual as they are nocturnal creatures. It appeared injured as it was just lying around on the ground so I reported it to the campsite owner who in turn called animal rescue. The rest of the day was spent driving to Newcastle, our penultimate destination, here we just spent the night at a friends house, had dinner and went to see a movie. The next day we hit Sydney and prepared for the journey to Perth for our West Coast adventure.