A Travellerspoint blog

September 2014

Fraser Island - trip 2 of 3

Driving 4WDs like a mad 'un

sunny 26 °C

So if Whitsundays was "stunning scenery" then Fraser Island's summing up would be BANTER.

Met some of the most amazing people of the entire trip, (well, so far anyway) and saw some exceptionally nice lakes and creatures, in between sleeping in tents and rallying around the sand dunes in a 4WD (4x4 to my English friends).
L-R Me, Trine, Tyler and FayBans

L-R Me, Trine, Tyler and FayBans

After the Whitsundays, we drove down to Hervey Bay, still on the East Coast of Australia, ready for trip two of three.

Fraser Island was pure awesomeness and I loved every minute of it.

We traveled with a group of about 20 people and spent three whole days cruising around the beaches and swimming in the freshwater lakes.

The island is pretty remote and I'm fairly sure about 10 people live there. Despite popular belief, there are a few shops and signs and civilization, but not much. For the most part Fraser is woodland, beach, dingo, cliff and dirt track.

In fact, it's so untouched by human hands, you can only get there in a 4WD as there is less than one mile of tarmaced road.

On the first day we went to the island's highlight, Lake McKenzie, which is has the brightest blue water I have ever seen. It was absolutely stunning and a pleasure to swim in. Got lots of amazing pictures of the lake and surrounding woodland. Splashing around and generally being free and easy.

On day two we saw the wreck of the Maheno. It was actually placed there after being decommissioned, but still looks really spooky just laid there on the side of the beach. You'd almost think it was wrecked by accident, especially with the angle it is sat at.

One of the highlights of the tour for me was the driving itself. We took it in turns, but my stints mainly involved driving along the beach. No mean feat when you have sand dunes, sunken parts of sand, rocks and waves to contend with. Bear in mind it's been a while since I've driven properly (not including Felicity - our rental/roof tent baby of two weeks) and a VERY long time since I've driven a 4WD (Vancouver). But although it was scary at first, especially when you hear of tourists rolling them and killing themselves, it was a real thrill once you got used to it.

Now, this next bit is going to sound a bit weird, but Fraser Island was also when I saw a ghost. (I think).
I woke up in the middle of the night in our tent with Fay, Trine and Robyn and saw Robyn laid beside me. But then the face of a small girl, I'd guess about 7 years old, appeared over the top of her face, like it was in the same place but see-through.
She was holding her hands up in front of her like she was clawing at something and she looked really distressed. I had the overwhelming feeling that she was being buried alive in the sand and I had a huge wave of sadness come over me.
I couldn't and wouldn't wake the others, as I felt paralysed by both fear and sadness.
After a while, she disappeared, but the image will remain with me for the rest of my life. Even writing this about two weeks later I can still picture her face clearly like it just happened.

I decided to wait until we'd left Fraser to tell the girls, in case A- they thought I was mental and B- they got scared. When I did, Robyn said she'd seen a psychic who told her that ghosts follow her around and that she is someone who attracts those from the other side easily, although never sees them herself.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a sceptic like the rest of them. And a search on Google for dead girls on Fraser wasn't very successful. So I'm willing to say it was just a dream and I wasn't really awake. BUT, it certainly felt real. And was definitely something I won't forget.

Another first on Fraser was tightrope walking. Or, should I see, actually MANAGING to tightrope walk.
I'd tried a bit when the circus was in Hull for a feature once, but one of the German guys Marko, had a tightrope you can set up anywhere.
He strung it between the two cars when we were in camp on the first night and I got a bit addicted.
At first, it is really hard just to even get your balance (especially when you've been drinking goone!) so it is easy to get frustrated easily. But once I got going, I managed four steps. Which Marko said was way better than his first go!
I definitely want to try it again and perhaps even buy the rope myself when I'm back in the UK.

The lasting memory I'll take from Fraser is definitely the people. Met a kindred spirit in Tyler from Canada, who was like a brother to me the entire trip. (Not that I'm disowning my actual brother) He was the male version of me, except a LOT hotter. I suspect the ladies on the group fancied him a tad.
And me? Well, I don't see him that way at all. He is too young for starters. But loved his company. I really hope we can stay in touch.

Well, that's it for now. Next installments will be on Uluru and Perth (oooh, I'm such a tease).


Posted by emmaabroad 07:23 Archived in Australia Tagged lakes beach cars driving 4x4 island sand circus swimming cliff fraser ghost ghosts dingo 4wd Comments (1)

Whitsundays - trip 1 of 3

Spank Me!


So, it's been a very busy time since the last update- mainly spent island hopping and seeing some of the beauty of the East Coast.
After the Great Barrier Reef, we headed to Mission Beach where Fay did a skydive.
Then it was onto the first of three tours- a sail around the Whitsundays.
We started off in a bad mood thinking we were going to have an awful time, after our boat was downgraded. The boat we were now on was called Spank Me and we'd heard it was a total party boat. (I like a drink, but three days of drinking at sea with rowdy 19-year-olds is my worst nightmare).
But our negative attitude at the beginning couldn't have been more wrong and we ended up having an amazing time!
We had a fab group of people with us and saw some amazing scenery.
We went to Whitehaven Beach which has the finest sand in the world- NASA use it to make telescopes.
Walking on it was like walking on flour, it was so soft and white.
I can't even begin to describe it properly or do it justice at all. It was more than perfect.
We made a really cool photograph by building a human pyramid.
I now have new-found respect for people in the circus - it's bloody hard.
I didn't think it would get much better, but then how does swimming with turtles sound to beat a postcard-perfect beach?
I followed one for ages and got an amazing picture and video on my underwater camera.
It was so peaceful to watch and I could have swam with him all day. At first lots of people were following him but then they got bored and swan off to look at other stuff, so for a while I was the only one swimming alongside him.
I can't explain how I felt at that moment- but if I ever had doubts about whether travelling was the right thing to do, this was the point at which my mind was made up properly.
The people we travelled with also helped make the trip special - so many different characters, but all great people in their own right.
Three days flew by and I never wanted it to end.
Swimming with turtles, Whitehaven Beach and seeing the Milky Way while laying on the boat at night.
Top times.

Posted by emmaabroad 05:04 Archived in Australia Tagged boats turtles snorkelling australia swimming whitsundays Comments (1)

Finding Nemo - Cairns/ Great Barrier Reef

Diving, drinking and city life

sunny 28 °C

So, having been a mermaid in a previous life (it was cool- got to swim all day and had a free clam bra) I've always loved the sea and water in general.
And having been diving in Byron Bay and seen sharks and turtles, I couldn't wait to dive at the Great Barrier Reef.

We got up early and boarded the boat for a VERY choppy trip out to the reef.

After about an hour we were there and I hadn't thrown up, which is ALWAYS a bonus in my book.

Got kitted up and went for the first dive with Shannon.

Remembered all the breathing and signals etc and performed my two test skills before going further down - getting water out the mask while under water and replacing the breathing apparatus after taking it out.

Headed down and saw quite a few fish, but it didn't quite seem like we were really there- almost like being in a daze!

I was looking round taking lots of cool shots (and the odd selfie haha) on the underwater camera the work lot got me (an invaluable present).

Then it was time for lunch and then onto the second spot.

This place had a lot shallower reef and parts of it were even sticking out the water. It seemed to stretch for miles and looked very colourful and pretty!

I took myself off snorkelling for a bit and then headed back to the boat for a dive with the instructor Joe.

He showed me round all the bits of coral and we saw large clams, sea cucumber, colourful fish and then.....there he was. Popping in and out of his little house was Nemo!

Got some awesome pictures and video of him, but unfortunately you're going to just have to believe me for now, because I have no way of uploading everything.

The second dive was much better than the first and we were down there for ages. It was really good Joe let me do my own thing and didn't babysit me too much. I'm totally getting into this diving lark and he even said I was much better than my qualification- which has definitely made me think I want to get more deep water dives in. This will mean I can do my full open water course and go deeper where the wreck dives are!

The diving and snorkelling was fantastic. And I was so jealous that the crew got to do that job every day.

Cairns itself, which is where we are now, is a beautiful little city.

The esplanade is full of lovely bars and restaurants and then in front of that is the lagoon where people can sunbathe on the man made beach.

Lots of beaches in the north are either man made or cut off from the main water because of the crocs. Tourists getting eaten alive would be bad for business I guess.

I really like Cairns as it is gorgeous sun all the time and the cheapest city we've been to!

But we are discussing getting a camper to do the last leg of the east coast (cairns to Brisbane) before heading over to Ayers Rock and Perth.

Looking forward to the west coast as I hear it is very different from the east. There is also a place called Monkey Mia where the dolphins swim up to the shore line and you can feed them! How amazing is that?

Off to bed now as it's been a loooooong day.

Love to everyone back home, especially Popey who got married today and my mum and dad who celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary.

Love n hugs to everyone reading this - miss you more than you know!


Posted by emmaabroad 04:28 Archived in Australia Tagged sea snorkelling fish diving australia swimming scuba brisbane sealife travelling cairns reef coral "great mermaid barrier nemo reef" clownfish Comments (1)

Darwin - tanning, reunions, crocs and waterfalls

Northern Territory adventures

sunny 32 °C

Well, after a poor start to the whole affair (see blog on our hostel), turns out Darwin has many good features.
For the last eight days we called it home and had a great time sunbathing, seeing crocs and swimming in waterfalls.
Was also lovely to see a friend from Hull, Gary, although sadly missed out on seeing his brother Ian (gutted).
Started the week off furiously applying for jobs, but sadly none were forthcoming, hence we've now moved on.
Then after hammering the internet and walking the streets for hours handing out CVs, we spent a few days doing some hardcore sunbathing.
Pleased that the tan is looking awesome and I've now changed race. Haha! No really, I'm MEGA brown.
Had some good nights out in Darwin too. Two in fact.
On the first one, got chatting to some Aussie engineers in the navy and learnt all about fixing helicopters and what the stereotype of English people is (answer- whining a lot. Particularly about weather. Fairly accurate).
The second night out was with Gary and got very drunk and chatted about Australia and travelling and music mainly.
Was really nice to see him. After the night out we went to Doctor's Gully where you can wade into the water and feed the fish bread. They suck it right out of your hand which was awesome. Great way to cure a hangover, I strongly recommend it.
Also in Darwin we did a trip to Litchfield to see the jumping crocs. Bloody huge things they were- leaping almost so their tails were out the water. Loved watching this although wasn't so keen when they said crocs think orange and red things are particularly tasty and that they sometimes go near the jetty where we disembarked (I was wearing a bright orange top. Never walked so fast up a jetty. Was more a trot).
Heard and read lots of horror stories about croc attacks. Our guide says it is mainly locals who should know better- they become complacent and then.....NOM! Croc's dinner.
One particularly horrible story was about three lads. One fell in the river so his two friends went to help him.
He was taken by a croc, but the other two managed to escape.
The two lads spent three days up a tree while the croc waited at the bottom for them.
He was carrying their friend in his mouth the whole time. Apparently they like to show off their kills to mark their territory and as a threat to other victims.
The two boys were eventually rescued, but it was pretty grim seeing their dead friend hanging out a crocs mouth for three days.
Also went swimming in two beautiful waterfalls- Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole.
I preferred Florence Falls although both were absolutely stunning.
Took my underwater camera in with me and got some great shots from under the waterfall itself.
Did a few jumps in and had a fab time splashing about. Hope the exercise was good for me!
Last bit of the Litchfield tour was seeing the huge termite mounds.
One called the Cathedral was huge and must have been more than 20ft tall.
To say they're only made out of mud and termite secretions, they are as hard as nail - as solid as concrete apparently.
We also saw mounds made by magnetic termites which were aligned north to south. Was kinda creepy looking as they looked like spooky gravestones.
Another recommendation for Darwin is the market at Mindil Beach.
Saw a brilliant guy who did lots of stuff with fire. And heard someone playing a dancey version of didgeridoo tunes.
Also saw the sunset on the beach and saw a food stall for about every country you can name.
Brilliant times in Darwin. But sadly, lack of funds and job meant we had to move on.
So I'm now typing this up in bed in Cairns, ready to upload when I next have interweb.
As the plane landed, Cairns looked a LOT bigger than Darwin so we have our fingers crossed for employment!
Will keep you posted.
Na night x

Posted by emmaabroad 18:04 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls australia outback market friends darwin crocodiles didgeridoo hull mindil termites Comments (0)

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